One of the best ways to perk up a kitchen is to add a backsplash. Even if you cover only the wall behind the stove, an interesting backsplash will draw attention to that area. Do-it-yourself ideas, using simple, easy-to-clean and readily available materials, are usually the most inexpensive methods.
Ancient Greek passions need not burn in your soul in order to enjoy breaking dishes. Smash your old china and porcelain dishes or purchase several odds-and-ends sets in complementing or contrasting colors and patterns at flea markets and resale shops. For a gentler alternative to smashing, use a pair of running or breaking pliers to break the dishware into jagged shapes and sizes. Then arrange and adhere the mosaic of pieces to the walls with mastic or other adhesive to create a unique, inexpensive backsplash. You also can use broken colored-glass bottles and assorted colors and textures of tile pieces to create a cheap, visually appealing kitchen backsplash.
Small or medium flat rocks make a great behind-the-stove or all around backsplash. River rocks in various colors and sizes are available at many stone and rock suppliers, landscaping companies, and arts-and-crafts stores. A rock-hunting trip to the country will yield dozens of interesting finds. Use mastic adhesive, spackling or joint compound, or another adhesive recommended by a home remodeling store to adhere the rocks to the wall.
Adhesive vinyl floor tiles are easy to cut and, when glued to the wall, can create an attractive backsplash. These tiles clean up with soap and water and are simple to remove. Brick, metal, mirrors, cloth and glass stick-on tiles are readily available.
In the Cards
Make a collage of old greeting cards. Keep the fronts whole or cut them into various shapes and sizes. Add removable adhesive to the backs, then arrange them in a pleasing pattern on poster board. Slip it into a sheet of heavy, clear vinyl purchased at a crafts or home building supply stores. Mat, frame and then hang your "masterpiece" behind the stove.
During the '50s, when stick-on tiles and other of today's conveniences were unavailable, backsplashes showcased kitchen collections. Jell-O and other molds covered sections of kitchen walls as did hot pad and trivet arrangements. Small curtain rods placed on the wall exhibited groups of embroidered linen dish towels. Shelves and shadow boxes displayed salt and pepper shakers, mugs and what-not collections. Wall plate holders displayed pieces of the Sunday china. Brightly colored oil cloth tacked to the wall served as easy-wipe coverings.
With that inspiration in mind, look around your home and find materials to use in creating a backsplash display on a shoestring.