Super Simple DIY Tile Backsplash – Tutorial

7 April, 2014 by Julie - 58 Comments


Everyone, I am super excited to show you how I did my own tile backsplash. It is crazy simple! But first, my apologies for only posting once a month. Lame, I know. The house is still a mess and there is stuff scattered in all the rooms. We have had roofing, siding, and drywall contractors here fixing all the problems we have had this past year. Sections of the roof and some siding are being fixed. We are also having a section of the office wall replaced due to it getting wet. There was a small hole in the siding caused by the kick out flashing that was never caulked. Yep, water / snow got in over time and wasp were flying in and out of the hole! The office can smell stagnate and musty, as a result. Especially, when the sun shines on that part of the house. Needless to say, our house has been a construction zone off and on for the past eight weeks. I know I have not written much about the details of our house issues, but after writing a 52 page Power Point presentation for our builder and regional office, I was beyond exhausted!

Okay, let’s move on to more happy stuff!

After the kitchen received it’s new flooring and I started painting the walls, I really wanted some kind of backsplash behind the stove. I will be honest folks, I was going to hire out this job. Gasp! Seriously, I was willing to pay $200.00 (labor only) to have it done. Why? Because I wanted it done asap and was so over the kitchen being a construction zone. Well, the tile guy ended up getting busy and two weeks went by. The wall behind the stove haunted me. See, I have never done any tiling what-so-ever. I also did not want to have to rent or buy a wet saw for this little tile job. One night while in the kitchen, my Wonder Woman side kicked in and said, “Woman! Go tile that wall! If you can refinish the garage floor , you can tile above the stove.” The next day I was at Home Depot and gathered my supplies. I knew I wanted to tile that small section of wall in the easiest and simplest way, without compromising quality.


Easy DIY Kitchen Backsplash

Super simple DIY tile backsplash.


Here it the same angled picture before the backsplash.


Kitchen Backsplash - Sample

Before kitchen backsplash.


As much as I like how the tile looks above the stove, I am more excited to show you what I used to do the job!


Easy DIY Kitchen Backsplash

This is all I used to create the backsplash above the stove.


Supplies used:

  • Simple Mat (available at the Home Depot).
  • Simple Grout (available at the Home Depot).
  • Large sponge.
  • Level.
  • Handheld tile cutter with scoring.
  • 120 grit sandpaper.
  • Tape measure.
  • Your choice of tile.

Yep! That is all that is needed. The only thing that is optional (a personal preference) is the metal trim edge on the sides of the backsplash. I will show you that later on in this tutorial.

Let me show you how I did it! :)

Because I had never tiled before, I measured the space behind the stove. Actually, H did that for me while I took a cat nap. Next, I made a template (on the floor) of how I would like the tiles to look above the stove. I  basically just played around with different variations of the tile, until I had the layout I wanted. I also needed to figure out my center point – meaning, I wanted equal widths of tile on each side. I knew this is where I would need to cut some of those little tiles in half. My center point ended up being about a 1/2 an inch to the left of the actual center above the stove. Psst…sorry for the poor quality photos ahead. I usually do my projects at night when I am delusional.

I ended up taking the backsplash lower than the bottom line measured.


Nothing like playing with tile late at night. ;)


Because the walls in the house are of knock down texture, I lightly sanded the wall (by hand) to rough up the paint surface. Note: I was not trying to get rid of the knock down texture. I just felt more comfortable knowing that I roughed up the wall a little bit before sticking on my tile mat. Also, make sure the wall is clean of any grease and grim.


Installation of Simple Mat

First row of Simple Mat.


People, this stuff is super sticky! It is A LOT more sticky than your sticker collection, you may or many not have had as a kid. No, the Chiquita banana sticker does not count as a sticker. Nor does the 100% beef sticker on meats. Just sayin’…

When applying Simple Mat, be sure to smooth out the mat and apply pressure. I used my rubber float margin to smooth out the mat, while applying pressure. I would have used my J roller, but I could not find it.


Installation of Simple Mat

Simple Mat on entire wall above stove. Time to start laying the tile.


Once done applying the Simple Mat, I started laying my tile. I started at the top and off centered my first tile piece by 1/2 an inch, per my floor template.


Easy DIY Kitchen Backsplash

Woo-Hoo! First tile in place!


I continued laying each piece in place. Note: I purposely left each side of the backsplash unfinished at this point.


Easy DIY Kitchen Backsplash

First row done.


Second row done.

Second row done.


