I wanted a colorful, unique backsplash to stand out against the otherwise all-white kitchen (Which you can see here: https://prettybeeboutique.wordpress.com/2012/03/05/painting-cabin…-white-kitchen/). Again, I did my search engine research. I considered mixing different types of tile, or just choosing a bright color. Inexpensive colored tile was difficult to find. I found a few pieces at the local tile outlet (http://ctonky.com/). I think the floor clerk thought I was nuts as I scooped up random bits & pieces from their seconds bins & free pile. But nothing was really jumping out at me until I saw a picture online of a broken plate backsplash.
My kitchen decorum & all of my table settings revolve around my colorful Fiesta dishes. Back when I was about 15 my mom asked what I wanted her to put into my hope chest. I kind of shrugged my shoulders & said “Well, I like Fiesta dishes.” Not in line for inheriting my grandmother’s very large collection of vintage Fiesta dishes, My mom & Aunt Mona collected all the Fiesta dishes they could find for my hope chest. I’m thankful to have my own large collection of first hand, second-hand & vintage Fiesta bowls, plates & saucers in almost every color. My collection is now ever-so-slightly depleted, as I broke a bunch of my plates! Now, now, I have plenty left & I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out!
- Prep: There was no old backsplash to remove. And as always, I did no preparation of the surface.
- Break the plates: Wrap in a thick towel & place on hard surface. (I did it on the driveway.) Start by tapping with a hammer in the center of each plate to get larger pieces, then you can re-wrap & break into smaller pieces as you like.
- Installation: I used a really cool product, tile installation mats. They’re sticky on both sides, so remove adhesive from wall side & place mat. Then remove adhesive from front & place your broken pieces in whatever pattern you like.
Perks…Tile placement isn’t permanent until you grout, so you can make sure you have the colors evenly dispersed throughout the pattern & rearrange the plate pieces as needed. Also, the mats come in a small, easy to use size, so you can work on the backsplash a little at a time.
4. Grout: Once you’ve set the plate pieces, mix sanded grout (for larger grout joints) in color of choice, according to package directions. My antique white grout was very tricky to handle. If too runny, it simply dripped onto the countertop. I made sure it was thick. I picked up gobs of it & smoothed the grout between the broken plate pieces with my hands. (It’s not as bad as it sounds!) While still wet, I took a damp rag & smoothed the grout’s surface, then let dry as directed.
5. Sealing: Well, sanded grout is hard to clean once it gets dirty. It needs sealed. But alas, polished “tile” (or broken plate pieces) can’t be sealed. Another quandary, but solved easily enough. A latex grout sealant with a sponge applicator allows you to smoosh the sealant into the grout a little at a time so it has time to soak in without getting on the plates.