Dollar Store Gem Back Splash - Part 2

5 Materials
$45
2 Days
Easy

Several months ago, I created a back splash in my bathroom using gems from the Dollar Store. After a lot of people requested that I continue the mosaic on the rest of the wall. While I didn't want the entire wall covered with the gems, this is what I did.



This is the bathroom after creating the back splash. This original project took three bags of Dollar Store gems.

For this project, I purchased 35 bags of gems.

There were really dusty, so I removed them from the bags, placed them in a colander and washed them with a mild soap and water.

After their washing, I dried them on a towel.

Using a level (which I bought at the Dollar Store) I made a line slightly above the back splash.

I then measured to that line from the floor and marked the wall. I continued that line across the entire wall.


Another comment from the original post was that people wondered why I didn't create some type of design on the wall. This time, I hand-drew seaweed shapes in various sizes.

Using mastic (which is a tile adhesive), I began the by filling small sections of the the seaweed shapes.

And then applied the green gems. I purchased two different sizes of green to give the "seaweed" a different look then the rest of the wall.

Once the seaweed was complete, I applied mastic to the rest of the wall, working in small sections.

When I reached the point where I had to join the previous back splash with the new mosaic, I simply butted the mastic up to the previous and added gems.

While the mastic was drying, I measured and cut a piece of chair rail moulding.

I used the line I had drawn on the wall as a guide. I nailed the molding onto the wall using a brad nailer.

Once the chair rail was in place, I added a more gems to fill in the gaps. Instead of putting the mastic onto the wall, I applied it onto the back of each gem and put them onto the wall.

Once the mastic was completely dry, I applied the grout and wiped the excess off with a sponge and plain water.

Once the grout dried, the "seaweed" really popped!


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Have a question about this project?

49 questions
  • Marie
    on May 7, 2018

    Can this work on top of tiles.

    • Kevin
      on May 7, 2018

      This isn't my project, but, if you do, you will either need to acid etch the tile, or sand it with at least 100 Grit or coarser high quality sand paper. This creates a surface for the adhesive to cling to. To be thorough, sand and acid etch. Clean with denatured alcohol or 90% rubbing alcohol, with plenty of ventilation (use nitrile gloves to protect your hands). Both are highly flammable. highly flammable. Attach with a tile adhesive and grout.


      Make certain your old tile is secure before starting. You can take the end of a screwdriver handle and lightly tapeach tile. A secure tile will sound solid. A loose tile will sound hollow.

  • Mary Ann Cafone
    on May 7, 2018

    I have a mirrored medicine chest in my bathroom, one side the edging is getting worn. Thinking of adding these stones to edging what type of sealant should I use?

  • Don29246858
    on May 7, 2018

    What type of adhesive would one use to put the glass gems on an exterior concrete wall?

  • Diane shepard
    on May 7, 2018

    What did the cost turn out to be to do that? thanks

    • Lori
      on May 7, 2018

      35 bags of gems and the level from dollar store 36.00 I wish I knew what the rest cost

    • Lori
      on May 7, 2018

      35 bags of gems and the level from dollar store 36.00 I wish I knew what the rest cost

    • Debby Dale
      on May 7, 2018

      I did this on my shower surround and the cost which included expoxy grout, gems, tile mat and backer board was aound $300.

  • Hope
    on May 7, 2018

    Hi Alicia...

    The wall looks GREAT! : )

    Did you remove the toilet tank and go behind it with the gems or did you just go around it..? Thanks!

  • Carol Tresenriter
    on May 7, 2018

    After experiences of remodeling and not thinking ahead, one of my first thoughts is...what is it like to clean this?

    • Heather Fletcher
      on May 7, 2018

      Probably the same as tile? I’m guessing it’ll be like washing a bumpy wall; it would come clean and shiny with a bit of soap and water

    • Gin26872529
      on May 7, 2018

      She didn’t say, but the grout should be sealed. ESPECIALLY behind a toilet!

