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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Economical Tile Fix

How to Redo Your Kitchen Backsplash 
for under $20
Last week I shared my kitchen makeover. 
I came up with this idea a few months ago and decided to try it and it worked perfectly.
My kitchen before.
Black and white tile that I hated.
I would have loved to have just retiled my whole kitchen with white marble subway tile 
but I couldn't afford that. I can't even afford regular subway tile at the moment.
Since I really like white tile...and most of my tile was white...I thought it really wasn't 
necessary to change out all my tile. Since it was only the black ones that I found offensive.
Buying white tiles to replace only the black ones would not have been expensive 
but I was worried about damaging the white tile trying to remove the black tile 
and if they didn't get damaged, I was worried about
getting the walls prepped inside the just removed black tile space.
I'd thought about painting only the black ones...but was afraid they would look painted.

It came to me that if I had a Silhouette machine maybe I could cut squares to cover the black tiles.
I didn't have a Silhouette machine though...and getting one was more than I could spend on my tile redo.

That led me to this place -
I just did a quick search on Ebay for sign vinyl. 
Cost for a roll 24" x 10' was $7.99
plus shipping of $8.90
So for just under $17...I had my kitchen tile fix.

If you go there and buy vinyl from them, don't ask them about this project because they know 
nothing about it. They aren't selling this stuff for redoing tile. That was all my idea.
Feel free to email me with any questions you might have.
That's a new tile just like my tile. I made a pattern of the tile on light weight cardboard. 
I traced my pattern on to the back of the vinyl and then just cut out all the squares. 
Make your vinyl squares about 1/4 inch larger all around than the actual size of the tile.
You need a little extra because its very hard to lay them exactly on the wall perfectly.
You need a little extra vinyl to play with. After cutting out all my squares, 
I then drew a line catty corner across and cut that too so that I had triangles. 
This is how it looked as some tiles were covered and some were not.
The vinyl is very glossy and once smoothed in place looks just like real tile.
I started by lining up the long edge. I used two hands to do this...but here I had the camera in one hand.
Once it's lined up covering all the unwanted colored tile at the long edge....
you smooth up and out carefully...smoothing out any air bubbles.
This stuff is very forgiving. If you get it on crooked...you can pull it up and try again.
Or if you get air bubbles...pull till you get to the bubble and smooth again.
I found that I could correct a mistake about three times before I decided I better scrap that piece and try a new one.
Continue smoothing.
No bubbles.
Then take an exacto blade and trim off any excess.
I found I needed to aim towards the meeting tile. If I trimmed right on the edge of the covered tile...
I ended up with a little of the black edge showing and I'd have to redo.
See the excess? Make sure to use a very sharp blade. 
I changed mine out about four times during the 
this project. I wanted to make sure my edges were clean.
I'm cutting on the grout which leads to a little bit of grout crumbles but not enough to damage.
I also found that the exacto did not scratch the existing tiles. Thank goodness.
Done this way, trimming each tile as you go...they look like real tile.
Before I did this project, I did one tile only and left it up for about two months and found 
that it wore well...just like tile and when I went to pull it off...it leaves no residue.
There is no damage to the tile it covers.
It took me a couple of hours to cut out all the pieces I needed and about seven hours to stick them all on.
Much less than it would have taken to demo, prep and retile.
Someday I will get a new retiled backsplash but this has worked out to be a perfect 
temporary solution till I can afford to do so.
I like my kitchen so much more with the solid white backsplash.
This vinyl comes in lots of colors including metallics too.
So actually a person could get very creative.

I did come across this solution for tile backsplashes the other day.
Self adhesive tiles that just stick to the wall. 
This would be perfect for anyone with a plain wall that they want tile on.
They have lots of different options. Doesn't this look great?
I'd so do this...if I had a kitchen with no backsplash.
It appears to be very easy to install.

Anyway...I'm sure happy with my results. Email me if you have any questions.

You can see more of my kitchen...here.

sharing at


Debby said...

What a terrifc job you did. I love that the cost was so low. It looks like a bit of work but looks so good.

time worn interiors said...

Smart girl! Very, very smart girl! Love it! Looks like you've had new tile installed!

Amy Chalmers said...

that is an incredible solution Nita! I think you should market this genius idea!! Your covered tile looks exactly like the real stuff, and what a difference it made on a budget too.

Screaming Meme said...

You are my new BFF! I needed to get something like smart tiles...I was looking at the adhesive stickers you put on walls and add tile to and then grout...but with smart tiles...i dont even need any tools...Thank you so much for this post...and BTW...i love your idea...it turned out fabulous! Our first home they painted over the tile...I didnt now until I got in there and started cleaning...I think that was a good cheap idea too...But yours is more professional looking for sure! Have an awesome day!

Xo, Meme

Ivy Lane said...

GREAT job! wow! looks awesome!

Unknown said...

WOW! Looks great. I would have never dreamed. Very cretive.

stefanie said...

you are soooo clever!!! its perfect!!!

French-Kissed said...

So impressed...it makes such a big difference in the look of your kitchen. There is something to be said about need pushing the limits of creativity. Looks like you are having so much fun with this.


