Ginger's Major Mosaic Kitchen Makeover

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.

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 www.mosaicsbyginger.com.

Mosaic Kitchen Backsplash


created at: 08/10/2011

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Karen on Feb 28, 2015:

This is absolutely impressive!  Inspiration to all us DIYers, of what endurance can achieve.  FYI - because I don't usually stop and think either when I get an idea in my head, I can see making the exact same mistake.  Awesome work! Thanks for sharing. :)

Betsy on Sep 04, 2014:

Absolutely stunning

Gina on Jul 19, 2014:

What a beautiful difference you made in your space! I made large mosaic inserts in my backsplash about 15 years ago, drawing the design with a Sharpie directly on the wall and sitting or leaning on the counter to apply each piece. So tedious and uncomfortable! It's a good thing I still love it, and with your tips on how to do it right, I'll tackle the project again in a future house. Thanks for sharing!

lori g on Jun 22, 2014:

Linda, Your mosiac is truly art!

Marijke on Jun 11, 2014:


Mb on Apr 21, 2014:

Thank you thank you thank you. I have boxes of broken dishes from my coffeehouse that I sold several years ago. I still miss it and want to use those pieces in my kitchen. This idea has been in my head since, but I was afraid to start. Thanks for sharing your story and photos. It's beautiful!

Barb on Oct 02, 2013:

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.

Myrla on Aug 23, 2013:

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...

Myrla on Aug 23, 2013:

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!

Anonymous on Aug 03, 2013:

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

Heidi on Oct 05, 2012:

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.

Dawn Hope on Aug 21, 2012:

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!!

Cindy on Apr 06, 2012:

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!

Judy on Mar 07, 2012:

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

kwartist on Jan 07, 2012:

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:)

Mosaics By Ginger on Sep 29, 2011:

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 www.mosaicsbyginger.com.  I am available for commissions.  :)

Olivia on Sep 18, 2011:

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!

Chúcara on Aug 26, 2011:

beautiful ... really talented

Susan on Aug 23, 2011:

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.

Marie on Aug 23, 2011:

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

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