One thing I forgot to add that I used was a utility knife. I used this to cut my tile to the size that I needed for the bottom and third row of tile. Note: One could probably use open scissors (sharp) to cut the tile mesh.


Cutting the mesh that was holding the mosaic tile together is very easy.


Now it was time to add the metal trim edge to each side of the backsplash. Note: Adding a metal trim edge to the sides is optional. Because I only did a backsplash behind the stove, I felt the trim edge gave the tile a more finished look for that space. If you decide to use a metal trim edge, they do come in a variety of finishes.


Metal edge trim used for the sides of the backsplash. These come in 8ft lengths and be cut easily with tin snips.


After measuring the length of the metal trim edge I needed on each side of the backsplash, the metal was then cut using tin snips.


Easy DIY Kitchen Backsplash

Bottom row of backsplash done and metal trim edge in place.


In order to get the tile to stick to the metal trim edge, I decided to cut a narrow and long piece of Simple Mat and placed it over the trim edge. Instead of placing the all over sticky side of the Simple Mat (this side is placed onto the wall) on the trim edge, I placed the side that had the raised and spaced adhesive sections (this side is used for the tile) on the trim. If I was using larger tile, I would not need to do this.  Since mosaic tile pieces can be very small and I had to cut some in half, flipping over the Simple Mat was a good idea.  Note: Let me point out that I do not know if Simple Mat would recommended what I did. All I know is that it worked and worked well! :)


Close up of Simple Mat

Raised adhesive side of Simple Mat. This side is for tile. The backside of Simple Mat is flat and has adhesive all over. That part sticks to the wall.


Because each side of the backspalsh was such a  small section to work with, I decided to manually place each tile by hand. I know some of you may think it would take forever to do that, but it did not. It was extremely easy to snap off a piece of tile from the tile mesh holding all the pieces together. I followed the tile pattern (kind of) and knew where a metal or stone piece would be placed. Due to the offset patten of the mosaic tile, I knew I would have pieces that would need to be cut in half. Because the individual tile pieces are so small (1.25 inches), I used a handheld tile scoring cutter. All I did was score each little tile and break it in half! EASY! Since I was scoring and breaking the tile in half, some pieces did not have a smooth cut. Some had sightly rough ends. No, problem! After few passes across 120 sandpaper, the cut edge was smooth and ready for placement.


Take off individual tile.  Score and break in half using the handheld cutter and then sand any pieces that have a rough edge.


For those wondering how I cut the stainless steel tile pieces, I did not cut them. H and I tried cutting those metal tiles (stainless steel caps over tile) and it was difficult to get a straight and smooth cut. After getting frustrated with the whole thing, it finally dawned on me that I do not have to cut those stainless steel tile pieces or even use them. Duh! If you look closely, all tile pieces that are cut in half, are stone only. Why make something difficult, if it does not need to be? Besides, who is really going to notice that I did not use half sized stainless steel pieces? Most people will not. Plus, having the metal trim edge helps blend in the overall use of stone and metal tile. :)


Easy DIY Kitchen Backsplash

Backsplash tile is completely done and ready for grout.


Are you guys still with me? Okay, now to the grouting part.

I like simple. I was not in the mood to be mixing grout. Nope! The Simple Mat brand recommends using their premixed grout line. Fine by me. :) I chose Delorean Gray as the grout color for the backsplash. The color blends very well with the tile and is a close match to the grout used on the kitchen the floor. Note: I did not have enough leftover grout from the kitchen floor tile to use. I decided to use Simple Grout because it is cheaper than the pre-mixed grout used on the kitchen floor and the backsplash is not a place where it will be in constant contact with water. Besides, the Simple Grout is suitable for wet areas (in case one is worried about steam from boiling water) and is highly stain resistant. Cooking grease wiped off easily. :)

 I will be honest. At first, I had a lot of trouble using the grout. Why in the world did my clean side need to kick in?! If you are grouting a vertical surface, grout will fall. End of story. I was trying so hard not to let any fall off my rubber float margin, that I looked ridiculous. I was trying to be all neat and pretty putting grout into all those mosaic tile gaps. Insert eye roll at myself. H had been watching me and said, “I think you are suppose to scoop a lot of grout on the float and smooth it over the tile quickly.” Huh? How does he know that? Well, apparently Mr. H decided to watch a YouTube video on grouting when I told him I was going to do the stove backsplash. Ha!

