DIY: How to Install a Mosaic Tile Kitchen Backsplash | Lisa Hall | Skillshare

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DIY: How to Install a Mosaic Tile Kitchen Backsplash

teacher avatar Lisa Hall, Creative & DIY Enthusiast

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

6 Lessons (32m)
    • 1. Intro & Overview

    • 2. Materials & Surface Prep

    • 3. Lay Out & Cutting Tiles

    • 4. Mortar & Placing Tiles

    • 5. Grout & Finishing Touches

    • 6. Conclusion & Project

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About This Class


Have you ever wanted to add a beautiful mosaic backsplash to your kitchen? I had dreamed of a colorful backsplash, and decided to undertake the project myself! Before beginning, I watched a number of helpful videos, but most were by professional handymen, contractors and tile installers. In this class, I'll show you step by step how I (someone like you who is not a professional and has probably never worked with tile before) installed my own backsplash. I'll include my list of materials, helpful resources and tips I learned along the way. At the end of the class, you will have a better understanding if this is a project you want to undertake on your own and I hope you feel confident you can install your own backsplash! This class is best suited for home improvement DIY-minded folks who are willing to put in the work to update your kitchen - without breaking the bank. So gather your ideas and tools and let's start that budget-friendly backsplash!

Meet Your Teacher

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Lisa Hall

Creative & DIY Enthusiast


Lisa Hall is an artist, illustrator and DIY enthusiast. She has over 15 years of professional experience in marketing and graphic design. Her creative business is called Bohemian Creative Lifestyle, as she weaves creativity throughout many areas of her life. She has co-authored and illustrated three children's books, creates globally-inspired artwork based on her travels, illustrates greeting cards and other stationary products, and has spent much of the past decade using her creativity on budget-friendly home improvement. 

