Friday, July 15, 2016

DIY: Herringbone Backsplash

You guys- My sister is on here as a guest blogger to share a full tutorial on how to do a tile backsplash yourself! She is like a master-craftsman and a maj hottie so check it out! :) XOEJ.


Hello everyone! I am Johnnie Jindrich – EJ’s fabulous little sister. Here is my quick introduction: I’m 25, a reporter at a TV station in the Quad Cities Iowa / Illinois, and building my empire. Lol. I also know my way around a power tool and am obsessed with design.

Recently, I put in a tile backsplash at my parents’ house…. Below is a guide so you can do the same!! 

DIY: How to Tile Herringbone Pattern as a Backsplash

The design process, i.e. grout color, tile pattern, tile size – deliberated over a series of meetings with our mother Jules... 

Design plan: Bright white grout, herringbone pattern, 2-inch x 6-inch white subway tile

Before, a plain painted wall behind stove.

I am lucky my dad knows a good amount about tiling, so he really helped me get started – hopefully this will serve as your jump start to taking on a similar tile job at yo crib.

First, materials…

‘Thin Set’ (left tub) It’s the glue that gets smeared on the back of the tile and straight on the wall – this stuff is premixed and is the consistency of peanut butter.

‘Grout’ (middle carton) It goes between the cracks of the tile – color options available here, common to do grey, off-white, white, black, etc. I used unsanded grout, which is recommended for small spacing between tile (i.e. 1/16-inch space).

‘Grout Boost’ (right jug) Mix this into the grout instead of water to enhance the grout’s stain resistance.

Somewhere in the depths of the basement, my family had a bag of 1/8-inch blue spacers for tile.

But once I lay them on the counter-top, my sister, mom and I agreed, via group text, that the spaces were too big and that too much grout would be shown… We wanted the attention on the tile – not the grout.

So I went to Menards and got 1/16-inch spacers.

Tiny little spacers for $2.97.


Next, figuring out where to put the first tile. I wanted the fist tile to be lined-up with the middle of the oven. Before my dad and I pulled-out the stove, I measured and marked the wall at the middle of the oven – that is where my dad’s index finger is.

The clear plastic half circle is a tool that measures angles. I have no idea what said-tool is called. I made a mark on 45-degrees out on each side of a 90-degee angle. 

I lined-up the first tile with the two 45-degree angles; The bottom side of the tile aligns with one 45-degree line, and the long side of the tile aligns with the other. As you can see, I messed up a couple times... but I got it figured out. Ha!

Deep breath… spread thin set on the wall with a toothed-trowel and press the tile onto the wall. Once the first tile is on the wall, the pattern works itself out spacing-wise.

Use the spacers… The tile doesn’t slide, but I tacked in a little board to act as a shelf for the tile just in case. This isn’t necessary. The spacers kept me honest. If they fell out of the crack – that meant the tile wasn’t close enough… if I couldn’t fit the spacer in – that meant I needed to budge the tile a bit so it would.

I got all the whole tiles on the wall first – then it was time to cut the tile for the edges. My dad set-up the wet saw in the back yard. This is a Florcraft ‘Bench Top 3/5 HP 7” Wet Tile Saw’. It runs about $70-$90 at a home improvement store or Amazon.

Each cut-tile on the back-splash represents is at least one trip back and forth from the kitchen to the backyard and back to the kitchen.

I’ll explain how I measured the tile using of the harder cuts I had to make as an example.
You can see I had to notch out a 90-degree angle to fit up under this cabinet.

First measure… a little over an inch. Mark tile.

Second measure… a little over an inch. Mark tile.

Using this awesome tool…  I connected my marks, got a straight edge, and a perfect 90-degree notch drawn on the tile.

Backyard. Cut. Kitchen. Hold-up tile.

Fail. Super tight on side of the cabinet and way too big of gap underneath it.

Re-measure. Backyard. Cut. Kitchen. Hold-up tile.

Better on the side of the cabinet, but still too big of gap underneath it.

Re-measure. Backyard. Cut. Kitchen. Hold-up tile.


Applying the tile took two days… 3-4 hours each day (the first day I set-up and applied all the full tiles; the second day, I cut and applied all the cut tiles). It could be done in one day.

Much like installing crown molding – you can think ahead that the grout will forgive some spacing imperfections… like the tile to the right of the outlet and next to the cabinet – not all perfectly spaced, but with the white grout will forgive those imperfections.

You have to let the thin-set dry 24-36 hours… so we moved the stove back. This is what the tile looked like sans grout… I was really excited about it!

I finally got back to the grout phase a few days after. I mixed the bright white grout and grout boost (materials pic) per the directions on the carton and spread that stuff in the cracks. This is a workout – spreading every which way to get the grout pressed into every tiny space.

I mixed the grout in an old coffee container – those babies are handy.

There are instructions on the grout container as far as how long to let the grout sit before wiping it off the surface of the tiles. You start with a clean damp sponge, then graduate to a towel.

In the end – this is how it turned out!

I really like the bright white grout, I love the hammered-glossy look to the subway tile. It is classic and subtle.

Thank you for reading! I am so proud of EJ for writing this awesome blog. She and Whit are hard-workers and good, good people – proud to have been a guest on

- Johnnie

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