How to makeover a kitchen backsplash with a pressed tin farmhouse style inexpensively and in 6 hours, no power tools required.
In good Run-D.M.C. fashion, we got tricky on our kitchen backsplash recently. (Yep. That was an 80s pop reference.) And Robert and I maybe had that song cranking as we were finishing our latest project.
When we first closed on the house back in the April, our kitchen looked like this. Pretty great already, right?! We’ve been very lucky to have an updated kitchen right from the beginning in this 1960s house. But we felt like we needed to make some tweaks…
We have a lot of plans to make this kitchen more our style over the next year or two. Maybe change the tile floor, do something with that shamrock cut-out built-in shelf, and I’m a tad tempted to paint the cabinets (which is probably nuts since I was all ga-ga for a white kitchen in the last house… seriously, who am I?)
But that’s all way down the road in more of a Phase 2 for this space.
So for now, Phase 1: the backsplash.
It’s not that there was anything wrong with the backsplash on its own, but I felt like it was a bit busy with the granite countertops. The colors and texture and pattern weren’t doing it for me.
So until we actually get to Phase 2 of this kitchen and take a chisel to this tile to remove it for good, Robert and I decided on a quick fix for now. Enter pressed “tin” panels.
Normally, pressed tin is placed on ceilings, but we thought the white PVC kind looked a lot like tile. And best of all, it was inexpensive and suuuper quick to do! Plus, it didn’t even require a single power tool. Win-win-win!
Supplies Used: (Some affiliate links are provided below for convenience.)
- Primer (I used Kilz Premium.)
- Paint brush
- Pressed tin style vinyl panels (If you are installing behind a stovetop, use this real tin version instead.)
- Utility knife
- Tape measure
- L square tool
- Caulk gun
- Loctite Power Grab construction adhesive
- White caulk
The whole project cost us all of $104 and 6 hours to do it. Not quite as cheap or as quick as our last faux brick whitewashed backsplash in the old house. But still… Score!
- To make sure the blue/gray tiles wouldn’t show through the white panels, I painted the tiles, first, with a coat of the white primer.
2. The panels come in 2’x4′ sheets, so we had to work in sections, starting on one end of the backsplash. (We chose the corner of our kitchen that is least noticeable while we figured things out in case of any rookie mistakes.)
We measured the first section and then marked a panel using a pencil and a square tool to ensure a straight cut.
3. To cut it, we only needed a utility knife with a sharp blade. (Make sure to have a piece of cardboard underneath your panel so you don’t cut into your table.)
4. Once our panel piece had been cut for the section, we measured and marked where any switch plates, outlets, and under mount lighting would go. Then, cut those out with the utility knife too. This was definitely the trickiest part and took a little time to figure out, so buying an extra panel in case of a measuring/cutting mistake is a good idea.
5. To adhere the panels to the existing tile, we only needed a little construction adhesive applied on the back and pressed into place. The panels come with instructions for adhesive placement too. Basically, don’t get too glue happy. A little can handle the job with just one line of adhesive an inch in from the edges and 3 + marks of adhesive in the middle will do it.
6. We repeated the whole process all the way around our backsplash, and to cover up any cracks, I sealed with white caulk. You could paint it at this point if you wanted to with primer and a color/sheen of your choosing, but we wanted just clean, simple white.
That’s it! Game changer, huh? It almost looks like white tile and goes so much better with our countertops. I’m not a huge fan of the slightly green color of the granite, but Robert loves it. And the upkeep of them is still easier than our old concrete countertops, so there’s that.
Maybe one day we’ll replace them, but the jury’s still out. We have a lot of bigger projects to worry about, like our outdated bathrooms. (I’m DYING to show what I have planned with those, but that’s a chat for another day.)
Considering this house is a very traditional Colonial, I feel like this backsplash makes so much more sense for that style now. It was just so modern before.
I have no idea what we’ll do in here later when we replace it with real tile, but I’m so glad this space is feeling more like “us” now. Also, can I freak over the fact that I have a window above our kitchen sink?! I’ve always wanted one! Doing dishes is way more fun when I can stand there and watch Robert and Olivia playing basketball in the driveway. (Well, okay, dishes still aren’t fun but they’re entertaining now. Ya know.)
Don’t let this fool you though because the rest of our kitchen is pandemonium 100% of the time. Our shelf nook is always overflowing with random mail that gets dumped there and dishes are usually hanging out on the bar where Olivia eats her breakfast.
I use the “we just moved in” excuse, but, honestly, it’s regular ol’ living life.
Oh, and if you want to know about any of the random decor on our countertops right now, here’s a whole list:
- IKEA step stool (semi-DIY)
- Wood tiered tray
- Olive branches
- Labeled antique jar (printable)
- Mug drying rack
- Wood cutting board
- Vintage “rusted” scale (DIY thrifted tutorial here) (or similar one here)
Today marks the official 3 month mark since we closed (and 2 months since we moved in), and I already can’t believe how much it feels like home.
I’m still debating on a few other little changes I could make in here like possibly getting a shade for the window or hanging some plates on that small wall space above it. Maybe get a hanging pendant light above the sink? This is my brain on kitchen decor mode.
What do you think so far? An improvement? Have you done any quickie backsplash changes before too? I’d love to hear all about them!
UPDATE: It has been over 3 years since we completed our DIY backsplash and it is still holding up perfectly! To clean them, we just wipe them down with a damp cloth and they’re good to go. No staining issues at all.
If you want to save this post for later, you can pin it here:
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- DIY Whitewashed Faux Brick Backsplash
Frequently Asked Questions
Wallpaper and peel and stick vinyl tiles are both very simple DIY backsplash solutions. You can also try beadboard or this faux brick backsplash.
The PVC backsplash we used is resistant up to 140 degrees F, so if you plan to do this DIY pressed tin backsplash behind your stove, use this real tin paneling instead.