    • Pat
      on May 7, 2018

      I have done something similar - and I just use some Windex and a soft cloth. I did not use mastic - I used E6000 glue - but the color of my wall is a neutral gray - so it looks more like the water effect I was going for. (In MY reality, lol). There were a few inches of empty space at the base of the cabinet when we replaced the old cabinet - so I tossed in some gems there as well. To clean those - I just scoop them out in to a strainer and wash (in the strainer) with some dish soap and warm water, and then dry them and put them back. EZ! There is only an inch or so between the top of the cabinet and a retro medicine cabinet that I didn't want to replace - so there is a single row of gems there. You can't even see that unless you're sitting down. I spread the glue on about 3-4 inches at a time - about the thickness of a nickel - and then let it get tacky for a few minutes before sticking on the beads. Trust me - you do NOT want to skip the tacky part - or you will have gems popping and sliding off the wall constantly! Anyway - I'm happy with the results.

  • Joan O'Connor Clemente
    on May 7, 2018

    OMG! This is really beautiful!! I have a laminate faux butcher block counter with matching backsplash in my kitchen which I can't stand. Do you know if the tile adhesive works on laminate too?

    • Shari Veater
      on May 7, 2018

      I liked the before but LOVE the after!! The room looks finished now :)

    • Wendy
      on May 7, 2018

      it works just as well. I would "scuff" it up with fine grit sandpaper for better adhesion.

  • Patti Westrick
    on May 7, 2018

    Can you add a color to the Mastic?? I would like a sage green background & use all clear glass stones!

  • Roberta Shaw
    on May 7, 2018

    We have ceramic tile on our walls. Can this be done on ceramic?

    • Jeremy
      on May 7, 2018

      With the correct mastic it can. I don't know which one to use, but have seen it done before.

  • Susan b
    on May 7, 2018

    Have. A perfect bath for this! Awesome! In comments; talked about countertops? I would think great for walls? Countertops?

    • Alicia W
      on May 10, 2018

      Hi Susan. Yes you could use this on countertops; however, the surface isn't smooth because the gems are rounded.

  • Wendy Kirby
    on May 8, 2018

    How many bags of glass gems did you use? How much did this project cost?

  • Kathy
    on May 8, 2018

    WHAT IS THE GROUT USED FOR


    • Diane
      on May 9, 2018

      Definition of grout

      1

      a : thin mortar used for filling spaces (such as the joints in masonry); also : any of various other materials (such as a mixture of cement and water or chemicals that solidify) used for a similar purpose

      b : plaster

    • Katherine Somma
      on May 9, 2018

      It it fills the spaces in between tile or in this case gems

  • Moxie
    on May 9, 2018

    I'm curious (as well as impressed!): 1) How long from beginning the project to finishing it, did it take you? 2) Have any of the gems fallen off the wall?

    • Alicia W
      on May 10, 2018

      Hi Moxie. It took two days due to drying time. No, none of the gems have fallen off the wall. The mastic holds the gems in place as an adhesive and the mortar keeps them secure.

  • Rad7864235
    on May 11, 2018

    This is really pretty, did you put a sealer, like polyurethane, over it to prevent mold and mildew or does the room have a window and fan to prevent that?

    • Kathleen Ploof
      on May 15, 2018

      You don’t need to seal it if you use an epoxy grout. It’s a little harder to use but is best for wet areas like bathroom.

  • Mary S. Duncan
    on May 15, 2018

    how much did the project cost in total? I'm doing my kitchen backsplash with multicolored glass gems. I was going to cover the whole area but the gems cost too much so I'm also going to use tile. I love your bathroom.

    • Angela
      on May 15, 2018

      Im doing the same thing. The bags are only a $1 at dollar tree

    • Mary
      on May 15, 2018

      You can also buy them buy them by the case on dollar tree dot com. There are 24 14 oz bags per case.

    • Mary
      on May 15, 2018

      Oh I’m sorry I forgot to mention a case is 24.00

    • Mary S. Duncan
      on May 19, 2018

      thanks can't wait to see the pics

  • Rena Johnson
    on May 15, 2018

    Can you do this in kitchen as well ?

