Does Your Mosaic Interlock?

Bathroom with dark wood vanity with a light tan countertop. The shower is covered in travertine tiles. The glass and stone mosaic backsplash mosaic is also used as a horizontal stripe in the shower.

Quiz time! If a mosaic comes on a 12x12" sheet, but you want to turn it into a 4" backsplash and a 6" shower stripe, how much will you have to throw away at the end of your project?


If you plan well and select your mosaic carefully, you won't have to throw away anything! Knowing how your mosaic is set on the sheet before ordering it will save you time and money.

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.

Our customer wanted to cut this sheet in half and have two 6" strips, but the pattern wouldn't interlock that way. Instead, we cut it into two 5" pieces and one 2.5" piece that can be combined with a 2.5" piece from another sheet. This gives us 2.5 linear feet per sheet, so we'll need fewer sheets and have less waste. 

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. 

Have a question or comment? Let us know!

Note: Please fill out the fields marked with an asterisk.