kitchen backsplash update.

if you have been following the blog over the past couple of weeks, you know that i am in the process of updating our kitchen. no big remodel, just paint!

a few weeks ago, i started by painting the walls a light blue-ish grey – moonshine by benjamin moore – but the actual paint i used was the new valspar allergy & asthma, which i also used for the living room, that i had lowe’s colormatch for me.

then, i sanded, primed, & painted the kitchen cabinets as seen in this post.

next step: painting the backsplash tile.

we had this really lovely backsplash tile that was forest green & pink tulips. while it matched the pink laminate countertops really well, there was no room for flowers in our kitchen update & it had to go! i knew it would be really expensive to rip out the old tile & replace it with new (& tiling isn’t something i am quite ready to learn how to do yet), so i was going to try my hand at painting it. i figured, worst case, we would have crazy-looking tiles for a while until we saved up our pennies to re-tile. it seemed worth the risk.

i started googling (aaron, pretend i said binging) a phrase like “how to paint kitchen tiles” & i found this tutorial on painting backsplash tile. perfect i tell you, like it was meant to be!

i pretty much followed her tutorial, including cleaning supplies & paint supplies. in the end, i needed many, many, many more coats of paint than the original tutorial called for, but that was likely because i was trying to make such dark tiles a very light color (read: white). honestly, this was a big project & took many hours & lots of patience, but it was SO worth it!

supplies:

after my order from misterart.com came in (where i ordered the surface conditioner, enamel paint, enamel paint dilutant, gloss finish, & foam roller), i gave myself a little pep-talk & went for it.

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{deep clean of the tiles}

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{this is what i was working with. it is crazy to see these pictures after seeing the tile after the painting process!}

after a good clean, i started with the surface conditioner. i used a small craftbrush & coated the tiles with the surface conditioner. then i let it dry.

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after the quick drying process on the surface conditioner, i got ready to start with the first coat of white paint. i put a glob of paint into an old GladWare container & then added drops of the dilutant until it was the consistency of Elmer’s Glue. {sidenote: the first few coats i diluted down to a glue consistency, but on the later coats i kept the paint a bit thicker.} then i started painting. i used the same small craftbrush so i would have more control on the edges. i painted in small sections, & found that painting the grout first & then going back & painting the tiles made the process a lot easier. once i started the second, third, etc. coats, i didn’t focus on the grout & just painted the tiles.

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after one coat of paint, i noticed a lot of the paint on the edges wasn’t sticking. boo. i briefly considered re-cleaning the tiles & then adding another coat of surface conditioner, but then i remembered the bonding primer that i used to prime the kitchen cabinets. when i bought it, the gal told me it would basically prime to anything. sure enough when i went to the basement to check the label, it listed ceramic tile as one of the bonding surfaces.

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so i went off-tutorial & painted a (thick) coat of bonding primer. after the primer was dry (i waited at least 12 hours between coats for the entire project), i started in – again – with the enamel paint.

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after about the second coat of enamel paint, i knew that i would need many more coats than the three that the tutorial suggested. so, i kept painting. & painting. & painting.

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aaron & i figured out pretty quickly that i was never going to be 100% satisfied with the whiteness of our tiles regardless of the number of coats i painted. the tiles that had tulips were still showing an outline of the tulips, but the dark green color was slowly starting to fade. i finally had to call it after seven coats. yep, seven. i still had almost a full bottle of white enamel paint left (i had already used three) but wanted to make sure i had some paint around for touch-ups in the future.

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as per the tutorial instructions, after my seventh – & final! – coat, i quickly went over my freshly-painted tiles with the foam roller in order to smooth out the brushstrokes.

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after the paint was dry, i let it dry almost a full 24 hours, i put on two coats of gloss glaze, allowing for drying time in-between coats.

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after the glaze was dry, aaron & i used a small razor to cut away the old caulking from between the tile & the countertop. this was mostly in preparation for my next step: updating the laminate.

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it is easy to be picky about the tiles not being perfect (i.e., look like brand new white tiles), but for $30 in supplies we have a new backsplash & i couldn’t be happier. the change from the forest green & flowers to the bright white made such a huge difference in our kitchen. really, it was an amazing transformation.

the downside: it highlighted our very pink laminate countertop. boo. one of our friends commented that we had a nice colorblocking going on with the grey cabinets, pink countertop, & white backsplash & upper cabinets, but we weren’t really diggin’ it.

up next, an update to the countertop!

have you ever considered painting a backsplash?

M

13 thoughts on “kitchen backsplash update.

  1. That looks amazing! I was too chicken to paint the tiled countertops in this house… slash the cabinets themselves boxed in the kitchen and those had to go, too, so I scrapped it all. Next time I will attempt it! I think it turned out beautifully!

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  5. Thanks for posting! I’m wondering, do you think it would work with another color besides white or would it look too weird with the grout getting painted too?

    • Melissa – I think anything in the lighter end of the grey family could work, or really any lighter color. I have seen people who have just painted the tiles and left the grout unpainted; this seems more tedious but could work well if the tiles were bigger. Thanks for reading and stopping by! M

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