Mother Earth Living

Try This: Mosaic Bathroom Backsplash

Create a unique look for your bathroom at a fraction of the cost with this home project.
By Natural Home Staff
September/October 2005
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Glass globs (also called glass flats, nuggets, pebbles, gems, or half-marbles) are most often used to fill the bottom of a vase. They’re available in a dazzling array of colors and finishes from frosty tumbled textures to pearly iridescent. Find them at craft stores, florist shops, or online at

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Want a unique and lovely high-end custom look for a bathroom backsplash at a very down-to-earth price? Just take a creative approach to what you call “tile.” With the help of a clear sticky mounting sheet made for mosaics, you can turn lots of unusual things into mosaic tile: glass globs, pebbles, seashells, horn buttons, seaglass, pennies, even galvanized steel hardware.

Tile One On

If you’ve never set tile before, start by familiarizing yourself with the tools, materials, and techniques of setting mosaic tile. Check out the how-to instructions at

1. Cut the clear mounting sheet to the size you need for your backsplash. (We used Mosaic Mount, available at craft stores or stained glass suppliers. It is a flexible transparent sheet that sits on the face of the tile as you install it and is removed after the tile is set into place and the mastic has dried). Pieces larger than 12-inches square are hard to handle once the nuggets are attached, so you may want to make your backsplash or border in several pieces.

2. Position the glass nuggets face down on the mounting sheet. Make sure all the pieces stick firmly.

3. Use a notched trowel to apply tile mastic to the substrate on your wall. Use white mastic and grout so the glass really glistens.

4. Carefully pick up the sheet of glass globs and set it into the mastic with the clear mounting sheet facing you. Allow the mastic to set several hours, then gently remove the clear sheet.

5. Using a rubber tile float, squeeze a layer of white tile grout into the crevices around the glass globs.

6. Let the grout set up for about 30 minutes, then gently remove the grout from the face of the glass with a damp sponge. Rinse the sponge frequently. When the grout dries, buff your new backsplash with a soft cloth to remove any remaining haze from the grout. Use a grout sealer (we used AFM Safecoat Grout Sealer) to protect your new mosaic.

A Variation: Metal Tiles 

For a splashy border with a fun, industrial edge, use galvanized steel washers or flanges. Raid your local hardware store’s fasteners department for lots of interesting possibilities. The galvanized finish on most hardware makes it perfect for a watery locale. Add a splash of color with tiny glass marbles, or stay with the hardware theme and use nuts or tiny brass washers.

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