In this lesson plan we demonstrate the traditional version of the technique and show how simple and effective it can be and a Year 5 group demonstrate a version of mosaic using recycled plastics.

By following this lesson plan you get a step by step guide to the technique of mosaic and advice on managing the risks of working with glass tiles and cement based grout. The recycled plastics workshop was inspired by a trip to The British Museum and can be a whole school project.

Key Stage:

KS 3&4 Art and Design


This lesson plan can be used:
To start a mosaic project.
To develop ideas and understanding of processes and materials.
As part of study of any artist using mosaic in their work.
As part of study of the Roman or Byzantine empires.
As part of individual study

<b> Background - Mosaic </b>

Background - Mosaic

A mosaic is made by putting together small pieces of different colours to make a picture. Most mosaics are made of small pieces of glass or pottery. Mosaic art has a long history but was particularly popular in Roman times including this example from Fishbourne Roman Palace, West Sussex. Although traditionally made in glass or ceramic, mosaics can be made from lots of different materials including pebbles, shells and plastic.

Making a traditional mosaic

This video shows the making of a mosaic using glass tiles mounted on a plywood base approx 32cms x 32cms. Glass can be sharp and care should be taken. Goggles should be worn and do not clean surfaces by wiping with bare hands. Grout contains cement and gloves should be worn.
Watch the video a few times before you begin and maybe start with a relatively simple design or a pattern.
<b> Mosaic design</b>

Mosaic design

Simple designs such as stars, suns and geometric shapes often work best, especially when you are just starting to learn the technique. Mosaic lends itself to repeated pattern or very simple designs of birds, insects or flowers.

What risks are there with a mosaic workshop?

This workshop involves tools and sharp edges and adult supervision maybe required. We have produced a simple sheet to help you negate the risks of using these materials. Art UK and CultureStreet accept no responsibility for injury or accidental damage as a result of using this lesson plan. Please be careful.

Download risks advice mosaic.pdf

Mosaic with recycled materials

This video shows the making of a mosaic using recycled plastics by a Year 5 group. To get inspiration for their mosaic the group visit The British Museum to see a sculpture called The Tree of Life. This sculpture is made from many recycled weapons and the students make their own interpretation back in school using recycled plastics to send their own message.

Development Activity:

If you are looking at the technique of mosaic as part of a study of the Romans there are other resources on CultureStreet that can be used to support this lesson plan. There is this lesson plan about The Roman Empire and its impact upon Britain and the life of an ordinary soldier in the Roman Cavalry. The film in the lesson plan was made at Segedunum on Hadrians Wall and the students learn from a tour of this unique museum including about Roman toilet facilities. What is Segedunum

Learning Objectives:

Pupils should increase their proficiency in the handling of different materials.
In addition students can gain knowledge and understanding of the work and approaches of artists, craftspeople or designers from contemporary and/or historical contexts, periods, societies and cultures.
Students can refine their ideas as work progresses through experimenting with media, materials, techniques and process.

Research, Notes and Links:

Download this lesson plan