Let me just say that it is a good thing I am small (5’1″). Why? Because that beast of a stove can NOT be moved by one person. It took three men and an appliance roller to move it when the kitchen floor was being replaced. Since the stove could not be moved (H was able to move it one inch away from the wall for me – My Hercules!) I had to sit on the stove during the whole tiling process. My silly husband even took a picture of me grouting. I actually have pictures of me doing past projects that he likes to take. Not sure why.


Siting on the stove and grouting on a Saturday night (in my bum clothes and hair in a messy bun), while my husband takes random pictures of me.


By the time I was almost half way done, I finally got the hang of grouting. I was impressed at how fast grouting the second half of the backsplash went. I just needed to figure out my technique and style. :)


Easy DIY Kitchen Backsplash

A little more than half way done with the grout. The brown shades within the tile stand out more due to the tile being wet from wiping off excess grout.




Easy DIY Kitchen Backsplash

Close up of the stove backsplash.


Easy DIY Kitchen Backsplash

Close up of the metal edge trim.


Brick Boulevard Mosaic Tile

Close up of tile used – Brick Boulevard, from the Home Depot.


Easy DIY Kitchen Backsplash

Super simple DIY tile backsplash.


Everyone, that backsplash is going no where. The Simple Mat is amazing and easy to use. If any of you are wondering how well it will hold up, check out this lovely kitchen backsplash from Nancy at Artsy Chicks Rule. She did her backsplash using a similar product called Bondera Tile Mat. I found her post a few months back and hoped one day I would be brave enough to try my hand at tiling.

Closing thoughts:

  • If you have doubt you can do this, get rid of it. :)
  • You CAN do this easily.
  • I decided late Thursday I would do my own backsplash. Friday, I was at Home Depot getting my supplies. Saturday, I laid out everything and tiled. Sunday, I grouted. Done!
  • Minimal mess! This is fantastic if you are wanting to tile in your kitchen.
  • If you wish to use bigger tile, you can rent a wet saw, buy a cheap one or buy a manual tile (scoring) cutter between $20 and $35.
  • It CAN be done.

There ya go!

Whether you want to add a backsplash, build something, paint something or create something that you daydream about, but were afraid to – decided now that YOU ARE going to do it! 😀





Going to party at:

ThriftyDecorChick , TheDedicatedHouse , HomeComing , DIYByDesign , SomedayCrafts , Remodelaholic , TatertotsAndJello , ChicOnAShoestringDecorating , ByStephanieLynn , ClassyClutter , DIYShowOff , It’sOverflowing , TheHappyHousie , AddictedToDIY , TooMuchTime , HomestoriesAtoZ ,



Category: - Kitchen, Tutorials

58 Responses to “Super Simple DIY Tile Backsplash – Tutorial”

  1. Your back splash looks fabulous! It’s so much easier than all that ole mortar business, isn’t it? Thanks so much for linking up my project. :) I’m actually planning another tiling project and have found out Bondera is no longer available (near me anyway). I will probably be using this same product! It is just too easy not to!

    • Nancy, THANK YOU so much! I am so glad I saw your tile project via Hometalk a few months back. I would have never known about this sticky stuff. Thank you for the inspiration and I am sure you will like Simple Mat. Have fun tiling! 😀

  2. Thanks for your visit and nice comment. I can see why you love my peacock table. Your header is lovely. Congrats on a great job on your backsplash. It does feel good to do it yourself. We did ours on a kitchen backsplash. We have since then remodeled our kitchen again. I am just about ready to post the new backsplash. Our tile guy did it this time…from your newest Bloglovin follower, Linda

  3. Renee

    So glad to see a new and informative post from you. It can’t be much fun having to deal with all the problems you’ve had with your home.

    I love your new back-splash. You did a fantastic job. The colors look great with your kitchen.

    • Thank you! Yeah, I know I have been lacking in the posting department. Hopefully, once all the repairs are finished (almost done) life can slowly get back to normal. It is has been a long time since we have lived in this house and did not have to fix and investigate house issues.

      Amazingly, the stainless steel tiles reflect a lot of light from the hood lights when on. H is happy about that. I may be installing under cabinet lighting soon to add more light for kitchen prep work.

  4. Karen H.

    I absolutely love the back splash! I have stainless appliances and have been mulling over whether I wanted to use tile with stainless in it. Yours is the first time I have seen a kitchen using it, and I really love it! I also love Nancy’s tile (Artsy Chicks Rule) and that is another one in the running.

    Which metal trim did you use?

    Thank you… and really nice job, Julie!

