Types of Mosaics and Mosaics Laying Methods

Mosaic is the art of creating images or patterns using small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials

The earliest known mosaics date to around the eighth century BC, when the Greeks made mosaics with pebbles. The art form spread to the Romans as well, and it was used extensively in the internal decoration of homes and businesses. This craft can be used to decorate everything from chests of drawers to floors, and it has been a part of the artistic expression of many cultures all over the world.

In today’s world, mosaic designs can be seen in ornate mosaic tile floors to furnishings and sculpture covered in mosaic. Artisans often have very fine materials to work with, and they may include things like mirrors and vibrantly coloured glass to make their mosaics particularly eye-catching.

 Mosaics Types Mosaics Bathroom

What is mosaic made of?

Mosaic can be made of several materials such man-made (Ceramic, Vitreous tiles, Millefiori Tiles) or natural stone (Travertine, marble, granite, onyx, decorative stones) or glass (and Mirrored Glass) material. The most commonly used are glass and ceramic due to the durability and flexibility compared to natural stones as the latter has natural veins/lines which can crack if cut/processed in very small dimensions. The mosaic sizes vary according to the requirement of the picture. The most common dimensions are

–          25 x 25 mm (1” x 1”)
–          20 x 20 mm
–          15 x 15 mm
–          12 x 12 mm

The smaller the sizes, the more defined the mosaic design.

Mosaics- Household (cermaic) tiles Mosaics- Decorative Stones Moasics- Millefiori Tiles

Mosaics- Mirrored Glass Mosaics- Vitreous Tiles

Why Mosaic?

Due to its small bits, artists are able to design and create realistic art pieces and monuments with feel and reflections, compared to 2-D drawings and paintings. It not only adds elegance and grandeur in many occasions, it also portrays the culture and style of the place, era and people. With many choices of material to use, mosaic has become an icon in designing landscaping, commercial and residential sites.

More information can be found in my earlier blog on Choosing Mosaics for your Home. Click Here to find out more.


Cost of Mosaics

Due to production and design consideration, most ready-made mosaic designs are more costly than single colour tiles. The cost can varies 3-4 times more than a normal ceramic or homogeneous tile. As it comes in different sizes, the choices of design and permutations are far higher than single colour tiles. More often, the local shops offer various pre-designed tiles for renovators and home-buyers.

For customers who wish to make their own unique mosaic colour combination, it becomes trickier as this requires custom made and order. At San Teck International, we offer customers to choose the colour combinations on their chosen pictures. We will then send the colour classification to our factory for sample picture-setting. In this way, customer will be having his one and only piece.


Mosaics Laying Methods

There are 4 main methods: the direct method, the double direct method, the indirect method and the double indirect method.

Direct method

The direct method of mosaic construction involves directly placing (gluing) the individual tesserae onto the supporting surface. This method is well suited to surfaces that have a three-dimensional quality, such as vases. This was commonly adopted for the classical European walls and ceilings, in which the placements of the mosaics follow under the drawings of the main outlines on the wall below. However they are often revealed again when the mosaics fall away.

The direct method suits small projects that are portable. Another advantage of the direct method is that the resulting mosaic is progressively visible, allowing for any adjustments to tile color or placement.

The disadvantage of the direct method is that the artist must work directly and carefully at the chosen surface, which is often not practical for long periods of time, especially for larger scale projects. In addition, it is difficult to control the evenness of the finished surface. This is of particular importance when creating a functional surface such as a floor or a table top. Hence it is usually not recommended to use such method on normal pathways or heavy traffic passage ways.

Direct Laying Method Mosaic 1 Direct Laying Method Mosaic 2

Double Direct method

A modern version of the direct method, sometimes called “double direct,” is to work directly onto fiberglass mesh. The mosaics can then be constructed with the design visible on the surface and transported to its final location. Large work can be done in this way, with the mosaic being cut up for shipping and then reassembled for installation. It enables the artist to work in comfort in a studio rather than at the site of installation. These meshes usually come in 300 x 300mm dimension for easier handling. This is now the most common mosaic laying method in today’s market.

Double Direct Laying Method Mosaic (Back-Mesh) 1 Double Direct Laying Method Mosaic (Back-Mesh)2


Indirect method

The indirect method of applying tesserae is often used for very large projects, projects with repetitive elements or for areas needing site specific shapes. Tiles are applied face-down to a backing paper using an adhesive, and later transferred onto walls, floors or craft projects. This method is most useful for extremely large projects as it gives the maker time to rework areas. Mosaic murals, benches and tabletops are some of the items usually made using the indirect method, as it results in a smoother and more even surface.

Indirect Laying Method Mosaic 1 Indirect Laying Method Mosaic 2


Double indirect method

The double indirect method can be used when it is important to see the work during the creation process as it will appear when completed. The tesserae are placed face-up on a medium (often adhesive-backed paper, sticky plastic or soft lime or putty) as it will appear when installed. When the mosaic is complete, a similar medium is placed atop it. The piece is then turned over, the original underlying material is carefully removed, and the piece is installed as in the indirect method described above. In comparison to the indirect method, this is a complex system to use and requires great skill on the part of the operator, to avoid damaging the work. Its greatest advantage lies in the possibility of the operator directly controlling the final result of the work, which is important e.g. when the human figure is involved.

Double Indirect Laying Method Mosaic 1 Double Indirect Laying Method Mosaic 2



San Teck International


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.