My friends, I owe you a long-overdue tutorial on the backsplash install as a part of my kitchen makeover. This project was my very first attempt at DIY tiling and I was a bit nervous to experiment in the kitchen, of all places. Tile isn’t exactly something that’s easy to fix if you make a mistake.
I chose a small subway-patterned glass tile in a sea blue color. I love a good deal, so I was ecstatic when I saw this beautiful tile on clearance at my local Home Depot a couple years ago (yes, it’s been sitting in my garage this whole time).
I am IN LOVE with glass tile! The way the light bounces off the backsplash now brings me so much joy! It’s like jewelry for your kitchen — a little bling!
So the question is… How did I do it? Well, as I said, I was a bit nervous to experiment and do my first tiling job in the kitchen so I took the easy way out and used a fab product called SimpleMat Tile Setting Mat.
It’s basically a “sticker” of sorts that you use in place of mixing thin set. Super easy and no mess! It is quite a bit more expensive than thin set, but still way cheaper than hiring a pro! The instructions on the back are easy to follow and dummy-proof. Trust me! *wink*
After setting the tile in place, I used a grout that came pre-mixed in a tub. You’ll push the grout into the tile spaces with a tool called a float, wipe off the excess, and wait until the next day for the grout to dry before polishing the surface. Step-by-step directions are included with both the tile setting mat as well as the pre-mixed grout, which makes this project way easy for an eager DIY enthusiast!
My biggest tip for this project: make sure you wipe all your edges clean before letting the grout dry. There are a couple spots where I wish I would have been more of a perfectionist. Other than that, I love love love the results and would totally do it again in a heartbeat!
Check out all the posts in the Kitchen Makeover series!
This is kind of a funny story… you see I had thought that this was going to be a Saturday project. Bahahahahahahhahaha! Yeah, a few weeks ago I wasn’t laughing so much, more like crying! Just being honest with ya’ll! But am I glad that I did it? YES! If your thinking of painting your kitchen cabinets, just know that it is a big job. There are so many different tutorials out there and so many different ways to do it, how do you know where to start? Well, I’m going to share my experience with you complete with all the mistakes and successes. Feel free to comment or email me if you have any specific questions that haven’t been covered.
Last week I revealed my before and after photos of the complete kitchen makeover. To read the entire article and view additional photos, click here.
After viewing and considering many online tutorials, I decided to use one that I found on Pinterest detailing instructions from a professional cabinet maker. This tutorial was posted by allthingsthrifty.com. Click on the below photo for the Pinterest link which links back to the specific cabinet tutorial.
This tutorial is very detailed and extremely helpful! Things you should know that I didn’t expect:
1. The paint that is suggested (pre-catalyzed lacquer) was not easy to find. At least in my area, none of the local hardware stored carried this product. I had to drive 30+min to one of the larger Dunn-Edwards Paint Supply stores to find it. And be prepared because it is expensive – about $75 per gallon for the tinted lacquer and about $50 per gallon for the clear lacquer!
2. Prep-work takes longer than the actual painting process! I kind of knew this going in, but wasn’t expecting how much longer the prep-work would actually take. Remember, I thought this was going to be done in just one Saturday? Well, two days into the project, I was finally done with all the prep-work and ready to paint.
3. I totally underestimated the size of my kitchen. In addition to what’s pictured in my before/after photos, there is also a desk nook space and double sided butlers nook in the kitchen hallway area. Also, I decided to paint under the island the same white color in addition to all the interiors of the cabinets. Lets just say I went through way way too many gallons of paint. That was unexpected in both the budget and time spent category.
4. When using a paint sprayer, be prepared for the “paint dust” that gets EVERYWHERE! I was not ready for this. The kitchen area was well taped off and drop cloths covered every exposed area of the floor. Sounds good right? Nope! When painting, even with all the windows open, dust covered every exposed inch of the downstairs level of our home. This meant that I had to deep clean everything after the project was complete. And since this project took way longer than expected, it was a bit of an inconvenience during that period, to say the least. Not to worry, this “dust” doesn’t stick like paint — it’s just a little irritating.
So why did I choose this process over all the other tutorials out there? Well, I wanted to do it right! There probably are quicker ways to paint your cabinets, but I was going for the professional look. I’ve seen painted cabinets where you can tell that someone picked up a brush and painted them themselves, but I didn’t want my cabinets to look cheap or hand-done. Also, since I was going for a modern clean styling, it made the process a bit more difficult because it had to look “perfect”. Normally, when I paint vintage furniture pieces, I work with the imperfections and bring out the beauty of each piece with distressing techniques, etc. This was totally different in that the style I was going for did not allow for distressing so the imperfections had to be hidden and not revealed. Does that make sense? If you want more of the shabby or antiqued look on your kitchen cabinets, the process should be a lot easier than whats detailed here and you may be able to get away with a different/less-expensive paint to achieve the look you desire.
This post is getting to be a bit long and I don’t want to overwhelm you. I’ll share more tips with you on another day. I understand that I’ve been sharing a lot of the “negatives” with you thus far and I absolutely don’t want to discourage you from this process, but rather inform you so that you know what your getting into and can be more prepared than I was. I will leave you with this: I LOVE MY KITCHEN! And yes, I would do it again!
Check out all the posts in the Kitchen Makeover series!