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1. Intro & Overview: Hi, I'm Lisa. Welcome to my class. I'm having to install your own mosaic tile backsplash. Now for some reason I have always wanted to learn how to install a backsplash. I'm not sure why. I think it might be because I love tiles. I think they're so beautiful and I've always wanted to learn how to work with them. So when I decided to finally undertake the project, I watched a lot of videos that were really helpful, but most of them were men who were professionals, tile installers, handyman contractors. They had big pieces of equipment. They had big what saws. It had a big buckets. They were mixing mortar in and I kept thinking, am I going to need that equipment? Is that what I'm going to have to do? So I thought that I would show you how I did it as someone who has never worked with a child before, someone who's not a professional, and show you what I went through, what I learned. And then you can decide that it's something that you think that you want to do for yourself. So I wasn't able to do all of this for about $500. So after you watch the video, you can decide if it's something that for the value you think that you want to undertake it, or if you'd rather hire someone to do. Now, it is messy. I will tell you that it's definitely, it's messy and it's not a half-day project. There are several steps where you have to wait to let things dry for a couple of days. So it does take awhile. But in this class, I will go over all the materials that I use and go step-by-step from laying out the tiles to cutting tiles. You're placing the mortar, the grout, and finishing touches. So with that, the project would be to install your own backsplash. So if that sounds good, Let's get started. 2. Materials & Surface Prep: So these are the materials that I use for this project. First we have the tiles themselves. So these are the mosaic tiles that I chose. I thought they were really pretty mixed. Whites and blues and some silver. And this cost around 16 to $17 per sheet. So before you go to pick out your ties, you're going to want to measure your walls and determine how many sheets you're going to need to determine the cost and make sure you purchase a couple extra because you are going to have to cut some pieces of the tiles to fill in the gaps that you have the tiles, you're also going to need some thin step mortar. I went with a premixed, then set mortar. A lot of videos and how to tutorials I watch. Should people mixing their own border. And I'm not sure that's less expensive or why they don't talk as much about a previous quarter. But on the first section that I did, I used it and I thought it worked great. And it seems like a much easier way to go, much less messy, easier, no hassle. So I would recommend trying a premixed mortar. You're going to need a travel to go like that unlocks travel or putting the mortar on the wall. You're also going to need some grout. Again, I went with a premixed ground. You're going to want to choose the color based on what you think will look nice with the tiles you selected. I've got a bright white because I thought that would look really nice with the tiles that I have. You're going to need one of these, I guess they call it a floating margin floats or grab clothes. This is what you're going to use to put the ground on the wall. You may want to get some tiles spacers. So basically these guys here, you put them between the sheets of tiles to make sure they're all evenly spaced. Actually didn't end up using them because I thought I could eyeball it pretty well and I was okay but it wasn't perfect. But you may want to get some of these as well. You're going to need a tile cutter because for whatever reason, as you can see, there are spaces here between the tiles that you are going to want to fill in. And I don't understand why the manufacturer doesn't make these that are, you know, we're going to need them, right. You can't leave it like that. So I looked to see yet that maybe they sold the pieces separately or something and I couldn't find them. So you're going to have to cut some of the tiles. And a given a lot of the videos that I watched, kinda of a female glossed over the part. Oh yeah, you'd cut the tiles to fill in the pieces. And for me that was the hardest part. And just kinda glossing over it wasn't really helpful for me. And a lot of the picture shows, you know, people with these big Tile Cutter size and what they can do, I need to buy one of those. And obviously you don't want to spend a lot of money on it. And then some people, you know, we're clipping edges with something like this and I couldn't get this homework at all. So I ended up going to Home Depot to get this tile cutter. And they do have smaller one. So they do have smaller ones. And obviously for this project you don't need quite as big a one. But I thought if I liked working with tiles, maybe I'd want to sometimes do something with floor tiles or whatever. So I ended up getting the larger one. And this cost about $40, though it wasn't too expensive. And the smaller ones they did have curb up 20. So you're going to need a tile cutter. And I also had a brick in my basement lying around. And sometimes when I cut the tile, the edges were very straight or work hot in there for up. So I just kinda rubbed them on the brick to scan them down a little bit. Want that you're going to want a sponge to wipe off the excess mortar and graphs. You're going to want a microfiber towel. You're going to want some scissors to cut the sheets and that should do it. So with that, let's take a look at prepping space. So here's the space that we are going to add a backslash 2. So in order to get this base you're ready. I have sanded down the walls and add wash them with the miles so to get them ready. If the walls are an even you or if there's any rough patches or holes or anything like that, you're going to want to fix those and make sure it's a nice flat surface so that you don't have any kind of bumps into it in the backsplash. I removed the plate from the plug, so well, and I put down some I taped down some plastic just to keep the countertop to clean. So with this, it looks like we are ready to start getting the tile trapped for placing them on Wolf. 3. Lay Out & Cutting Tiles: Now we're ready to start placing the sheets on the wall so we can see what all needs to be cut and have everything placed and ready by the time the mortar is on the wall. So for example, I'm going to take a look at what this looks like here is laid out. So that way is that I wanted, I'm going to have them more. See where the tiles are. And then I'm going to bring in more sheets and just kind of