Updated: May 18, 2020
The chances are that if you think of a Roman building one of the first things that you would think of is a mosaic floor. The Romans loved mosaics and they would often decorate the floors of their homes and public buildings with these elaborate designs (if they were wealthy enough).
What is a mosaic?
In simple terms a mosaic is a picture or pattern that is made up from numerous small pieces of any material. Roman mosaics were made up from small shapes (usually squares) which were known as tesserae. These tesserae usually measured between 0.5 and 1.5 cm, although some mosaics have been found with tesserae as small as 1mm. Tesserae would have been made from materials such as marble, tile and glass. Once laid on the floor the gaps would be filled with grout and the whole floor would be polished. Simpler mosaic designs would consist of repeating geometric patterns, whilst more complicated mosaics would show everyday items such as clothing, food or weapons as well as showing scenes from the day or telling stories. From looking at the mosaics that have been found we can discover a lot about Roman Life. Mosaics show us scenes such as gladiator contests, sports, agriculture, hunting and even, on occassion, capture the Romans themselves in detailed and realistic portraits.
To make your own mosaic at home you will need:
What to do:
I. Select which colours of paper you would like to use in your mosaic.
II. Use a ruler and a pencil to draw lines of an equal distance on the paper. We measured our lines at 1 cm.
III. Cut along your drawn lines to make thin strips of coloured paper.
IV. Use your ruler and pencil to draw more equal lines, this time along the then strips. Again we measured ours at 1 cm.
V. Pile up all the pieces of one colour and repeat the process until you have squares of each colour.
Note: If you have A4 sheets of coloured paper you are unlikely to need an entire sheets. Just cut off a few strips at a time and only make more if you need it.
VI. Decide on what pattern you would like for your mosaic. You can download our pattern here or you can design your own.
VII. Stick the small pieces one at a time onto your design.
NOTE: If you want a more intricate design you can try cutting your squares into triangles or other shapes.
VIII. WELL DONE! You have finished your mosaic! Now you need to find somewhere to display it!