We covered a thin piece of plywood (luan) in salvaged wood, then attached the plywood panel to the wall. The different shapes and finishes of the wood give our kitchen a rustic, architectural flair.
a 1/8" to 1/4" luan panel
scrap molding and trim
paper bags and a marker to make a template
optional: 1/2" wood trim for edge around the backsplash
Make a template of the backsplash area with a large piece of paper (we used paper bags taped together). Make an exact cut around edges and double-check the measurements.
Use the template to outline your cutting area on the luan panel.
Use a jigsaw to cut the luan. Double-check measurements and make sure the panel fits properly in the backsplash space.
Use a chop saw or miter box to cut the pieces of scrap trim to fit the length of each luan panel.
Glue the pieces of trim onto the wood panel with wood glue. Place something heavy on the wood to weigh it down while the glue dries.
If necessary, use a jigsaw to cut any scrap wood that is overhanging the luan panel.
Place the panel onto the backsplash area. Find the wall studs and use drywall screws to attach the luan panel along its edges and into a couple of the studs.
If you want, place a small piece of wood trim around the edges and nail into place.
When it comes time to remove the backsplash, just take the screws out and fill the holes with joint compound.
Joanne Palmisano is the author of Salvage Secrets (W.W. Norton, September 2011). Visit her blog, also called Salvage Secrets.