$15 Backsplash Make Over

4 Materials
4 Hours

Searching for ways to give your backsplash a makeover? I have an idea for you that is under $15!

Have I told you I love our cottage? If I have not, then I want to let you know I do! We keep working at making it "our" home with our personalities reflected throughout. Sometimes I come up with a really crazy idea, and then the more I think about it I wonder if it is as crazy as I think it is, or if it is just perfect for our cottage.

If you have read along for any length of time then you know my creativity was hindered by an art teacher for way too long. If you would like to read that post, you can click on Spring Decorating Idea. I am unsure if she was having a bad day, meant what she said, or what happened that day in 1980 something, but you know what? When working with the youth, you never know how you say something could be taken to heart. Sometimes you need to be mindful with your approach because like me, they could take that one comment and let that affect them... forever... don't worry, I got my confidence back in the creativity department. I quite enjoy it now... which leads us back to my crazy idea.

There is one room in our home that I have not spent energy doing much of anything to since Mr. Vintage is dead set it will be completely remodeled. Yep, the kitchen... I have spent many hours combing the internet looking at kitchens. None really get me excited. I do not want a kitchen like everyone else. Standard boxes that store things... I want to be excited to be in my kitchen! I want it to reflect my personality... I want to wake up every morning with a smile on my face and be so excited to set foot in my kitchen that I cannot sleep at night... ok, that may be taking it a bit far. I already do not sleep enough... but I do want to be excited to spend time in my kitchen.

I want to see curves... detail... furniture... not square boxes all lined up and your standard backsplash, and standard tile on the floor... I would love to have the black and white penny tile of days gone by, but Mr. Vintage does not agree... and I know you have to compromise... but why on this one detail do we have to? LOL.

So, when I had a crazy idea for a new backsplash, I presented my idea to Mr. Vintage. He did not have much to say at first, sometimes I think he has to prepare himself for the idea and know we will more than likely move forward with it, but he has to mentally get himself ready for it... like why do I want the bathroom closet wallpapered? Click if you would like to read You will never guess what we did. He just shakes his head and asks how do you think this will get done and who is doing this project?

My response is we can do this wonderful project together. Then we start whatever project and he takes over because he does not like how I do something or I get frustrated because it is not working out the way I saw it coming together in my mind.... secretly, he is just better at doing projects than me so I tend to get frustrated early on. Shhh... do not tell him my secret!

So when I prompted him again about changing out the backsplash, he said he wanted to do it when we remodeled the kitchen. I said well, I have an "easy" way to make it different, and beautiful, and fancy pants... he rolled his eyes and kept doing what he was doing since he has found the projects are seldom easy... so then I had to step up my game and tell him I could do it for less than $15.00! That may have gotten his attention...

Here is our backsplash before:

So your first question may be, hmmm.... wonder why Cara has fancy silver platters on her wall? Or you may not have thought that at all, it is just what I would wonder? I was hiding something I decided I did not want to look at anymore.

Who puts these accent tiles mixed in on the wall? I know, it was a thing they did in the 1980's (the hacked up kitchen told on itself when we peeled off the wallpaper, you can click to read Making a Home), but I am still unsure why we need to look at a pepper grinder, a whisk, a salt shaker, and a rose? Maybe that was their way of giving the cottage charm then, I am not judging, but I will just say it is not exactly my style and leave it at that. Just like when I leave this earth, the next person who owns this home says why in the world did that lady do this?

Then we have utensils, beaters, and a serving spoon...

And lastly, in case you forget how to convert your measurements, it is there on the wall for your reference any old time you need it.

I could deal with the sparkles in the tile, I wasn't opposed to that. You know I like a little sparkle, but you could not see them unless you were right on top of them, but the accent tiles? I had to let them go. My silver platters kept falling down at the most inopportune times, like when we were sleeping and so peanut would bark until everyone in the house was awake, maybe our entire block. Once he focuses on something, he will not let it go.

So finally, Mr. Vintage agreed (after I purchased the materials we would need) that we could, in fact change up the backsplash! I secretly did my happy dance and smiled to myself since I was getting a new backsplash! I kept to myself that I hoped it turned out how I thought it would.

