Friday, September 17, 2010

Hanging Wall Tiles

For small wall tiles I use D hooks and two part 5 minute epoxy. I make sure the epoxy can be used for ceramic, metal, and wood. Sometimes I use two D hooks and string picture wire between the two D hooks. This allows the piece to be adjusted and hung level.

Some pieces like crosses don't have enough room for two D hooks so I can only use one. I press the D hook with my hand till the epoxy sets up firm. Then I leave the piece sitting without moving it for 48 hours to be sure the epoxy is good and dry and firmly attached.

I recommend practicing using the epoxy on a test piece because it's messy to use and can be stringy and get where you don't want it to. But the package says this epoxy has a shear rating of 1500 pounds; strong enough to hold heavy ceramic pieces. Oops, I just looked at the package and it doesn' state the shear rate any longer. It does say it's rated from -20 to 200 degrees F.

I learned this second method of hanging a large wall tile from Meredith of Whynot Pottery. Since I was preparing a few of them today. I thought I'd show you the method here. My ceramic wall tiles are 20 inches by about 7 inches and fairly heavy. I wanted to display them so they sit out from the wall. I thought about mounting them on a wood panel but they would be very heavy that way. So I settled on this method. You can see the front of one of these tiles in the fourth photo down in a previous post.

First I take one by two pine lumber and cut two pieces for the top of the tile. The size will depend upon the size of your tile. then I cut a piece of three by pine lumber for the bottom of the tile to fit with some space on either side. The idea is to have the wood sit recessed from the side so the piece looks like it's floating on the wall. I used our chop saw to cut the lumber. What a dream machine.

Then I take the two small pieces of pine and predrill a pilot hole in the side of them just a little way. I asked Gary what size the drill bit was and he said tiny. I asked again and he said real tiny. Just make sure the drill bit is thinner than the eye hook diameter. I say that because years ago I wouldn't have known that.

Then I screw in a small eye hook by hand.

As the eye hook gets deeper into the wood it's hard to turn so I use an awl to make turning it easier. I want it embedded into the wood really well so my ceramic wall tile will be nice and sturdy.

I decided I didn't want to see the light pine behind the side of the piece so I stained them with an ebony stain. I left the part where I will put the epoxy unstained so the epoxy will make a good bond with the wood.

I think one more coat of stain and I'll be ready to epoxy the wood to the back of the large wall tiles. Once the piece sits for 48 hours I'll string heavy duty picture hanging wire between the two eye hooks and hang the piece on the wall. Just to be safe I always have someone hold the piece while I hang it the first time from the wire and I give it good tug to be sure the epoxy bond held. Comments are welcome.


  1. Hi Linda- I switched to gorilla glue.
    I think I have master the glue!
    I like the stain on the wood- nice touch!

  2. Linda,I went through a lot of epoxy years ago doing furniture repair. Here are a couple of tips. I would rough up the metal on the "D" hooks with some sandpaper to give the epoxy something to bite into. Epoxy does not depend on a thin layer like white glue so don't squeeze too tight, you can starve the glue joint.

  3. Hi Meredith, thanks, yes this glue says it's gorilla glue and is two parts.

    Hi Dennis, thanks about the tips, I haven't had a problem with the D hooks yet, but better safe than sorry. and great info on the thickness of the epoxy, thanks so much.

  4. i have added clay hangers to the back of wall pieces during the making process... little clay feet with a groove in them to be able to wrap a wire around. when i was looking at your cross it made me think of some small sculpted steer heads that john made... he made an impression into the clay, at an angle so that you slide the finished piece on the a nail or small hook. of course this would only work on small, lightweight pieces.

  5. Hi Michele, thanks, if you look real close at the cross you will see I did the same thing, but afterwards I got to thinking when it was hanging in my last studio if someone shut the door too hard it might fall off the wall so I added the d hook which felt more secure to me. I have also made various pieces which were concave and put sprigs with holes on the reverse and strung picture wire through them, but for flat tiles this method works great.


I love suggestions, questions, critiques, thanks for your comment