Ginger's Major Mosaic Kitchen Makeover

By: Mosaics by ginger Aug 19, 2011

created at: 08/16/2011

Not everything is big in Texas…especially not my 650 square foot condo that I felt needed a little excitement.  Everyone knows the kitchen is the epicenter of one’s home (no matter how small), so I figured this would be the best place to create a piece of art that would inspire my cooking as well as conversation from my family and guests.

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I ran across the idea of creating a backsplash using broken plates and glass.  As you see, starting small is not something I do often.   This installation was truly a labor of love, and took about a month to design/install, but the results were well worth the work! Mosaic Backsplash


To begin, I started scouring second hand shops and garage sales for relatively flat plates and ceramics that had interesting design elements and colors. I specifically looked for round “focal” pieces that would eventually become the center of my circles in the design.  I also purchased some scrap stained glass to include as well.

Next, I measured the dimensions of my backsplash, and drew a life-sized template onto a couple pieces of large plywood.

I used tile snips to break the plates and stained glass into even-sized pieces, and laid them on my plywood template to help create a master design.

created at: 08/12/2011

IT WAS AT THIS POINT where I wished the epiphany would have occurred that actually took place a couple of months AFTER I finished the backsplash (all you DIY-ers know what I’m talking about here…the OMG-what-was-I-thinking? moment.  Yeah…that one). 


I hand-carried the two pieces of plywood that had my backsplash design loosely atop CAREFULLY from the dining room table to the kitchen counter (without tripping).  Then, I proceeded to BACK-BUTTER each individual piece of tile and stick it to the wall in the EXACT SAME placement as they were on the plywood. Right. 

(At that moment, I had no idea how time-consuming, labor-intensive, and utterly ridiculous this was…but at the time, I had the “DIY tunnel vision syndrome”, so I pushed through!)


I skipped down to the ol’ orange and white store, and picked me up some mosaic tile mesh!  I laid down parchment paper over the plywood template of my backsplash, and placed 1 x 1 foot squares of the mosaic tile mesh over the parchment paper.  I glued my tiles with Welbond to the mesh, allowed to dry, and affixed the individual SHEETS of tile to the wall with mortar. Then, had enough energy to clean the entire house and prepare Beef Wellington with Truffle Sauce, Almond Glazed Onions, and Honey Orange Hericot Vert for dinner!  Right.     

Believe me – it is MUCH easier to glue tile to a horizontal piece of mesh sitting at a table and then place them on the wall rather than back-butter and affix each individual tile to the wall!  Hindsight...(you know the rest).

After the design was successfully transferred to the wall, I grouted, and VOI-LA!

Now, on to tackle BEEF WELLINGTON!

For more photos and information about this project and Ginger Araujo, visit

Mosaic Kitchen Backsplash

 created at: 08/10/2011

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19018 views | Comments (28)


so very beautiful. fabulous job!!! you should be very proud of yourself. And when and if you should ever move, get the sawzall out remove the wall and take it with you.

This is just the inspiration I have been looking for.   We've had our new kitchen done for over a year - but living with plain backsplash until I can find something 'just right' - something creative ....  I love what you did, and I love that you tell us how, including your "wish I had only..." instructions.  Thank you, thank you!

I would hate to think about having to move and not being able to take it with me...

This is just the inspiration I have been looking for.   We've had our new kitchen done for over a year - but living with plain backsplash until I can find something 'just right' - something creative ....  I love what you did, and I love that you tell us how, including your "wish I had only..." instructions.  Thank you, thank you!

I feel ya girl on the "work smart, not hard" thing...This is GORGEOUS none the less.

I feel so inspired looking at this! Wow! SOO beautiful and so amazing how it transformed the space! I love to do mosaics as well and used to go the thrift store route until I discovered a Habitat For Humanity re-store in my area. They sell tons of nice flat tiles in a ton of different colors for super cheap. However, I love the way you used the center of the plates. I have never used tile nips, just a hammer and pillowcase. I think I need to get that tool. Great job. This will never go out of style.

You are my hero! Of all the web pages, books and mags I've scoured in preparation of diy'g my kitchen backsplash I have not come across the mesh idea. I owe you one! Thanks!!

I followed the same process a few years ago doing my kitchen backsplash.  Took a month of re-arranging on my dining room table to get it to look right then followed the same process of back buttering to install.  I did not know about the mesh.  What a better way to do it!

Wow!  It's so creative and beautiful!  I'm very impressed!

Very nice project! I have been working in mosaics for years and it always amazes me how you can take a small space and create sp much more interest in i1. Here is my good friend Anne Oshman- she is an amazing mosaic artist and I thought you would appreciate seeing her work:)

Olivia - the spoons, forks, and knives were found as a pattern on a plate that I bought from a second hand store.  They fit perfect in this design!  Please take a look at my website  I am available for commissions.  :)

Saw this on Pinterest and I MUST know-- how did you get those little tiny forks and spoons on your tile? It is so cute. You did a fantastic job. I would swear a professional artist was contracted for it!

beautiful ... really talented

I can truely appreciate every minute of this process. My garage is full of mosaic UFOs( unfinished objects) waiting for the grout. My big dream is the back splash in my kitchen. Congratulations from a little Arty -house by a lake, near a beach, in Australia.

That mosaic is absolutely STUNNING!!  Congratulations.  I don't think I could have done it - but you've inspired me to think about it...!

i can't believe this only took you one month! IT looks like a project that would take MONTHS! Amazing and soooooooo beautiful!

Michael - I just had a chance to take a look at your site.  LOVE all the ideas!!!  Thanks so much for sharing! Now I'm seriously adding a bunch of projects to the never-ending list of must-do-this-soon!  Yikes!  :)  I love the mosaic garden towers!  Awesomeness.

Love the tiny silverware in the pattern! This is sooooo cool! And by the way - don't be intimidated by Beef Wellington - it's just roast beef wrapped in pie crust.

Oh WOW, Linda T!  Your project sounds AMAZING!  I would LOVE to see photos of it. My email is if you have a moment to send.  You're right...the ol' pillow case on concrete breaking method beats tile nippers any day!  :) 

I did mine straight onto the wall and since I have a back problem, climbing up and down the step stool needed many breaks, so I took 4 months, but I also used some very tiny pieces.  I didn't design at all, just drew horizontals (using a spirit level)  Stuck on some dark green, unbroken 6"x6" s on, or above, or diagonal to the lines, then I took 4"x4" yellows, some whole, some cut, added a very few bright red (terribly expensive, special ordered for surround of gas cook top) then started with odd tiles from our basement stash, broken plates,  some plate centres with castles on them, and souvenirs like Greek coasters, and a small 'evil eye', a little broken cream jug complete with handle from a fav' aunt, some tourquoise marbles and a small Quimper dish that would have been valuable if it were not cracked.  It's all beautiful and after many years, I'm never tired of looking at it, while chopping, cooking or doing the dishes. I also used nippers, but got most pieces by putting broken stuff in a pillow case and dropping it on a concrete floor.

I'd send a pic' but don't know how!

Wow that sure is beautiful!  You did a wonderful job on that and will be appreciated for many years to come!

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