So on Saturday morning, I woke up bright and early and was ready to conquer the world! I cleaned all of the backsplash with vinegar to clean off any grease that filters through the air when you cook to prep the walls for my new backsplash, moved everything to the dining room with assistance, and started prepping our materials.

Oh, you want to skip the steps and go directly to see what the new backsplash looks like? Me too! Why bother with the hum drum details?

This backsplash is totally me! It’s unique, I doubt you’ll find another one like it out there... it’s gray and white... I love those two colors together... and the floral damask pattern? Why, it’s my favorite pattern of all time! You can find similar patterns in a few places in our home. I think it also complements our cherry cabinets which I’ve been dead set on painting... jury is still out on that decision for now.

I’ve wanted a white kitchen for as long as I can remember, and white kitchens are typically found in old cottages... you see I am trying to convince all of us that I NEED that white kitchen... but the backsplash? Oh, it is staying, I have already informed Mr. Vintage we will need to be extra careful when we do make changes here.

Well, now that you’ve seen the new backsplash what do you think? Are you asking yourself where is the crazy? How did they do this? Would you believe me if I told you we used a pack of decorative paper napkins and Mod Podge? No, you say? So there’s where the crazy came from? Yes, true story...

Sometimes I get ideas when I’m looking at the most mundane items in life. I was scrolling through Amazon, something I tend to do when looking for inspiration. I saw the napkins and stopped. I said to myself, oh, I do love that pattern... I want that in our home, but where and how could I do this? I didn’t stall for long, I thought hmm... kitchen... now what? I walked out to the kitchen looked around and thought. You’ve been wanting a new backsplash forever, but it never made sense to remodel that area when we were not ready for the rest of it. This seems like the ideal mini makeover! And guess what? It is staying for life! I refuse to let it go!

You see, once I am in love with something, I love it FOREVER! It is part of the reason it takes me a while to make a decision. I have to analyze it, see how it will come together in my mind, and then take the plunge in making the final decision, but in this case, I just knew it was what I wanted! Mr. Vintage suggested having custom tiles made, of course me, being me (frugal one), said why would I do that when I already have what I want?

I do have in process photos for you, I was so excited to see it come along. I never once hesitated on what if... it doesn't look right... it is a total flop... I was not letting any bad thoughts filter in... because I knew it would be perfect for what I had in mind. Sometimes you have to let caution fly out the window and just JUMP and that is what we did here.

Some may think I am crazy for basically gluing paper napkins to my wall, but you know what? I do not mind... I have always marched to the beat of a different drum... why stop now? I have never really had this issue, but there comes a point in time when you just have to live life for you and who cares what others think?

Do you see I have two different knobs on the kitchen cabinets? I was hoping you would help me decide which ones look best in our makeover? Mr. Vintage came home one evening with the mercury glass knobs for me! I was in love! I was unsure if they looked right with our cabinets though... too big? I think I am liking them with the backsplash though. I am all ears on what you think?

I should have shown a before picture of the cabinets, but do you see how shiny they are? I used Howard Feed-N-Wax on them. I have used it before on our furniture, but never on the cabinets. I was pleasantly surprised how much better they look!

I shopped our attic and I found my milk glass teacups that I decided to add to the wall. I just got the hammer out and a few nails and went to work. Mr. Vintage was not home this morning so I was on my own... not like I do not know how to use a hammer. Of course, he shook his head when he came in the backdoor and saw I had been busy. He may have mentioned something about it changing every time he leaves the house...

Milk glass is something I have collected for a while and I decided to get some pieces I have not seen in a while out. The cookie jar, sugar canister, milk and creamer set, and oil decanter were all antique store finds!

Ok, on to the in process photos...

We started in the corner with the first piece, then the second piece next to it to the right. Then backtracked with the piece to the left. It all matched up perfectly.

Started putting in the second row in the corner, we wanted the hard part out of the way.

We kept installing the first row all the way to the end of the tile under the window.

