How zellige tiles are made

From hard clay to beautiful colored zellige tiles, find out the handmade ancestral traditions of making moroccan tiles in our facilities in Morocco in Fez and Casablanca.

 zellige tiles morocco fes

step 1

Finding a good quality clay is extremely important to produce a top quality Moroccan tile. The region of Fez has one of the best quality clay in Morocco.

 Moroccan tiles square shapes for zelliges

step 4

After filtering the clay a skilled craftsmen flattenes by hand the clay into square shapes. This part is very important because the clay must be compact with no air bubbles in it.





 

 moroccan tile in Fes factory

step 7

The tiles are now placed in the natural wood fired kilns. In traditional moroccan kilns heat circulates unevenly giving slightly different tones of colors to each tile. This imperfection makes Moroccan tiles so unique and beautiful.
 

 handemade moroccan tiles cut

step 10

The second craftsmen roughly cuts and shapes the tiles with the help of a sharp tool that looks like a combination of an axe and hammer, this medieval tool is called in Morocco "menkach”. This tool is also hand sharpen on a natural rock.

 

 moroccan tile ready to be shipped

step 13

A three component ISO certified glue is applied. It takes 24 hours for the glue to dry completely, once dried the tiles sheets are now ready to be installed. The thickness of our zellige sheets is 1.3 cm and for bejmat 2 cm.

 Zellige tiles made in Fes with moroccan clay

step 2

The clay is soaked in water until it reaches a soft texture. Once the clay is soft enough to handle it is filtered by hand.
 

 zellij tiles stored in Fez

step 5

After the clay is shaped, molded and flattened, it is kept and stored in a cool dry place to be readied for a first bake.






 

 zilij tiles handemade in Morocco

step 8

The end raw product is a 12 cm x 12 cm tiles with uneven edges.
Note: All our tiles are done 100% handmade. Our factory use the same techniques as our ancestors to ensure quality and authenticity.

 

 factory zellij tiles Morocco

Step 11

The most important part of this entire process is the third craftsmen called also master craftsmen, he specializes in cutting of all the excess clay and applies precision cutting. The end results are all these different types of shaped pieces that will be assembled to create the zellige patterns. the possibilities are unlimited.

 zelliges when assembled

step 14

In Morocco tile craftsmen install tiles one piece at the time. This is why for many years Moroccan zellige tiles where difficult to export. Today with our special glue zellige tiles are really light and long lasting. Because of the precision of laser cut on our frames we guarantee that tiles will fit just like a puzzle for an easy installation.

 zilij tiles in facility in Fes drying on the sun

step 3

The square raw clay tiles are then sundried in an all natural way. Most tile production takes place in the summer, early fall and spring.
 

 zelliges are handmade colored

step 6

After tiles are well dried another skilled craftsmen applies the colors to the upper part of the tiles. Be aware that today in Morocco many tile factories use paint guns to apply colors. Using spray guns provides the same looking tiles and many more colors are available with a lower cost. The reason we don’t offer spray painted tiles is to ensure that the paint coating is thick and resistant.

 Mosaics-tiles cut zelliges in the facility of Casablanca

step 9

Zellige making is considered an art in itself. The art is transmitted from generation to generation by master craftsmen. They are 3 craftsmen needed for zellige. The fist selects the tiles and then draws the shape desired and passes the tile to the next craftsmen.

 placing zelliges tiles in facility of Casablanca

step 12

We use lazer cut metal frames. The lazer cut frames insures us of equal dimensions on each of our Moroccan tile sheets
When the zellige pieces are ready we place each zellige tile by hand within the metal frame.