Upgrade Your Kitchen With a Budget DIY Backsplash

Bored with your kitchen's backsplash? Make a new one with upholstery fabric and clear acrylic — the color and pattern options are endless. Perfect for renters, this application can be customized and easily removed when you move out.
DIY Acrylic and Fabric Kitchen Backsplash

DIY Acrylic and Fabric Kitchen Backsplash

NOTE: This example is applied to an existing tile backsplash. Removal and cleanup is simple with a razor blade and all-purpose cleaner. If your existing backsplash is drywall, consider attaching the acrylic and fabric with Velcro tabs or removable adhesive putty or strips. You should still apply the clear silicone caulk to the outside edge of the acrylic to prevent water from reaching the fabric.

Materials and Tools:

  • screwdriver
  • measuring tape
  • straight edge such as a yard stick
  • acrylic sheeting
  • fine tip permanent marker
  • oscillating saw and half-moon blade
  • contractor’s paper
  • craft or utility knife
  • spiral blade saw
  • upholstery fabric
  • scissors and rotary cutter
  • white craft glue
  • water
  • dry wall spatula or pastry spatula
  • clear caulk
  • painter’s tape

Prep Existing Backsplash

Clean the existing backsplash thoroughly and remove any outlet or light switch face plates. 

DIY Acrylic and Fabric Kitchen Backsplash, Clean Existing Backsplash

DIY Acrylic and Fabric Kitchen Backsplash, Clean Existing Backsplash

Cut Acrylic Sheet to Height

Measure the height of your backsplash and mark your acrylic sheeting accordingly with a fine tip permanent marker. Use an oscillating saw and half-moon blade to carefully score the line. Turn the sheet over and score on the opposite side. Gently snap the plastic at the score line.

DIY Acrylic and Fabric Kitchen Backsplash, Cut Acrylic Sheet

DIY Acrylic and Fabric Kitchen Backsplash, Cut Acrylic Sheet

Create Paper Template

Use a long sheet of paper to create a template for cut outs, such as window sills and electrical outlets. Tape the paper in place and cut around areas to be removed with a craft knife or box cutter.

DIY Acrylic and Fabric Kitchen Backsplash, Create Paper Template

DIY Acrylic and Fabric Kitchen Backsplash, Create Paper Template

Make Additional Cuts in Acrylic

Measure the distance from the one end of your backsplash to the first place to be cut out and transfer the paper template to the acrylic using that measurement as a guide. Outline the template on the acrylic with a permanent marker, score it, and gently snap away the unnecessary pieces. Sand away any rough edges on the acrylic with fine-grit (220) sandpaper.

DIY Acrylic and Fabric Kitchen Backsplash, Sand Acrylic Edges

DIY Acrylic and Fabric Kitchen Backsplash, Sand Acrylic Edges

Cut Fabric to Height

Lay your fabric face up on a flat surface. Lay the acrylic sheet(s) face up on top of the fabric. Make sure the fabric is lined up neatly and patterns are where you want them, and then draw an outline approximately 1 inch bigger than the acrylic sheet all the way around. Use a rotary cutter or scissors to cut out the shape. Do not cut out the holes for electrical outlets or light switches. That will be done later. Be sure to leave fabric intact around cut out areas. 

DIY Acrylic and Fabric Kitchen Backsplash, Cut Fabric

DIY Acrylic and Fabric Kitchen Backsplash, Cut Fabric

Soak Fabric in Adhesive

Make a solution of 2 parts glue to 1 part water. Mix it well. Dip the fabric in the solution. Work the fabric with your fingertips to ensure complete coverage, and then squeeze out the excess. Remove as much of the solution as possible.

DIY Acrylic and Fabric Kitchen Backsplash, Soak Fabric in Adhesive

DIY Acrylic and Fabric Kitchen Backsplash, Soak Fabric in Adhesive

Adhere Fabric to Acrylic Sheet

Flip the acrylic face down on a flat surface. Lay the wet fabric face down on the back of the acrylic and smooth it out to fit using a drywall spatula or pastry spatula. NOTE: This gets messy. Have a wet rag nearby for quick cleanup. Allow the fabric to dry/harden completely before proceeding.

DIY Acrylic and Fabric Kitchen Backsplash, Adhere Fabric to Acrylic

DIY Acrylic and Fabric Kitchen Backsplash, Adhere Fabric to Acrylic

Make Additional Cuts in Fabric

When dry, use a craft knife or box cutter to cut away the fabric inside the electrical openings and any cut outs for sills, etc. NOTE: The best way to get a clean cut is by making an ‘X’ from two corners to their diagonal corners and then cut straight lines to remove the resulting triangular flaps. Trim away any excess fabric around the outside edges of the acrylic. 

DIY Acrylic and Fabric Kitchen Backsplash, Cut Openings in Fabric

DIY Acrylic and Fabric Kitchen Backsplash, Cut Openings in Fabric

Adhere Acrylic to Wall

Apply a generous bead of clear, silicone, adhesive caulk to the back of the dried fabric. Press the acrylic and fabric in place against the wall. If necessary, use painter’s tape to hold it in place while the caulk sets.

DIY Acrylic and Fabric Kitchen Backsplash, Adhere Backsplash to Wall

DIY Acrylic and Fabric Kitchen Backsplash, Adhere Backsplash to Wall

Finish With Clear Caulk

Add painter’s tape to the counter and the acrylic leaving about ¼” of space from the tape to the corner. Apply another bead of clear caulk between the two pieces of tape. Dip your finger or thumb in water and smooth out the caulk pressing it into the corner. Peel away the tape to reveal a clean seam. Add a bead of caulk around the outside edge of the acrylic and smooth it out with moistened fingertips. NOTE: If using more than one length of acrylic for a long backsplash, be sure to add a bead of caulk where the two ends butt up against each other, pressing it into the crack and smoothing it out with moistened fingertips. Allow caulk to dry completely before getting it wet again. Replace the face plates, if necessary.

DIY Acrylic and Fabric Kitchen Backsplash, Finish With Clear Caulk

DIY Acrylic and Fabric Kitchen Backsplash, Finish With Clear Caulk

DIY Acrylic and Fabric Kitchen Backsplash

DIY Acrylic and Fabric Kitchen Backsplash

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