DIY Shiplap Herringbone Tile Backsplash Tutorial

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You can find me on the weekends watching HGTV's Fixer Upper while tackling my own list of upgrade projects around our tiny home RV. Super sad Joanna and Chip have decided to end their show this season! If there's one major takeaway from their build plans it's that shiplap is a timeless staple of Southern architecture. Put it anywhere and everywhere for charming natural farmhouse style.

DIY Shiplap Herringbone Tile Backsplash Tutorial

When we first bought our Jayco in 2015, it was no where near our ideal interior style of coastal farmhouse with a dash of rustic. Fast forward two years and we've turned the original dark brown box into a lighter space that feels much bigger and is more reflective of our personal styles. 

One of the major ways we transformed our space was creating our own lightweight shiplap. This tutorial will show you how we created the DIY shiplap material and then customized tiles for renovating our kitchen backsplash. Regardless if you live in a tiny house or RV, this method can absolutely be used for upgrading the kitchen in a house or townhouse as well. 

Before diving into this project, you'll want to decide on a tile pattern and then take measurements of the backsplash space to estimate the quantity of supplies you'll need to buy at your local Lowe's or Home Depot. We chose the classic herringbone pattern to help make our tiny space feel longer and more open, you can see the pattern here

I can't recommend how much of each you'll need because it does depend on how big your space is. We estimated it would take 90 tiles cut to 3x6'' each to cover our backsplash space... ended up being way more than we needed, but that's ok. Here are the supplies we used:

  • Tape measure
  • Straight edge 
  • Box cutter
  • Your choice of paint for the tiles
  • Your choice of paint for the wall
  • Peel and stick flooring with texture of choice
  • Your choice of caulk 
  • Grime Boss wipes
  • 1 penny
  • Bubble level
  • Elmer's wood glue
Backslash Supplies

When you're ready to start, strip down your backsplash space to the bare wall. Clean it with heavy duty wipes that will remove dirt, dust and leftover shards of wood or glue, I recommend Grime Boss wipes. Also take out old caulking from the sides of cabinets, walls or countertops so you're left with a blank canvas. 

Next, I recommend painting the wall a couple shades darker than the paint color you intend to use on your DIY shiplap tiles. You don't have to do this step if you don't want to, but I personally think the overall result is worth every bit of paint layering. It helps give a bit more definition to the traditional shiplap look without using caulk or grout to fill in the openings of the tiles when you're done. I used Sherwin Williams' Icy Avalanche shade for this step.

While all of that is drying you can start on your tiles! Grab each flooring piece and measure out your dimensions. Use the measuring tape, straight edge and box cutter to create each piece. Once you have all of them cut out, paint them! We chose Sherwin Williams' Eider White for a crisp clean look that wouldn't overtake our DIY marbled countertops too much. 

First Shiplap Tile

Now you're ready to start laying the tiles to create your backsplash pattern. Measure the horizontal width of your space and find the midpoint. This will be where you'll place the first tile at the angle needed for your pattern. When you lay your second tile, space it out from your first tile with a penny. This is how you're going to get the traditional shiplap spacing and definition to where you won't need to use caulking or grout in between each tile at the end.

If you have a hard time getting perfect measurements around the wall edges, don't worry, because you can conceal minor errors with the finishing caulk. I have to give major props to Todd because he totally rocked cutting the tiles down to perfect sizes for me to lay!

Even though peel and stick flooring has glue on the back, I highly recommend reinforcing with the wood glue. In the summer months when the walls get warmer, you'd risk the tiles falling off and we don't want that do we? Make sure to get the wood glue that is most resistant to heat, Elmer's has great options. 

DIY Shiplap backsplash

When you're done placing tiles on the wall and they're pretty dry, you can put the finishing touches on your backsplash by caulking the outer edges on the wall, where the countertop touches and alongside cabinets. 

If you're doing a herringbone pattern like we did, it should look something like this:

Herringbone Shiplap Wall

Our project took us about 4-5 days overall since we were only working on it a few hours at a time. We absolutely LOVE the way it turned out! 

Lastly, add your favorite kitchen essentials to the space and I guarantee it'll be an eye-catching design element for your kitchen. 

Finished DIY Shiplap Backsplash

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