How To Hang Ceramic Art On Wall
How to hang ceramic art on your wall like an artist or designer. Hanging clay wall artwork can be overwhelming due to weight or because it’s oddly shaped. In this post I’ll discuss my techniques.
Secrets How to Hang Clay Wall Art
Obviously you cannot hang a gigantic clay piece weighing hundreds of pounds on the wall without considerable amount of planning, design and special construction.
The art pieces I will discuss hanging on the wall in this article are ones you can hold in your hand. These are not too heavy that would cause problems for the Sheetrock walls.
Most common Sheetrock wall thickness for homes are between half inch and 5/8 inch wallboard. The most common industry standard for home construction is half inch thickness.
The ideal ceramic art you wish to hang should not be more than forty pounds. If you are attempting to hang more than forty pounds then most likely you will need to do special planning, design and construction to get your wall art mounted. This article is not for you.
This article is written for the majority of folks who are homeowners who purchased ceramic art that is less than forty pounds and can be held in one hand without straining. I am not talking about homeowners who have Hercules arms.
Most of the articles I write on this site are for the benefit of you the reader. It takes me on average several days to write one article and then even more time and effort to maintain this site. My goal is to eventually write many more articles like the one I wrote on Fish Wall Decor (simple clay fish for use as wall décor with amazing colors ) based on my decades of experience as an artist. I hope this is of value to you.
Handmade Clay Wall Hanging Rules
Before you go off and spend a fortune on materials lets investigate what is realistic to hang on a residential sheetrock wall. So, as I said above the typical thickness of residential sheetrock wall is half inch thick sheetrock. This is important to know how much weight half inch sheetrock will support.
A twelve inch by twelve inch square of drywall typically can hold forty pounds of weight.
Now if you can find a stud behind the drywall then you could hang more weight. As always, finding a stud and getting into the support structure of the wall is the best. However, this is not always the case especially when hanging more than one clay art piece in a gallery configuration.
When hanging art on a wall it subject to the pull of gravity pulling the piece down and the weight of the piece. There are also forces pulling the piece outward from the wall.
To be safe, a general rule of thumb whatever wall anchors you use, use one fourth of their stated weight.
This way you can always be sure you are not overloading your wall anchor. So for example, if my wall anchor is rated for forty pounds I would hang at a maximum a ten pound clay art decor. The larger the wall anchor generally the more secure and more weight it can hold.
Ceramic Art Facts
Ceramics require heat at high temperatures so chemical and physical reactions will occur to permanently alter the unfired clay. In the case of my art, the clay materials are shaped, dried and then fired in a kiln. The final characteristics are determined by the composition and preparation of the clay body and by the temperature at which the ware is fired. Clay consists of fine-grained particles, that are relatively weak and porous. Clay is combined with other minerals to create a workable clay body. While the clay is un-fired and drying its in a very vulnerable state and can break easily. Part of the firing process includes sintering. This heats the clay until the particles partially melt and flow together. This creates a strong, single ware, composed of a glassy finish.
Ceramic Art Wall Hanging Anchors Types
My recommendation and what I use ninety nine percent of the time is a simple picture hanger.
However, I make sure not to use just any picture hanger. I always buy a new hanger and one that is weight rated. It has on the package how much weigh it can hold. And then as mentioned before I only use one fourth of the rated weight on the package.
The best picture hangers I have found are the OOK Picture Hangers. They are used in galleries, museums and homes worldwide.
If they are used in museums then they are good enough for me. I have been using OOK to hang my clay art for decades with no failures. You can find them at most hardware stores or online.
If you purchase my ceramic art it comes prewired and with an OOK picture hanger rated for the weight. You will be able to hang your artwork like a true professional.
Why OOK? Here is why. Sure I can find picture hangers for cheap but there is a reason. Most picture hangers are made of very low quality steel. The steel is low grade and will bend over time. I have clay art that has been hanging for years on OOK hangers with no bends. OOK wall hangers are at least twenty percent stronger than regular hangers. They are designed and bent in such a way as to be stronger and last longer. Even their nails use better quality steel to resist sagging over time.
Number one tip NOT to do. You must avoid the temptation if you have a heavy clay artwork to hang to use multiple anchors to secure to the wall. Do not do this. If you have two picture hangers rated at twenty pounds by using them two of them you still only have twenty pounds not forty.
