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!
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!
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.
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.’
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.
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.
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.
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!
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. At this point, you may notice areas that didn’t get enough grout… go ahead and slop some more in those spots!
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!
You should be left with clean yet ‘hazy’ tiles. Let them sit this way for two hours.
Then come back and polish them with a cheesecloth or lint-free cloth.
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 apply white (or whatever color your grout is) silicone caulk where the backsplash meets the counters. We didn’t end up sealing our grout since it was in the bathroom… we weren’t worried about stains as much. But from what I read, it’s recommended to seal the grout for kitchens and flooring. I did a quick google search here and found tons of products for this!
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!
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)
- 12 (1qt) Mason Jars $8.97 (we already had)
- Poly Blend Grout $13.27 (we already had)
- Tile Adhesive (Ker 909) $8.99
- Trowel with teeth $1.99
- Pebo Vitrea 160 Glass Paint (in Turquoise) $5.99
Total cost: $39.21
Let us know if you have any questions!
PS! Check out previous projects from the upstairs bathroom!