Darby Hawley said...

This is an awesome tip!!! Thank you SO much for sharing!

D McCullough said...

Wow! Looks beautiful and what a creative solution! Whatever gave you this terrific idea?

JoAnn S. said...

Hi Nita, what an ingenious way to cover the tiles!!! it looks terrific. hugs JoAnn

Etcetorize said...

What a great idea! It looks like a whole new backsplash~

The enchanted home said...

This is amazing and should be submitted to Martha Stewart living pronto!! I am so impressed and it looks incredible!

Kelley said...

wow...great idea! looks amazing...you would never know!

xo kelley

Nita Stacy said...

Thanks everyone! You asked what gave me this idea? Well, I found online one day a place where you could order decorative stickers to add to your tiles and I thought why not just use a sticker to cover up the whole tile? So first I tried some vinyl sheets I bought at Michael's but they were not opaque enough. And did not stick well enough. That is when I thought about sign vinyl. I've ordered signs before and seen it used and thought it might work. I was surprised at how cheaply I could buy a roll.

So I ordered the roll not really knowing if it would work. I did a test on one tile and found that it stuck very well...but was removable too.

So then it was just a matter of sitting down and making a pattern...just a square a little larger than the actual tile. Then lots of tracing and cutting.

At one point last winter...I was about to buy replacement tiles...that would have only cost me about $60. But I was afraid I'd have a hard time removing the black ones and getting the wall smooth underneath. Plus I'd need to cut all the tiles which would involve renting a wet saw.

I decided I'd try this solution before doing actual tile. Someday...I'll do all new...like someday when I get new appliances and a new sink. But for now...this made me like my backsplash and I hated it so much before.

Tanna said...

Nita, that was just downright genius! It looks GREAT!! I am so impressed! blessings ~ tanna

Rhondi said...

Hi Nita
What great tile ideas! Thanks for the tips. Thanks too for coming to my porch party today too!

Ricki Treleaven said...

Nita, I still can't get over your tiles. You cannot tell at all from the photos that they are not creamy white tiles. Amazing! Thanks for the tutorial.

Debra @ Life in a 320 square foot home said...

AMAZING! I. Must. Use. This. SOMEWHERE! It is beautiful!

Also praying for your beautiful and brave cousin......

The Sterling Cherub said...

It really does look amazing, Nita! You did an excellent job, very precise, they really do look like authentic tiles. I am very impressed with the way this project turned out for you!



V I N T A G E O L O G I E said...

You totally rock!!

Passionate for White said...

I've just become one of your newest followers and love all that I'm seeing. Looking forward to going through your archives!

Cindi Myers said...

Wow, I agree with all the above comments! It is amazing!
Hmmm, I wonder if I could try it on my old fridge? I will have to go home and measure!
Really, this is totally cool!
XOXO - Cindi

à la parisienne said...

This is a very clever idea! I know what you mean about loving subway tiles but hating to spend the money on them...

I love it when women use a little ingenuity to create something beautiful without spending a fortune. Well done!


Debra@CommonGround said...

Great job, Nita. This was a really smart idea!

KM Studios said...

Super Genius!
looks great!

Jamie said...

Fantastic idea! Looks great! Just curious, how does it stand up to water and heat or steam from the sink or stove?

Natasha in Oz said...

Wow, that is brilliant! I am always amazed at the things that people come up with.

I love your kitchen too Nita. You did a fantastic job with it.

Best wishes and happy Friday,

Korrie@RedHenHome said...

Genius! I wonder if I could use vinyl to cover my entire countertop?? ;-)

Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse said...

Love this! I used store bought peel and stick tiles to cover a hideous "accent" tile until I could re-do. Wish I had known about this product.

P.S. I love your blog and am adding myself as your newest follower today!

Lisa's Creative Designs said...

Beautiful Job. I am known for making my own version for something when the real thing is not in my budget. Thank you so much for the link to Smart Tiles. I am currently working on my own kitchen and just have a plain painted wall as a backsplash. I've thought about doing a broken china mosaic but this option is interesting too and easy to change when I get tired of it. Your kitchen is beautiful!

Lou Cinda @ Tattered Hydrangeas said...

This looks FABULOUS!!!
I have been so anxious to see what you did and I would have NEVER known that you didn't retile!!


Lou Cinda

Deborah March said...

OmiGOSH, what a FABULOUS job you did!! Pure unadulterated inspiration!

Jenna said...

How very clever! I wish this was a plausible fix for floor tiles. I have some that seriously need a makeover.

Decor To Adore said...

What a smart idea! I love it.

Holly Kennedy said...

That is AMAZING! Very clever! Great job!!!!!

Kitchen Benchtops said...

I dream of redoing our kitchen in white once we've saved up enough for a renovation. Thanks for the inspiring photos!

Kirsty said...

I know I'm late to the party, but boy is this clever! I just had to add my voice to the clamor of adoring fans, and you certainly deserve it. I started reading this with a kind of "okay, which to pricey for me version is it this time" attitude, and you blew me away. So clever...