For about six years I have been toying with the idea of creating a faux tile backsplash for my kitchen.
The problem I had with tile though was its LONGEVITY. I like change. A lot. I also like
cheap frugal decorating. I like to get a bargain on the things I have in my home. I know, I know, quality is worth spending money on. But quality hurts when your babies break it. Or smoosh peanut butter on it. Or you drop it because you are a klutz. And you can never attack it with spray paint…ever! Because the “quality” items need to remain as they were when you bought them.
(if you want to skip all the backstory, just scroll on down to the TOOLS NEEDED section…I promise I won’t be offended!)
So there. All my reasons for being in love with frugal decorating. Which brings me to the backsplash.
Two years ago I was at my sister-in-laws baby shower at her best friends home. This home was a DIY’ers dream realized. Every room had many awesome handmade, high impact, superb quality crafty type addition to it. The first thing that caught my eye was the faux tile backsplash. She had painstakingly painted every single tile and then painted in the grout lines. I loved it! But I couldn’t even fathom being that neat! I thought it would be so much easier to find skinny tape and tape off the grout lines then paint the tiles. I asked my brother-in-law what the common size of grout line was (there are many different ones!) and came to a happy medium of 1/8″. I searched, and searched. I called auto parts stores for detailing tape, hardware stores for masking tape, and even contacted 3M to see if they made it. After two months I gave up, either it was too sticky, not sticky enough, or way too expensive to be “frugal”.
Flash forward to January 2012 when I was sucked into Pinterest. Right away I started looking up stuff for home DIY projects and I found a wonderful post over at This Thrifty House with the GENIUS idea of using QUILTER’S TAPE (I had no idea such a thing existed!) She taped off the design she wanted, painted, pulled, and voila! Awesome backsplash on the cheap!
So when a Joann Fabric and Craft opened up around the corner from me, I RAN to see if they had the tape. They did, I bought two 30 yard rolls for under $3.00 and raced home. That was Superbowl Sunday and boy was I THRILLED when my Hubs agreed to do the taping (sidenote: I love to create and be messy. Anything requiring a steady hand or being neat is not in my wheelhouse. Hubs, however, lives by the ruler and is awesome at anything that requires what I don’t have)
So here are the steps to creating the backsplash, please note, you can paint the tiles flat, as many people do, or shadow the edges to create depth, or faux them. I prefer faux because that is kind of my specialty and I wanted a realistic stone look. I’m not sure I achieved that, but I LOVE what I have, so I am very happy!
- Painters tape
- Quilters tape
- Foam Paint Brushes
- A Paint Roller
- Styrofoam Plates
- Acrylic Crafters Paint in colors of your choice (or any type of paint will work, I just prefer this type)
- Sponges, paper towels or rags to smoosh paint with (ive used them all)
TOTAL PROJECT COST: $12.72!!!!!!!!!
Step One: Paint the wall the color you want the groutlines to be. Mine was off-white already, so I just left it.
I chose a chocolate milk color, because I already had it from a different room, and brown and tan stone were the colors I was going for.
Step Four: Start fauxing! I have pictures that show you the different techniques I used, but basically I poured three different acrylic crafters paints on a styrofoam plate, took a foam brush and swiped the different colors on the wall. I then took a paper towel and started smooshing them all over. I repeated until I got what I thought approximated the look of stone. All in all, I spent an hour and a half on this part, I knew if I let myself, I could have done this for a week straight. Fauxing can get very frustrating if you don’t approach it with an “I’ll get what I get and like it” attitude (I know, I learned the hard way, and from experience, I am telling you, it comes out better when you have a relaxed attitude towards it. I aspire to be like Bob Ross of Faux 🙂 )
After you have had your paint-smooshing fun, and your kids have come in ten times to ask you why you are allowed to make a mess on the walls and they are not (true story!), let everything dry. And I mean REALLY dry!
THIS was the hardest part, I wanted to tear that tape off right then and there, but the problem with faux is it uses many layers and when pulling tape, sometimes those layers get “ripped” (again, learned from experience). Fortunately for me, I started this on a Sunday evening, and the Superbowl was in full swing by the time I was done painting, so I took a break to watch the halftime show and then decided to wait until morning.
Slowly peel the tape up. Be aware that many of the pieces will be fused together and that while you are pulling one, several of the others that cross it will start to come up as well. I am guessing that there is a proper way to lay this or pull this to avoid it, but I havent thought of it, so I will leave that to someone else to improve upon.