You can see where Mr. Vintage cut around the electrical sockets and light switches so we were able to keep going and matching up the paper.

One more piece left...

Questions I have received with my other decoupage projects:

Can you decoupage on ceramic tile?

The short and long answer is yes. You can add Mod Podge to ceramic tile to add pictures, paper, napkins like we have here.

What is the best glue to use when decoupaging an item?

I have always used Mod Podge. I have never had issue with anything coming lose from any surface using this glue.

Is the surface resistant?

Yes, we brushed on the Mod Podge over the backsplash tiles, then added another layer to the napkin after it was in place. This makes the surface water resistant.

Is Mod Podge a sealer?

Is is an all in one sealer. You can actually sand it down for a smooth surface, but I am keeping mine as is. I love the small details in the wall.

How long does it take to dry?

Mod Podge dries pretty fast, 15-20 minutes. We did make sure we had several layers to ensure this backsplash is not going anywhere.

You know, I do love your questions, keep them coming!

So on to the how to, it really is simple, you can find directions below on the How to Card:

So, this little backsplash is what makes me smile everyday when I walk in our kitchen. Not one morning since it has been completed have I not smiled a big dumb grin on my face when I turned on the light! The hardest thing has been keeping it quiet because I have been busy restyling the area and making my mind up where I want to store things. This gal has a lot of stuff. I need storage! Or maybe I just have too many things? On second thought, nah... I need all of this stuff! This certainly will not be the end of my crazy ideas, they come regularly, so stick around. 😉

You can see more of our decoupaging projects by clicking How to decoupage a vase and Spring Decorating Idea.

Interested in other crazy/different ideas I have, click to read How to use unique home décor items, Ooh la la, jewelry for your curtains, A fancy pants chandelier for a closet, and How to give a brass sconce a make over.

Below I have some beautiful napkin options in case you are wanting to try a similar project. The napkins we purchased were three-ply so when I found the guest towels, I am thinking they will work the same as the napkins we purchased. I think I would stay with a napkin that does not have a border around it if you decide to try this particular project. The potential of so many choices when seeking a backsplash just opened up, all while staying on a budget. I am beginning to feel like we may be veterans in the decoupaging arena...

I do not post all of our projects on Hometalk so you may want to check out our other projects on our site. Also, I have many napkins that I shared on our site and where you can find them if you decide to try this project. It was a lot of fun for the two of us to do and we are loving the results! Gotta love it when a project turns out how you see it in your mind!

disclosure: this post contains affiliate links

Resources for this project:
See all materials
Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.More info
Vintage Style Gal
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 18 questions
  • Patricia Eskenazi Patricia Eskenazi on Aug 15, 2022

    I know this sounds crazy, but could you do this project on painted walls, no tiles? I want to do something under my cabinets for now, but not permanently.

  • Roz Roz on Aug 16, 2022

    How do you remove the napkins

  • Kathy Barie Kathy Barie on Aug 22, 2022

    I am an apartment dweller & have been wanting to change my tile backsplash for a while. Like others here I’m wondering if you have tried to remove this?

Join the conversation
4 of 89 comments
  • She67868025 She67868025 on Aug 18, 2022

    I ABSOLUTLY L O V E D this fix!! The mercury knobs for sure. I might even try this on a small section of painted drywall this winter. Summer is short ;( so what a true gem of an idea! I mod podge glass vases this way and I love them too.

    • Vintage Style Gal Vintage Style Gal on Aug 18, 2022

      Thank you so much, I’m glad you enjoyed our backsplash. We have our mercury knobs in place, and looking forward to our next kitchen project.

  • Diana Wolf Diana Wolf on Aug 22, 2022

    Great job-

    it looks lovely.

    I love the mercury knobs too.

    For those asking you I don’t think removing would be that easy- so probably not renter friendly but perhaps easier on tile than on drywall.

    however I have had the idea noodling around in my head about first putting removable contact paper on the wall and then decoupaging right on top of that-

    then when you pull the contact paper off the decoupage should come off with it very easily.

    at least theoretically. icon

    I would do a test run on somewhere unobtrusive or on a scrap wood .