How to Create A Colorful Glass Tile Backsplash

Create a custom kitchen backsplash with inexpensive glass tiles and marbles. This colorful, geometric design will give your kitchen a bright, fresh look.

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Make a statement with glass tiles in bold colors.

Materials and Tools:

large sheets of paper or cardboard to use as a template
glass tiles
marbles
tile adhesive (also called thinset)
grout
bucket
water
sponge
dry towel
pencil with eraser
3/16" V-notched trowel
power drill
cement-mixing tool bit
grout float

Steps:

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Lay your tiles on a template first to determine the backsplash design.

1. Measure the dimensions of your backsplash. Using a large sheet of paper or cardboard, transfer the measurements to the paper, then use scissors to cut a template. Set the template in place and tweak it until it fits the backsplash area perfectly. Be sure to mark the spaces where the outlets will go.

2. Lay the template on a horizontal surface. Place the tiles and marbles on the template, arranging them until you get the pattern you want. If your tiles are mounted on paper, you can cut the paper to free up individual tiles or smaller groups of tiles to create your pattern.

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Cover the wall with thinset using a V-notched trowel.

3. Get the thinset, 3/16-inch V-notched trowel, grout and grout float. Use the trowel to spread the thinset onto the wall. Cover only as much area as you can handle within 10 to 15 minutes, or for as long as the thinset remains tacky.

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Apply the tiles with the paper side up, pressing firmly.

4. "Back butter" the tiles (spread adhesive directly on them), then set the tile sheets with the paper side facing out. Add the marbles as you work until you've put the whole pattern on the wall.

5. Wait 15 to 20 minutes for the thinset to bond. Begin wiping down the paper with a damp sponge and warm water. Rub lightly to avoid disturbing the tile placement. The paper facing will begin to darken as the water is absorbed.

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After the tiles have set, carefully peel off the paper.

6. After two to three minutes, test a corner of the paper sheet. Pull lightly downward at an angle instead of straight out. If the sheet does not easily pull away, sponge it again until the paper releases.

7. Wait 24 hours for the adhesive to fully bond. Use the drill and mixing bit to mix the grout in the bucket according to the manufacturer's specifications. It should be approximately the consistency of cake batter when you're done.

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Use a rubber float to grout the entire backsplash.

8. Use the hard rubber grout float to spread the prepared grout at a 45-degree angle (on a diagonal) across the tile field. After grouting the area, wait 20 minutes before you start to clean off the excess.

9. Wipe the excess grout off, first with a dry cloth, such as cheesecloth or any other lint-free cloth, to remove excess grout on the tile surface. Follow up with a sponge and warm water. The less water you use, the better; too much water can weaken the grout before it sets.

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