Friday, January 20, 2012

Making Mosaics

Last week I showed you the background photos I have been collecting and a few of the ways I have been using them.   I was asked how I make the photo mosaics and although it really isn't difficult to make photo mosaics, if you are new to the process it might seem complicated at first.  There are many online programs that can be used to edit the photos and create mosaics, but I thought I would share how I go about making them.   

I upload my photograph into Picnik which is a free online photo-editing program (you can read about it here).  I then do some basic edits (which you can see over on the left side of the screen).  I often, but not always use "Auto Fix" depending on whether I like the results or not.  I also straighten the picture, and adjust the exposure as needed.  I almost always crop my pictures and for pictures you are going to use in a mosaic they often need to be square.  You can do all this on the basic edits tab.  

Once you have cropped your picture then click the "Effects" tab (along the top).  For backgrounds I sometimes like to either soften the picture so it is a more uniform texture or change the colour (which works best for neutral coloured pictures).  

You can see "Tint" down the left side and then adjust until you find the colour you want.  Of course I had to make the ice turquoise because turquoise is such a lovely colour.

You can add text now or wait until you have finished your final mosaic depending on the look you are going for.

If you only want a simple mosaic with no more than four pictures then you can use Picnik.  However, if you want a more complex mosaic like I used for my WISH Wednesday mosaics (which you can see here) then I like to use Big Huge Labs.  

If you decide to use Picnik to make your mosaic, then look over on the left of side of the screen - it shows you all the shapes of mosaics you can use (the ones on the white background are free and the more complex ones on the light blue background you have to pay for).

If you want to make a bigger or more complex mosaic then go to Big Huge Lab.  I believe you have to open an account (which is free) to use Big Huge Labs, but I can't quite remember as mine is always signed in.   Although there are a lot of  fun features on this site, "Mosaic Maker"  is what you need to create your mosaics.   You can see near the top of the screenshot from Big Huge Labs that I have selected "1+3 right with shadow" as my mosaic layout.  If I had selected "square tiles" then I could have made a mosaic with up to 36 photos in it (6 x 6 photos - just in case you needed help with the math).  For some of the mosaic designs you can select if you want to have spaces between the pictures and what colour the background should be.  

When you have finished uploading your photos then press "create" and you can see the mosaic you have made.  Here is my finished mosaic:

Then you put it back in Picnik and add text.  You can see down the left side of the screenshot the different fonts and you can adjust the size and colour in the floating box that appears on the right side of the screen.  One tip I have is that if your text is long then you will have to press "enter" where you want the words to break and go to the next line as they appear in one long line unless you do that.  

And here are the finished products in all their glory.  Definitely words to live by!

A mosaic using Picnik:

and a mosaic using Big Huge Lab:

If you use a different system to make mosaics I would love to hear about it as I'm always trying out different programs.


  1. Oh my Grace! I have been trying to comment on your blog all week!! I was just going to email you! When I would click on comments on your blog, I would just get a blank white screen and it was so frustrating! I know others have been having the trouble too when trying to comment on other blogs! I love this tutorial! I am such a visual learner that this is so helpful! I love your photo project for 2012! I think it is brilliant! And I read your Wish Wednesday post too and I loved the first room you showed because the branches and all the books on the coffee table really drew me in and made my feel so cozy! I hope your week is going great! Angie xo

  2. Thank you Grace! This is so, so helpful! Wonderful (as usual).

  3. These are awesome. I have been noticing that some bloggers are using more graphics and photo editing in their posts. Thank you for explaining all of this. I went to Picnik tonight to edit some photos and there was a big announcement about Google+1 taking it over as of April 19. I didn't read it all too carefully but I think it said something about ordering your pictures and they would be delivered in a zip file. Sounded sort of complicated. :o) If Picnik goes away I'll be very sad...

  4. I was thinking the same as Ann has written. I noticed the announcement too since I have used picnik a lot in the past. I guess we have to figure out what this Google+1 is all about now. This is a great tutorial Grace. I think a lot of people struggle with images until they find these types of tools and then it just makes it all so beautiful.

  5. So glad to find a new place to edit my pictures. Picnik is closing on April 12 so didn't know where to go.

  6. Great post with so much helpful information! Thanks!