A step-by-step tutorial on how to paint a kitchen backsplash to look like tile.
Do you like the look of subway tile? I do and I really wanted to have that look as my kitchen backsplash. But as always I am trying to save money, especially after redoing our mainline… But if you are renting a place, you could also do this using contact paper… Here is my tutorial on how to paint a backsplash to look like tile, please look past the cabinets still working on them during this post.
Can you guess how much it cost us to do it? It was less than $28 and that includes $6 for the sheetrock mud to refinish our walls plus I have lots of supplies leftover… Can you believe this look was all done with paint!
How to paint a backsplash to look like tile
First, we decided to remove the old laminate backsplash. But you do not have to do this if yours is still in good shape, just paint on it! After the old backsplash was removed we had to fix the walls to make them even again.
Then we added two coats of primer to the wall and I decided to caulk all the seams where the wall meets the countertop, cabinets, and window trim (I already did this part when I added the trim to the window).
Which brings us to our current wall all ready for a new backsplash or all ready for paint.
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Do you want an easier way to get this same look, try using this peel and stick wallpaper!
TIP: For finding the paint for your grout color, use the grout color guide to find the color of paint you want. I was lucky and found an Opps paint in just the right color for $2, sorry not sure what the color is called…
I was going back and forth about which color to start with first but in the end, I decided to add the grout color first. So before you can start painting you need to cut your tape to the size of the grout line. To do this I took a very sharp straight-edged knife and marked the tape 3/16″ away from the edge. After finishing the project I wish I would have done a smaller grout line 1/8″.
After marking the tape, I then cut the tape to my desired size.
UPDATE: There is also a pin-striping tape that is used for painting automobiles, they come in all different sizes. Also, someone did use quilters tape and did not have good success with removing the tape from the wall.
Now I could start painting the grey paint on the wall. I took a ruler and measured/marked where all the grout lines would be on the wall and only painted around that marking. This is another part I would have done differently, I would have just painted the whole wall first with the grout color but this could make you need a bigger can of paint.
Once the grout color was the color I wanted and it had dried completely, I took the tape and started taping where the grout lines would be. To do this I used my 3″x6″ cardboard template (you could make it whatever size you wanted)… Then starting at the bottom left-hand corner, I placed the template along the edge and taped right above the template.
I then pressed the tape into place and moved my template down the wall about 6″-8″. I then pulled my tape, making it straight, and again placing right above the template.
I continued this process for the length of the row. For the next row, I placed the template directly on top of the last rows tape and completed the same process for the row. I did this until I reached the top of the cabinet. I then started on the sides.
To make the sides, I again placed the template at the bottom left-hand corner. I then took the tape and placed it along the side of the template, pressing into place only where the line should be.
Then I took a butter knife, pressed the straight edge of the knife right in the middle of the row line of tape and then pulled the extra tape piece (just like using a tape dispenser). This gave me a straight edge on the side tape, giving me the box I wanted. I completed this for the whole length of the first row.
For the next row, I turned the template sideways to make in only 3″x3″ for the first tile, taping just like before. But for the rest of the row, I turned the template back to the 3″x6″. I continued this pattern for all of the rows. After I finished taping I took a credit card and ran it over the tape to make sure all the edges were sticking to the wall.
But to give a very straight edge, I then painted another coat of grey paint just over the tape making sure to get along the edge of the tape.
After that paint dried it was time for the white paint. I did use hi-gloss paint but I felt like it was almost the same as semi-gloss paint. I used my little roller and rolled the paint onto the wall, I did cut in the edges first with a paintbrush. After a couple of coats of white paint and the paint had dried, it was time to remove the tape.
This is where I got a little upset … I have no idea why but for some reason as I was removing the tape it made the paint under it bubble. I still cannot figure it out, it even did it on the wall that was previously painted that I just taped to give it a crisp line. So I had to be very very careful about removing the tape (I think it was just my wall because it is brick right behind the plaster but I have no idea).
UPDATE: I talked to my dad about the paint bubbling and he suggested priming the wall before adding any new mud. Something about the new mud not being able to cure fully, sorry I did not completely understand… So give that a try!
And here is my DIY subway tile backsplash for cheap!
Do you want to redo your kitchen backsplash? What is your favorite type of backsplash?
UPDATE 6/8/16: See how this project is holding up one year later!