Fun Mosaic Art

This page includes examples of figurative mosaic art that are particularly exuberant and joyful. I consider these mosaics to be fun and whimsical without being cute in a tired sort of way. This is no small accomplishment in my opinion.

Mario and Princess mosaic art by Katy Devlin.
Mario and Princess mosaic art by Katy Devlin.

I love this piece even though it is a copy of something that is mass-produced because that something isn’t typically used as a theme for mosaic artwork. Also, there is the play on tiles as pixels, however unconscious that might have been on the part of the artist.

Flying Angel mosaic art by Jena Wernor.
Flying Angel mosaic art by Jena Wernor.

Angels might be common themes, but this angel is refreshingly different from the angels usually seen in religious clip art.

Whimsical but Fresh

I’m not a big fan of “cutesy” in art, and I really dislike how cutesy tends to dominate amateur art in general, but it is possible to be whimsical without being cliche or saccharine sweet. To understand what I mean, consider the work of famous painter Marc Chagall. Most of his paintings are playful in tone, but they are all genuine art in that they are original or take risks or are fresh in some way.

My goal for this page is to showcase work that is whimsical in tone but fresh. I’m hoping people email me pictures of their art, but I’m also hoping that their art isn’t a copy of something they saw at an arts and crafts show or on a holiday greeting card or something like that. All artists copy in one way or another, but to duplicate a craft product that is already being manufactured is a sad loss of an opportunity to make something different. Make something your grandchildren will keep as an hierloom not sell at a garage sale.

Bat Symbol mosaic art by Joy Bice.
Bat Symbol mosaic art by Joy Bice.

From what I’ve read of the biographies of 20th century painters, more than a few began their careers by copying drawings and engravings from books. In other words, copying art has been almost as important a tool in art education as drawing from still life, landscapes and other natural models. Symbols and logos might not give an aspiring artist much practice in perspective or light and shadow or other skills needed for naturalistic rendering, but they do offer a fun way for someone to get started and produce something they can recognize and feel connected to. It’s very important to build confidence with small, simple pieces before attempting more ambitious projects. A favorite symbol on a small plaque is just such a project and makes a great art object for around the home. I have even seen smaller versions of mosaic plaques used as Christmas ornaments.

Rubber Ducky mosaic art by Joy Bice.
Rubber Ducky mosaic art by Joy Bice.

I love this one. The design is so simple yet so effective, and the color choices are spot on. Minimalism is a challenge because nothing is superfluous, and all your design decisions are in plain view and either obviously right or obviously wrong. The fact that this design is rendered in whole tiles arranged in a grid only adds to the minimalist charm. Normally I encourage people to use concentric rows around figures instead of tiling the background in a grid “as if they were tiling a shower,” but in this case it is appropriate and reinforces the theme of the design.

9 thoughts on “Fun Mosaic Art

  1. Hi
    I love your website. It’s very informative. I have just finished applying ceramic tile pieces/glass to a round slab of concrete. A stepping stone. I wanted to know if I should use thin set to grout it but I also wanted to know if there is a black thin set because that would make the tiles pop out better than grey. I used a mosaic glue to attach tiles already so because it will be outside I know I should use thin set.
    Dana

    1. Thanks Dana! We are all professional artists, and we have worked extremely hard on all this.

      Yes, you should definitely use thinset to grout this project. It will help make up for the fact that you attached the tiles with glue. Thinset mortar is stronger and much more adhesive than grout. Our instructions page for how to use thinset mortar for art projects has more information than you need because you are just using thinset to grout, but it may help you with mixing and handling the stuff. It can be a little more sticky than grout.

      I agree about black grout making colors pop. Thinset comes in gray and white. I have dyed Versabond brand thinset mortar black with concrete dye (a liquid purchased at Home Depot), and I used a much higher amount than recommended on the package without affecting strength or adhesive properties as far as I could tell.

      Good luck with the project!
      Joe Moorman

      1. Joe,
        Thanks for the info on thin set. I used it tonight and all went well.
        2 more questions:
        What would the best waterproof sealer be for this outdoor stepping stone after the thinset dries.
        What is the best hand held tool for shaping the ceramic one inch squares when I want rounded contour edges ?
        Thanks for all your advice.
        Dana

  2. Joe,
    Thanks for the info on thin set. I used it tonight and all went well.
    2 more questions:
    What would the best waterproof sealer be for this outdoor stepping stone after the thinset dries.
    What is the best hand held tool for shaping the ceramic one inch squares when I want rounded contour edges ?
    Thanks for all your advice.
    Dana

  3. This is a wonderful website that is just chock-full of information, technique and supplies. Thank you!

  4. Hi! I love your website! Thank you for all the useful information provided. I am planning a mosaic project for a group of special needs young adults. I’m thinking of doing mosaics on tiles (perhaps 4×4 size) I use welbond on my own projects of stained glass mosaic and that works perfectly. For this project I plan to use smalti. Do you recommend weldbond? Also I’d like for the tiles to fit very tightly together…. Do they need to be cut in order to achieve that look? Also is grout recommended for this particular project?
    Thank you!

    1. Thanks Mayra!
      We use Weldbond with Smalti for indoor projects all the time. Grout is only essential on outdoor and wet mosaics. You can fit smalti (and other types of tile) closely together without cutting it or grouting it. I hope this helps!

  5. Hello. I made a mosaic mailbox using broken pottery, tiles, coins and found objects. It turned out great. I’d like to mosaic the wooden post it sits on. Can I use thinset or Liquid Nails for this? I’m worrying about the wood expanding and contracting in the weather.

    Thank you.

    Ginny

    1. Hi Ginny,
      The wooden post would be a problem, and tile would fall off over time. I would replace the wooden post with a piece of steel pipe and mosaic on it using thinset mortar. I would seal the finished work with three applications of a tile and grout sealer.
      I hope this helps!

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