Buying Mosaic Tile

You can buy what you need at our online mosaic supply store, but here is some general advice about selecting and ordering tile online and how to make sure you get the colors you really want and avoid common problems.

Monitors Don’t Always Display Colors Accurately

Blues and greens are difficult to photograph accurately with digital cameras, but photos can be adjusted using software and aren’t the primary source problems. If a color you ordered online doesn’t look like what it did online, the source of the problem might be right in front of you.

The exact color your monitor displays is dependent on several factors including: the brand and model of monitor, the graphics card and your adjustable color settings. We test our images online, but it isn’t possible to test every combination of monitor and graphics card and browser.

It is always a good idea to order samples if you have no previous experience with a particular product line or mosaic tile in general.

Assortments Make Poor Samples

Assortments are a great way to get a range of colors for small craft projects and classes, and people are genuinely pleased with the assortments they buy from us. However, assortments are a BAD way to get samples of individual colors that you might want or need to order more of. There are two reasons for this.

First, assortments contain non-standard colors in addition to the standard colors of the manufacturer’s palette. Assortments are where they put the colors that don’t meet standard specifications. The second reason is that tile varies by manufacturer batch. While a distributor might have some idea what batch an individual color came from based on when you purchased that individual color, a tile picked from an assortment could come from any number of previous factory runs, or it could be a nonstandard color that was never distributed as any individual color.

If you need samples, then order samples not assortments.

Tile Varies By Batch

Mosaic tile can vary by manufacturer batch, and this is true even for the most-expensive brands of Italian glass mosaic tile. In fact, all manufacturers strongly recommend that you inspect and mix the contents of different boxes to minimize any problems caused by differences between boxes. With that in mind, you should always order enough for your entire project in one order and never order tile a little bit at a time or start installing the tile before you have all that you will need. I have written a page to help you estimate tile needed for mosaic artwork.

Order Enough To Fill A Box

If you really want to save on shipping, you can’t order 1 or 2 or 3 items at a time, and you can’t have your subtotal be only $5 or $10. If you do, you will end up paying as much for shipping as you do for the items themselves.  Instead, order at least $30 to $40 worth of materials so that it weighs about 5 to 10 pounds and fills a small box. If you really want to save on shipping, request that the order be shipped in Flat-Rate Priority Mail Boxes and order in quantities that fill the box. I have written a page explaining how much fits in each size of Flat-Rate Priority Mail Boxes.

Look Sceptically At “Free Shipping” And “Discounts”

An online retailer can only offer “free shipping” if the prices of the goods are inflated more than they would be if the retailer didn’t offer “free shipping.” Look closely at the total cost your order compared to what your total cost would be if you bought somewhere else. Make sure you pay attention to the size, piece count or weight listed for each item to make sure you are comparing apples to apples.

The same principles apply to evaluating discounts. If the retailer is focused on informed repeat customers, then they will probably use low everyday prices so that they can have those prices  published on the Internet and avoid sales and discounts for the most part.

The homepage of our online mosaic tile and supplies page is at

3 thoughts on “Buying Mosaic Tile

  1. Rachel Brill

    I am looking for warm colored tiles, mostly red, also some white and black tiles. Do you know where I can find tiles that are not assorted? I am using them on a picture frame and they need to be exact.

  2. Miriam Goodman

    I’m a beginner..just starting learning about mosaics 3 months ago. I really like your site..the information is terrific.

    Do you have any affiliates in Israel or do you fill Israeli orders? I’m looking for a finishing spray or clear paint to bring out the shine on my tiles. What do you suggest I use?

    Miriam Goodman


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