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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Great Kitchen Facelift–Weekend #4–Faux Tin Backsplash

Now that we’re done with the counter project, I was happy to put that behind me and move on to what I assumed would be a fairly straightforward project (notice the word *thought*).

We tossed around a plethora of ideas for the backsplash.  Traditional backsplashes are tile.  I love tile.  I don’t love to tile, but I love tile.  I originally wanted a nice subway tile backsplash. Wouldn’t this be lovely?


What isn’t lovely is the price tag. Each tile is about $1 each.  Now, when you have 23 linear feet … by 18 inches tall … plus the two solid walls … yikes!  Not happening on our budget. I did quite a bit of research and decided that I really liked the look of tin tile.  Again expensive  … until we remembered that you can fake it with wallpaper!  Ah yes, just took wallpaper off of most of the kitchen, only to put more back up right?  Typical.

So, tin wallpaper.  It’s actually paintable wallpaper which means that it comes white and is intended to have paint applied over it. It has a raised texture to it, so it looks and feels sort of like a tin ceiling would.  The best part?  It costs just $12 a roll.  Note – mistake number 1 – we looked at our kitchen, looked at the roll and thought – “I think one roll will be plenty!!”  Measure, measure, measure!  Here’s the pattern we chose:


So we had a bit of prep work to do before we could start (and by we I really mean “he” – I watched the baby and supervised).  Most of our backsplash currently was the same faux wood laminate.  The rest was wallpaper and peg board.  Here’s a refresher:

IMG_5551    IMG_5553 

Our intent was to wallpaper directly over the backsplash laminate so we didn’t have to deal with ripping that out and filling the gaps between the counter and the wall.  The problem we then faced was that the wallpaper/pegboard walls were not in the same plane as the laminate.  Lucky for us, the Mr. had some extra MDF that was just the same thickness as the laminate.  He slapped it up and voila!  It looks like the whole entire wall is all in the same playing field.  For the record I would like to acknowledge that the drill bits he was using belonged to one Laura Johnson – yep, me pre marriage.  I’m pretty sure my dad bought me these when I as about 21 – thanks dad!! So we primed everything and were ready to go.

IMG_5735   IMG_5730

So we’ve never wallpapered before.  This was a completely new project for us and we just assumed couldn’t be that hard right?  We figured it would take us an hour or two at the most.  For the record – it’s now 8:00 pm.

We thought long and hard about where we needed to start to make patterns line up and make it easier on us. You know how you traditionally put wallpaper strips up vertically?  Well, the Mr. suggested we do them vertically on the big walls and horizontally on the shorter walls to save ourselves some time.  The pattern after all consisted of a series of squares, so why make life harder?? (Note – I’m hinting at mistake #2).  We measured, we measured again and we cut.  We wanted to get all of the pieces cut before we started.  Yep, that was where mistake #1 came in.  We were about 4 strips short.  Grumble. 25 minutes later and the quickest trip to Menards ever, we’re back in business.  It’s now 9:00 pm.  We got the rest of the pieces cut and were ready to start!

We wanted to make sure we really knew what we were doing so we started with just one piece.  It was hard to take pictures during the wet, gooey mess, but you roll up the wall paper strip, place it into a tub of water for a few seconds, pull it out and fold it on top of itself and let it sit for 10 minutes so the glue has a chance to activate.  We enjoyed an ice cream break and 10 minutes of Big Bang Theory.  Fabulous!

Hanging the tall strips was definitely a two man job.  The Mr. got the top part up while I held the bottom and got the patterns aligned and straight.  The first piece went up, but the trimming didn’t go well.  You have to cut the pieces larger than your area and then trim it with a sharp knife at the ceiling, backsplash and around the outlets.  Our razor definitely needed a new blade as we tore up the first piece.  Good thing we got that second roll of wallpaper right?


We got into a groove and got that big section done.  Onto the backsplash area where we were going to hang the strips horizontally.  Right.  Yeah, so we got that first piece up and couldn’t understand why the squares weren’t lining up.  Right.  See, they weren’t exactly squares, they were rectangles.  So nothing lined up.  Sigh.  We had to recut the rest of the wallpaper and it was a very defeating feeling.  It was now about 11:000 pm.  We were both crabby and the Mr. had to sing at church at 7 am the next day.  Fabulous. 

We marched on though!  I think it was about 2 am when we finally finished everything, but it was so worth it! 



We let everything dry overnight and got to painting the next day.  It was definitely difficult to get all of the nooks and crannies covered, but it only took an hour and a half.  We picked a nice shade of grey that we felt would be very sophisticated for the space and I must admit that I am completely in love it it!  LOVE! 

A reminder of the before:


And after:



You can see that we still have to put the trim back up at the ceiling, but that’s another project for another weekend. I’ve got all of my dishes out on the exposed shelving.  For the record – I didn’t *need* more shelving, I just wanted to have the dishes out for all of their great color!

So we are moving right along!  Wallpapering was one of the more tedious jobs we’ve attempted and I’d like to say that we’ll never do it again, but who knows?  I think if we had to do an entire room we’d definitely hire people to do it. 

How much did it cost?

Wallpaper – $24
Wallpaper wetting tray – $3 
Paint – $30
Shelving units – FREE!  We purchased them at IKEA several years ago!

Total cost of project – $57

Total cost of kitchen facelift so far – $290

Until the next time …
The girl behind the lama

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katie mays said...

this is turning out quite lovely. i'm excited to see the finished project!!

Bonnye Manning, BrownBagWalls said...

As a professional paperhanger, I suggest/sell/install this look quite often. It is a great budget fixer, especially over the butcher-block Formica. I save many a homeowner and remodeling contractor a lot of time and headaches with this nice trick. I also faux finish it in copper, pewter, gold often.

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