Another great hanger to use without needing any tools is the OOK Hercules thin wire hook. Just push into the wall and hang your artwork. It’s very convenient and eliminates the need for a hammer or nails.
This system works well.
Clay Art Wall Hanging How Tos
A gallery of different sized fish hanging on the wall works well. If you are interested in learning more please feel free to check out my bathroom wall art ideas post. In this post I explore many decorating ideas specifically for the bathroom.
Building a mounting system is not that hard if you know what materials to buy. Many folks choose to mount their artwork to lumber. Wood is a great way to mount art because it comes in many different sizes and of course you can cut it to fit your exact length. You can also paint it to match any color.
Ceramic Art Color Combinations
If you are having a hard time figuring out what color combinations to look for when purchasing clay artwork or when creating your art then check out my “color combinations article”. In this article I go into detail the best color combinations that works well together. In my opinion, color is the single most important part of any artwork. The sculpture can the greatest sculpture in the world but if the color combinations are not spot-on then the artwork looks bad.
Another big advantage of using wood is its very durable and can be purchased in a variety of surface textures. The mounting board can be nailed or glued together or can be fitted into odd angles if necessary. The back of the wood can even be cut to accept artwork which need to be recessed into the wood. The wood mounting board can easily have mounts nailed or screwed into the back ready for wire and hanging on the wall.
What never to do when hanging art
I always use wire and never use string or fishing line. And here is why. I guarantee over time string and fishing line will breakdown and break. It may take a year or so but it will. Even twenty pound fishing line will break.
Fishing line is not resistant to sun and light. Over time the line will become brittle and could break. To test, take some and lay it out in the sun.
After a month or some period of time you will see that it has become brittle and could break. Ask any professional bass fisherman how often do they change their line and why. Is this what you want holding your ceramic art to the wall?
The best wire to use is at least six strand galvanized hobby wire. You can get it in anywhere from twenty gauge to nine gauge. If you want to know what the best just ask a museum. They will tell you they use at least fifty pound framer wire. This is usually a stainless steel wire wrapped in a plastic coating. The coating protects your hands and also helps reinforce the wire.
The concept is the same as with the hooks. If you buy cheap steel you get cheap steel. If in doubt buy OOK. Sorry if this sounds like an OOK commercial but their products are what I use and have had no problems.
My secret of mounting clay to wood
Most everyone’s first thought is to run down to the local hardware store and purchase Liquid Nails for projects. And you will be right for a while until it fails. It might be a while but it will fail.
I have found it just does not bond well to ceramic over time. I have no idea why but it fails, at least for me. It’s a great product and I use it all the time for projects just not my clay artwork. It’s great for molding and paneling. It has low order and is non-staining. But for some reason it does not hold well over a longer period of time to ceramic.
It has held up much better in my art projects when I needed to glue ceramics to wood or ceramics to ceramics. It can be used for interior or exterior projects and they claim it is 3 times as strong. Which I have no doubt that it is. The cool thing about PL Premium is that it is waterproof and paintable. It even cures in cold or cooler temperatures. It’s not suitable for some applications so be sure to read the instructions before using. When using I always let it cure for several days before attempting to let it hold any weight. I wear gloves and do not let it touch my skin. If I have to clean up I use mineral spirits in a well ventilated area usually outdoors.
But honestly the best solution is not to use anything thing at all. Look for hanging artwork decor with built-in loop holes.
This is ceramic decor in which the artist has per-formed loops and or other hooks in the back of their artwork. This way the loops are fired into the piece and are very strong. This is the technique that I use in most if not all of my artwork. All that is needed is to use wire to form a loop to hang the clay art on the wall.
Hanging Ceramic Art Conclusions
I hope this article was of value to you. I know there are hundreds of special and unique situations in which art can be hung on the wall. I tried to cover the most important and most common aspects of hanging clay art. In short, don’t skimp on cheap hangers and wire. Always look for art where the artist has built-in loops in the back of their artwork. This makes mounting so much easier. But if you are stuck and are forced to use glue be sure to check out Loctite PL Premium 3X. There may be other brands that work just as well but this is the brand that I have had great success with. Happy hanging!