    • Jana Granger Logsdon
      on May 16, 2018

      Sure you can

    • Bretta Rucker Morton
      on May 21, 2018

      I would encourage anyone doing this or similar projects to buy thin cement board or Sheet rock for the project ..easy to have cut to size (card stock..or board taped to wall for pattern) ....it allows you to comfortably create designs on your craft table and also allows for removal,changes or replacement with seasonal Themes.. with the removal of a few screws..if using sheet rock..reinforce the screw areas with an inserted nut..or metal gromet...

  • Purtty123
    on May 15, 2018

    Good job what color grout did you use?

    • Tga29656506
      on May 31, 2018

      The picture shows Delouren Gray when you go to what is needed it takes you to Amazon DeLorean Gray is the color

  • SRH
    on May 21, 2018

    Do you have to grout over it? I like the look of the bead without the grout. Will the beads fall off without the grout? Thank you!

    • Tga29656506
      on May 31, 2018

      If you don’t grout my Understanding is that it won’t fill the spaces in between the gems and it wouldn’t be waterproof , also with it being in a bathroom the moisture will loosen the gemstones.

    • Alicia W
      on Jun 4, 2018

      Hi SRH. As Tgaeto said above, the wall will not be waterproof and eventually the gems will fall off.

  • April
    on May 29, 2018

    Do you think this same idea would work for a shower wall?

    • Alicia W
      on Jun 4, 2018

      Hi April. Yes it would; however, you must seal the grout.

    • these come on mosaic sheets. you can't use mastic in a shower, you'd have to use the regular thinset mortar. And you buy stain resistant grout. or if using the regular grout, you would apply a grout sealer once everything is dry.

  • CukaFig
    on Jun 3, 2018

    First, I want to say... I just love it!

    I have a question. I have 2 plastic outdoor end tables and I would love to do something with them like you did for your walls. Do you have any idea what adhesive I would be able to use that will hold in the heat of the summer? I'll definitely be using the glass beads from the dollar store. Thank you!

  • Cindi Pieniazek
    on Sep 2, 2018

    The mirror in the bathroom goes all the way down to the sink. Could I apply this to the mirror or do I need to cut off part of the mirror?

    • Alicia W
      on Sep 8, 2018

      Hi Cindi. You could apply it to the mirror as well as the wall. Good luck!

  • Chookie
    on Sep 4, 2018

    Did you prepare the wall in some way to be sure the mastic stuck to the wall?

    • Alicia W
      on Sep 8, 2018

      Hi Cho. Other than wiping the wall clean, there is no prep for the wall.

  • Bella
    on Oct 12, 2018

    Could i do this over existing tile in the kitchen?

  • Bella
    on Oct 12, 2018

    Could i do this project over existing tile in mu kitchen? As a backsplash?

    • Christine Sherry
      on Oct 25, 2018

      No, it would make the back splash too thick. Not onlythat eventually he weight might pull everythingoff the wall. The mastic will not stick properly more so if any oils are on the existing tile.

    • Phyllis Williams
      on Oct 25, 2018

      It shouldn’t be too hard to take off the existing backsplash. Messy and time consuming maybe.

    • Alicia W
      on Oct 25, 2018

      Hi Bella. It may be a little thick like Christine said, depending on your tile.

  • Heather Mavis Rushing
    on Oct 25, 2018

    Very pretty ,I just wonder how easy that will be to clean.

    • Christine Sherry
      on Oct 25, 2018

      It will be very easy to clean you just need to make sure that you use either a stain blocker in the grout or you seal the grout so it doesn’t get stains and molds

    • Alicia W
      on Oct 25, 2018

      Hi Heather, Yes. Just make sure you seal the grout.

  • Pat pacdits
    on Oct 25, 2018

    Can I put gems on bath counter similar to yours?

    • Alicia W
      on Oct 25, 2018

      I wouldn't do this on a counter due to the fact that it's not a smooth surface.

    • VRR
      on Oct 25, 2018

      Wao, Different, original. One of a kind. I liked it!

    • Pat pacdits
      on Oct 25, 2018

      Oh . my counter is Formica and it's smooth. Just trying to understand the answer. Thanks

  • Pamela
    on Oct 25, 2018

    Approximately how many bags of gems were required to complete the project and what was the approximate size of the work space?


  • Ildiko
    on Oct 25, 2018

    I want to try this, since it is nice, BUT why I need grout, and what to do with it???

