Dollar Store Backsplash

5 Materials
2 Days

If you’re a regular Dollar Store shopper (and aren’t most DIYers?), you know about those little “gems” in the floral aisle. They’re purpose is to hold your flower stems straight in a vase but there’s so much more you can do with them.
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Like make a backsplash!
There are two different kinds of gems - one with a flat back and one that looks like a marble. I used the one with a flat back.
The area I wanted to cover was 24”x10” so three bags would be enough.
This is our basement bathroom. It’s right inside a door to the outside, where our pool is located. It gets used pretty hard in the summer (obviously) and the wall behind the sink gets pretty gross with all the handwashing. There is a little backsplash that is attached to the vanity but...
So I went to the Dollar Store and purchased three bags of gems that came in assorted colors - clear, light blue, dark blue, and green. These would be perfect colors for this room.
They were pretty dusty so after I sorted them, I washed them with blue Dawn and rinsed them well.
I don’t know if you can see the difference between the before picture and after. They’re much brighter.
A-I drew a line under the mirror and then removed the mirror
B-I then drew lines from the edge of the sink to the line under the mirror, just so I had a reference line.
Because this is near a sink and will be exposed to water, I wanted to make sure it was done properly.
I bought Mastic which is an adhesive. This container was more than enough for this little project.
I also bought this little notched scraper for 99 cents. This is what I used to adhear the mastic on the wall.
Before I began, I used painter’s tape to tape off the top of the vanity.
A-Using my notched scraper, I applied a thin layer of mastic using the flat edge in a small area
B-I then turned the scraper to the smallest notch edge and made grooves in the mastic
C-I placed the gems onto the mastic pushing them gently into the mastic
D-I continued to add mastic to the wall in small sections
E-And continued to place the gems until I had completely filled in my marked off space.
I allowed the mastic to dry 2 hours.
While the mastic dried, I mixed up grout. This bag was much more than I needed. You can buy already mixed grout but it more expensive than dry.
A-Using a recycled plastic container, I added one cup of grout powder.
B-Then I added 1/4 cup of water and mixed. It didn’t seem to be enough water, so I mixed in another 1/4 cup of water. The ration was then 1:1/2.
C- I mixed everything together using a paint stirrer
According to the directions on the grout bag, you should let the grout sit for 30 minutes, stir it and then let it sit an additional 30 minutes.
A-This is the grout after 30 minutes. I gave it a good stir.
B-This is the grout after 1 hour. Perfect!
A-There is a tool to apply grout but I used a magic eraser which worked well.
B-I worked in small sections, squishing the grout between the gems.
C-I made sure the grout was even and there was grout between each gem.
D-Once I had grouted the entire wall, I went over it again to make sure there weren’t any gems covered with a lot of mastic.
One cup of grout + 1/2 cup of water was the perfect amount for my area which was 24” x 10”
According to the bag, allow the grout to set for 30 minutes & check to see if it’s dry.
A-After 30 minutes, I touched the grout
B-And it was still wet
C-after an hour, the grout was dry
Once the grout was dry, it was time to wipe off the excess.
A-I used a large sponge and warm water.
B-I made sure the sponge was not sopping wet, rung out well
C-Then I ran the sponge over the gems, removing any grout that on top of the gems.
I changed my water several times to make sure that I was using clean water to clean off the grout.
Once the grout was clean
A-I removed the painter’s tape
B-Some of it was stuck under the grout so I used a utility knife to cut it out.
C-I added a bead of chaulk along the edge
D-and smoothed the chaulk with my finger
I love the way it turned out. And I learned a new skill. I had never worked with mastic and grout and I was pleased at how good everything looked.
Here’s a closer picture. I like the unevenness of the sides. It doesn’t look chopped off.
No more dirty, splattered wall!

The project was $20 because I purchased large containers of mastic and grout. I would estimate that for the materials that I used, the entire project cost $6.
Here’s a closer picture. I like the unevenness of the sides. It doesn’t look chopped off.
No more dirty, splattered wall!

The project was $20 because I purchased large containers of mastic and grout. I would estimate that for the materials that I used, the entire project cost $6.
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Have a question about this project?

3 of 46 questions
  • N
    on Sep 17, 2019

    It's really pretty. I think it could be used for other projects as well, like in a headboard. What would you think about putting a little molding around it? Do you think that would make it look more finished? And going into that realm, putting it on an old picture frame, which would make it portable?

  • Bobbi
    on Oct 15, 2019

    Thank you for the inspiration. I am going to do this around my mirror, above the sink and extend it over to the side wall my sink as well. We are redoing our shower wall and refinishing our bathtub and going to put it above the shower wall as well. I will post a pic when we get it finished. Probably something this week, beginning of next week. Again, thank you. I adore it.

  • Nancy
    3 days ago

    I have tiles where I’d like to do this project? Will I have any difficulty with the mastic and gems adhering to that kind of surface?

    • Lisa Tammaro
      12 minutes ago

      Maybe try it out on a test tile?.Try to get one or a few single tiles and use that to test the adherence of the mastic, gems, grout, caulk, etc.

Join the conversation

2 of 257 comments
  • Connie
    15 hours ago

    Very pretty and very good instructions. Thank you! I am OCD, so I would have to start on theedges with a straight line and work the gems in from there. LOL

  • Diane
    8 hours ago

    I love this! Very clever.

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