$33 Marble Backsplash | DIY

Alright, alright, maybe that title deserves the eyebrow raises I'm sure it'll get and maybe I should've put quotation marks around "marble" because it's probably pretty obvious that you can't get a marble backsplash these days for $33 buckarooskees but it'll sure look like you can if you pick up what I'm throwing down here in this post.

This was a still of our kitchen a few months ago:

When we first bought the house, the backsplash was wallpapered with the same stuff that continued throughout the entire kitchen and breakfast nook area (see a before and so far house tour here).  We ripped that off and primed the wall for what would eventually go up, which leads me to that same spot last week:

I finally got started painting the lower cabinets so that's an obvious change but several weeks ago, I also put up a marble backsplash in the form of this amazing contact paper*.  I really love the marble backsplash trend but I think it might be exactly that, a trend, and so I'm hesitant to jump right in and install the real deal when I might not like it as much as I think I do right now.  So, to solve that dilemma, a temporary solution was to put up this contact paper, live with it for awhile, and see if it gets old.  We're in no rush to do the backsplash anyway so why not?

I hemmed and hawwed over which marble contact paper to go with because there are really so many options.  Here are a few I considered that had good reviews (with corresponding affiliate links below):

1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6

Some are black and white, gray and white, brown and white, a mix of all of those, more movement, less movement, glossy, matte...you get it.  A whole lot of options = a hard decision.  I wanted to make sure that I chose something that would mimic what I would choose as the real thing.  We ended up with #6.  It's a matte with a medium amount of movement/streaking and has a white background with gray streaks that lean more towards taupe than just gray.  I was nervous the white background would be too stark white and therefore, make the marble look more fake but this one is the perfect creamy white, very similar to a white actual marble would have in it.  This is my very unprofessional opinion however since you know I'm no marble connoissuer with the budget we've got but hey, I feel like it's the truth.

I'm no stranger when it comes to putting up a paper backsplash (check out this wallpaper one I did a few years ago) so I didn't expect this contact paper to be much different.  But it kind of was.  For one, it's much thicker and less flexible than the wallpaper I had worked with before.  When I unrolled it to get started, it peeled away from the backing at places, making it wavy, and making me very nervous this was going to end badly.   

With mucho trepidation, I started by measuring the area I wanted to cover and then cut a piece to size, but a little longer so that I could have extra to just slice off with a razor blade if I didn't hang it perfectly straight.  It's helpful to have a quilting square* around for this kind of thing (I bought mine years ago for sewing purposes but have used it all around the house for different things...it's a great "tool" to have).  The grid on the backing of the contact paper was a great guide and helped me cut straight lines.

After it was cut-to-size, I grabbed my piece, peeled off the backing about a quarter of the way down, lined up the top of the paper to the bottom of the cabinet above, and used a sock to stick and smooth the paper.  To my surprise, the waves that had appeared in the paper when I had rolled it out, disappeared as I smoothed.  Phew!

I continued to work my way down slowly, peeling a little bit of backing, and smoothing with my socked hand.  Once it was stuck all the way down, I used that razor blade to cut off any excess.  Also worth mentioning, I did this by myself because my project partner hubby was working and I was too impatient to wait but it would have been nice to have two sets of hands.

If this weren't a temporary backsplash, I would have papered the backsplash with one entire, uninterrupted piece.  It would probably be a little more challenging this way and would definitely require two (or more) people but in the end and if we go the marble backsplash route, the plan is to use large tiles that imitate marble (like this) instead of buying a marble or quartz slab because the latter is quite literally thousands of dollars more.  So applying in sections allowed me to get a similar look to what the end result would be with the tile.

With the tile, I'd have to try to match patterns in each tile as well as I could along the edge/seam so there was some sort of pattern continuation, but here with the paper, I just slightly overlapped pieces I had cut right next to each other.  A good spot to have a seam would be around this outlet in the wall, so that's where I planned the first seam.

It's not the easiest to spot but it's definitely there.

Or is it?  ;)

That spot also happens to be the perfect place to set up the charcuterie board I made myself.  (Kidding, kidding...my brother-in-law makes charcuterie boards among many other cool things and he made this one but let me help him sand and finish it - a medium-sized, maple board.  Check out his stuff at Blessed Boards!)

So, with the entire backplash hung, what do I think about this contact paper?  Truly, I love it.  I love the look, the feel, and the colors in it.  It looks so much like the real thing that it's surprised several friends who, once they got up close, realized it wasn't actual marble.  The only things to give it away are where it meets the countertop and the visible edges on each side of the backsplash, since it doesn't run into cabinets but just has the regular old wall extending out.  Because we had to use a form for the back of the concrete countertops to hold the concrete in place while being poured and that form is permanent, it's also very visible.  The thickness of tile will cover it up but the thin paper definitely does not.  

Had we not these two issues which give it away, would I hang this stuff permanently?  I just might.  It wipes well, we haven't had any issues with staining (and there have been plenty of opportunities), it hasn't buckled or warped when wet because it's waterproof, and like I said above, it looks like the real deal.  Oh, and it only cost $33, once again.  It's a proven winner.  It's only downfall is that, because it's so thick and pretty rigid, it's not the easiest to install.  Patience is key and maybe another set of hands.  Totally worth it though.

I'd say things are moving along - snails' pace considering this before and after are a couple of years apart but moving along just the same.  :)

One rather large honorable mention - we're closer to the finish line than we are to the starting line.  And that's a rather BIG DEAL!  👏 

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Pssst, if you're in the mood for more deets regarding the changeroo seen above check out our posts on...

the Concrete Countertops - Part I and Part 2

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*These links are affiliate links which means that, if you click over and/or make a purchase through the link, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.  I am an Amazon affiliate and also use other sources to link to products.  All of these links will lead you to things we actually paid for or that are similar to the item we paid for in case ours is thrifted/sold out/secondhand.  This extra money helps us with the costs of running the blog and buying essentials like goldfish.  ;)  Thank you for your support and for fueling our love to share all things DIY!

1 comment

  1. Wow! What a difference! Looks great, Sheena! I also love the charcuterie board….our kids gave us one, that he made, last year for our 50th and it’s beautiful too…..