    • Sharon Stoner
      on Oct 25, 2018

      Grout will fill in the gaps and keep the gems from accidentally being scraped off. Instructions are on the container.

    • VRR
      on Oct 25, 2018

      This job is like build a backplash. You need a "glue" and "grout" to seal the gems an level the job. If you notice how she spreaded the wall with the white material. After the grout or (lechada) the job is cleaner and finished.

  • Omey
    on Oct 25, 2018

    Can I do this on a shower floor?

  • Cat
    on Oct 25, 2018

    Very nice! Is it a pain to clean?

    • Eve DeLange
      on Oct 25, 2018

      I would guess you could just spray it with Windex and wipe it down.

  • Joyce Lett
    on Oct 26, 2018

    Would this work for the back part of your stairs? I have wood floor with white paint(which I hate).

    • Neva Barker
      on Oct 26, 2018

      I know someone who did this on their bathroom floor and it feels like walking on soft pebbles like on a spa sauna floor, plus it’s beautiful

    • Neva Barker
      on Oct 26, 2018

      However when she did it on her floor, she found it easier to do that design on a piece of thin plywood that she cut to fit the bathroom floor. It required three pieces due to the and then attach the plywood to her bathroom floor with adhesive. It required 3 pieces of plywood due to the shapes around the toilet and the pedestal sink. She said it was easier because she could sit at a table and lay the pieces instead of on the floor. Then she adhered it to her floor with adhesive. She said that way when she wants to remodel, which she does about every 3 years, it will be much easier to Reno e and she can always use the floor pieces someplace else in her house if she chooses.

    • Gilmer Gal
      on Oct 27, 2018

      If you are talking about the risers (front panel on steps) I'll bet it would work great! People tile them all the time.

  • Yolanda James
    on Oct 27, 2018

    Can I glue gems on glass

    • Susie
      on Oct 28, 2018

      Yes, of course

    • Betti Tobiasz
      on Oct 28, 2018

      Yes, use E600 glue

    • Gina
      on Oct 31, 2018

      Hi. I'm a glass artist. Yes u can! Use weld bond glue.. It's amazing to glue glass or plastic gems. Good luck!

  • Gainorhillegass
    on Oct 28, 2018

    Did you do the wall behind the toilet? Or just tile around it?

  • Marsha Thacker Mathes
    on Oct 29, 2018

    what is best sealer for bathtub grout,

  • Kitty
    on Nov 1, 2018

    Such a cute idea! I love it. How many hours do you have invested in labor, if you don't mind my asking? This looks like something I could do, by sitting on the floor for the low parts. I was thinking of using a floral design, if I can come up with VERY simple.

  • Jeana Grace
    on Nov 1, 2018

    Cool...ya think it would work on the floor? In a non traffic compassity?

    • Doris Smitherman-Swope
      on Dec 31, 2018

      I don't see why not.... I have seen lot's of cracks in all sorts of floor tiles that have occurred over the years... Either from not being properly installed it the foundation shifting....

  • Lena may
    on Nov 10, 2018

    How to sound proof a wall and windows?

  • Denise Reistad
    on Dec 12, 2018

    Do you think you could do this is a bathroom over tile?

    • Kathy
      on Dec 31, 2018

      Since these are glass beads I think the tile and grout line would show through and it is always best not to go over old tile.

  • Mady
    on Dec 31, 2018

    Curious about answer to question below re: bathroom floor and also a shower floor over tile as long as it is sealed well. Shower gets used at the most 5 X a year. I suppose if any popped up/out, it could be regrouted and sealed. With a solid tile underneath, leaking wouldn't be an issue. Thank you.

  • Tammy
    on Dec 31, 2018

    This is a very neat idea, but when you decide to redo your bathroom in a few years or more, will you have to rip the drywall off and put new drywall up?

    • Denise Tillinghast
      on Jan 1, 2019

      Instead of applying directly to the drywall, you could apply it to plywood then nail it to the wall. Then taking it down is less of a hassle

    • Sherri Roll
      on Jan 12, 2019

      I love this idea! Drywall is cheap n I say go for it!