    • Karen, thank you so much for your kind words! 😀

      I was in the same situation as you. I had looked at stainless steel adhesive tiles, regular tiles, etc., but felt that it would be too much stainless steel. I happened to be at Home Depot one day (I meander in that store) and saw the Brick Boulevard tile on display (it is on display at Home Depot stores). I bought one piece and took it home. I was pleasantly surprised at how well it blended with everything else and my husband loved it. :)

      Yes, Nancy’s tile is gorgeous! I love the accent pieces she used.

      The metal trim I used is actually aluminum. It is very sturdy, but easy to cut. They do make satin nickel trim edge, but the finish did not blend well with the stainless steel in the tile I used. That is why I went went with the aluminum finish. They also have brass and oil rubbed bronzed finishes too.

      Thank you again and good luck! 😀

  5. -H

    I have to say it every once in a while, I’m really impressed with you, love. You did such a great job and I’m proud to say it’s my home too!

    Thanks for all your Wonder Woman work! You rock!


    (p.s. I hope it’s not to cheesy for you man to throw down some appreciation! :p)

  6. Wow, wow, wow!!! Holy guacamole! That is seriously stunning!! I am super impressed with your wonder woman skills (and totally impressed you commented H, that was really sweet) I love it Julie! I have had a fear of doing tile, but your tutorial makes me think maybe I should be brave! I love your stove too! You have such a beautiful kitchen, I am so happy for you!

    I am so happy things are on the up in your home, and things are getting fixed! You deserve it!

    • Mindi, thank you, thank you! 😀

      Ha! Woman, if you can build all the stuff you build, you CAN tile! Serious! Start off with something simple and then go from there. :) I might even take a tiling class. Why? Next winter I may tackle the master bathroom. Because I have so many projects going on right now, I would have probably torn down the old tile by now. I want to do the shower area and get it done right. It has leaked three times since we have lived here. :(

      Thank you again for your sweet comment. I am happy that things are finally getting fixed and hope that we have no more unwelcomed surprises. I am so over with all of it.

  7. karen

    I love your tile work…beautiful. I also have been looking at stoves. Where did you get yours? I am looking for a good deal.

    Thanks, Karen

    • Thank you, Karen. :)

      The stove brand is Wolf. If you do a search on-line, it will bring up Wolf / Sub-Zero appliances. Go to their website and do a search for a local Wolf distributor / showroom near you. Good luck! 😀

  8. Oh my goodness! Julie you completely rocked this project friend! I mean I would hire you in a heartbeat!!! Just look at how beautiful this is! Love the range and the backsplash with the tile and the cabinets! A job well done and good for you for following up with the builder…I know how long of a process this has been for you guys….I hope it will all be done soon!!!! Happy week you! Nicole xoxo

    • Nicole, you make me smile! Thank you! 😀 Lady, I would tile with you. I do have more to learn though. Especially, if I decided to tackle the master bathroom. I want to tear down the tile so bad, that it is actually comical! lol

      Nicole, I am hoping all the repair work will be done by the end of next week. Yep, it has been a LONG process. Thank you for all the supportive and kind words along the way. It meant a lot to me. :)

      Happy week and weekend, to you too!

  9. Jill Brewster

    I just returned from Home Depot and Lowe’s. I bought the Simple mat at Home Depot and my tile at Lowe’s. I will be doing the tile backsplash myself. Yes, women can do anything they set their mind to. I will take before and after pictures and post. Thank you for giving me the confidence that I can do it. I do all the painting in our house. Do very little taping because I have found a good angle brush works better than blue painters tape. I can cut in around trim and ceiling without using tape better than my husband can using tape. LOL

    • Wow! Jill, that is AWESOME! Yay! 😀 Definitely post about it. I would love to read it. :)

      You are very welcome. I am honored that my post encouraged you to try something new. THAT is why I love to blog. I have learned so much from other bloggers, and if I can pass on something myself, I feel as if I have hopefully paid it forward in some way. :)

      You must have a very steady hand for cutting in. I still use tape and dread every moment of it. 😉

  10. Mimi @ blue roof cabin

    Wow Julie you did a beautiful job with the tile. I have never used the mat before I might need to look into that if I ever get to my kitchen redo :) also wow that stove!

    • lol – Thank you, Mimi. I was laughing about the stove comment. My husband loves that stove. It is a beast, but it should last a long, long, time. They make bigger ones too. Crazy!

