I have to admit, I wasn’t planning on adding the tin ceiling backsplash to my white and gray kitchen. It ended up being a solution to a problem. I’m starting to realize, DIYers have to be good at problem solving….I should know, I do a lot of it. Most of it comes from my own doing or lack of knowledge.
I hadn’t ordered enough cement tile to complete my backsplash and needed something to take up some space. I went to several stores trying to find a decorative tile that would go with my cement tile, but I found out that a lot of companies haven’t jumped on the gray bandwagon yet. Lots of brown and beige! So then I moved on to metal. I was a bit worried to add metal because I have never worked with it before and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to get it to look like anything other than a DIY job, but alas, it was my only choice.
I ordered some great metal tile from www.tinceilingxpress.com. I looked around everywhere and they were the cheapest for what I liked. I ordered:
1 of their Jubilee tiles (2′ x 2′) to use as the decorative center
2 of their Fleur tiles (2′ x 2′) to use as the background
3 of their Girder molding strips to use as a border and cover up not being about to cut everything perfectly
1 pack of their Conehead Nails which are decorative nails, meant to be seen.
Okay, so first, I knew that I didn’t want the shiny metal that the “tin” ceiling tiles come in, but trying to figure out how the patina the metal was a very long trial and error. I scoured the web trying to find some advice but didn’t find much. I did read about vinegar mixed with cornstarch to make a paste. So I tried that and spread it on the metal.
This worked great for the metal tile with the big flowers (Jubiliee) on it. It turned into that nice matte gray you see on old milk cans but the Fleur tile just barely took the shine off and started to rust. So then I tried some bleach on it and it just rusted more. yuck. Finally I just gave up and went and bought some metal Rustoleum spray paint in a darker gray and lighter gray and a matte clear to seal it all. First I sanded off the rust and then lightly sprayed the dark gray. Then I took a foam paint brush and sprayed some of the lighter gray paint in a disposable container and put a small amount of paint on the brush and lightly went over it in one direction until I got the distressed look I wanted. When I was done I sealed it with a matte clear spray paint.
On to the installation…..
Okay, I was just making this up as I went along, after I install the cement tile (leaving my spot for the metal tile) I first cut a piece of plywood that was about the same thickness as the cement tile because I did not want the tin ceiling tile to be recessed.
Then I hammered up my Fleur background tile. It took 2 pieces and I put the seam in the middle. I put all my nails around the edges that I knew would be covered by my border tile and then added a few nails down the seam only where I knew the Jubilee tile would cover it in the middle.
You can barely see the seam in between my Jubilee tile and border tile.
Next I cut the Jubilee tile in half, being very careful to cut it as straight as possible and leave the raised border all the way around (the other piece I cut off is now missing that raised border on one side) and centered it and nailed in on top of the Jubilee tile. If the edges are sharp, try sanding them some. But be careful, I cut myself taking this stuff out of the box.
You can see the cone head nails on the Jubilee tile.
So all this went smoothly, the part I was stressing over was the border tile. I bought the skinniest piece I could find but it was really too wide for such a small space. Cutting metal tile perfectly is NOT easy and the edges are SHARP. I knew there was NO WAY I was going to be able to cut it perfectly so I decided to cut it and leave enough to fold it under.
You can see the thin edge I left to fold under
I also did this for the corners too. I put 2 corners together with a 90 degree angle thingy and 1 piece I left straight and the other I marked the 90 degree leaving enough to fold under. Sorry I forgot pictures. But they do this when install crown molding. They install one piece butted up against the wall and they COPE the other piece to fit the profile of the other piece. Sorry, that’s clear as mud… But you can google coping crown molding to see what I was thinking.
You can see in this corner, the top piece was cut and folded to a 90 degree angle to fit over top of the bottom piece. I did cut off some of the end of the bottom piece of the border tile so that the top piece could fit on top tight.
Okay, so just a side note. I’m a perfectionist and I was really worried that this wouldn’t end up looking professional. I always see the mistakes I make every time I look at something I did. So knowing that, this didn’t turn out “perfectly” but since the look is distressed vintage, none of the imperfections are noticeable. I don’t see the mistakes when I look at it. Cutting and folding the border strips caused it to twist some and it was impossible to get perfectly straight edges but I took some gray caulk and filled the gaps, making sure that the caulk was really tucked up in there and wiping down with a wet cloth any that was noticeable. This way it filled the gaps but didn’t looked “caulked”.
Then, since I was being very picky on the color, I got some more of the light gray paint and dry brushed it until it looked good. Then I taped it off, covered my stove and turned the hood vent on and sprayed on another coat of the clear matte spray paint. I was worried it’d go everywhere but I sprayed it close and it worked. It’s a very durable coat and I don’t have to worry about it rusting.
When it was dry, I mixed up a little more of my white grout and filled in the few gaps around the outside edges between the metal tile and the cement tile.
So, I am extremely happy with how it turned out. I’m kind of glad I ran out of cement tile because it really adds something more to my already beautiful cement tile.
What do you think? Let me know if you have questions.