To get this charming cottage look, we covered a thin piece of plywood (luan) in a vinyl tablecloth, then attached the panel to the wall. The vinyl is easy to keep clean but is not recommended for the area over the stove.
glue gun with glue sticks
a 1/8" to 1/4" luan panel
vintage vinyl tablecloth (1 or 2, depending on backsplash size)
paper bags and a marker to make 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 glue gun to attach batting to the top surface of the luan panel. Bring it right up to the edges of the panel; do not fold it over the back side.
Place the vinyl tablecloth over batting and cut it one inch bigger than the panel all the way around. Fold the tablecloth over the back side of the panel and glue into place.
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.