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Mason Jar Mosaic Backsplash Tutorial PART 2 {Installation and Price Breakdown}

So hey! We’re back with round 2 of this Mason Jar Mosaic backsplash that just went up in our upstairs bath! If you missed Part 1 yesterday, we discussed how to tint clear glass, as well as breaking and sorting your ‘Tesserae’!

Now lets get down and dirty (LITERALLY) with some tile adhesive compound and goopy grout! It’s a messy job, and there will be several occasions where you want to take a bath in turpentine, but JUST KEEP GOING! The end result is well worth it!

DIY Mason Jar Mosaic Backsplash Tutorial ... for under $40 bucks! (Sawdust & Embryos)

We started out with a tub of tile adhesive (we used Ker 909… $8.99 for the whole tub). For this size backsplash, we used less than half the tub. There’s no need to mix anything here… just dig your trowel in (or in our case a putty knife), and slap it on the wall. Stick with an area that’s about 1 square foot at a time, and smooth the adhesive on about 1/4” thick… like frosting a cake!

Tile Adhesive ~ Mason Jar Mosaic Backsplash Tutorial {Sawdust and Embryos} Tile Adhesive - Mosaic Backsplash Tutorial {Sawdust and Embryos}

You’re supposed to use a notched trowel whenever installing a backsplash of any kind (unless you’re painting your backsplash!) because it creates ‘air pockets’ that supposedly help keep everything secure when dry. I believe this is legit, but it was a huge PAIN and I quit doing it after my first square foot. Just bein’ real! (Real LAZY!) But I’m giving you an image below, so that I can feel like I’m providing a thorough tutorial.

Notched Trowel ~ Installing a Mosaic Backsplash {Sawdust and Embryos}

Because your broken mason jar pieces are rounded (some more than others), ‘butter’ on some adhesive to the back of each piece with a plastic butter knife before pressing it into place. When you stick it onto the wall, you should feel it press firmly into the goop. You’ll just know, trust me! If it’s not secure, pull it off and butter on some more adhesive.’

Buttering on Tile Adhesive ~ Installing a Mosaic Backsplash {Sawdust and Embryos P5150376

This was the most time consuming part of the process. I took a break after each square foot because my back hurt… but you can tackle it faster because you’re a spring chicken! You’ll get into a groove, and learn to be less messy as you work your way down the line.

Installing a Mason Jar Mosaic Backsplash {Sawdust and Embryos}

When you press each tile into place, if there’s some tile adhesive that globs up between pieces, try to wipe it off with a clean finger and scrape it back into the bucket. You want there to be enough of a groove between ‘tiles’ that the grout will have somewhere to go. Make sense? This stuff dries like concrete, so you’ll save yourself some time later by trying to keep things as clean as possible.

The instructions on the tile adhesive say that you should wipe off excess compound from the face of your ‘tile’ immediately if you can (otherwise scrub it with mineral spirits after it’s dried). I found this to be difficult because the tile would move around when I was trying to wipe it, so I just tried to keep things as clean as possible and planned to wipe it down later with mineral spirits.

Installing a Mosaic Backsplash {Sawdust & Embryos}

Here’s where my regrets about tinting the outside instead of the inside of the jars come into play. When I began wiping down the glass pieces with mineral spirits… IT STARTED REMOVING THE ‘PERMANENT’ GLASS DYE. It was at this point that I just about took a sledge hammer to the whole thing. Then I tried using a chisel (which is actually much easier), and it was still chipping off the tint! I’m not going to even show you a picture of what the tiles looked like, because this isn’t going to happen to you. Because you’re going to dye your jars on the inside. RIGHT?

My backsplash looks a little globbier than yours will, because I had to touch up my tiles with more glass tint. It’s not a big deal, because we’re going to seal the backsplash and it’ll be super durable and all. But I could just cry thinking about how that one simple step almost ruined everything. Moving along!

Now that your glass pieces are free of ickiness, and everything is good and hard (we waited a couple days), it’s time to mix up the grout! Make sure you use ‘non-sanded’ grout for this, so as not to scratch your glass pieces. Mix according to directions on the box.

Installing a Mason Jar Mosaic Backsplash {Sawdust & Embryos}

Just scrrrrrape it on with the flat edge of your trowel or putty knife, making sure to push it down into those grooves real good!

