Mosaic Terminology

Mosaic Terminology

Let's enjoy creating mosaics !

Pique Assiette

Pique Assiette, is the french term for plate thief or scrounger! It’s a form of Mosaic originating in France. … Pique Assiette is a style of mosaic that incorporates pieces of broken ceramics—plates, dishes, cups, tiles — and other found objects into the design. Many of my students want to create something decorative out of Grandma’s inherited crockery!

Indirect Method

Indirect method – adhere tesserae face down on a temporary surface (craft paper) with a temporary glue like Aquadhere or flour & water. Using this process, you must be able to envision the mirror image of the design. You work looking at the back of the tiles, (which are not always the same as the front) therefore you don’t really see the upside of the mosaic until you flip it.

Direct Method

Direct method – the design is sketched onto a base and the tesserae are adhered directly onto it. We will use fibreglass mesh and mostly Blue Board (cement fibre sheeting). When complete, a layer of grout can be spread over the tiles then wiped off, filling any spaces between the tiles.


We’ll mostly use Wheeled Nippers, Score and snap nippers for glass mosaics. Parrot nippers are used for ceramic tile shaping.

Vitreous Glass

Vitreous tile – square glass mosaic tiles most commonly 3/4″ x 3/4″ made in moulds from glass paste. They have a smooth top but the bottom is keyed with ridges for better adhesion. The colour ranges are enormous.


Smalti is characterised by its dazzling range of brilliant opaque colours. Smalti is literally available in thousands of colours, is a very stable glass, easy to cut and very durable.