DIY Faux Tile Backsplash

Let’s just dive right in, because this post has A LOT of pictures and instructions. We’re focusing on the kitchen today, so let me give you a little reminder of what the kitchen looked like the very first time I saw it:

wallpaper kitchen before picture

and that’s only the left side. YIKES.

Sorry for the terrible picture, it’s before I even started a blog.

Then within about 4 or 5 months of us living here we had transformed it to this:

yellow and honey oak kitchen

a world of difference!

But here’s the thing- at the time we removed the wallpaper we had not yet learned what skim coating was, so we didn’t do it. That means what you can’t see in these pictures is a whole mess of dents and dings and unevenness within our walls. So, as with everything around here, I wanted an under $50 amazing solution- which knocked out the possibility of a real tile backsplash immediately.

Then last week Beth from Sawdust and Embryos posted an awesome faux tile tutorial and I instantly had to have it. I feel in faux tile love. I asked her where on earth so found painters tape thin enough to stand in for grout and she directed me here. Then I checked with my friend Kenz, who imitated another one of Beth’s faux tile tutorials and she used the same tape. So I ordered it for $10 (cost + shipping).

Next I went through all my old paint and here’s what I decided to use for my tile colors:

  • Behr Manila Tint (the color our kitchen already is)
  • Better Homes & Garden Partridge Grey (colored matched to Behr, the color of the darker stripes in the sunroom)
  • Behr Wheat Bread (living room color)
  • Behr Sand Dollar White (bathroom and master bedroom color)

I also picked up 2 Martha Stewart textured paints, a silvery gray and a black for $7 each. So my cost for this project was $25 due to all the supplies I already had on hand. But actually, I had a gift certificate to Home Depot so I only paid the $10 for the tape. 🙂

Here’s the breakdown of how I got such a tedious project done:

  • Thursday I put up two coats of primer
  • Friday I painted pure white (my “grout”) and taped
  • Saturday I painted in all the tiles

Enough with the words though, here’s some pictures of how it went down:

faux tile backsplash instructions

I used my laser level to make the horizontal stripes, each two inches apart. Then I randomly placed the vertical lines, only making sure none of them were even but with no real pattern in mind. Once the tape was up I got my license and used it to run over all the tape to make sure it was pressed down real well. And no, I did not do my dishes first.

DIY faux tile backsplash

I had all my paint colors out at once and painted all the colors all at once. I went through and did 5-6 tiles of each to get a lay of the land. Then I went through and did that 4 more times, filling in as I went and making sure I didn’t paint the same color next to itself if it could be avoided.

Here’s the awesome afters:

kitchen backsplash gray and yellow

DIY kitchen backsplash with paint

budget kitchen after picture

The tile does a great job at separating the eating area of the kitchen from the prep area of the kitchen. It adds all sorts of interest without being crazy, and for re-sale’s sake… if the next owner doesn’t like it all they have to do is sand and repaint.

We decided to line the backsplash up with the cabinet, and not the counter. I think no matter where we chose our starting point that it would be a bit awkward, I might actually go back at some point and add a white outline around the edge. I haven’t decided on that yet.

The tile is not completely even everywhere so my OCD mind goes a little crazy, but I found out with my laser level that my walls aren’t completely level so that’s just how it is going to be. It does an amazing job at hiding our lack of a skim coat though.

painted tile spacksplash faux back splash kitchen

oooh! ahhh! The gray that looks uneven is actually textured and metallic silver, so it doesn’t photograph well. But it looks ah-mazing in person.

And once more, let’s just look at the very very before versus the now:



yellow and gray kitchen after picture

Love Love Love

This project is not difficult, just time consuming. The tape itself took about two-two and a half hours and the painting probably another three. But the results are crazy worth it!

DIY painted tile BACKSPLASH

Wondering how it held up? I’ve got a one year update for you here!




The Evolution of My Kitchen

My kitchen has come a very long way in the past 6 months. Buckle your seat belts, you’re about to get slammed with a whole mess of before and after pictures….


I apologize that this is blurry, it was before I knew I would have a blog and just wanted quick shots to remember which house had which rooms. However, note the HEAVY look of it: the two wallpapers, the dark curtains, the yellow lighting, the permanent tablecloth.


Now, that same shot- bright! cheerful! New recessed lighting! DIRT FREE! It's seriously amazing.


Here's the other side of the room at the showing- if you thought I liked clutter.... you have no idea what it was cut back from! Seriously, who needs all that on their fridge? And why didn't they have a basement door?


Ah, much better! A cute little kitchen cart, a somewhat clutter free fridge, a door! And you know, a dog bed covered in duct tape.


Don't forget about the old, broke black sink! And also, is there really a need for that many things on a window sill?


Yes, my sink has dishes in it. This is an average, every day shot and sometimes I don't feel like cleaning dishes. Also- note that I was not kidding about hoarding containers, there is a butter one in there right now.


Clearly all those before and afters didn't happen over night. Within the first week of being here we enlisted a lot of help from our families to take down the wallpaper then spackle and prime the busted up old walls.

Then, there was the waiting period while I dragged my feet creating wall art and used an entertainment center until we found the perfect kitchen cart.


I say "just about" because there's always more to do. The barstools need new paint and new fabric, the stuff on top of the fridge needs a permanent home, and eventually I'll get around to doing those dishes...

And because it’s brand new and cute….

Here's our fresh, new Big Lots kitchen cart. Matt was a dreamboat and assembled it while I was at work, and everything from the entertainment center fit right inside it (as well as a few additional things, because I can't visit my family without coming back with boxes of house stuff).

So there you go, there is a 6 month turnaround time from haphazard to adorable. Hope you like it as much as I do!