Does Your Mosaic Interlock?

Avoid headaches and wasted materials by figuring out ahead of time if the interlocking pattern of your mosaic border fits your design.

Gold, red, and brown glass and stone mosaics on a backsplash
If you want to cut a 4" border like this from a full 12x12" mosaic sheet, make sure that the strips you cut interlock with one another.

Mosaics (pieces of glass, stone, ceramic, porcelain and/or metal mounted onto a sheet) are very popular in kitchen backsplashes and bathtub and shower surrounds


If you want to cut your mosaic into strips for use as a border or accent, make sure you check the edges of a full sheet of your chosen mosaic before ordering it.

 

A square or brick pattern can be cut into strips that will easily interlock.

 

However, if it’s a linear mosaic, especially one with varying widths on the lineal rows, then you may have trouble creating interlocking borders.

 

If the edges of one strip of an irregular-edge mosaic do not match with the edges of another, you’ll find yourself spending unwanted time and effort to rearrange and cut individual pieces to make the border work. 

 

When possible, look at a full sheet. We can find a picture of a full sheet of most of the mosaics in our showroom. Look at the edges of the sheet, see if there are pattern repeats. 

This mosaic can be cut into sections of three rows. There are 18 rows total on a 12" sheet. You could have a 2” border, a 4” border, a 6” border, etc.

This mosaic interlocks from sheet to sheet, but cannot be cut down into interlocking rows.


If you tried to slice it into strips, you'd spend a lot of time rearranging the pieces to make the strips interlock.


Interlocking edge pattern isn't your only concern... what about color patterns?

Navy blue, green, brown, metal, glass, and stone mosaic

If you have a mosaic like this, where each 1.5" band is an alternating color, realize that if you plan to cut it into a section with an odd number of rows (3 or 5 rows, for example) you will create a lot of waste. In the example below, a full 25% of each sheet must be thrown away because it doesn't fit with the cut-down border.

Final Recommendations

Ask your tile salesperson to show you a picture of a full sheet before you purchase. The layout of the mosaic and ease of installation may be the deciding factor for your backsplash or shower project. 

Write a comment

Comments: 2
  • #1

    Diane Weinman (Monday, 19 December 2016 21:16)

    I'm trying to find a mini stacked pebble border in black. So far what I've found is in a 3/4" - 2 1/2" size but I need a smaller stone. The shiny black smaller stacked pebble would be perfect for our kitchen but so far I am unable to find it. Could you make it or do you know of someone who carries it? I appreciate your help.
    Thank you, Diane

  • #2

    Tile Lines (Tuesday, 20 December 2016 10:01)

    Hi Diane,

    The closest we have is the Micro Pebbles in Charcoal or Midnight. They range from 1/4" to 1/2". These 12x12" sheets can be cut into strips if you want smaller accents. They have a matte finish, but you can use a glossy sealer such as Aqua Mix's High Gloss Sealer to give them a good shine.