Monday, June 27, 2011

My Version of a "Budget" Backsplash

adj. Appropriate for a restricted budget; inexpensive: a budget car; budget meals.
noun. Appalachian Mountains A wallet or small pouch 
         (never heard this in my life...and that's where I grew up!)
      definiations via

I have to laugh ever time I read an article on "Budget" decorating. My version of a budget is apparently quite different from the rest of the world's! When I think "Budget" I think less than $50...preferably free! When an item is listed as a budget price of $100 I automatically go into "I could get it for less" mode. The trick is patience...not that I was blessed with an abundance of that gift. Over time, though, I've gotten better. Kids have a way of doing that to you! Either you learn patience or you die an early death:)

 Exibit A - Glass Subway Tile Backsplash (a favorite of mine):

via House of Turquoise
Erin is just the best! Go check her blog out if you've not discovered it already!

From my idea where it came from!

via Candice Olson
Again..from my files.

My Version of "Glass Tile"!

No matter how many times I wipe that stainless microwave down, I still see streaks with a flash!

I did a little research to find out what this would cost on average JUST for materials - labor not included!

Tile was sourced from three different places:

Anchor Bay Tile - Solana Glass Subway Tile 3x6 inches = $15 p/sf

Subway Tile Outlet - Khaki Glass Subway Tile = $14.99

ebay - Shimmer Gloss Beach Glass Subway Tile Interceramic 3x6 = $59.99 for 4 sq/f = $14.99 p/sf

For someone with my thinking or a basically non-existant budget, you have two options when you see these prices. You can either forget it OR you can get creative and find a way to do it CHEAPER! I love the look of glass subway tile, but it is a little trendy and I didn't want to invest that kind of money into a trend. So, I took the creative route when I decided to do my backsplash.

My kitchen has been in the making for...oh, 'round 'bout three years now! I just do a little as I have time and money. It wasn't bad to begin with. I was actually thrilled to get one like this and I knew it could be fantastic with just a little love. It was just a little too generic for me as it was. I wanted to put my stamp on it. I'll show you what I started with, but you'll have to wait on the final product as I still have to paint cabinets, finish changing out hardware, and putting in the decorative touches. This isn't meant to be a "before and after" kitchen post..just one on a cheaper option for a backsplash. If you read my blog, you know I'm currently on a mission with the dining room and laundry "room" (that's another story you can read here!).

Kitchen "Before" with it's creamy white appliances, flourescent light, and worn finishes.
It has nice custom built maple cabinets, but the finish is starting to yellow some due to sun exposure. The previous owners had a couple of doors refinished so they aren't all exactly the same color, although it probably wouldn't stand out to anyone unless they were looking.

The lower cabinets under the sink, around the pull out trash, and dishwasher have taken a beating over the last 11 years and are showing some serious wear.

I tried my best to find a way to build in a microwave into that island where the wine racks are, but it just wasn't quite deep enough, so the wine racks stayed.

The chandelier over the breakfast area is a keeper. I actually like it because it's two toned and has more of that old candelabra look. Too bad the dining room didn't have one similar!

There was something missing...a backsplash! I really wanted glass tile, but wasn't willing to fork over that kind of dough. So, the mind started spinning:)

I came up with a couple of options to get a similar look:
  1. Get tempered glass cut into tiles or sheets, and paint the backside with a shimmery glass paint - was still going to cost more than I wanted to pay (Go ahead. Say it...I was being CHEAP!). We'd just sunk a fortune into new solid wood floors and carpet so I was needing to pinch the pennies where I could. Plus, I wanted the shadow effect of the glass tiles which you wouldn't get with a sheet of glass.
  2. Use painters tape and joint compound to create "faux" tiles - wanted the glass effect, so I didn't go with this option, although it would probably have been easier and just as cheap!
  3. Make resin tiles out of liquid resin in molds and install - too much involved for the time (was pregnant) and not as cheap as I wanted to go.
  4. Use artist tape, sample pot of paint and some serious glossy sealant . Yep, you guessed it. That was the winner.

Total Cost for about 25 sq/ft? Approximately $25! Versus around $400 for tile alone, not including grout, spacers, and labor! Oh, yea!
Honestly, I was pretty happy with the final result, although I'd still like it heavier on the gloss. My goal is to eventually just put in a sheet of glass over this now that I've built up the layers to give some shadow effect. So, the upcoming tutorial will be about how to create this look for yourself. It's a little time consuming, but definately the cheapest route. If you're looking to get a pretty good faux tile look that is durable and cheap, this is for you. There's no groute to clean, either! I did learn a few things and if I was to do it again, those few things might change. That's all stuff I'll cover in the tutorial. Until then, start looking for a place to put some "glass tile":)

Update as of 7/10/11: There is now a tuturial for this version on my tutorials page. Check it out!


  1. What a great idea! I love it and the effect with the high gloss finish is perfect! I'm like you- I like to do it for less..and put my own spin on it! xo Diana

  2. Cool! I love that you did that with so few bucks, and it looks amazing! I will totally be watching as you go along, can't wait!


  3. It looks great!!! I love that you used high gloss paint to give it that glass look!

  4. This looks great,can't wait for the tutorial.Isn't it great when a plan comes together!

  5. You did an excellent job, looks wonderful and real. Thanks for sharing at Beach Cottage Good Life Wednesdays.

  6. The Creative Bloggers' Party & Hop became the coolest party on the block because of your participation. Thank you!

  7. I am interested in working together. Take a look at what I have done and I'll do the same
    glass backsplash tile


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