Simple Backsplash Idea


When we were building our new home I knew I wanted a rock backsplash but I didn't want the standard mosaic tiles, I wanted the full profile of the rocks, with all their flaws and oddities. I fell in love with bagged rocks at Old Time Pottery and bought enough to finish off my project.
My husband was leery, to say the least, so he made plywood backs for me to work on instead of putting it directly on the wall. That was fine with me because I had enough work to do at the house and this I was able to work on in front of the T.V. and get a break from the craziness of building the house.
By this time I'd done plenty of tile-work so I tried applying the rocks like tile, with mortar. Yeah, that didn't work. When he went to attach my finished boards to the wall they just fell right off. I was determined to have this backsplash so I started again. This time I used construction glue and a caulk gun. Worked like a charm....
simple backsplash idea, diy, kitchen backsplash, kitchen design, repurposing upcycling
Here's a couple before pictures to give you an idea of the difference it makes, both pictures were taken while the house was still under construction. In the top picture we've installed the concrete countertops but the cabinet handles have not been put on yet. The bottom picture just gives you a broader perspective of the kitchen.
simple backsplash idea, diy, kitchen backsplash, kitchen design, repurposing upcycling
simple backsplash idea, diy, kitchen backsplash, kitchen design, repurposing upcycling
You need to be careful around outlets and choose fairly flat rocks, I still have some gapping here and there but it's workable.
simple backsplash idea, diy, kitchen backsplash, kitchen design, repurposing upcycling
I did not do any sealing before I grouted, I am fine with the way the grout settled into the cracks and crevices of the rocks. If you don't like that then seal the rock first. When I had finished grouting I put a coat of sealer over the whole thing.
simple backsplash idea, diy, kitchen backsplash, kitchen design, repurposing upcycling
Here you can see the profile a little better, I love that it has so much character.
simple backsplash idea, diy, kitchen backsplash, kitchen design, repurposing upcycling
Here's the finished product. Think outside the box and you just might surprise yourself with what you come up with.....

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The Chirping Frog

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Have a question about this project?

17 questions
  • Joann
    on Mar 19, 2016

    Really nice! How did you do your countertops for the rough edge? Could you install the outlet covers and then place the rocks, so the covers are inset?

  • Michelle
    on Mar 24, 2016

    How did you adhere the rocks to the wall?

    • The Chirping Frog
      on Mar 24, 2016

      Construction adhesive and a caulk gun. Lots of hand cramps but it worked where other methods failed.

  • Charleen
    on Jun 18, 2016

    The rocks you have was bought from store? I did a 6x6 shower floor. I picked up off ground put them in a rock tumbler with sand, I sealed them than put them down . I grouted around the rocks but the rocks took on the same color as the rocks I dont know how to get the natural color back on the rocks?

    • The Chirping Frog
      on Aug 7, 2016

      Not sure if it'd work or not but your local hardware store should sale a product that takes off the grout from tile. It'd take a lot of elbow grease to get it done but I know people who have used it and with lots of effort it cleaned up their tile.

  • Linda Keser
    on Sep 4, 2016

    Is it difficult to clean greasy buildup between the stones? What's your method?

    • The Chirping Frog
      on Sep 4, 2016

      I just wipe it down with soapy water. I don't have a lot of problem with grease it's more when I use the mixer but a sudsy cloth cleans it.

  • De'Mia Latiera Brown
    on Sep 5, 2016

    What did you use as an adhesive, I want to do the same in my kitchen but want to use glass rocks on the wall and any caulking around where possible water exposure?

    • The Chirping Frog
      on Sep 6, 2016

      I tried a couple things but what worked was construction adhesive. You might do a test to make sure it's not visible thru the glass rock? I know sometimes when using thinner glass mosaic it does show through. Good luck with your project.

    • Cynthia E
      on Sep 22, 2016

      you can also try using E6000 for sea glass. I used it to glue rocks on a planter and worked great.

  • Debbie Stoker Franckowiak
    on Oct 10, 2016

    Beautiful Backsplash!! How did you attach the boards to the wall? Also, what type and thickness board did you use?

    • The Chirping Frog
      on Oct 12, 2016

      i can't remember the thickness of the boards, I'd guess at least 1/2". We did it in sections to keep the pieces manageable in Size and weight. After I glued the rocks on we simply screwed the boards to the wall, being sure to use studs in the spaces for grout and then grouted them in place. Thinking we marked the location of the studs on the board first and I was sure to leave room for a screw.