Grouting your Mason Jar Mosaic Backsplash! {Sawdust and Embryos}

We did half the backsplash at a time with this. After the grout was packed on real good, we immediately scraped off the excess with an old rubber spatula. This allows the grout to stay down in the grooves between the glass. If you notice an area that didn’

Grouting your Mosaic Backsplash {Sawdust and Embryos}

Wait 10 minutes, and go at it with a big sponge, using a different part of the sponge for each wipe (otherwise your just smearing grout around). You’ll need to rinse your sponge A LOT in a bucket of water. And you’ll need to get fresh water every 4 or 5 times of rinsing your sponge. Be patient! Some of your ‘tiles’ will be completely buried in grout… scrub ‘em out! You’ll know where they are because there will be a blank spot!

Wiping off your grout ~ Installing a mosaic backsplash! {Sawdust and Embryos} Tutorial~ Installing a Mosaic Backsplash! {Sawdust and Embryos}

You should be left with clean yet ‘hazy’ tiles. Let them sit this way for two hours.

Instructions for installing a glass mosaic backsplash {Sawdust and Embryos}

Then come back and polish them with a cheesecloth or lint-free cloth.

Installing a broken mason jar backsplash {Sawdust and Embryos}

You are DONE my friends! Not bad, eh? If there are any sharp corners sticking up that didn’t get smoothed over with grout, just take a fine-grit metal file to it, lickity split! Then seal with CLEAR poly and apply white (or whatever color your grout is) silicone caulk where the backsplash meets the counters.

DIY Mason Jar Mosaic Backsplash Tutorial PART 1 {Sawdust and Embryos}

The premise is simple for installing this backsplash, but it WILL take some time and elbow grease… so just gear up for it! Eat lots of snickerdoodles in advance so your body and mind are ready for it!

Mason Jar Mosaic Backsplash... made from broken mason jar pieces (and for UNDER $40 BUCKS!) Sawdust and Embryos

I’m super proud of this project! Please help me spread the word by pinning the image above!

And here’s your printable recipe! heh heh… get it? Pioneer Woman?


Mason Jar Mosaic Backsplash

Time Commitment: 15 hours (divided) for this size backsplash

Difficulty Level: 4 (out of 10)


  1. 12 (1qt) Mason Jars $8.97 (we already had)
  2. Poly Blend Grout $13.27 (we already had)
  3. Tile Adhesive (Ker 909) $8.99
  4. Trowel with teeth $1.99
  5. Pebo Vitrea 160 Glass Paint (in Turquoise) $5.99

Total cost: $39.21

Our total cost: $16.97Bethany {Sawdust and Embryos}


Let us know if you have any questions!


PS! Check out previous projects from the upstairs bathroom!

Extending the Bathroom Vanity {Sawdust and Embryos}

Glossy Butcher block counter with rugged dry-brushed base {Sawdust and Embryos}

Butcher Block Counter Tutorial (with Mason Jar Backsplash!!) Sawdust and Embryos TUTORIAL- Simple Instructions for Installing a Vessel Sink Faucet {Sawdust and Embryos}


  1. I am just so amazed by this…like my jaw hits the ground amazed. Don’t be surprised if I just come up and hug you at Haven…it’s your backsplash’s fault :)

  2. This is so good!

  3. You bet I pinned that bad boy. We’ve got some down time between closing on our house and our official move in day… I think this would be a great project for the kitchen! I’m off to find some mason jars to paint! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Wow, one piece at a time? No wonder you have back problems! I bought fiberglass mesh – the stuff the professional tiles come on – glued all my little tile bits to that and then stuck it to the wall in large 18″ sheets, then grouted.
    I love the idea of the broken glass — makes me wonder if you can just use anything… plates, pottery etc…??

  5. I am SO glad to see you doing turquoise things again! I mean…I love your blog and read it regardless, but originally started reading because or your love for orange and turquoise just like mine : )
    ALSO…love your little tally/breakdown at the bottom and difficulty rating. AWESOME!

  6. Looks great!! I’m going to be doing something similar…only for an outside project. I will be blogging about it someday, maybe, lol…

  7. Anonymous says:

    So, SO pretty. With that fabulous counter top? MMM-mmm…just fantastic. Wondering how it was working with sharp glass pieces. The grouting process seems like it would provide so many opportunities to accidentally rub along a sharp glass edge. Anyway, thanks for sharing. Super job!

