DIY: How to make a mosaic backsplash. BEAUTY.



A #DIY tutorial on how to make a mosaic backsplash by @lynneknowlton


Have you ever had an idea that hit you right between the eyes and you thought to yourself:

“I must do it*…I must do it*…..STAT.”



Do it.

Here’s some mosaic inspiration for you …..

You can put your funky ideas together … piece by piece.

Peace by piece.

As a blogger, we are saddled gifted with ideas becoming blog posts in our heads before we even do the freaking idea.

It just happens like that. You think in ‘blog posts’.

 It’s a bloggers disease bliss.   Bloggers elbow.

You think in blocks of bloggerness.

 E.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g is a blog post.

Truth.  Gospel idiotic blogger truth.

Then….oh then… comes the blogstipation.  Suddenly, you have the ideas but the words won’t land on your computer keyboard.

As a blogger, you never want to waste a word.

Then, oh then ~ an idea that you thought would go viral, collects dust on your blogger shelf.  What a son of a bitch.  That’s not fair.  What up wit dat?

Next… An idea that you pulled out of your wahzoo becomes one of the most popular posts on your blog.   Wtf?  OMG.   I think I need a drink.

A #DIY tutorial on how to make a mosaic backsplash by @lynneknowlton

The mosaic backsplash was one of those ideas.  I didn’t really plan it.  I just did it.  I grabbed a crayon from the drawer one day and drew it.  I’m skilled with drawing stick men, so I figured this sketch was a no-brainer.  Somehow crayons are always in my drawers, even though all my kids stopped using them about a billion years ago.

 Everyone loved the mosaic backsplash  (including myself, surprisingly) for a very long time.

Like 10 years ~ long time.

Then I wanted to punch it in the head.

So I did.

This week, I smashed it to oblivion.  Not gonna lie, it felt pretty damn good.

A #DIY tutorial on how to make a mosaic backsplash by @lynneknowlton

Before I was a blogger, I was an insane mosaic artist.  Everything I saw had the potential to become a mosaic.

If something wasn’t moving, I mosaic-ed it.

I became a mosaic artist.  Mosaics were in my line of sight for forever years.   Like blogging now, all I could think about at the time was mosaics.   I ate and drank mosaics like it was nobody’s business.

I even had a pink suede tool belt {insert embarrassment} for my mosaic work.

Thankfully, I didn’t have a mullet too.

I had to draw the line somewhere.

The Mosaic Backsplash Project :

I wanted to create a backsplash with a total budget of $40.  No lie.  Forty bucks.

The whole shebang.

Big backsplash spender, huh?

 I know.  I know.

Champagne taste with a soda pop pocketbook.

Guess what ?! Now you can to do it too.

It’s epic. Give it a try!


1.   Tile : 

I went dumpster diving in the local tile shop dumpster.  Yes, I felt the need to save twelve dollars at the time. Wahhheird.  Another easy solution is to just walk into Home Depot or Lowes and buy your tile.  It’s a little less embarrassing too.  You can use any kind of tile, decorative jewellery, found objects, pebbles, river rocks….any kind of funkiness.  The sky is the limit.

A #DIY tutorial on how to make a mosaic backsplash by @lynneknowlton

2.   Tile adhesive

Tile adhesive looks like whipped cream.  Fluffy, white whipped cream.  Officially, you shouldn’t be dipping your fingers in that gnarly bucket ~ but I did.  It was easy.  My finger was already attached to my hand.  I didn’t have to go looking for that tool.

Note: It may LOOK like whipped cream, but it doesn’t taste like it.  Just sayin’.

3.   Hammer 

And a smashing good sense of humour.

4.    Safety Glasses

My hubs is Elmer the Safety Elephant when it comes to safety first. Whateves.  Let’s just pretend that I wore my ugly safety glasses.  But of course.  Dork.  I shut my eyes.  It worked.

5.   Bandaids ( self-explanatory)

I just told you that I skip the safety glasses, and I think that tile adhesive looks like whipped cream.  Nuff said.

6.   Cupcakes

You will need a sugar high to finish the job.



1.   Draw your pattern on the wall

This is where it gets technical.  Go find a marker. Or crayons.  Draw a SIMPLE pattern on your wall.  Remember that ceramic tile is a fairly large tile.  It is not dainty.  If you do an intricate pattern, you will go MAD.  I don’t want to do that to you.

