DIY Home Decor: How To Install a Temporary Kitchen Backsplash

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Nicole kitchen's was recently renovated, with one project still on the to-do list: her backsplash was still exposed plaster and sheet rock. She'll get to tiling it eventually but, until then, she found something to temporarily and beautifully cover the unfinished surface.

Skill Level: Easy
Time Required: 1 hour
Project Cost: $20-50 (depending on size and tools used)

What You Need


  • Vinyl tile decals (Nicole designed these herself)
  • Painter's tape


  • Plaster putty knife, credit card, or another flattening tool
  • Box cutter or X-Acto knife


Nicole designed her own vinyl tiles and had them professionally printed. If you want to go the same custom route (versus buying contact paper or other adhesive) just google search for vinyl printers that do custom work. They usually print on rolls that are only 24″ high, BUT the sheets are as long as you like. Here Nicole had the individual pattern shapes cut, but you can also do the design on a big white sheet of vinyl. For more info, check out Nicole's blog post.

1. Cut your vinyl sheet into a manageable size, likely around 12". Tape it to the wall with painter's tape where you would like to place the first sheet. Either the bottom left or top left corner of your backsplash works best, but I like the bottom left corner — there is usually less to work around.

2. When you're happy with the placement, remove tape from the top half of the section (keeping the tape on the bottom half for placement purposes). Then, pull the backing off the top half of the piece and cut with scissors. Slowly but firmly apply the sticky backing to the wall from the middle of the sheet up, trying to smooth out all air bubbles as you go.

3. When done with the top half, repeat the process with the bottom half.

4. Use a plastic applicator with a wide flat edge (like a plastic putty knife or a credit card), to ensure that the vinyl is properly stuck to the wall. Start in the middle and work your way out, making your way over any imperfections in the wall evenness.

5. If you come to a difficult spot (like an outlet, wire, or the bottom of the cabinets), just cut around the object accordingly.

Tip: Place your panel up on the wall with painter’s tape and mark where you need to make the cuts with your knife or scissors. Then, take the panel down, make the actual cuts, and then place it back up for adhering.

6. Continue the same process across the wall, working in small sections as you do. When the entire wall is covered, leave it on the wall for a little with the sticky film still on the face of it.

7. Do your best to deal with wall imperfections. If you have small gaps in the wall, for example, cut along the seams so that it looks more like "tile" instead of vinyl spanning a gap between sheet rock. Improvise if needed!

8. Finally, remove the film from the front. Start in a corner of one of the sections and pull diagonally down. The film tears easily so do it in 2" areas.

Tip: When you work in small sections, the project goes faster and it's also easier to prevent the vinyl from lifting up as you pull off the film. If you need to, take your plastic applicator and smooth down each section again before you remove the film.

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(Image credits: Nicole Block; Nicole Block)