    • Kay
      on Apr 25, 2017

      I think if you removed the tiles first (I don't think this should be to difficult) maybe you could stick the stones directly on to the the wall useing some kind off tile adhesive compound? You would need to check this out at your local tile/hardware shop first! If you go through this though, and later on want a change, it might be difficult, whereas if you stick them on to boards first the boards can be easley removed latter. Alternatively if this is still to much work? I have seen artificial stone back splash. You cut it to size then stick it on. It is imitation vinal I think, and has a sticky back.(stick it on to boards first, that way when you want a change it is easy to move. (Not sure if it will stick to tiles?) Ask your local hardware store. You could then maybe spray with a gloss spray if you wanted a glossy tile look. Hope this info is useful/helpful. Kay Adelaide Australia
  • Karen
    on Dec 24, 2016

    Beautiful!!!!! I have an 80's house with gosh awful beige tiles with ugh honey pots on them. Ugly! I've always loved little pebbles and would love to do it without a board. Can I just adhere rocks to the tiles directly? If yes, what would you suggest? P/S I am NOT skilled but have lots of ideas just don't know how to execute. Please help! :)

  • Sis Gongaware Thornton
    on Apr 25, 2017

    Wondering what type of sealer you used,it has to be waterproof? We have rocks under our claw foot tub and after 4 years the grout is starting to break down due to now epoxy being put on top ..... it this the type of sealer you used? Thanks bunches
    Beautiful job
  • Patty LeVasseur
    on Apr 25, 2017

    im wondering how do you clean it if it gets greasy? would the epoxy hold up to the de greasers for cleaning?

    • Mary Ann Hayes
      on Apr 25, 2017

      Hi, Patty. I, too, did a rock backsplash. To cut down on grease splatters, I fry in a deeper pot, rather than a fry pan and use a vented cover. Also keeps grease from popping all over stove, countertops and floors.

  • Cheryl licata
    on Apr 25, 2017

    What did you use for a sealer?
  • Glenice hanna
    on Apr 25, 2017

    No question , just love it .
  • Kathy
    on Apr 26, 2017

    how did you blend the joints where you joined the plywood? Did you glue some of the rocks after you placed the plywood? I just love what you did and would love to try your idea. It's beautiful.
  • Dpbeee2
    on Apr 26, 2017

    Are your counter edges unfinished stone? Nice job you did.
  • Diane Salazar
    on Apr 27, 2017

    That is amazing. I love using rocks for those types of things. Ive always wanted to do my shower that way.
  • Deborah Giovannangelo
    on May 27, 2017

    Beautiful ! May I ask, the materials you used where did you get the rocks & grout ? Is there a step-by-step tutorial to help out ?
    • Sherry Aybar-Huegele
      on Jun 6, 2017

      I did the entire wall behind my cupboard similar with overstock.com rocks came on sheets. Just put adhesive up them put the sheets of rocks up. Grout was easier when you use a pastry bag and squirt it between the rocks. It wasn't really difficult and I love how it looks. I did it six years ago.

    • Deborah Giovannangelo
      on Jun 6, 2017

      Thank you so much! I will check overstock see if they have something similar ,it looks great you did a beautiful job !
    • Evelyn Schwerin
      on Dec 1, 2018

      if u had read what she wrote. she said she got the rocks from old time pottery

    • Alexis
      on Feb 14, 2019

      Looks great. Good job

  • Judy
    on Jul 16, 2017

    What do you mean by "Construction Glue? Is this liquid nail in a tube?
  • Pam Miller
    on Apr 28, 2019

    This is beautiful! Well done. Now that you have had it for awhile, how difficult is it to clean like grease and splattered sauces off since it is not a flat surface? Thanks!

Join the conversation

2 of 293 comments
  • Maggie
    on Jul 19, 2019

    This is awesome! I love the rock look too. Concrete slabs are great! Nice work, enjoy and thanks for sharing!

  • Charise.
    on Oct 8, 2019

    Your rock job looks super cool! I really like your kitchen because it's not the usual trendy grey with subway tiled backsplash...blah, blah boring. I love that you tackled something different, you did it yourself and you weren't price-gauged by one of the "professionals". Well done!

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