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DIY Kitchen Tile Backsplash - Go Faux!

Don’t think you can afford a new kitchen backsplash? Think again! A faux tile backsplash is by far the least expensive backsplash option and quite simply the easiest to create. With just a few tools you’ll be well on your way.

Faux Tile Kitchen Backsplash

How to Create a Faux Tile Kitchen Backsplash

Items /Tools Required

drywall mud / drywall compound
drywall trowel
1/8″ wide painter’s tape
1 to 2″ wide painter’s tape
ruler or yardstick
interior latex primer
interior latex paint for grout lines & coloring tiles
paint roller & tray
small paint brush
Benjamin Moore Stays Clear (optional)

  1. Prepare the surface of your backsplash by giving it a good scrub and rinse to remove any dirt or grime.
  2. Use the wide painter’s tape to define the outer edges of your backsplash.
  3. Paint the entire surface area of your backsplash with the color you would like for your grout lines. Allow it to dry thoroughly.
  4. Plan your tile design by drawing it out on a piece of paper first. Then using a level, a ruler / yardstick, a pencil and narrow painter’s tape, transfer your kitchen tile backsplash design onto the area where you will create your tile backsplash.
  5. Apply 1/8″ narrow painter’s tape to replicate the lines of your tile design. Start with horizontal lines, then vertical lines followed by any diagonal lines. Make sure to leave 2 - 3″ tape tails at the outer edges. This will make tape removal easier.
  6. When all lines have been covered with tape, apply your drywall compound. Try to maintain a consistent thickness. Tile thicknesses do vary, but to achieve a more realistic looking result, you will want a noticeable, but relatively shallow depth difference between your tiles and your grout lines.
  7. Once the drywall compound has been fully applied to your backsplash area, slowly and carefully peel back the 1/8″ painter’s tape. You want to remove the tape before the drywall compound dries. After peeling off the thin tape pieces, remove the wide painter’s tape from the outer edges. As the tape is removed your new kitchen backsplash tiles will be revealed. The narrow lines where the tape was will represent the tile grout lines.
  8. Give the tiles plenty of time to completely dry - overnight or approximately 24 hours. Any small messes can be cleaned up with water even after they are dry.
  9. Once tiles are fully cured, sand or smooth as desired. Smoothing can be done with a damp, untextured cloth or rag. If smoothing with a damp cloth, allow tiles to dry again before proceeding with the next step.
  10. Re-tape edges and lines in preparation for priming and painting tiles. Using a roller suited to the texture of your tiles - foam for use on smooth tiles or a thicker pile for use on textured surfaces - apply two coats of interior latex primer. Let it dry between coats. Depending on how thickly you’ve applied the drywall compound, you may need to use a small paint brush to ensure primer is fully covering the sides of the tiles. Try not to paint over the taped grout lines.
  11. Apply finish colors to tiles as desired. A glossy paint finish will give your tiles some shine and scrubability. For all over protection and added durability you can apply a clear coat like Benjamin Moore’s Stays Clear. It is a clear, low-lustre, water-based polyurethane that does not yellow like varnishes.
  12. Remove all painter’s tape and enjoy the new focal point of your kitchen!

Pictures of Faux Tile Kitchen Backsplashes

Picture of Faux Terra Cotta Kitchen Backsplash Tiles

Picture of Faux Subway Tile Backsplash

Additional DIY Tile Inspiration & Ideas:

Use latex metallic paints or glazes to replicate the funky new metal tiles that you’ve seen at do-it-yourself stores.

Take a loosely woven piece of fabric and lightly press it over the wet drywall compound to give tiles a linen look.


1 Ikea Low Cost Stainless Steel Kitchen Backsplash — SuzyRenovator { 02.07.08 at 2:20 pm }

[...] For other low cost kitchen backsplash options see DIY Kitchen Tile Backsplash - Go Faux. [...]

2 Backsplash Materials & Design Options — SuzyRenovator { 02.16.08 at 7:43 pm }

[...] Ikea Low Cost Stainless Steel Kitchen Backsplash DIY Kitchen Tile Backsplash - Go Faux! [...]

3 Faux Tile Backsplash « East Coast Bungalow { 08.21.08 at 12:03 pm }

[...] has awesome instructions on how to make your own Faux Tile Backsplash.  This is something I’ve definitely been considering for our kitchen…the combo of [...]

4 Amy { 05.27.09 at 9:38 pm }

I did this faux tile on my kitchen backsplash and it turned out great! I might need to play with the colors a bit but it looks nice.

5 Suzy { 05.31.09 at 8:11 pm }


Any chance you’d be willing to share some pictures of your finished product? I’d love to share them with other readers.

6 Terri { 09.23.09 at 10:58 am }

any instructions and special tips for installing a faux tin back splash in my kitchen? I am quite handy and would like to do this myself. Am fully aware that their are “tricks to the trade” and would love to know what they are for this project. Am purchasing the faux 18 x 24 panels from Lowes.

7 Terri { 09.23.09 at 11:09 am }

need full proof instructions for installing the faux tin wall panels as a kitchen back splash. Any tricks to the trade are greatly appreciated.

8 Piddler { 09.23.09 at 12:42 pm }

would love to post before and after photos of my kitchen redo
when I finish. Kitchen is tiny, outdated, and nearly impossible to work in. It has been a hit and miss by previous owners for years and now it’s my turn.

9 Kitchen Tiles { 10.08.09 at 3:21 am }

Great instruction….i think it is very helpful…everyone who want to decorate their kitchen..Very nice way you teach….how to make great kitchen…

10 Darlene Michaud { 09.24.10 at 7:56 pm }

I followed your instructions and my faux tile backsplash is perfect! Thank you!!

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