      Definitely try Simple Mat if you think it will work with what you are planning in the kitchen. Check out their website to get more info. – I am still working on my kitchen redo. Why oh why does one project lead to another? 😉

  11. Great tutorial; you are so meticulous I love it. I haven’t tackled our back splash yet, but it’s on my to-do list and I’m definitely going to check out Simple Mat. I’m also featuring your post at Thursday STYLE this week! Beautiful job.

    • Awesome! Amanda, thank you! Ha! In regards to me being meticulous. It is a blessing and a curse. 😉 Definitely check out Simple Mat and see if it will work for your backsplash. Thanks again! :)

  12. Absolutely gorgeous, Julie! I’m in love with your kitchen. That’s so awesome that you were able to handle this yourself. You’re my DIY hero!!!

  13. Liz

    It looks great!!! My mom has been asking me to tile her back splash for a few years now. She just hasn’t picked the tile yet. I love the tile you used. I’ll be sure to show it to her!!

    • Awesome! Knowing how you work, you could totally knock out a backsplash in a day or two. lol :) Take your mom to HD and they have the Brick Boulevard tile on display. I have notice that some of those tile batches have more gray or brown in them. Either one looks very nice.

      Thanks, Liz. :)

    • LOL! Yep! Can you believe it?! And in action too! Yeah, one of these days I will put a picture up. I was going to use one I had that my family likes of me, but H says it does not look welcoming. lol It is kind of a side profile of me looking off to the side. My daughter took the picture. We were being silly and doing modeling stuff type poses. lol

  14. FABBY

    I’m always amazed of all the DIY projects I see in blog land and your backsplash is AWESOME! You did a SUPERB job! I love the finished look.


  15. What a beautiful kitchen and so professional looking! I love that tile! We have a larger stainless steel subway tile in our kitchen (oriented on the vertical), but I love the mixed material look and the mini tiles. Such a gorgeous place to nourish your family!

  16. Amanda

    I used a similar product from Lowe’s called Muscle Bond to tile our entire back splash in our kitchen. This stuff definitely works but it is worth noting that this type of product is better used on small tiles like what you used above and what we used in our kitchen.

    I’ve used both mortar and this product and I can’t say that this really saves you any time in the beginning stages since you have to measure/cut/place this stuff and then place your tiles, but it does save on the mess. The price of this product is more expensive than mortar as well, so definitely something to consider when making the purchase.

    • Amanda, great points! The Simple Mat is a little more expensive, but it really depends on how big the job use. I was so close to using just one box of Simple Mat, but needed to use a 1/2 a sheet from the second box. :( Oh well, I want to put some tile in the powder bathroom and believe I have enough left over in the second box. Plus, I think my brain could not handle any more mess in the kitchen. 😉

      Hopefully, in the winter, I will be able to re-tile the master bathroom. There, I will use mortar. There have been leaks in that bathroom in the past, so I will be taking everything down and starting over. :(

  17. Andrea

    GREAT Project! I love this tile and have been looking at it for a while at “The Depot.” I knew I didn’t want the whole backsplash to be this tile, but I LOVE the idea of just the area above the stove! Beautiful!

    • Andrea, thank you. :) I did not want to tile the entire back wall either, so just doing a backsplash behind the stove area is very feasible and adds a focal point. Thank you for stopping by and good luck with any tile endeavors you may pursue. 😀

  18. Arthur

    Julie, I’m tiling around a new fireplace insert and am looking to use Simplemat.

    How is your backsplash holding up? I read some reviews that got me concerned about its longevity …

    • Hello, Arthur. The stove backsplash is holding up perfectly! There has been absolutely no movement of the tile or the Simple Mat. It looks as good as the day I installed it :) I did make sure that the wall was dulled (lightly sanded) and clean, and I firmly pressed (all over) the Simple Mat. A “J” roller or rolling pin helps smooth out the mat and adhere it to the wall. Not everyone may do this, but I like to do a little extra to be sure my hard work pays off. 😉 Hope this helps.

  19. monica

    Awesome! We are doing our backsplash this week. I’m googling projects where they use the metal strip to finish the edges. thanks for the visual and help!!

    A friend use the simple mat for her fireplace tiling. My husband is to leery of it. We are going with mortar. Wish us luck!

    Your backsplash looks sooo good.

    • Thank you, Monica! I understand your husband being leery of the Simple Mat. I was at first, but after over a year, the backsplash looks the same as the day I installed it. I am sure you will do just fine using mortar. :) Best of luck to you and I am so glad this tutorial (visual aid) was helpful. 😀

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