Tips for Designing Ceramic Tile: A Maiolica Mural, Part 2

Color Me Happy, 34 in. (86 cm), commercial and handmade tiles, majolica, fired to cone 04.

There is a reason that making tiles and installing them are separate professions. There are entirely different skills and tools required. Then again, we clay folk tend to be pretty handy do-it-yourselfers (or know someone who is). In fact, I think hiring someone to do work we could learn to do ourselves is almost always our last choice. So, to that end, we are following our last feature on designing tile and making a majolica mural, by showing you how Donna Rozman mounts and installs her ceramic tile murals. Figures 1 through 4 illustrate designing the tile in Part 1. In figures 5 through 8 presented here, Rozman covers mounting and hanging the mural. So hit the hardware store and hang a mural! — Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.

Mounting the Tiles

Cut the mounting panel to the finished size and clean up the edges (figure 5). Paint both sides of the board, choosing a color to accent or blend with your tiles—black is usually a good choice. Make vertical, horizontal and diagonal guidelines to assist in correct placement of tiles (figure 6). Arrange the tiles on your board according to the numbers on the back of the tiles. To mount tiles, put adhesive on the backside using a notched trowel, scrape clean 1/8 inch from the edges and press into place (figure 7). Secure one tile at a time working from the center outward.

TIP: Put a sticker on the same corner of each tile to keep them rotated correctly (figure 7).

NOTE: Since the tiles will be used on a mural to be mounted indoors on a wall, no grout will be used in the tile joints. This is where the background color on the mounting board serves its purpose. If you prefer to make your project waterproof, use commercial grout and follow the manufacturer’s directions for applying and sealing the grout. This is essential if you’re installing a mural outside.

Hanging a Wall Mural


To hang a heavy tile mural, I use a system of two lengths of fabricated metal, bent to approximately 30 degrees that slip into one another. One is mounted on the board and the other on the wall. Pan head screws placed not more than 3 inches apart are used to attach the length of metal to the fiberboard. Longer screws are used to attach the other piece to the wall. Screw the wall-mounted piece into studs in the wall.



Donna Rozman received her M.F.A. in ceramics from Kansas State University. She is currently working as a studio artist in Crested Butte, Colorado. To see more of her work visit

  • Connie L.

    I used your system for hanging and it worked wonderfully well. Thank you.

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