Sunday, June 8, 2014

DIY Mosaic Tile Backsplash

As I've said in my last two posts, here and here, we've been working on the kitchen again. The step I'm writing about today has made the kitchen look almost complete!  Backsplash time!
We used three different tile combinations to create our backsplash.  A mosaic tile with glass and natural stone and two different shaped natural stones, one subway and one square.  We used 17 mosaic tiles and 1 each of the other two.  My honey came up with the idea to add a little extra detail along the center line to give the whole thing a unique look instead of just using the mosiac tile for the whole thing.  Good thinking baby!

This is what our backsplash looked like for oh, almost as long as we've lived here.  They had this ugly green vinyl floor tile on it when we moved in.  You can see it here.  I preferred this look to the ugly tile! LOL!
To protect the counter tops from any unnecessary spills, we used a plastic drop cloth that we taped on with painter's tape.  The mosaic tiles we used are from Lowe's (links above).  They come in a 12 x 12 tile with a mesh backing. Very handy invention!  My honey used his level to create a straight line for cutting the tile.  This was the first tile he started out with.  He lined it up with the outer edge of the counter top and then sat it on top of the counter top's back splash using 1/4" tile spacers.
He used our Kobalt wet saw that we originally purchased from Lowe's when we tiled our kitchen floor here.  A very good investment for all the tiling we have planned for our house.
This is just one of the tiles we used for the center line detail.  I forgot to snap a picture of the little square ones.  They also came in a 12 x 12 tile that was all held together with the mesh backing.  I used a utility knife to cut them into little individual tiles.  Same for the square ones.
NOTE:  When working with mosaic tiles, it is a good idea to have your tiles laid out in the order you want to add them to the wall.  They interlock with each other in a certain way.  If you don't cut them properly they will not line up and fit together correctly.  We bought a large bag of mortar to adhere the tile to the wall.  There is a 2 hour window that your mortar will be good to use, after that, its NOT going to work properly.  We learned that from experience and I was at Lowe's at 9pm buying more mortar to finish the job.
We used two sizes of tile spacers.  1/8 of an inch and 1/4 of an inch.  This was just our preference, but its something you'll need to decide before you get started.  You can see the different sizes in the picture above.  You can also notice we used the larger spacer (1/4") between the counter top and tile.  NOTE: Only place mortar where you are currently working.  The mortar dries out pretty quickly.
At first we were slow going, but after we had an idea of the steps we needed to take for our design, it moved along nicely.....until we discovered our mosaics weren't lining up like I noted above! LOL!
Make sure you have lots of spacers.  You will need them to make sure you have proper spacing of your tiles.  We may or may not have over used our spacers, but we wanted to make sure it was all even as we went.  Notice that I covered the corners of my freshly painted, newly built window sill (that's another post) with painters tape.  I didn't want to have to worry about the mortar or grout getting all over it.
My honey used the grout spreader for giving even pressure after he applied each tile section.  This makes sure the tiles are getting good adhesion.  A little tip we learned on the DIY channel!
This is the next morning after we stayed up until 1:15am adding little bits and pieces of the mosaic tile to fill in all the blank spots we had left over after adding all the full size pieces.  There were lots, but mostly under the cabinets, so it was tedious work! Whew!
I used warm water and a sponge to clean up the tiles and ready them for grout.
We then put the plastic tarp back up and we were ready for grouting.  Because our mosaic tiles had glass in them, we used an un-sanded grout in the color of  French Vanilla.  When mixed it looked like melted vanilla ice joke!  Since we were both grouting, I didn't get any pictures of that step, but you want to work quickly and clean as you go as much as you can.  The grout really loved the natural stone tiles and it was rather difficult getting it off them when we started cleaning.  NOTE: The package recommended waiting 15 to 30 minutes before clean up, we waited 30, we should have started at 15 and it may have been much easier on the cleanup.
Needless to say it turned out BEAUTIFUL!  We love it!  Pretty good for mosaic tile rookies!
I still walk into my kitchen and cant believe how it turned out and how much of a difference it makes. Love it!
We still have a few more things to do before its complete, but we are so much closer now! Stay tuned for how my honey built the window sill and added brand new electric outlets and switches to finish off the "new" look.

If you want to know how I painted the cabinets - click right here.

Would you like to see more about our kitchen remodel?  Click on links below.

Tiling Our Kitchen Floor
Kitchen Cabinet Makeover Part 1
Kitchen Cabinet Makeover Part 2
Kitchen Cabinet Makeover Part 3
Building a Corner Cabinet
Building a Drop in Kitchen Cabinet
Installing a Farmhouse Sink
Pantry Remodel
DIY Mosaic Tile Backsplash
Painting Our Cabinets

It doesn't have to be done all at once.  It is a slow process in the works! C-ya next time!

I'm Linking to:
These lovely and FUN parties!
Between Naps on the Porch
DIY Home Sweet Home
We Call It Junkin 
The Dedicated House

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  1. The tile is gorgeous and you did an amazing job. It looks beautiful. Thanks tons for linking to Inspire Me

  2. It's looking great! Love your tile choice and even the grout color choice. It all adds up, doesn't it? Thanks for sharing this at History & Home, take care. Dawn @ We Call It

  3. love it looks amazing and very cute.
    come see us at

  4. love it looks amazing and very cute.
    come see us at

  5. Absolutely BEAUTIFUL! I love what your kitchen looks like. Thanks for linking up at Wonderful Wed Blog Hop. Carrie, A Mother's Shadow

  6. Can you tell me how you did your cabinets? They are stunning!

    1. Hi there and thank you so very much! I have just added links to the very bottom of this post that should hopefully answer all your questions. :)

  7. Congratulations on your kitchen remodel. It is so impressive! You did a fantastic job, you and your husband. I love that it was all DIY, makes it even more special!


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