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Creating a Backsplash Mosaic from Found Materials

by Jessica Ackerman on Nov 29, 2010

When you are remodeling your kitchen, the last thing you want is for your room to look like all the other kitchens out there. You want your kitchen to have a unique feel and tone to it so that it can be a one-of-a-kind showcase. One of the ways you can create such a feel is by creating a backsplash mosaic from found items. Not only is this a great way to create a unique work of art, but it is also a great way to be environmentally conscious and help save the planet.

Collecting Items

The first step to creating your backsplash mosaic masterpiece is to start gathering items. It is important to find items that are solid, durable and that are primarily non-porous. Paper and pressed flowers are better left to other projects. Some items you may want to include are rocks, pebbles, and seashells. If you want a more whimsical look, try adding small plastic or glass beads, children's toys, and dollhouse miniatures. Not only will these items add visual interest, but they will also make use of items that you have around the house that may no longer have a place or use. Depending on the look you want, you may need to collect a lot of items, or simply a few. Keep your needs in mind when collecting so that you do not gather significantly more than you need.

Designing the Mosaic

To design the perfect mosaic, you need to start with either an idea of the look that you want to achieve or use the pieces that you have found as inspiration. This can mean that you purposefully collect small rocks that can be shaped to form a sun or seashells that can be laid out in the design of a mermaid. You can also dump your collection of found items on the dining room table that has been covered by some sheets of newspaper or an old tablecloth. After dumping everything, spread it out and see what items you have and what they inspire you to create. The small metal dollhouse frying pan may encourage you to make a design of pots and pans, while the colorful glass beads bring out a flower garden design. Be as whimsical or as conservative as you want to be.

Cleaning the Items

Your next step is to carefully clean all the items that you will be using in the mosaic. Soak them in hot water and use an old toothbrush to clean the small nooks. Vinegar and baking soda together make a powerful cleaner for those extra tough, caked on dirt areas.

Creating the Back Splash

Start with a clean surface and apply your backsplash mortar to the wall. It is a good idea to tape the edges of the countertop before starting so that the material does not drip onto the counter surface. As the mortar is setting up, press the found objects into place to form the design that you are creating. You should work quickly so that the mortar does not set up before the objects have been pressed into it. For large areas, it is best to work on one small area at a time.

Once your new backsplash is dry, seal it with a clear or tinted protective coating. With the proper care, your backsplash will stay looking great for years to come. With found objects, you can truly create a piece unlike any other.

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