you're going to have to cut them and then just lay them out. And I lay them down on the counter in front of it so that you can see how many you're going to need and have everything cut perfectly and ready to go by the time that borders on the wall. So let's start doing that. So one thing to keep in mind, when you're cutting sheets and placing them with other sheets, you're going to want to see how they look together. So for example, for the pieces that I just have fun here. And you're going to want to notice if, you know, are there too many blues or grays together in a row? So you're gonna wanna think about how they look when they're on the wall. So these are a lot of Greece here. Maybe I wouldn't want all these pieces together. Maybe it would fit better somewhere else like this, or maybe with another piece like this. So you're going to want to take a look and just see how do the colors look together. Are you okay with having all these kinda similar colors? Would it look better? There was a blue here. So just take a look at it and make sure to envision how the pieces are going to look together on the wall once you start cutting them. Okay, I'm going to zoom in here and let you see a couple of the pieces that I have trimmed to make this work. So I cut this piece here. Kind of like doing a puzzle. But that piece there, and you'll see how that will work. And then in the corner I needed extra pieces. So I'm going to stick names over here. And so this is what we have so far. Now, you'll see up at the top here, there are some pieces that are missing, right? These are these half pieces I was talking about earlier. So we're basically going to have to cut some of these tiles in half. So this part was easy. This was just cutting the mesh behind the tiles to kind of cut out different sections. But now we're actually going to need to use the tile cutter to cut some tiles of half and finish out these half pieces. Okay, so now we are ready to use this tile cutter to cut some of these pieces in half, like we need to do. So you'll see that a cut up a bunch of pieces from a sheet. And now they're all just individual pieces of tile. Now what you'll find are some of the pieces, they're all different materials and some of the pieces cut better than others. So she said I bought like this is a metal piece, so this one doesn't cut it all, so you can't type this. I've found that this one is rock form, just kind of shatters every time I try to cut it. And so I tend to use some of the other pieces that I know work better. For example, this one, this glass one, sometimes this one cut perfectly. That's a perfect cut and sometimes it completely shattered every time I try to cut it. I'm sure there's reasons to this unprofessional probably know how to do it, but I've really had to do a lot of trial and error to get pieces to cut well. So let's start with this glass one. So this tile cutter, what it does, and I'll show you a close-up. There is a scoring tool under here. So basically you put aisle in the machine and then you score it, and then you cut it. So this is what this looks like, close enough. Okay, So I know that I want to cut these tiles directly in half. So I placed it in here, and I've placed it in the GRU so that it's exactly halfway. And then you take this little lever here, I fold it down. And then the little score under here. You take it and you run it across the title, you press firmly. But not too rapidly. And it's going to score the title or make a groove in it so that once it's got that group, it's easier to cut. So you press firmly and you run it across the tile. And then you go back. And then you put this directly on that score line and you cut. And this is a perfect example of one time that it did not work. You see this, you see how that cut? It did not cut evenly. So for some reason, this line, which usually cuts well, the dot cut evenly. Now, just to note, this is glass and I do have little pieces of glass and there are shards of glass. So be really careful when you're doing it. And you may want to wear goggles to protect your eyes as well. So I'm just going to keep doing this and keep trying. And some pieces will turn out great. And some cases where we were on and we'll just get as many as we can. Okay, so let's look at this one. This one worked out perfectly. That is a nice cut, exactly in half. So this is where I use the brick that I mentioned. Rather they find my scissors here. So I cut the mesh behind it to separate them. So you now have 2.5 pieces. And I'm just going to rub it on the brick. And it will just smooth that out just a little bit. It just kinda makes it a little bit smoother. So now I have two pieces that I can use. And I'm just going to continue to do this over and over. So I have enough of these pieces that if they would just provide would make life much easier. Okay, so as you can see, I have an entire section laid out now. So that is going to be the section directly. And I have it placed directly in front of here on the wall. So but we needed to cut some half tiles to fill these gaps here. So I did manage to six little tiles here and half. Not all of them look perfect. But you do put ground over them. So it is okay. They don't have to be perfect. And then you just go ahead and you kinda place in the tiles, you know, thinking about the colors. That might look good and you just kinda place them where you think they would look good. And then you have all the gaps filled in. So that's what we're gonna do. We're going to fill this wall. I'm going to continue all the way over to here to get everything cuts and placed perfectly so that once the mortars on the wall just have to place it up there and we don't have to be cutting anything at the last minute. Okay, so I now have all the pieces cut and paste and place how they're going to look on the wall. You can see that I've cut a bunch of these smaller pieces that were needed. So it's looking good. I like how all the pieces fit together. Looks nice. So I'm gonna be honest, this outlet caused a little bit of difficulty just with the measurements. I would have had to cut a lot of pieces to get it to look perfect. And I'm just not going to do that. So there is going to be some little, a little bit more spacing in between some of them and the tiles may not go all the way to the corner. But I can fill that in and this is just a corner and I'm going to put stuff in front of it so I'm okay with it. You may want to consider, you know, would you want yours to be perfect or what can you live with? How much more cutting and work would you want to put into it to really make it perfect? So I'm not going to worry about it and I think it will still look okay, so we are ready