Monday, October 27, 2008

How to Hang a Mosaic Made on Concrete Board

I was reminded today that some details on how to mosaic are quite elusive in books.

What follows is the method I use for hanging my smaller mosaics that I've created on concrete board (Hardibacker). The largest size I've used this on is about 12" x 12". (See comments for some ideas on hanging larger work.)

The hardware must be installed BEFORE beginning your mosaic. I usually obtain the hardware from the specialty drawers at the big-box home improvement stores. I have read lots of mosaic books but only saw this method mentioned online (Sorry, that site no longer exists to link to.).

This is what you need to purchase:

#6-32 size Tee Nuts in 1/4"
#6-32 size 3/8" brass screws
#6 or #8 stainless steel washers
Stainless Steel picture wire

And this is what the Tee Nuts look like. You can get pronged or un-pronged. I get pronged since then they will grip your concrete board and not slip.

Other tools:
Drill with a bit sized for the Tee-nut

Drill a hole in the board and, FROM THE FRONT, hammer in the Tee nut.

Picture on the far left is the front of the mosaic surface and the right picture shows the resulting threaded hole on the back. I use thin-set mortar for glue and that helps even out the raised surface of the Tee-nut.

From the back, add the screw and washer. Repeat for the second hanging spot and you are ready to wrap your picture wire around the screws. The washers help keep the picture wire in place and not slip off the screws.

The finished back using this hanging method

See my Etsy MosaicSmith shop for more mosaics art: 

I also create original design silver jewelry:


KariCrumpMosaics said...

FABULOUS!! I have never seen this hardware before but i have dreamt about it! lol, you know how obsessive we can be! I can't thank you enough for this info and I can't wait to use this!! yippee!!

herhimnbryn said...

Hallo there,
Thankyou for posting about this, so generous.

Your work is very beautiful and so detailed.

WhatNeverChanges said...

Thank you so much! I abandoned the idea of a wood backing for my outdoor mosaic, since I want my piece to last, but I had no idea how I would hang it. This was the only solution I found on the internet! You're the best!

Linda Smith said...

I am so glad this had been a help!

Chrissy said...

Can you use this method for hanging a large piece? I'm intending to create a large mosaic on a 3' x 5' piece of concrete backer panel, which I expect will be quite heavy! Have you tested it out on a piece that heavy? or do you have additional tips for using it for a piece that large?

Linda Smith said...

Chrissy- since hardibacker does have some flex, when I have done larger pieces- 2' x 3' is the largest so far, I have reinforced the reverse and used a wood french cleat system- screw through the face of the hardibacker into the wood. Yes, with hardibacker 3x5 will be quite heavy! Some have used Wedi board as a substrate for that size as it is concrete covered foam board and significantly lighter. See info in this photo set from Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics:!/media/set/?set=a.499899393919.272960.364688793919 or for Wedi- Barbara Keith Designs photo!/photo.php?fbid=148418768546522&set=a.117915048263561.29425.117901791598220&type=1&theater
Hope that helps!

NicoleMcCaigue said...

Thank you for the tips on hanging concrete board outside. I noticed on the back side of the welcome sign you painted it and it looks like there is texture. Did you wrap the concrete board in something and what kind of paint did you use on the back. Is it some kind of water lock?

Linda Pieroth Smith said...

Hi Nicole- The texture you see is just the way the concrete board is made. The side I placed the mosaic on is gridded and this side has a slight bumpy texture. For the back, I first prime with a good quality primer- usually Kilz. I follow this with a couple coats of exterior rated paint.

katkins said...

This is great! Just wish I had seen this BEFORE I made my first mosaic. argh! :)

Been searching the internet all day, but still not sure if there's a way to safely hang my newly created placemat sized mosaic in the bathroom...

Sue Betanzos said...

Thanks, I found this thru Pintrest and you're right, not always much info on practicalities of mosaics like how to hang them.
I also work with hardibacker at times - wedi is a bit more pricy. I drill holes for hanging, but I like your idea better than counter sinking the screws. Thanks!

Linda Pieroth Smith said...

Happy this helps you, Sue! Wonderful mosaic dog in your avatar! :)

Frodo Baggins said...

Great and helpful tutorial - i've been looking for information like this. You could also order d ring hangers and put them under the screw on the back. i wish i had a picture but i don't. Also people - please ALWAYS wear a mask when using hardibacker. the "dust" is so toxic to your lungs.