DIY Stenciled Kitchen Backsplash

6 years ago
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.

I had a beautiful, unused stencil with a script version of the French sonnet, "Springtime in Paris" (it was originally intended for my sunroom curtains, and I decided I didn't want visitors to be distracted by the writing).    At the same time I was being stubborn lacked creative vision when it came to installing a subway tile backsplash against my new vintage cabinetry.  None of the colors ever seemed right to me.

Inside of my mind the two projects finally merged, and it hit me that my kitchen already had a French Country feel to it (thanks to the Rust-o-Leum Cabinet transformation) and applying the stencil as a backsplash would not only be unique, but a perfect, and (hopefully) subtle accent!  So, a full-on vintage offensive in my kitchen commenced!

Here is the result:

I wanted a "wow" factor in the kitchen and I was willing to try something different that wasn't permanent (like tile can be). I felt a zero-commit, non-permanent backsplash gave me the impact I wanted.  And if I sell and the buyers don't like it?  They can tile over it.

Kitchen (before):

Step 1:  Choose your design by creating sample boards

Before I committed to a design, I created sample boards with several techniques for my stencil application.   I created four different designs and narrowed it down to two (dark stencil on light background / light on dark. Then I experimented with different sponge and cross-brushed techniques applying a metallic patina on both).   Since I was thinking "resale" I wanted to appeal to public opinion, so I solicited opinions on Pinterest and the pinning community picked my final design.

Step 2:  Prep the wall & choose a color:

When I first moved in (2005) I hung a neutral wallpaper with a faux tile as my backsplash.  Of course, once it fell down due to daily kitchen wear and tear, I panicked and used Gorilla Glue on the wall to keep the wallpaper upright.  This is the gift that I left for myself:

SO NOW WHAT???

Step 3:   Apply a spackle...THAT's what!!

Thanks to my poor planning and Gorilla Glue disaster, I needed an education on spackle...and fast!  I had never done this before, and ended up purchasing Homax Wall Texture that was VERY easy to work with (after 1.5 hours at Lowe's I finally made a decision).  It doesn't dry quickly so it gives you time to work with the product and create the texture you want:

Step 4:  Paint over the spackle & patina

After letting the spackle dry overnight, I painted the spackled wall with a chocolate semi-gloss paint (the same paint I used on my loft handrails and balusters--that's a future DIY post).  Once the base dried, I sponged on a Valspar bronze metallic paint, and quickly blended with an "X" criss-cross pattern with a combination of a dry paint brush and sponge brushes.   Here is the result:

Step 5:   Stencil application

This part was so fun and rewarding!  This was my first time stenciling, and I know there are many different techniques, so it's tough to document this part visually.  In the picture below you can see my stencil taped to the wall.  Each time I lined up a verse, I would then use a level to ensure my letters didn't go up or downhill.  I accidentally had a paint "glob" (see the second line...lesson learned), so I suggest you roll out your paint roller so you get the same consistency on the lettering.  It was easily fixed with an artist brush.

Voila!  Very simple, very cost-effective.  My entire kitchen remodel (including my Lumens lighting, and my new Roman shade from Select Blinds) was under $600.

Now...what to do with my sunroom curtains...

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