 If it isn’t fun, don’t do it.

Remember the KISS rule =  Keep it simple stupid.

2.   Prepare your tile mosaic pieces 

Lay the tile face down on a soft surface (carpet mat, old  towel or cardboard box).  The front tile surface is less likely to break off or crack if you hit the backside of the tile with your hammer.  If you look in the photo below, you can see a chip in the tile.  Avoid that.  Clearly, I was dumb.  Once.

A #DIY tutorial on how to make a mosaic backsplash by @lynneknowlton

3.   Tile adhesive

Be careful …remember…tile adhesive looks like whipping cream.  Don’t be alarmed if you want to lick your finger.  You may be high from the scent of the adhesive and not thinking straight.

Keep calm and carry on.

You can use a technique called ‘back buttering’.  What that really means is to evenly distribute your adhesive individually on the back of each tile piece.   Just dip into the adhesive and glob some adhesive on the tile.  Not too much, not too little.  Be careful to keep your hands fairly clean as you work.  If you get excess adhesive on the front of the tile, you are going to be mad at yourself later.  Be sure to remove excess adhesive off of the front of the tile while it is still wet.

Easy – sneezy – breezy – wonderful you.

Work in small batches until you feel confident.  That could be by the year 2019.  Jokes.

4.  Pay attention to the edges of your pattern :

As you lay your tile into each area, be sure to follow the outer lines of your pattern/scene.   The inner pieces may be randomly placed, but you want those outer edges to be a clear outline or edge.  Be sure to do the outer edges of each section first.

5.  Cure for 48 hours

This will allow for strong adhesion of that tile to the wall before you get slap happy with the grout.

6.   Get ready for the scary part.  Evil grout. 

Grout always scares the bejesus outta me.

Mix your grout according to package directions.  Add water to the grout until it is the consistency of cake batter.  Let it sit for about 5 minutes.  Take a sip of a very strong liquor. You will need it.

Work in small batches until you get comfy with it.  You can use a grout float to spread the grout.  I didn’t.  I stole the rubber gloves from under my sink and with a gloved hand, I dipped my hand into the grout bucket.

Spread the grout over a small manageable area of tile.  Get ready for a hot flash.  Take a deep breath.  Sip your liquor.

Let it dry for about 5 minutes or so and lightly wipe it off.  Don’t wipe it too hard.  You want that grout to set in between the cracks.  Wait for another 5 minutes and wipe again.  Repeat this process until your tile is as clean as a whistle.  A slight haze is okay.  You can buff again a little later.  Always wipe with a dry cloth or strong paper towel.  Always. Ignore the stupid box instructions that say to work with a damp sponge.  Talk about spreading the mess around with wetness.

Dry cloth method rules the roost.  Every. Single. Time.

7.  Sanded grout 

Lay plastic on your countertop for grouting. I prefer to work with sanded grout.  Why?  Because as you wipe the grout off of your project, it will fall like sand on to the plastic. It looks like beach sand aka island bliss.   When you are done, roll up the plastic and your work is done.  Tahhh dahhh ! Kitchen goddess extraordinaire.

8.    Invite your friends to come and admire your brilliance.

Encourage hand clapping, high fives and pats on the back.


You are officially a Grout Goddess (or Grout Maverick).

 Celebrate !

Got a question ? Ask it….

I promise not to punch you in the head or smash anything to smithereens.   Been there.  Done that.

Mi casa es su casa.

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Jody lee

I am impressed & inspired by you. Im an artist, trying to become blogger, broke as hell going to do mosiac kitchen backsplash. Do i use anything on wall before beginning? Do u ever do one one coaching?

Your tips on how to make a mosaic backsplash is really awesome and on point. You can really play with your artistic side when doing mosaic backslpash designs. Really appreciate it thanks for sharing such innovative and inspiring post. Great job!

Nice guide on how to make a mosaic backsplash for your kitchen renovation. Thanks for sharing.

Linda Henley

I would love to see all the photos on this page but some are not showing up. I LOVE this idea and want to do my own kitchen backsplash now!


