How to Create a Faux Tile Backsplash

What You'll Need
Drywall compound mix
Drywall spade or trowel
1/4 inch painters tape (one or two rolls, depending)
Scissors or Exacto knife
3-inch bristle brushes
Paint tray
Interior Latex paint primer
2 Interior Latex paints (one neutral color, one color to suit your needs)
Latex paint glaze topcoat

Adding a faux tile backsplash to your kitchen is a viable project for people of any skill level that does not require much manual labor or specialized tools.  Creating faux tiles gives you more control over the look and feel of your kitchen décor, and it is a project you can do yourself.

Step 1 – Prepare the Backsplash Area

Begin by washing the backsplash area that will be receiving the faux tile treatment. Once the surface is clean and dry, apply the ¼-inch painters tape to the outer edges of the backsplash area. Apply one coat of the neutral-colored paint to the entire area; this will create contrast between the faux tiles and give the effect of grout lines. Allow ample time to dry.

Step 2 – Apply Drywall Mixture

Cut painters tape into 1/8-inch strips using scissors or an Exacto knife; apply strips of tape to backsplash area in a grid-like pattern to mimic the grout lines between tiles. The grid-like pattern can be as precise as you would like, depending on the overall tile effect you would like for your backsplash. You may want to keep these tape strips long enough to hang over the ¼-inch strips of tape for easier removal later. Apply a thin layer of the drywall mix using a spade or trowel to the backsplash area.  

Once you have a smooth layer of consistent thickness covering the taped area, carefully peel back the 1/8-inch strips of tape to reveal your faux tiles. You will want to remove the tape before the drywall sets. Let the faux tiles dry for at least 24 hours.

Step 3 – Paint Your Faux Tiles

After the faux tiles have dried completely, use a clean 3-inch bristle brush to remove any remaining dust. Apply two layers of latex paint primer to the entire back splash area, including the grout lines, and let it dry for 2 hours. After the primer has dried, reapply new 1/8-inch  strips of painters tape to the grout lines.

Prepare a paint tray with the interior latex paint in a color of your choosing. Use a 3” bristle paint brush to apply a layer or two of latex paint to the faux tiles. Once latex paint has dried, you can choose to apply a glaze topcoat to the faux tiles if you like. The glaze will give the effect of hand-painted ceramic tiles. Allow glaze to dry for 1 to 2 hours.

Step 4 – Finishing Up

Once your faux tiles have completely dried, remove all strips of painters tape. Brush off any debris from your faux tiles. You may want to spot check your paint application if any paint chipped off from removing the tape. You now have a faux tile backsplash