Mosaic scatter paintings for you to try!

I read in Elaine Goodwin’s Encyclopedia of Mosaics about a mosaic technique that involves freely scattering mosaic tiles over a substrate prepared with mortar – it intrigued me for two reasons, firstly that it is much more random than normal mosaic making processes and secondly that it provides for a way of using up left over little pieces of tile (as a mosaic magpie, I find it hard to throw those shiny little lovelies away).

I am keen to try this myself and thought that it would be an excellent activity to do with children – consider it free painting with tiles!


Doing this activity is of course slightly easier if you are already into mosaics as you will have plenty of left over bits of tile, but if you do not, fear not! Here are some options:

– make friends with a local mosaic artist and offer to take their leftover tile bits from them (and make a friend in the process – we are a friendly bunch us mosaic makers!)


– gather lots of small, colourful, sparkling bits – beads, tiny mosaic tiles, spray paint some beans, sweeties – even throw in some things from nature – seed pods, acorns etc… (have a look at this post for readily available things to  use for mosaic making with children). Consider this a good way of sweeping up all those bits and bobs in the depths of your child’s bedroom!


– buy some mosaic tiles and chop them up with a pair of tile nippers like this. Alternatively you can use ordinary leftover ceramic tiles (colour is important here) and put them in a tea towel, well covered, and bosh with a hammer then pull out the pieces leaving the shards behind in the tea towel. All glass / tile breaking activities should of course be done with care, protecting eyes and little fingers from sharp bits.

So, to the tutorial:

You will need:

– a pile of small shiny objects, either leftover offcuts of mosaic tiles or other bits and pieces as described above

– a blank canvas. I buy them from the pound (dollar) store.

– PVA / craft glue (white gloopy glue that dries clear)

– glitter

What to do:

1. Get everything ready and to hand

2. Squirt the gloopy glue on the canvas freely – making shapes and patterns. Use lots– the glue needs to be deep enough for the bits to really very stuck in. The kids absolutely loved doing this!

3. Take the mosaic / shiny / colourful bits and liberally sprinkle them all over the canvas making sure you get them all over where the glue has landed. We used a spoon and a also poured from a pot (rather than using hands). It really is like splodge painting with tiles.

4. Press the pieces down to make sure they have made contact.

5. If you want, spend some time moving pieces around so that those pieces that have landed on a bit of canvas without glue are moved into the glue. My daughter spent several minutes in deep concentration doing this.

6. Pick a glitter colour that you think will enhance the piece and sprinkle it all over

7. When the piece has dried, turn it upside down and shake loose pieces off.

8. Step back and admire your masterpiece!

For more tutorials like this one go here.  Let me know if you try this – I would love to see pictures of your children’s mosaic scatter paintings!

15 Responses to “Mosaic scatter paintings for you to try!”

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  1. mosaicology says:

    must be really fun! I would try cover the entire surface which can have other shapes!xo

  2. JOB says:

    Good project – especially for a kindred magpie hoarder.

  3. Katie Waller says:

    Great idea! Thank you!

  4. CraftCrave says:

    Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [13 Jul 01:00am GMT]. Thanks, Maria

  5. Sy says:

    thats so cool! Would def love to give it try sometime

  6. Amelia says:

    you have such lovely creative, inspiring tips! (i've just done a post on experimental photography) and I believe your children will be accomplished mosaic artists by the time they are teens 😉

    Hope you are well.


  7. AG Ambroult says:

    I've gotta admit, that I didn't think the finished product would be so great, but those are awesome! Totally perfect to do with kiddos. I think I'm gonna start acquiring mosaic materials, as I come across them. Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

  8. Dana Barbieri says:

    this looks like lots of fun. kinda like using glitter (which my kids love). i hope you are enjoying the summer concetta

  9. Sherrie says:

    HEY!! Who said this was just for kids!!! Sounds like some fun to just chill out, no pressure, no cuts and no timeline!!!

  10. ginger says:

    I’ve been avoiding mosaics, altho I have saved every broken piece of my china for years! I guess I’m not into being precise, because this is exciting to me! NOW , maybe I will do something with my pieces! (I’m 67 and still playing!)

  11. mamawolfe says:

    Lovely…my children made mosaic garden tiles when they were younger, and I cherish them.

  12. jackie says:

    These are just beautiful. I love how you incorporated items that can be found in any craft room! Thanks for the inspiration. I think I’ll have to try this with my hooligans!

  13. Cathy Smith says:

    Love your kids projects as I am starting to teach to younger kids!
    On this project, Like Elaine does in her book…for kids, you said you bought the ‘canvas’ from the dollar store (as I am in the USA), but you don’t mean a ‘painter’s ‘ soft real cloth canvas, but a solid block of wood like MDF board as I would think an artists canvas is to flexible and will sag..?
    Also, on some of your other children’s project, you could use Alleen’s Tacky Glue (but might not be available in London) as a white, safe, cheap glue for kids, I would think instead of the glue you use for the egg and cross, as it is tacky (sorry for the pun!) so will stick well for like a vertical egg shape….
    Keep up your creating mosaic kids projects as I am asked to do a kids camp, and at the gallery where I show/teach, we have kids and teachers in for specific workshops through the year and I can’t repeat the projects as we have returning teachers and kids!
    Thanks again!
    Cathy in Virginia

    • Concetta says:

      Hi Kathy
      Yes, it was just cloth canvas and it hasn’t sagged at all:) And we used ordinary PVA (Weldbond) glue. Tacky glue woudl also work well 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement 🙂 Concetta

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