DIY Network

How to Design a Tile-Stamped Kitchen Backsplash

Create your own tile-look foam stamps, and quickly transform the walls above your kitchen counters. The process is easier than stenciling or laying ceramic tile, the look as clean and impressive as the real thing.

More in Kitchen

tile patterned mosaic stamped on kitchen wall

Step 1: Make the Stamps

Note: Design Presses, the precut foam patterns used when this segment was filmed, have been discontinued. Make custom designs from foam sheets or use Chunky Stamps foam stamps.

To make your own foam stamps, cut a pattern from foam sheets, available at craft stores. To make small tiles, cut a 1-1/4 inch square, with a handle for applying and removing the stamp. Carefully trim away a bit of the foam between the stamp and the handle to form a channel. The channel prevents paint from building up on the handle and being transferred to the surface that is being stamped.

foam stamps made to create tile mosaic

Courtesy of James Calloway

Step 2: Paint the Project Surface

Before stamping, paint your project surface with flat latex wall paint. Avoid a glossy-finish paint, which will cause the stamps to slide around as you're stamping.

Step 3: Apply the Paint to the Foam Stamp

Use a small brush to apply a minimal amount of paint to the foam stamp. Unlike sponges, which soak up paint, foam stamps are not absorbent, so very little paint is required to print a crisp design.

apply paint to foam stamp sparingly

Courtesy of James Calloway

Step 4: Press the Stamps to the Wall

Begin your tiled wall by pressing the square foam stamp to the wall in an even checkerboard pattern, leaving 1/8" between squares to create a "grout line". Use each paint-loaded stamp at least four times before reapplying paint. The varying color gradations from tile to tile imitate the look of real tile. If desired, go back over individual squares with other tints to enhance the appearance.

Step 5: Cover the Area with the Pattern

Cover your project area completely with a tile-stamped pattern, or use premade or custom-made stamps to paint fruit or vegetables in the middle of the backsplash. Wash the foam stamps thoroughly when finished.

Step 6: Fill In the Spaces with Paint

When you're satisfied with the design, dip a liner brush in the flat wall color, and carefully go over the 1/8" spaces left between "tiles" to simulate grout and to make the design appear as though it was made of individual tiles.

create faux tile effect complete with grout lines

Courtesy of James Calloway

Step 7: Seal the Surface

When the tile-painted surface is complete and dry, protect the entire area with a coat or two of polyurethane sealer.

This technique may also be used on wood, tin, metal, paper and fabric.