I love renegade artists from the pothole-filling Bachor to graffiti master Banksy. For Christmas last year, I received a surprise gift inspired by this artsy passion. One of my most creative friends—Jenna—put together a kit so I could build my own orange Pac-Man ghost mosaic, just like the one cemented to a Bilbao wall by Invader the artist.
She knows I have a penchant for glass tiles, pop culture, and getting messy, so this project was an ideal present. Keep reading to see my finished ghost mosaic, get tips for making a cool kit like mine, and learn a few fun facts about Invader, too.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Jenna isn’t just a thoughtful friend. She’s also a crazy hard-working writer and entrepreneur. How she has time on top of all her successes to also spoil her friends with one-of-a-kind, perfect gifts is something I hope to do, too, when I eventually grow up. Since the cost to buy an Invader original or one of his limited-edition kits is beyond most folks’ budgets, here is what you need to know if you’re planning to go the DIY route, too.
“The most economical solution is to buy tiles and create your own at home. It is not a very difficult assembly work, and it is possible to find similar types of tiles I use.” Invader FAQ
Materials Needed for a Ghost Mosaic
- Navy (8), orange (140), and white (24) 3/4″ square tesserae (I used glazed ceramic tiles, but recycled Venetian glass tiles would work, too)
- Liquid Nails glue (the 4-ounce size for small projects is perfect)
- Strong backing board at least 15″x15″ or larger (I used a sign that I painted over—upcycling FTW!)
- White paint (I used a gloss acrylic)
- Foam brush
- Sand paper
- Slightly damp paper towel
What Are Tesserae?
In the art world, tesserae are tiles—cut in a regular shape—that are used in mosaic work. Manufacturers make tesserae from glass (like the recycled Venetian samples shown to the left), stone, ceramic, and other hard materials.
Ghost Mosaic Instructions
Step 1: Prep your surface
Your finished ghost mosaic art will be about 11″ x 11″ and it will look best when your ghost mosaic has ample space to float so pick your backing board wisely.
Once you find the perfect option, use a primer and sand your surface, if you have a backing board that is unfinished.
If your backing board is already prepped, you can skip ahead to creating the white background by applying your white paint with a foam brush. Let your background completely dry before moving on to the next step.
Step 2: Mark your starting point
Use your ruler to mark the center of your backing board with a small X.
Note: For this project, we’re making Clyde but feel free to customize the design using other colored tiles to create Inky, Blinky, or Pinky from the classic Pac-Man game.
Step 3: Glue your tiles, from the center out
Add a small dab of glue to the back of your first two tiles (both orange) and sandwich them around your X. Continue to place your tiles out from the center, following your ghost mosaic design. I kept my clear quilting ruler out because it helped me make sure my tiles stayed straight as I glued them down.
Use a slightly damp paper towel to clean up any tiny bits of glue that might ooze out from the sides or between the tiles so it doesn’t show after your artwork dries.
If you have curious little ones or inquisitive pets, keep them safe and make sure they don’t come anywhere near you when you’re using this powerful glue. If your rows go askew or you forget a tile in the series, you can course-correct if you catch it quickly. You have about 20–30 minutes of wiggle room to adjust a tile before it starts to set.
Step 4: Let your masterpiece dry
It’s hard to resist showing off your work, but once you put down all of your tiles, you need to let it sit for about 24 hours. That’s how long Liquid Nails glue needs to be fully set up.
Step 5: Hang and admire your ghost mosaic
Enjoy your personal Invader the artist-style street art installation.