Tiles, again and again

Framing Goddess

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Jul 18, 2000
Cleveland, Ohio
I got some neat old Portugese tiles in to frame today, about 6" square each. Four will be framed together, two will be framed individually. No glazing.

Conservation IS an issue, these are valuable. They brought them in to frame because they didn't want to ruin them by just 'sticking them to the wall.'

I need some opinions. What would be the most sensible (and reversible) way to 'mount' these and frame them? I'm thinking a visible means of support would be just fine. What could that be? Some sort of acrylic clips? Bent brass rods? Stabiltex? Sink mats?

Anyone have any good ideas for these?

Let me know.

edie the searchingthearchives goddess
Am currently parked in Lisboa aside the April 25th Bridge [Golden Gate's sister span].

The tiles here are generally adhered into frames with grout which is reversable. I would suggest the route that we saw this morning at the Fundacao Calouste Gulbenkian [Gulbenkian Museum]. they had sink matted the tiles tightly using a double mat wrapped with rayon or silk in a waterfall fashion.

It looked really attractive.

But then, that was just how they were doing it in a Museum in Lisbon.
Have a look at the one I did here.This is a very valuable antique tile, and belongs to me


I would just make the frame bigger for more tiles.

Anything going across the face of any type of tile,porcelain or ceramic etc.is an absolute no no. This will eventually damage them.
I would also try and encourage the owner to glaze the tiles
If the tiles are similiar to a set of six I had to mount once, and was attached to cardbord to "secure them", be very careful removing the tiles as we had one - the last one of course - break in half. I had to locate a statuarian to repair it.

Mick the link was good - thanks for sharing it. I printed it for my how to files.

edie - Good luck - share a photo of the completed work.
Your point about anything going across the face of a tile might damage it is why I mentioned "consider" Mighty Mounts. It would depend on the consistency of the tile.

Jim Miller uses a technique that utilizes special wire in which he puts a protective covering over it. I wonder if it would be appropriate in this situation. Perhaps he'll "chime in" here.
Perhaps I should add that the tiles I have done are glued in place using tile grout a la Baer

Even plastic or plastic covered wire or clips will eventually cause damage to the edges of glazed antiques like plates and tiles.
We line the rabbet of the frame with felt tape to protect its surface. This assumes that there is a frame only. If we want a matted look, then a sink mat with a matboard or fillet just catching the edge, ditto with the felt tape.
Here is one I did a long time ago.






If I were going to do this today the slots would be tighter.
Edie, the clips were aluminum strap from the hardware store cut into 4-5" lengths and covered in suede.
I was at this customers house a couple of weeks ago and carefully inspected it while I was there and everything still looks good. She didn't want the tiles glazed (her choice) and said they had been outside for 150+ years so being exposed in her sewing room wasn't a big problem.

Great job mounting those tiles, Rogatory!

Edie, do what he did. You could use brass or steel instead of aluminum.

Or, if you think mounts that wide would be inappropriate for your project, you could make something similar by bending stainless steel piano wire and covering the mounts with shrink tubing or suede or another suitable padding material. When bending, I suggest respecting what I call the "pegboard principle". That is, where the mounts will be embedded in the mount board, bend the ends up in back, which transfers stress of the mount to the back of the board. That's what I'd do.

I suggest using 10 mm fluted polypropylene (Coroplast) for the mount board, covered with whatever you like. Anchor the mounts by encapsulating them into the spaces between flutes of the board.

I suggest glazing with Museum Glass, too. The glazing may not be needed to protect the tiles, but it would keep them clean, and keep the framing parts from deteriorating.

Mighty Mounts are OK for lightweight items that would probably not be broken when they fall, but those molded acrylic mounts are not suitable for heavy tiles. Mighty Mounts tend to fatigue, crack, and may break over time.
Thanks for ideas.
Jim, what would be the advantage of piano wire over bent brass rods covered in shrink tubing?

David, I like your straps because they would be easy to loosen from the back and retrieve the tiles. The bent rods have a bit of 'spring' to them and I am worried about the pressure to the edges of the tiles.

I am also working on a drawing of acrylic clips that could be used like David's clips. Either that or I will use all those dang uniframes that are gathering dust in the back...

edie the offtothehardwarestore goddess