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Affordable DIY Backsplash – Mosaic Tile Paint Project

Having a unique backsplash is a relatively new concept in home decor. Just a couple decades ago the idea of a backsplash was rarely a high priority, or even considered at all, in kitchens decor. My, how times have changed!

These days a backsplash is a practically a must-have for modern kitchen design. It brings a bit of color and independent style into a space that doesn’t normally get much. It also makes cooking messes easier to clean.

Installing a new backsplash in your kitchen will instantly update the room and there’s a style for every budget and taste.

Tile is the Most Popular Backsplash Material

Today’s most popular backsplashes are made of tile, typically formed in a rectangular shape, aptly called a subway tile. Another popular shape is the smaller rectangular tiles that can be purchased as a sheet, often called mosaic tile.

Related: Cheap Backsplash Ideas: Painting Tileboard

subway tile backsplash

Tile Backsplashes Can be Expensive!

Unfortunately, one of the biggest downsides of a tiled backsplash is cost. If you want the latest, trendy style with colorful mosaic tiles you’re gonna be paying quite a bit for it. Even if you install the tile yourself you will still spend anywhere from $5 to $100 per square foot for the material alone. That’s a lot of money for a relatively small space!

One creative homeowner, found on Imgur, figured out how to have the tiled backsplash look without the extravagant price and you can do the same thing in your home!

Beautiful Painted Back Splash DIY Project (3)

Affordable DIY Backsplash Paint Project

You can have a colorful, trendy backsplash without the high price by using acrylic paint and sealant over your manufactured home vinyl coated walls or sheetrock.

Before you begin your DIY backsplash project find photos of your favorite mosaic tile backsplashes. This will help you choose the right paint colors. Also, note the way the tile is placed – there are many different patterns that you can copy. Below is just a few examples, though using a simple pattern is best since you will be using tape and paint to achieve the look.

tile pattern and placement ideas

How-to Instructions for a Beautiful and Affordable DIY Backsplash

Material List

Your material list will include basic painting project supplies. Here’s a list of everything you’ll need for this awesome DIY backsplash:

  • Cleaning agent and rags to clean the walls (this is more important than most realize – you need a strong bond so the paint won’t peel, especially if your home has vinyl walls).
  • High-quality painters tape. You’ll probably want to use the 1/4 (.25) inch tape to tape the tile although a roll of the thicker 1/2 inch tape is handy to have as well. Don’t skimp on quality!
  • Acrylic craft paint in the color scheme of your choice. The creative homeowner in the photos used earth tones and it looks great!
  • Paint brushes and small foam rollers.
  • Paint trays.
  • Sealant. Polyurethane works well for most needs but make sure to research so you get the right type for your walls.

Step 1: Clean the area where you want your new backsplash with a fairly strong cleaning agent. 

You’ll need the paint to bond tightly to the walls, regardless of what they are made of, so a standard cleansing agent should work fine. Older manufactured homes will probably have VOG panels (vinyl over gypsum) and it’s perfectly OK to paint over them as long as you clean them well and use the right kind of primer to create a strong bond.

Learn more about painting mobile and manufactured home walls here. 

Step 2: Tape the area off and apply primer tinted the color you want to use for grout. 

Once you’ve cleaned the area well and allowed it to dry, you will then tape off the area where you want your backsplash and apply primer.

You can use a plain primer or a paint+primer in one. Plain white primer makes for a great background and is what the homeowner in the photos used (it turns out great) but you can add a tint if you want. Refer to your favorite mosaic tile backsplash photos to see which grout color looks best for your chosen color scheme.

Step 3: Tape off your tile pattern. 

This is one of the most time-consuming steps but it is important to take your time and get the lines straight and the pattern uniform. Using a high-tech laser level is recommended. You should be able to rent one from a local tool supplier if you don’t want to buy or borrow one. You can also use the old-fashioned bubble levels but that’s going to create a lot more work!

Using a laser level for straight lines

Depending on the pattern you use and the total area of the space you may choose to go with thicker or thinner tile. The horizontal lines in the photo below have been taped off at 1.5-inch intervals.

Taping off the tile lines for painted tile backsplash project

Once you have your horizontal lines completely taped off you will need to do the vertical lines. If the basic brick, or stretcher bond, the pattern will be used you can randomly place the vertical lines by sight, unless you want everything equally space. In that case get the calculator out and start doing some math!

The creative homeowner simply placed her vertical lines randomly and the finished look is great. Here’s what the tape looked like before she started painting:

completed taping for diy backsplash project

Step 4: Prime again.

The homeowner suggests that you paint over the tape with your primer. This helps the tape bond a bit better to the wall and create a tighter paint line for the tile.

Step 5: Paint the tiles!

Most mosaic tile sheets use random colors placed in no particular order but it’s completely up to you to decide how you want the colors to be. Take a close look at your favorite mosaic tile sheet examples and simply copy the colors. A practice run on paper can help you decide on color placement too.

At least 2 or 3 coats of paint should be enough coverage for the project. Below you can see the homeowners in the process of painting.

painting the tiles for affordable diy backsplash project

painting the tile for diy backsplash project

Step 6: Remove the tape before the paint dries. 

The homeowner strongly recommends that you finish the last coat of paint on the tiles and then remove the tape before it can completely dry. This will aid in creating a clean, straight line and keeps the tape from bonding too tightly to the wall.

Step 7: Once the paint is completely dry apply sealant.

A sealant is important so that the paint stays put and the wall is easy to clean. You’ll need to research to make sure you use the right kind of sealant for the type of walls you have. The homeowners used a standard polyurethane sealant.

apply sealant over your painted tile

Once your sealant dries, you’re all finished! Sit back and enjoy your beautiful, affordable mosaic tile backsplash!

Beautiful Painted Back Splash DIY Project (10)

This DIY project is perfect for those that want a unique backsplash without the expense and hassle of tiling. Believe it or not, tiling a backsplash is much more complicated than most think. You simply can’t just throw tile up on the wall!

By painting the backsplash onto your wall you can get the same look with only half the prep and a quarter of the cost and that’s assuming you have to buy new primer and paint. This is a great way to update your kitchen.

As always, thank you for reading Mobile Home Living!

All images of tiled DIYbacksplash project:  sixtyliz on Imgur

Crystal Adkins created Mobile Home Living in 2011 after buying a 1978 single wide and searching online for mobile home remodeling ideas but finding very little. Today, it's the most popular resource in America for mobile home information and inspiration and has been visited over 40 million times.



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