The Basics 1


The Basics 1

Making Roman mosaics – a start up guide 


 This is a brief outline on the minimum of materials needed to make a purely decorative mosaic which will be displayed indoors. This is aimed at people who want to try it out and practice without a huge outlay. 

  Tesserae (tiles) - Ideally you’ll be able to get marble tesserae but if your budget won’t stretch to this then look for anything, such as ceramic tiles which are preferably matt colours. For Roman mosaics the colours you need are: black, off white, light red and yellow. These are the primary colours and if you can get dark red and green then so much the better.

  Baseboards MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard) is fine, it’s fairly cheap and can be cut with a hand saw. Be aware though that if you cut it with a jigsaw or any other power tool you must wear a suitable dust mask as the dust is dangerous if inhaled. Ordinary plywood can be used too, in both cases 6mm thick sheets can be used but 9mm is better. This is so the board doesn’t flex which will crack the mosaic. 

  Glue -  PVA craft glue suitable. It’s cheap and easy to use, look for the small bottles with a fine nozzle on as this makes it easier to control the flow. 

  Grout Most grouts will work ok, there are many different brands out there. Go to a tile store and explain what you are doing and they will find the right thing for you. I always go for grey grout. This is much better for the mosaic as Ivory or white grout tends to ‘pull apart’ the pattern.

  Wax - If you are using tumbled marble tesserae then the chances are you'll want to use something to bring the colours out. You can use Linseed Oil Wax, there are tilers colour enhancers but these can be quite expensive.

A fully equipped workshop with abundant supplies of marble tesserae is no guarantee that you will produce wonderful Roman mosaics. 

You must, know and apply The Rules and then you must practice. 


  “There are no advanced techniques, how good you get is purely down to how many you do” 


 ©Lawrence Payne 2012.