Grandiose thinking!! I have an oak desk that the back faces out into the room, it is 68″ long and 29″ high. Can I apply the mosaic directly to the back of the desk if I frame it first, I assume I would work from the bottom up. Thank you, oh this is going to be fun, even if my husband rolled his eyes!!

I love this idea! I also had a hoot reading your directions! Did you apply this over drywall? I’ve got some interesting ideas for a picture running through myind. Can’t wait to try this. Love your blog!


I could not get any of your photos to open up. :


I loved your site! ???? this is what I needed! Inspiring! But alas I have no artistic talent just crazy ideas! And a “soda pop picketbook”. Need help! ????


Destroyed all backlashes in daughter’ s and her husbands home just because it flooded for the first time I Lafayette la . so will take you lead. . beautiful. I have done many tile jobs construction wise , however your is an interesting way. Inspirational. Pga

RT @lynneknowlton: DIY: How to make a mosaic backsplash. BEAUTY. https://t.co/y28Nzg4OTQ

DIY: How to make a mosaic backsplash. BEAUTY. https://t.co/y28Nzg4OTQ

[…] Details and instructions. […]

Simone Adler

Hi: I followed your fun instructions and made a mosaic back splash behind my stove. I haven’t grouted it yet, but was just happy to see that it hadn’t all fallen off last night…so grouting tomorrow. I went to a Restore (home improvement store that has cast offs and cheap, cheap treasures) and got tiles and some kind of spreading tool. I did not buy the funky cast off table I thought I could also mosaic–thank god. Didn’t use tool, liked your idea of just putting the adhesive on directly, used a small coated infant spoon to spread it thinking… Read more »

Reply to  Simone Adler

Hahaha whoever you are bless you!!! Wonderfully funny and helpful!

Kathleen erikson

I was wondering, could I use stoneware plates to break to make a mosiac wall picture? Love your ideas!

Steve Smith

I like your idea using discarded pieces of tile. One persons waste is another’s treasure. My concern with tile or rock is it’s uneven and in some cases I would imagine, porous which could stain. After all, isn’t the purpose of a backsplash to be a surface that’s attractive yet easy to maintain? So, I would like to run my idea by you before I get into it and would love your feedback. I do stained glass as a hobby and am also working on a HUGE project our community has going at our local Catholic church. I’m not Catholic… Read more »

Creating your own design, ideas around the house specially the working place, I mean the kitchen make us feel wonderful., The mosaic glass splashback is very lovely.

DIY: How to make a mosaic backsplash. BEAUTY. http://t.co/l3RveS2xvO


Hi. Love your blog and mosaic!
I REALLY want to do it in my house but I’m intimidated by the sticking of the tile and grout process! UGH! Do I put the adhesive on little by little while I’m putting up the design? Will it dry if I’m not fast enough? Did you lay out tile design first so you are not looking for pieces? Sorry for all my questions. I really want to do this
Thanks, Rina


What is your thought if I was to mount luan before mosaicing my back splash…. Just in case I get bored with it after a while? Outlets already have allowance for depth of tile.
Then my dry wall wouldnt get distroyed when I remove and can afford to tile.

barb brandt

I changed my idea but glad I made someone laugh. A man came here to my house pertending to be a contractor — I say pretending because he was very much preoccupied with my physiotomy(part not to mention here). Immediately I knew he was an imposter and served him the very worst coffee I could make — spiced up a little with chilli powder. He still did not leave. What a moron. Looked him up online and evidently is one of those people who invest in old houses around my local college. It appears he is also the owner of… Read more »


You can set mosaic tile over any existing media as I do this for a living.

Drywall section at Lowes or Home Depot pick up a roll of mesh drywall tape ( not the paper tape ) and a can of spray adhesive or a tube of liquid nails and spray or lightly brush the area you are working with. Cut small strips of the mesh and press on area, wipe with heavy wet sponge, overnight dry time. Ready to tile.

Reply to  jay

Why the mesh tape before tiling the mosaic?

[…] Tutorial: lynneknowlton.com […]


I love this idea.!!!. i want to do a mosiac with broken pieces of mirror, will the grouting cover up all of the sharp edges?

Reply to  Lynne Knowlton

I’m also thinking of doing the same thing. I currently have wood paneling can I do it on top of the paneling?

