How to Use Rocks for a Backsplash

Backsplash materials run the gamut from sheet metal to vinyl.
If you like the look of natural stones and rocks, you can use river rock on your kitchen or bath backsplash. Natural rock can create a spa-like environment, especially in a bathroom. You also can create a free-form design during installation.

Step 1

Choose smooth, flat rocks. Flat river rocks and pebbles are available by the bag in home improvement and craft stores. Or you might get them from a local river bed.

Step 2

Lay out a free-form design to match the natural feel of the stones, or draw a guide line using a tape measure and level.

Step 3

Apply a thin layer of adhesive to the wall. Work in one small area at a time to prevent the adhesive from drying out as you work.

Step 4

Apply rocks and pebbles in a random pattern. Wipe off adhesive that gets on the rocks' surface; it can be difficult to remove once dry.

Step 5

Let the adhesive cure according to manufacturer's instructions. Some adhesives require a 24-hour cure time while others take less time.

Step 6

Apply grout with the rubber grout float. Work the grout around each rock and pebble. As the grout dries, smooth out any rough spots and carefully wipe the rocks with a damp sponge. Continue wiping until all dried grout film is removed from the surface of the rocks.

Step 7

Apply grout sealant according to manufacturer's directions.

Things You Will Need

  • Rocks, stones and pebbles
  • Pre-mixed adhesive
  • Notched trowel
  • Clean cloth and sponge
  • Grout
  • Rubber grout float
  • Grout sealant
  • Tape measure (optional)
  • Level (optional)


  • The standard height for a backsplash is 4 feet. Buy one bag of rocks to see how much area it will cover. Multiply by the area you need to fill to determine how many bags of rocks you'll need altogether.
  • If you don't want to use river rocks, you can buy stone mosaic tiles from home improvement stores. They come attached to square mesh sheets and are applied in the same manner.


  • Be sure rocks stick securely to the wall, but don't use too much adhesive. Excessive adhesive has a counter-effect, making it easier for stones to break off the wall.

About the Author

Aubrey Kerr is a writer and photographer. With a B.A. in media arts and public relations, she has helped small business owners design and implement online marketing campaigns since 2004. Her work appears on several websites including and the Houston Chronicle.