DIY Cheap Subway Tile Backsplash

Do you want a cheap way to update your kitchen backsplash? How about for just $22 dollars? Here is how we added a subway tile look to our backsplash using paint. This can also be done using contact paper if you are renting a space. Here is our finished backsplash.
First paint the area in a grey paint (or whatever color you wanted...).
Next cut your tape using a straight-edged knife to the size you want for your grout. I wish I would have made mine a little bit smaller to 1/8".
Then tape your wall using a 3" x 6" cardboard paper as your template.
Using a credit card, make sure all the tape is sticking to the wall. But to get a crisp line, take the grey paint and paint over all the edges of the tape.
Then using a high gloss white paint, paint the whole area.
After everything has dried remove the tape and enjoy your new backsplash.
You can see more detailed instructions at:

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Megan {TwoFeetFirst}

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

13 questions
  • Kathleen Reedy- Akridge
    on Oct 16, 2016

    That looks amazingly authentic! How long did this take you?

    • Megan {TwoFeetFirst}
      on Jan 5, 2017

      I think it took about five days to do the painting. This was with dry time and kids!

    • Diane Taylor Noel
      on Apr 10, 2017

      Looks great.. I am still debating what to do with my plain backsplash. It's already grey. I wonder if you remove the tape before it is completely dry to avoid any paint touch ups.
  • Fho3960399
    on Dec 9, 2016

    Please tell me how you got the lines so straight? I want to try this but afraid I couldn't get the tape on straight.

  • Ronda Denny
    on Jan 3, 2017

    What color did you finally go with on the bottom cabinets? Looks amazing btw!!!

  • Lisa Moy Henderson
    on Apr 4, 2017

    How difficult was peeling the tape and did any white paint peel off while doing so?
    • Marlene Taylor Grexton
      on Oct 27, 2017

      I’ve done this before & it turned out great. But make sure you pull the tape off as soon as you’re done painting like while the the paint is still wet.
    • Norma Watson
      on Nov 24, 2017

      Use detail tape from auto store. Just the right size.

  • Purtty123
    on May 19, 2017

    I have a ceramic backsplash which is so ugly. Will this work sticking on ceramic? See picture below. Thanks!
    • Rose Broadway
      on Jul 10, 2017

      Yes, but be sure you use a paint designed for ceramic.
    • Marlene Taylor Grexton
      on Oct 27, 2017

      Also make sure you clean your ceramic till with a liquid sandpaper before you you pair. This cleans the surface & helps the pair adhere to the tile. Also i Used melamine paint you can get this in a water base as now
    • Marlene Taylor Grexton
      on Oct 27, 2017

      Sorry auto correct that should have read tiles not till.
      & liquid sandpaper before you paint
    • Ann
      on Oct 27, 2017

      This looks beautiful, what a genius and inexpensive way to update your kitchen
    • Leslie
      on Oct 30, 2017

      Paint with RustOleum tub and tile paint and follow all the directions. I did this to my 70's pink tile bathroom and it looks great!
    • April Melton St Amant
      on Jun 15, 2019

      Can you post a picture? I have the pink tile

  • Rosann
    on Oct 27, 2017

    What paint did you use to paint the tile? thanks
  • Loretta Stevens
    on Oct 27, 2017

    did you have any areas besides just under cabinets. Along cabinet sides? How do you address that issue?
    • The Snarky Princess
      on Oct 21, 2018

      Hey Loretta I have seen people buy a simple wood edge - then painted to match. This looks nice and it finishes off open edges nicely

  • Rebecca Jenkins
    on Aug 19, 2018

    Can you paint pink tile and green that is on wall and bathtub. My daughter and husband bought an older house and want to redo these tiles rather than replacing

  • Pamela
    on Nov 17, 2018

    Looks great !!! I would love to do this , but I put up beadboard on my cabinets, and I think the directions would clash ?

    I wanted to do this but with a little hexagon shape , thought it would be too difficult to make it even looking. But after seeing how nicely yours came out, I might just give it a shot. Thanks for your post !

    • Barb
      on Nov 17, 2018

      run your "tiles" vertically instead of horizontal.

  • Gail
    on Nov 17, 2018

    I am really not sure but they make a pinstripe tape for cars?? and could you use that for you grout lines. I could never cut that small a stripe and do it steadily. then peel if off after just like you blue tape. Or could they cut the blue tape at Home depot wiht the shutter and blind cutter???? my hands aren't that steady anymore.

    • Lorrie Nagel
      on Nov 17, 2018

      I did a similar project a few years ago and found narrow tape widths at Grainger equipment. I used 1/4” and it turned out great. I also added a layer of glaze over the paint to make it look more like a natural tile.

    • Marg Manfield
      on Nov 18, 2018

      I think this would work too!!

  • Sheri
    on Nov 18, 2018

    If you painted the wall gray to get the grout lines, why do you have those white brick looking patches in the 2nd, 4th, and 5th picture down? You were going to paint the whole wall white to get the subway tiles, so why are those white brick strips there?

    • Becky
      on Nov 19, 2018

      It's just a way to save a little bit of the gray paint. It doesn't need to be solid.

    • Jenn Gates MacKinnon
      on May 22, 2019

      Thank you!! I too was curious

    • Sheryll S
      on May 5, 2020

      She painted gray OVER the tape to seal & prevent the white from seeping under the tape. I think.

  • Vicki
    on Nov 24, 2018

    I am surprised the paint did not peel up when you pulled off the tape or was there touch up needed. I never wait until the paint has dried to pull the tape because of this. Was there a special type of paint? Tell us if there is a trick to prevent the paint from peeling up.

  • Stephanie Mastri
    on Feb 1, 2019

    Can you do this on outside foudation stucco? to look like brick? What type of paint would you need to use?

    • Debbie Vazquez
      on Sep 30, 2019

      I removed what they call Chattahoochee around my pool many years ago

      I was expecting guest for the weekend so I needed a quick fix I did this outside.Around the pool I used beige with a reddish orange grout it Looked great resembled pavers

Join the conversation

2 of 87 comments
  • Cleo Powell
    on Aug 3, 2019

    instead of cutting the tape maybe you could use automotive tape? They have it in 1/4 . Just a thought .

    Great job!

  • Lorelei Sola
    on Aug 27, 2019

    I love the subway tile look without having the grout to keep clean. This paint job is great. I definitely want to do this. I may use dark blue/gray as grout color. Thank you.

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