to put the mortar and start placing it on the wall. 4. Mortar & Placing Tiles: So we are ready to start putting the order on the wall. We're going to take our trial here. And when he's gonna take some of this, slap it on. Okay, So we're now ready to go in and use the grooves of the travel to make these grew line three, you just take that edge and it is go across all of it. Make this nice grew surface so that it can really appear. So as I place the tiles on the wall, I take this float and I just push down really hard on all of them just to make sure that they really are set in place. And if there's some mortar that starts coming out through, the groups are through that space is there. Then we'll clean that up with a sponge in a minute here. And I'm going to take the little pieces, kind of place those in as well. Okay. So the entire backslash is now completed and the mortar says to let it sit for 24 to 70 Q out. So we're just going to let this sit for a couple days and then we will put it into graphs and macaque and B office. 5. Grout & Finishing Touches: Okay, So if it's been about 2.5 days and we are now ready to do the graph. So you just take the premixed grout. And if you're float and you start putting it on the walls here. And they say to hold this at about a 45 degree angle and just press it in, get it on the wall. Really push it in between the cracks there. And then once you have it between the cracks, I say to take this at a 90 degree angle and then just kind of go over it and it gets rid of some of the excess. So once you have a section about like this finished, then you'll take what sponge and you'll just go over it and remove a lot of that excess grout on the wall. Okay. So now we have the entire wall has been finished with the grout and I've let it sit for about two days just to kinda let that set in. And now it is time to add the clock. So you want to add the clock along the bottom. I'm also going to add it along the top as well. And just to fill in this space down here. So I'm going to use this cock and make sure that you get white and not a clear. Because otherwise, you want to be able to hide the bottom row here because it's, it's uneven and there's parts where there aren't any tile or grout. So just gonna take a bright light clock in the bottom here. And then you just take your finger and you just run it along the bottom here. Hello. And just keep filling it in until you have a really smooth even line. And you're definitely going to need some paper towels here to make it even clean up the axis. And we're just going to continue to do that across the entire bottom of the backbone. Okay, so I have finished all of my caulking. And there's two other final pieces that I didn't quite expect to have to do. And if you can see up here, this really is an even. So we're, I've cut the tiles. It's not very even and there is something called the tile edge trim. Now, the better kind probably to use is there is something that you can actually put on before you place the tile on. You put it in a kind of slides in behind it and then the top part sticks out. And it seems like that's a more permanent, better adhesive way to do it. But I did not realize I was going to need that and I did not do that. I will put a couple of links in my resources document to those videos into that product. But I did find that there is an adhesive that you can use to put on top of it. So I am going to use one of these adhesives are a couple of them actually to make a straight line across the top here. Now, some people may not like this uneven edge here. And maybe you'd want to put one of these down the side as well. I kinda like it. I think it looks a little funky. So I'm just going to keep it. And I will put a link to this product as well. A lot of the reviews said that it was good, but that the adhesive on the back didn't really stick to the walls for that long. So to use some kind of a spray adhesive on the back or, you know, something like a little bit more caulk, put it in there with some coffee or something to have it just stick a little bit better. So that's what I'm gonna do now with this, to try and make a straighter edge. Okay, so I place that on the wall and you can see that it now has a straighter edge across the top. It's a little thicker than I would like it to be. I wish it was a little bit thinner but I couldn't find a white one. That was the other thing that I noticed was I needed to put pieces and warrior the pieces came together. You could see a line. So I just kind of extended the caulk kind of on to the strip as well and over. So you can't see where one ends and the other one begins now. But it does look like it's kinda like a big cocked section. So that's what I thought with that, I will keep you posted if I find after a few weeks or a month that they really don't stick. I'll be sure to put that in the notes. But for now, but I think it looks a little bit better, at least as straight. So that was the first thing that was unexpected. The second issue that I had was working around this outlet. So I think I had Doc that you could maybe just put the plate back on. But as you can see, the outlet is not flush with the wall and there's oldest species in there. So because this got brought out a little bit that is set too far in and I thought, okay, maybe you can get it just a smaller one, but that would would not be flushed with this either. So I realized that there is something called an applet extender. And it basically has these really long screws. So you can put this in and it will bring out the outlet just a little bit to be flush with this wall. So I'm going to do that. And then I should be able to split the plate cover right over it and it'll all be flush. So I do need to turn off the power to do that just to be sure when you're working with an outlet. So it's going to be dark in here. So I'm going to turn off the video, but I will show you once it's finished. Ok, so now you can see that the outlet has been pulled out a little bit. And when I put the playback on, it's now all flesh to the wall and looks good. So with that, we are finished. 6. Conclusion & Project: So here we have my brand new self installed mosaic tile backsplash. I'm really pleased with the way that it turned out. And I think it adds a great pop of color to my kitchen. And I hope this video has helped you learn a little bit about what it would take for you to install one in your kitchen and help you decide if this is something that you want to undertake on your own. For the project, it would be to install your own backsplash. So if you do decide to do it, I would love to see photos and if you have any questions, feel free to reach out. Thank you so much.