DIY: Cheap Backsplash

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Last week, we painted the bathroom and took it from nasty black to refreshing green This week we put up a simple, cheap backsplash that only costs us $7.49 plus the price of supplies, (wallpaper smoother, $5; 16 oz of adhesive mix, $3.99; we already had the paint). Menards sells textured wallpaper that is paintable. Look for it over in the wallpaper and border’s section. It was on sale last week for $7.49 for a large roll, normally it costs $8.99.

When painted with a satin-finish paint, the wallpaper becomes easily wipable and bathroom friendly. Here is how you DIY:

What you need:

  • Wallpaper
  • Wallpaper smoothing tool
  • Exacto knife
  • Wallpaper adhesive
  • A bucket for mixing the adhesive
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Here is how we did it:

    1. First we wiped down the wall we wanted to paper with a damp cloth.
    2. Then we mixed the adhesive in a gallon bucket. It might have been overkill for the small space (and we ended up with leftover adhesive) but the directions only told us how to mix for one gallon of water.
    3. Then we measured. Wrote down the measurements and measured again. Just to be safe. Because we couldn’t do it with one roll (our back splash space is awkwardly L-shaped) we decided to do it in two pieces meaning that there would be a seam.
    4. Then we rolled out the wallpaper so the backside faced up and measured out the first piece. We measured out five marks for each side, to ensure accurate cutting. Then we made lines with a straight-edge.
    5. Cut with an exacto knife and then dry place it on the wall. By dry place, we mean hold up the piece to the wall to make sure it fits.
    6. If it does (our first attempt didn’t) then use a paint brush or sponge to paint the back of the wallpaper with adhesive. Make sure to cover every area and all the corners.
    7. Put it on the wall. This is a little tricky, but wallpaper adhesive is forgiving and you can adjust the wallpaper.
    8. Once it is in place, use the smoothing tool to smooth out any bubbles.
    9. Repeat.
    10. Let the wallpaper dry for about 3 hours and then come back and paint. Don’t get worried if the wallpaper seems to bubble after the paint is on it. We totally freaked out only to realize the next day that the bubbles had worked themselves out.

    Tips and tricks:

  • To match the seams, which were vertical, we cut the second piece of wallpaper a good foot longer than we should have. Then we dry-matched the patterns making light marks about where to cut. Then using a straight-edge to guide us we cut the paper to match up the pattern. It worked.
  • Electrical sockets are a problem. Here is how we solved it. We just took the cover off the socket and papered over it. As we laid out the wallpaper, we took and exacto knife and cut out a hole around the outlets. For light switches, we did this during the dry fit phase. It worked well.
  • If you have tips or recommendations leave them in the comments!

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