Maggie McCann

If you don’t wipe off the adhesive(thinset) before it dries, how do you get it off?
If your tiles are different heights, are there any special instructions for grouting?

Maggie McCann
Reply to  Lynne Knowlton

It did work out! And its gorgeous! we cannot believe we did it! We just kept going forward and it all worked out. We definitely learned some tricks along the way. We did learn to wear gloves and just take our time with the uneven grout!
how can i put pics up here for you to see?

Teri Bussman

This is spectacular, what a gal, you “should ” be very proud of yourself. We live in a Rental home and the kitchen cabinets were “Pink” when we moved in……I wasn’t living with that. Now there gray! I need backsplash, and like you were are on a very tight budget, my husband is a disabled vet. So, yes, I am, going to do a mosaic backsplash, I’m a little artsy…so I am going to follow your site…. And will send you a pic.of the completed project. I ‘m off to find some tile, or broken dishes……see you soon…..?And THANK YOU… Read more »

Anthony Palmisano

Hi Lynne,

I have a quick question for you. Can you do mosaic over a formica backspash? that is what i have right now.

Love your site!


Barb Brandt

My webpage will be entitled: “How not to buy and fix and old house” – I have been fixing a house built in 1926 for 14 years. I have learned what I need to know and will not live long enough to learn. I have hired friends of friends. I have hired imposters, liars, monsters and learned lots of what they don;’t know. Perhaps my webpage should be what I learned because I was to stupid to know what I did not know. I am now going to install a mosaic wall in my kitchen which has been gutted and… Read more »


I’m thinking of redoing my backsplash and found your project. Wow. Beautiful. So my question is, what sort of prep for the wall do I need? Do I have to remove the existing tiles? I can’t just tile over them, can I? It looks like you adhered your tiles to the existing drywall. Any help is much appreciated.


If putting this back drop behind a stove too, would you put some kind of sealer to protect from grease splatters? What kind?


I have the same question as the last person who left a comment: Did you use different color grout with each section? Or did you color the grout after it dried thoroughly?
Beautiful job, by the way!


Love the blog…quite a witty lady, you are. (Yoda-like I am speaking–don’t know why!) With a mosiac project in mind, I have been hoarding broken pottery for about ten years. Not so long ago, we redid the kitchen after a house-fire (turned out to be a MAJOR blessing for our 115 year old home). Now it’s time to use those expensive scraps from all our careless dish-handling (I shudder to think of the cost…but yay for repurposing and my scary hoarding tendencies). With my handy-hot-husband, I’ve got most of the technical stuff handled, or at least he will, But…In your… Read more »

Pam Chambers

I would love ideas on ocean scenery, palm trees, beach. Mixed w/glass tiles & pebbles. (it’s a backsplash for my kitchen, it’s long but the height is only 16 inches). Thanks!


I’m planning a mosaic made out of a broken mirror on a wood surface. Have you ever used any other adhesive than the one you mention in the above post? I want to use Elmer’s glue and am wondering if you think that’s a good idea.

Shawn Waldrop

Looks great! I am getting ready to redo a backsplash for a house we are selling. Never thought about the idea of a mosaic, but it might be a quick, easy, and CHEAP way to do GIT R DONE. Especially with all the tile manufacturers in the Dallas area. Broken tile paradise!

One question: With a mosaic, how do you account for the outlets? Did you do anything differently than a normal tile backsplash? OK, that was 2 questions….

Thanks for the info. Looking forward to the reply. Going dumpster diving now!

– Shawn


I remodeled my bath room and took out an old enamel tub(.HEAVY) and have decided to make it into an planter. Tto cover the rusty enamel I thought of doing a mosaic I know it’s a big job and lots of tiles, I should also mention this will be my first attempt, yes I know it’s a lot for a first timer no, I am not crazy maybe a little…… So my question, what would you suggest design wise and should. I do it on a mesh first.
Thanks for taking the time to give some direction.

Thanks for the encouragement! I have a very dorky plain backsplash in my redone kitchen and the tiles I found to make my mosaic are just waiting in the shed. You must try stucco is you like goop. It is like icing the vertical side of a cake. Very fun.