    • You bring up a good point. And I knew when I started this project that I needed to be ok with cutting myself once or twice. I did slice into my index finger on ONE occasion while wiping of tile adhesive from between the pieces of glass. But that was the only incident! Not bad! Wearing rubber gloves while sorting all the little glass pieces really helped too, so I probably should have been wearing those while applying the tile adhesive. OH WELL! :)

      • This is crazy stupid! How many times will you get cut while wiping down the counter, the backsplash, or turning on the faucet????? And think of the children getting near it!
        PLEASE! Purchase an inexpensive rock tumbler and tumble the glass pieces for two days in water and sand to smooth the sharp edges before painting on the color! Then you can complete the project AND stop worrying about cuts for the duration and life of the backsplash!

  8. I’m still so amazed with this project. It blew me away! You are amazing. This turned out SOOOOOOOOO good!

  9. This is really cool–I would probably slice my fingers off with all the glass, but still really cool! :-)

  10. Anonymous says:

    This project is INCREDIBLE! I am in awe! I am dying to try it. Does anyone know if you can buy the paint locally at a craft store, or is it strictly online at the above link? I like to see colors in person. Thanks. Lisa M, Portland, OR.

  11. I love the look of the pretty blue of the Mason jars. I too have some similar questions as it seems others have: 1) how was it working with the sharp glass? I’d be worried to slice myself open. 2) Would this at all be suitable for a kitchen backsplash? Do you think it would get stained easily?

    • I did cut myself ONCE while wiping of tile adhesive from between the glass pieces. But I knew going into it that it was bound to happen at some point. I’m actually surprised that it only happened once! :) You could wear rubber gloves if you wanted. It really helped me when I was sorting the glass pieces, because I didn’t have to think about being careful. It would have gone a LOT slower otherwise.

      As far as the kitchen backsplash… that would look AMAZING! And it would totally be suitable for a kitchen. The grout would be just as susceptible to staining as grout on a basic tiled backsplash. But plan on it taking MANY MANY hours. The whole time I was installing this small bathroom backsplash, I kept thinking to myself ‘I’m so glad this isn’t a whole kitchen backsplash’. I just want to be honest with you! If you know it’s going to be time consuming going into it, it may not be all that frustrating for you. I do hope you’ll send pics if you decide to try it!!

    • PLEASE!!!!!!!!! Use a rock tumbler to smooth the glass before painting the glass and doing this project!

  12. Anonymous says:

    I have a couple of questions for you. But first let me say, I LOVE your tile backsplash! I want to do the same in our super boring kitchen. I have one green accent wall and need something catchy other places. I also have 45, yes 45, glass vases left over from our wedding last year just dying to be used (no pun intended.) I was wondering, do they make the dye in green, preferably dark like seaglass? What color grout would you recommend if the cabinets are brown and counters are tan? I should also mention, we are trying to sell the house so I want it to be something that others would like too.
    Thanks for any advice or suggestions you can offer.

  13. Wow, I love this. It looks beautiful!

  14. This is beautiful! I have been looking for a blue backsplash for months and haven’t found anything I like. What a simple idea! I would have never thought of this! You say it took you about 15 hours would you say you could finish this in a weekend? Thank you so much for the post! I’m trying to talk my husband into doing this :)

    Rina Mosley

    • Hi Rena! I’m glad you like it! You should totally go for it! If you’re pretty dedicated, I would say you could totally finish it in a weekend… depending on how large your backsplash is. It also depends on your tile adhesive compound and how long is says to let it dry before grouting. If you decide to go for it, be sure to send pics! Good luck!

  15. Probably just me confusing myself, but I am struggling to work out why it would make a difference painting the inside?? Surely once it is broken up you won’t know which side is which?

    Absolutely in love with this and am working up the enthusiasm to attempt this as a kitchen splash back as I can’t find anything in the shops that I like!

    • You can tell by the curvature of the glass which side is the inside or outside. If you were using a flat panel if glass, it would be hard to tell. Please send pics when you’re done!

      • *slaps forehead*
        That makes sense…my tired brain couldn’t figure it out! Will let you know if I do get around to it!

      • I have bought the purple paint and thinner…have painted one jar and it now hasdrips and streaks. Not looking attractive.
        How much thinner should I put into the paint? And how did you get yours so streak free?!!!!

