It’s a craft that’s been around for thousands of yearstaking squares of colored ceramic tile and adhering them to a surface to create decorative pieces of art. According to Kidipede, an art history source for kids, the history of mosaics goes back over four thousand years when terra cotta cones were pushed, point first, into a background to create an image. The ancient Greeks took mosaics to the next level by using colored pebbles to create intricate geometric designs and images of animals and people. By 200 B.C. smaller pieces in more varied colors were being produced, and the smaller pieces made it possible to create even more detailed images. Today, mosaics are more commonly seen in home décor as a decorative pattern in tile for a bathroom or kitchen floor or wall.
The process of using square tiles of color to create representations of images also makes a terrific craft project for kids of all ages. The sophistication of the materials can be adjusted accordingly to fit the age group and associated skill level.
To get started you’ll need:
Help your child start a project by making a supply of mosaic squares that will be used to create the image. Cut sheets of colored construction paper into ½ inch wide strips. Then, cut the strips into ½ inch squares (the older the artist creating the mosaic, the smaller the squares can be made and the more detailed the mosaic can become). Try to keep your mosaic squares separated by color to make it easier to find a specific square color.
An adult may help prepare the background paper by applying a layer of spray mount adhesive (one that allows repeated repositioning of the item being glued). This should be performed outside or in a well-ventilated area. If spray mount adhesive is unavailable, basic white craft glue or a glue stick may be used.
Once the background paper is prepared, the creativity can begin. Your child can make any design he or she wishes by simply choosing a colored mosaic square and placing it on the adhesive background paper. If using glue, your child can simply place a spot of glue on the back of the mosaic square and press it into the desired position on the background worksheet. A slightly less messy alternate method is to apply a dot of glue to the desired location directly on the background sheet and then press the mosaic square into place.
If your child would like to create something specific, an apple for example, you may want to draw a rough outline in pencil, which your child can then “fill in” with mosaic squares. The wonderful thing about creating mosaics is that the method is totally adaptable to the age of the childdesigns can be simple and freeform or intricate and structuredthe only limit is your child’s imagination.
Older children can take the craft of mosaics to the next level by using colored ceramic tiles, colored stones, or pieces of polished colored glass to create a variety of projects. When creating a mosaic with these materials, the tiles are most often positioned onto the background surface with glue. When the design is complete, the tiles are permanently secured in position with a layer of cement or tile grout (the excess of which is wiped away while still wet, allowing just the colored surface of the mosaic tiles to remain visible.
So fill an afternoon with a creative session of mosaics. The end result will be a wonderful addition to the family gallery (a.k.a.the refrigerator door!)
Remember to always monitor children when using scissors and adhesives.
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