Handmade Hodgepodge Tile Backsplash

Handmade Hodgepodge Tile Backsplash

One of my friends has a very cute house that she is always fixing up. But with the pandemic, it was hard to justify doing some projects while it was ok to try other projects. Since Home Depot was always open throughout considered an essential business she thought it would be a good time to do something about the old wallpaper behind her counters. Going this way and that over what she should do? Paint, buy boring backsplash, or hang new wallpaper. Well since she is my friend I assumed she saw my backsplash and just discounted making her own. But I suggested she should make one since she is very crafty and she could make it super custom to her house decor. She loved the idea So here goes the story and the how-to of making your own backsplash.


Here is how we did it.

Kay and Heather Making Tile Backsplash

Kay and Heather breaking up tile.


A holiday weekend with family usually means family art days. Either making art or going to museums, galleries, lobbies, sculpture gardens, and private collections. It also means going to movies, seeing photo slide shows, talking about the latest video, podcast, comedian, TV show, and then discussing the periodicals, blogs, and of course it is always better to be reading a good book worth talking about.

This past Thanksgiving weekend lasted until Monday, and it’s Tuesday, and no wonder my little family is tired. It was a lot of fun.

Making art was on the agenda. The best thing was getting my mother off the hook to do collage at her house, to instead, as a stroke of genius, help her by coming up with one of about fifty projects I have /had ready for the willing nieces, kids, sister, brother-in-law, and mother to work on.

We tiled. I had the luan boards already precut to the correct size for new backsplashes in my kitchen and some extras pieces for people to take home, or if willing, make for my bathrooms? 

My mother had some old dishes, and I just ended up using those funky “state” plates sitting in an unused cupboard. Breaking the dishes proved a perfect job for my helpful brother-in-law.

We were all novices, but no slouches to creativity. Everyone went to work like it was a race and everyone finished theirs and helped the others until they were all done. Any crazy suggestions like gluing a serving dish to one were welcomed with the agreement it would work.

It went over well for me because I trust the artistic license of my family, ever tasteful and ingenious. We had a great time. But the pressure is on to do the next step of the grout. Christmas can’t come soon enough!

So you would think maybe people would help then with grout, but no way. I am expected to be so all over the tile project, have it hanging, and beautiful. Because a decorated home is the only reason to entertain or is it entertaining is the only reason to clean? And decorate?


It took a few months but we finally got the tile done and installed in the kitchen! In case you haven’t read about the family tile project, I put my family to work making back-splashes for our kitchen and/or bathroom. Since there were a lot of us, and I didn’t want anything permanent in my house, we built them on luan specially cut to order at Home Depot.  We all thought, maybe, there might be an extra one to give away, but some of the glue we used was not the right kind. I recommend only using tile glue AcrylPro 1 Qt. Ceramic Tile Adhesive, which is really easy to use and a quart will go a long way. You can spread it on first, then add the pieces or glue each one separately. So I single-handed re-glued the biggest piece for over the stove and the other two were fine. Another two pieces just fell apart though.


We cut a 5’ long piece above the sink.

Gluing Down the Tile

Fay making her backsplash. The Tile Party!


All glued down.


Mixing the Grout.


Wipe off with a big sponge.


Since this was my very first time tiling I wasn’t sure how to apply the grout. I ended up using a bag I bought from the Restore for around a dollar. It comes in many forms and colors. Really you just have to experiment. I love how the white grainy one I chose turned out!

Something came over me while I was getting ready to install the tile. I decided to make an easy island in the kitchen, paint one kitchen wall with blackboard paint and paint the counters with counter-top paint.