        • Truthfully mine was pretty streaky too. If you mix your paint a little thicker you can avoid the drips a lot better. The beauty is that you’re going to break them into little pieces, so you won’t notice brush strokes and such nearly as much as you are right now. :)

  16. And bubbles…why do I have bubbles?! Getting tempted to throw these jar around the room.

  17. wanderingsue says:

    Oh, you gorgeous things! I just followed a link from Nine Red, and I’m a little besotted already. I’ll be daydreaming about not being rubbish at DIY- thanks for the inspiration!

  18. Ann-Marie says:

    This may be a very elementary question, but after tinting, baking, and breaking the glass, will it be obvious which side is the inside and which side is the outside when placing the pieces onto the back splash? Would there be occasion where tinting inside and outside would be advised? Thanks again, great job!!!

    • If you were tinting a flat panel of glass, it would be difficult to tell which side is tinted. But since the mason jars are curved, it’s pretty easy to tell. I don’t think there’s a situation where you’d need to tint both sides.

  19. That is amazing! Love it!

  20. Where have you been all my life? This is amazing! I have been looking for this idea for several years. Having lived in a rental house & not finding glass tiles that I liked or could afford, this would have been the answer. I have since moved & will definitely give this a try. Thank you so much & Happy New Year to you both!

  21. Holy crapola!! I love the color, but how did you not keep from getting your fingers sliced up? I tried tiling my bathroom with free tile scraps, necklaces, gun brass, shells, etc. but when I tried some broken china and glass plates, the curves were just very scary. No matter how careful I was, I still got cut. However, this is very cool! I am going to show my brother this…he will like it too!

  22. nevermind, just was the PIN IT at the end!

  23. I want to do this with beer bottles in my kitchen

  24. Hello,
    It looks awesome. To get a hold of a Mason jar in Australia is a least a few bucks each. Would Spaghetti Jars do for the whole project? Should I be looking out for thick glass jars?

  25. Just curious how long you’ve had it up since finish date and if you would get cut wiping it down during cleaning!?!?!! Thinking about doing my kitchen.

    • It’s been about 8 months now, and it still looks great! Occasionally there are some water spots from splashing, but they wipe right off! I can’t say for sure how well it would work with grease if it were on a kitchen backsplash. I’ve seen some people that seal the grout with a water-based polyurethane, but that sounds like a very tedious task since you’d want to avoid getting it on the glass. Let me know if you give it a try, and how it works out for you!

  26. What a great Do-It-Yourself project. I wonder if you can tile over tile that is already there. Do you recommend removing the old first? he kids would love to get involved with something like this project. seems kid friendly enough.

  27. This literally made my jaw drop — wow! I’m going to dig now for a picture of the full kitchen so I can get see it with the rest of the space.

  28. arlette says:

    juntare botellas de vino verdes asi reciclare un poco mas y lo haré en las paredes de mi baño gracias por la idea


  1. […] and speak to the manager and ask. Or use Sawdust and Embryos great tutorial for their mason jar mosaic backsplash! This looks like a custom tile job, and you have to love that […]

  2. […] Having trouble choosing a backsplash for your kitchen? How about a mason jar mosaic? Take a few jars and break them into pieces. Then take some adhesive and apply it to the wall one section at a time. Put adhesive on the back of each piece of glass and then press it into place. Make sure it;s secure. Continue until you cover the entire portion of the wall. Take non-sanded grout and apply it between the glass pieces or, better yet, use it to cover the whole thing and then clean the tiles with a sponge.{found on sawdustandembryos}. […]

  3. […] Having trouble choosing a backsplash for your kitchen? How about a mason jar mosaic? Take a few jars and break them into pieces. Then take some adhesive and apply it to the wall one section at a time. Put adhesive on the back of each piece of glass and then press it into place. Make sure it;s secure. Continue until you cover the entire portion of the wall. Take non-sanded grout and apply it between the glass pieces or, better yet, use it to cover the whole thing and then clean the tiles with a sponge.{found on sawdustandembryos}. […]

  4. […] Having trouble choosing a backsplash for your kitchen? How about a mason jar mosaic? Take a few jars and break them into pieces. Then take some adhesive and apply it to the wall one section at a time. Put adhesive on the back of each piece of glass and then press it into place. Make sure it;s secure. Continue until you cover the entire portion of the wall. Take non-sanded grout and apply it between the glass pieces or, better yet, use it to cover the whole thing and then clean the tiles with a sponge.{found on sawdustandembryos}. […]

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