It's rather amazing that when those were loaded onto a shelf, they were nearly touching. The space around them came as they shrunk to their final size.
Since the wall where these tiles will be placed is heavily textured and painted, I decided to use a piece of cement board, or Hardiebacker board, to adhere to the wall, thus evening out the surface for installation.
And although the dudes at my local told me I could score the cement board with a utility knife and snap it, I know better. Accomplishing that is more difficult than it sounds, I've always gotten a jagged edge. So I switched blades in my tablesaw to an old one, one that I never use anymore, and prepared to cut the board by drawing out the profile needed.
Oh, I forgot to mention that I made a pattern first out of paper. So I simply traced the paper onto the cement board, and then started cutting.
This makes a god-awful amount of dust. In fact, there are warning labels on the board, letting you know how bad this dust (silica) is for you. So I took a few precautions:
slapped on my respirator, aimed my biggest fan so that it would blow the dust outside, turned on my air cleaner, and hooked a vacuum up to my tablesaw dust port.
And after much coaxing and complaining (from my sawblade), here's the piece of cement board cut to size.
I started by laying out a few tiles into rows; This was my original design.