How to Hang a Picture on Tile Backsplash

Hanging pictures or other decorative items on a tile backsplash can add personality and visual interest to your kitchen. However, tile can present some challenges for hanging items securely. With the right tools and techniques, you can safely and successfully hang pictures, floating shelves, wine racks, and more on your tile backsplash.

Selecting Appropriate Hardware

The first step is choosing hardware that will work with your tile and provide enough support for the weight of your item. Here are some good options:

  • Adhesive picture hanging strips – These are removable strips with adhesive on both sides that adhere directly to the tile and hangers on the back of the picture frame or decorative item. Great for lightweight items.
  • Tile clips – Specialty clips that screw into the grout lines and provide a small ledge to rest hangers on. Work for medium-weight items.
  • Toggle bolts – Bolts that fit through a drilled hole in the tile and toggle open on the back side to grip the wall. One of the most secure options for heavy items.
  • Hollow wall anchors – Expandable anchors that grip inside the hollow space behind tiles. Provide more holding power than typical drywall anchors.

Drilling Holes in Tile

If using hardware like toggle bolts that require drilling through the tile, the right drill bit is key. You’ll need a carbide-tipped masonry drill bit suited for ceramic tile. Apply painter’s tape over the location to prevent the drill from wandering. Drill slowly and carefully until you puncture the tile, then proceed more quickly through the wall behind.

Minimize chipping on the exit hole by placing a piece of scrap wood behind as you break through. Clean excess dust from the holes when finished.

Getting Proper Placement

Before drilling or applying any hardware, map out the exact placement for your item. Here are some tips:

  • Use painter’s tape or a reusable adhesive putty to temporarily hold the picture frame or item on the wall and adjust until you get the perfect placement.
  • Check that hanging hardware, frames, or brackets will not obstruct or overlap the grout lines. Adjust position so you are only adhering to or drilling into the tile itself.
  • Account for outlets, switches, appliances, cabinets, or backsplashes when mapping placement to ensure items will not overlap or interfere.
  • For multi-piece gallery walls, plot out the entire arrangement with tape or templates so spacing and alignment is even.

Cleaning and Prepping the Tile Surface

For best adhesion, thoroughly clean the area of the tile backsplash where the item will be hung. Follow these steps:

  • Wipe away any dust, grease, or debris with isopropyl alcohol or other degreaser.
  • Use a bathroom cleaner or hydrogen peroxide solution to scrub away any existing soap scum or hard water deposits.
  • Rinse the area thoroughly and let fully dry before applying any adhesives or hardware.
  • Lightly scuff high-gloss tile with fine sandpaper so adhesives grip better.

Hanging Lightweight Items with Adhesive Strips

For lightweight frames, floating shelves, or decorative accents, removable adhesive strips offer an easy no-drill solution. To ensure they adhere properly:

  • Select strips rated to hold at least five times the weight of your item to account for the smooth tile surface.
  • Only apply strips to clean, dry tile per the cleaning steps above. Press firmly for 30+ seconds once positioned.
  • Let strips set and bond for at least 24 hours before hanging your item. Slowly add weight over the first week.
  • To remove, gently pull down the item and adhesive strip at the same time. Do not yank straight out from the wall.

Using Tile Clips or Hollow Wall Anchors

Tile clips that screw into grout lines or hollow wall anchors inserted into the cavity behind tile provide stronger support than adhesive strips. Follow these tips when using them:

  • Pre-drill holes for tile clips or anchors using a carbide drill bit, drill at low speed, use painter’s tape.
  • For tile clips, ensure screws are long enough to grip but avoid hitting plumbing or electrical.
  • For hollow wall anchors, match size appropriately to tile thickness so the expanding end grips inside the wall cavity.
  • Make sure anchors are centered in the grout line or tile without overlapping.
  • Tighten screws carefully and do not overtighten. Hollow wall anchors should feel snug once expanded inside the wall.

Installing Secure Toggle Bolts

For heavyweight decorative items like large mirrors or floating shelves, toggle bolts provide the most secure tile attachment. Here is how to install them properly:

  • Use a carbide bit wide enough to fit the toggle wings through the drilled hole. Drill slowly through tile.
  • Insert bolt through the tile hole, wings facing inwards. The ends should rest inside the wall cavity.
  • Tighten the bolt which pushes the wings outwards until they flatten against the inside of the wall.
  • Keep bolts centered in tile to prevent cracking or breakage from stress concentration near grout lines.
  • For extra strength, use at least two toggle bolts positioned near top and bottom of the item being hung.

Maintaining Adhesion Over Time

To keep your pictures and accessories securely adhered to your tile backsplash long-term:

  • Avoid hanging heavy items prone to swaying or shifting which can loosen adhesives.
  • Use cleats or double-sided tape behind framed pictures to prevent banging against the wall.
  • Re-press wall mounted items periodically to maximize adhesive strip bonding.
  • Avoid excessive moisture behind hanging items that could compromise adhesion.
  • If weight needs to be added or removed from an item, do it gradually over several days.

With the right approach and hardware, you can successfully hang pictures, shelves, racks, and more on your tile backsplash. Just be sure to prep the surface, map out placement carefully, and use adhesive strengths or hardware suited to the weight of your items.

Frequently Asked Questions About Hanging Items on Tile Backsplashes

How much weight can adhesive strips hold on tile?

Look for adhesive strips rated to hold at least five times the weight of your item, or opt for stronger mechanical attachments for heavier objects over 5 pounds.

What kind of drill bit is best for drilling into tile?

Use carbide-tipped masonry drill bits designed for ceramic tile. Apply painter’s tape and drill slowly to avoid cracking tile.

Should I hang over grout lines or just on the tile?

Always adhere items directly to the tile surface, not over grout lines. Grout is weaker and unable to support sheer weight.

What is the most secure hardware for heavy shelves or mirrors?

Toggle bolts provide the strongest grip. Pre-drill holes through tile and insert toggles deep into the cavity behind. Tighten bolts until the wings flatten.

How can I remove adhesive strips without damaging the tile?

Gently pull down on the item and strip at the same time, perpendicular to the wall. Stretching the strip flat against the tile as you remove minimizes potential damage.


Hanging items securely on a tile backsplash comes down to using the right combination of preparation, hardware, careful drilling or placement, and proper weight distribution. With removable adhesives, specialty tile clips, hollow wall anchors, and toggle bolts, you can safely mount a wide range of decorative accessories. Just be sure to assess the weight and movement of items and match them to the appropriate strength fastener. Follow the techniques outlined and you can achieve a functional and fashionable accent wall that reflects your personal style.