[…] to give it a try ?  Check out this blog post on how to make a mosaic backsplash for your […]



[…] changed the backsplash since this photo was taken.  You can read about the smashing story  the original mosaic backsplash here if you would like to make your own backsplash too.  More on that […]

Hey Lynne! Thanks for the free tutorial. The mosaic is really gorgeous! we have spare tiles in the garage I may use it (breaking into pieces)….


Lynne, I need rule mosaic in my life in a bad way. You honestly make this task seem easier than choosing curtains. I’m going to try it. In my free time. Which may be in 2029. Though I hope it’s sooner. The wall behind my stove is screaming to be backslapped. I mean back splashed. I see a Friday night project in my near future. And, I will heed your advice and keep a drink within reach. Thank you for this lovely idea. Xxooo Jess / @busymommabee

Pinned and followed on pinterest! That mosaic tile job is amazing. I’d love to see what you can do with tiles like these too http://www.glasstilestore.com/shop-by-colors-now/white.html?p=2

Wow that mosaic looks fabulous, well done! What a fun post too – thanks for the tutorial! I’ve got this linked to my DIY backsplashes post too today!

Your blog is so much fun. Thanks for sharing your humor and in home bravado! The mosaic tiling looks great. What a super way for homeowners to personalize their space!

Reply to  Lynne Knowlton

Yes, in fact we have our own home remodeling blog. Do you ever accept guest articles from others? I’d be happy to send you something your readers might enjoy….though I cannot guarantee the writing would be quite as fun as yours Lynne!


I love the mosaic….Just have to think of a spot to add one…… By the way, I found your blog while looking for hanging door ideas…. those are fabulous. Definitely a follower now…. AND just to add interest, I saw Colin and Justin shopping at the Home Sense in Burlington last year….. watching everyone watch them (and the items they were checking out) was fun in itself.

Denise Wakeman liked this on Facebook.

My ultimate mosaic backsplash came to me in my sleep last night: Disco ball. Mirror pieces. http://t.co/WrfZJtOI3O via @lynneknowlton


OMG Lynne, I am soooo excited! Thank you so much for this posting, well worth the wait!! I might have to have some cupcakes and strong drinks BEFORE I get started for energy, but I thank you for the inspiration…….. I’ve had awesome out-of-town visits from friends and family and over-nights with grandkids the past two weeks that have left me feeling pleasantly drained, but thanks to you I feel I’ve been rejuvenated……..You totally rock!!! Now, create or copy–that is the question 😉

Wanna #DIY project? @lynneknowlton shows how to do a mosaic backsplash: #design #remodeling http://t.co/xJ4yxp4hOS

“@lynneknowlton: Dream it* Draw it* Mosaic it* Admire it* Punch it* Trash it* http://t.co/p1iODoyyK8” evil grout. So fun. Brava!

It looks fan-freekin-tastic!

Lisa Thomson liked this on Facebook.

Lynne, I hve no intention of ever making a mosaic back splash. Ever. But I read your post from start to finish and laughed o.l. Yes, out loud. You can make anything entertaining! BTW, your backsplash is gorgeous!! Thx for making me smile, as usual.

Reply to  Lynne Knowlton

Thanks Lynne, for sending your friends to my site. I hope it helps them in any small way possible!

Christine Welten liked this on Facebook.

Kevin R

I like the end result ! Look forward to mustering enough ‘courage’ to do something similar to this ! Thanks, Lynne !
Rgds… Kevin…

Dave Hurst liked this on Facebook.


I wait in great anticipation. Let’s plan the backsplash unveiling party — with lots of wine, cheese for you and pour moi, I will have the crackers!

hugs xo

The backsplash is easy to do ! http://t.co/9U3OoPPrN9 @EightTreeStreet Smash it, break it, sip hard liquor, make it ! 🙂

Dream it* Draw it* Mosaic it* Admire it* Punch it* Trash it* http://t.co/opjkLN00gd

Oh, please DO post photos once it’s completed! I know it will look great! Happy Monday to you, Lynne!

RT @lynneknowlton: {New Blog Post} Dream it* Draw it* Mosaic it* Admire it* Punch it* Trash it*: It* =  Mosaic Backsplash Ha… htt …

@lynneknowlton Haha- Sid usually does that part. I do the putting together part. How’s everything?

@lynneknowlton Loove your backsplash! I want one too!

Very creative!