Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Kitchen Backsplash Challenge

Time for more interior decorating! Of course I would love to completely renovate my kitchen. New layout, new cabinets, new appliances. However, as we all know, this costs a small fortune. While I am saving up, I need to find ways to work with what I've got. Before moving in, I had the kitchen painted in this beautiful Anjou Pear color with a high gloss sheen. The kitchen has no real backsplash and the gloss sheen is better than a matte finish for wiping up splashes and cooking grease. Still, isn't there something sort of bland and unfocused about my kitchen, pictured above? Sorry the pictures will be dark because I have no natural lighting (windows) anywhere near the area! 

I had considered putting in a tiled backsplash just over the sink but ran into this problem with the cabinet configuration. The cabinets that drop down on either side (which I hate) of the cabinet directly over the sink have this molding edge on the bottom which cuts into the area suitable for tiling. I just couldn't come up with a way to configure the tile in this unfortunate situation. I needed something that could slip in between that cabinet molding and the wall. I considered a sheet of stainless steel or decorative ceiling tin tiles, but even these could be too thick, plus they were more costly and permanent than I wanted, considering I have a dream of totally redoing the whole thing in a couple of years (fingers crossed!).

While creating patterns for my Spoonflower shop, I became interested in one of their newer products: printed decals. It dawned on me that this could be a great wipeable, decorative, and fabulously temporary solution to my backsplash-challenged kitchen sink. I ordered a small sample and liked the feel of it (quite similar to fabric, actually) and how easy it was to peel and stick!

Of course, I had to put some real creative thought into this because the area above my sink, where I wanted to create the backsplash, is approximately 24" wide by 20" high. I would have to purchase a 30" x 30" piece, which is the largest size they offer. A rather small investment but at $30 it was too much to make a mistake! It had to look really snazzy and beautiful.  

For design inspiration, I pinned a lot of tile samples on my Pinterest tile board. I've been somewhat obsessed with cement tile and although I love the traditional Spanish Mission look, I've become increasingly attracted to the more modern choices. These became my kitchen decal inspiration! Bold color, simple shapes. Classically modern.

I found a similarity of style in one of my favorite patterns which makes use of motifs from my "Modern Flowers" stamp set. I chose colors that I thought would work with my collectable kitchen ceramics which are visible through the glass doors of the cabinet above the sink.

It only took about a week to receive my decal after ordering. The decals come trimmed to size on a sheet of paper.  To peel off of the paper, you simply lift up a corner from the trim line.  

The design is extended beyond the trimmed edge (this is called a bleed) with guidelines for easy measuring should you need to trim to a smaller size, as I did.

After trimming I simply taped the decal in position, still attached to it's paper backing, to the wall. My measurement was not an even 20", so I put the edge with the little extra up under the cabinet overhang where it is not really visible. This is how you would deal with an extra, odd piece of tile if you were installing a tile backsplash.

The directions said to start at the top and I'm sure that is normally advisable. However, I started at the bottom because that edge would be the more critical or visible edge of my decal. I had to be sure that edge was perfectly even with the marble edge of the countertop. I was also working alone, with only two hands, and taking photos along the way! I decided to peel up the bottom of the decal and tape it to the upper part so that I could trim that lower part of the paper off.

And there I go: camera in one hand, scissors in the other! Once that paper was off, I smoothed that bottom edge of the decal against the wall. So far, so good.

Then, I trimmed a corner.

And then I smoothed that corner in place. I had no problem at all slipping the sticky decal between cabinet and wall! Yay! I repeated the trimming and smoothing on the other corner along with the whole upper part of the decal. 

All done!

So, then I had a nice decorative focal point, leading from the sink up to the glass doored cabinet above  which showcases my hodgepodge of collectables. Still, I thought the space looked a little empty. The focal point needed a focal point!

Hmm, yes, I had been wondering where I was going to display one of my favorite, though wacky, possessions! Perfect opportunity! But now there was the challenge of how to attach a metal tray to the wall......

I remembered I had these damage-free picture hanging tapes that I never really had the need to use. Once again, perfect opportunity! Following the directions, I placed one side of the tape on the decal on my wall and one on the back of my cherished Orange Crush tray.

I lined up the tape on the tray with the tape on the wall and pressed together. How easy! This whole project was wonderfully easy.

I step back and admire my work!

The surface of the decal is indeed wipeable but it is also fairly easily scratched. Be sure to handle the decals carefully and don't wipe them with anything that would cause a scratch. The decals come in 5" x 5", 15" x 15", and 30" x 30". I would recommend ordering a small sample (5" x 5")for color testing and to see how they look and feel before putting the money into a big piece for a larger project. Because of Spoonflower's decal option, I have sized my recent group of prints to be 5" repeats so they will fit evenly into any of the three sizes. The decals can be repositioned and reused a limited number of times (eventually they will lose their  stickiness), so save the backing paper (similar to freezer paper) for storage and transporting. In other words, once I reach my kitchen renovation funding goal, I can remove this backsplash and use it somewhere else! How great is that?

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant solution! And that decal paper looks like it would have a lot of possibilities - quite exciting!