  • Kate
    on Jan 4, 2019

    I want to use these stones to creat a back splash in my bathroom or kitchen. These walks are in a mobile home. Will they stick to the wall board with out doing a lot of prep on the walls? The walls are papers made right on them. Will the glue, grout, and mastic work with those type of walls?

    Thanks Kate

    • Suze
      on Jan 5, 2019

      I've lived in many mobiles. The walls r thin & flexible. I'd try a test spot first & observe.

    • Holly Jensen
      on Feb 2, 2019

      Kate, I would suggest a backing board on the wall prior to installing any kind of grouted backsplash as any flexible surface will be subject to movement and cracking.

  • Rosa
    on Jan 7, 2019

    Would it work on the bathroom floor

    • Kathleen
      on Jan 9, 2019

      I would be Leary of flu g a floor. I doubt the glass pebbles would hold up to being walked on. Pebbles that have been painted or river rock woils be better and safer for a floor in my opinion

    • Sherri Roll
      on Jan 12, 2019

      I think they would be very pretty on a bathroom floor. Of course you would heavily seal the floor to preserve the stone. Go for it!

    • Jeanne Martin
      on Jan 14, 2019

      Might be bumpy to walk on barefoot tho!

    • Holly Jensen
      on Feb 2, 2019

      I would definitely not do a floor in these glass gems - they will chip and possibly become a cutting hazard. As a rule, glass should only be used on walls as a decorative option.


    • Kathy D
      on Sep 15, 2019

      Also if you dropped something heavy they would crack or shatter.

    • Bunay
      on Sep 15, 2019

      It’s very slippery, I would not do them on a floor.

  • Ton
    on Jan 15, 2019


    did you remove the toilet tank or just put the tiles around it?

  • Angie
    on Feb 13, 2019

    The gems are beautiful, but didn't you just make cleaning a lot more difficult, instead of the previous smooth surface, with each of these gems acting like individual dust catchers? Don't know if you addressed this. Maybe finishing off with several layers of clear acrylic spray covering the gems to build up the surface thickness would ease cleaning and also protect the gems-done in a well ventilated space.

    • Sally Alter
      on Feb 23, 2019

      I did the same backsplash in my bathroom and I have no problem with keeping it shiny and clean. Just use water and dish soap on a cloth and wipe over them. If you have stuck them in well, they will not come off.

    • Lisa Sinclair
      on Sep 15, 2019

      Plus i would think if youve sealed your grout correctly, there would be no problem.

    • Kathy D
      on Sep 15, 2019

      I use a mix 1/2 and 1/2 or vinegar and rubbing alcohol which on any surface to clean dries fast especially anything that is glass.

    • Valleycat1
      on Sep 15, 2019

      If you live in a dusty area, you could wipe the area with a dryer anti static sheet. When we bought a few light fixtures with large clear glass globes that was their recommendation to help slow down dust accumulation.

    • Jeannie.mcquaid
      on Sep 16, 2019

      Once grouted and sealed, it would be no different that small mosaic tile.

    • Jane Perry
      on Sep 22, 2019

      It is awesome !

    • Becky
      on Sep 22, 2019

      I love it. The chair rail really polishes the whole project! Beautiful. I especially love the flowing seaweed gems!

  • Valerie S Crider
    on Sep 15, 2019

    I'm definitely going to do this in my bathroom. I'm sure it will take a while, but I'm up for the challenge. Is the wall white? I really want to use some clear ones.

    • Sheila
      on Sep 22, 2019

      It doesn’t matter what color the wall is. Even white will make the clear gems look white. Either way, white or colored, it will add a different dimension to the look.


  • Linda
    on Sep 22, 2019

    Wonder if I could do this to an ugly plain fiberglass rub surround - any thoughts?

    • Rye Guischer
      on Sep 23, 2019

      Go ask your local hardware store. They wpuld know for sure. Make sure u take measurements of everything. And dont forget to add a few extra bags of gems when you do buy.

  • Theresa
    on Sep 23, 2019

    Where did you get the design from?

  • Lissia Burkee Baun
    on Sep 23, 2019

    How did you get behind the toilet?

  • Tammy
    on Sep 23, 2019

    Can this be used as a shower wall

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