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Ginger’s Major Mosaic Kitchen Makeover

by on Aug 19, 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

Mosaic Kitchen Backsplash

 created at: 08/10/2011

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  1. 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!

  2. 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!

  3. 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. 🙂

  4. It is so beautiful it makes me want to cry. I can’t wait to do my kitchen backsplash and the tiny lavette floor in my new home! Thanks for the tip about the mesh, which I never thought of either. You are amazing!

  5. This backsplash looks so good, you did a great job, and we appreciate your comments on the process you used to complete it!