Friday, November 8, 2013

Amanda's Do It Yourself Penny Backsplash Adventure

I had this crazy idea that I could do it myself. Without help.

I made up my mind that I would, so I did the only thing any self-respecting frugal housewife could do. I procrastinated. 
Until I couldn't take it any more. So I got up early one morning, rolled up my sleeves, and got busy.

I was time for a penny backsplash.
Now, if you know anything about me, this is how I operate. I see something I like, I research and research, talk to professionals, research some more, gather my materials, procrastinate because someone said it was going to be ugly, or that it was going to entail a ton of work with scary things like mastic, cementboard, etc, basically everything I know zilch about, I try to talk myself out of it, and then, when it's clear I'm not listening to myself anyway, I get to work.

Here's what I did.

I found this delightful tile mat stuff that sticks on your wall called Bondera - Thank you, Mr. Lowes man who endured all my weird questions and pointed me in this direction. You are *awesome!*

I measured and marked where I wanted the line of pennies to start and end to protect the wall behind the stove, and affixed the measured and cut Bondera inside the lines. *Note: Use old scissors. Not your sewing scissors. Unless you want a new pair for Christmas, then by all means, use 'em! ;) Don't say I didn't warn you. I'm still plucking goo off them. Ugh.

I had lofty plans of doing an artsy type of design with darker and lighter pennies, but I was so enthralled by how they looked, (a.k.a., it was four a.m., and I was lazy. Or tired. You choose.) I just stuck them on. After I had finished with the third vertical row, the OCD part of my brain kicked in, and I thought, 'Hey, wouldn't it have been cool if one row was all heads, the next all tails, and then repeat the pattern?' Yes. I did. I went back through the first three rows and swapped out the offending, incorrectly adhered pennies, and turned them the correct way. My fingernails still haven't grown back. Word to the wise? Next time, decide if you want a recurring pattern first, then adhere the pennies. Or perform a lobotomy. Whichever you prefer.

See the pic? This is when I'm starting to get very excited. I found that the more coffee I consumed, the pennies went on faster. I think I had a total of two and a half pots that morning. All before eight. Yeah. School was a blast. hehe

Amanda's penny backsplash

One thing I noticed during this time, though, is I seemed to be getting a little off on my vertical lines. This will send my OCD brain into fits, or the looney-bin, so I came up with my own plumb-line. Praise the good Lord for t-pins and crochet string! I just pushed the pin at the top of the Bondera, affixed a small clip on the end, waited for it to stop swinging, and Boosh! problem-solved! Straight, vertical lines that made me happy.

It didn't take me nearly as long as I thought it would/should to stick all 2300 pennies on (total count was 2310) and at this point, I stood and stared at my wall for a few minutes like any self-respecting, coffee addicted idiot would do. 

Amanda's penny backsplash step 2

And I thought, 
I wonder what it would look like with the stove in there?!
But there too lies a problem. I didn't want to push a non-polished, uncleanned stove back into this beautified spot, so I scrubbed and polished and grinned and then pushed the stove into place.

I wasn't as happy with the results as I thought I'd be. It looked kind of, well, plain. And if I went to all that trouble, I wanted something gorgeous. Something special and fancy.

Out came the stove, up went some strips of Bondera, and some tumbled tile I had picked up at Home Depot (just in case there was an emergency, and apparently, this was an emergency.) The tiles stuck great on the Bondera, by the way. I was nervous when I read some reviews, but these have worked great so far. None have loosened or fallen away from the wall at all.

Then, I grouted the entire thing. Over the pennies, over the tile, waited the allotted time, and then wiped it all down, over and over, over and over, etc. (repeat this step until your sponge is in rags and you're sick of the process. Then repeat some more.)

Amanda's penny backsplash step three

And this is the finished product. I'm so pleased with it that I can't wait to spend time in my kitchen cooking up fabulous meals for the family. Seriously. I have an entire month's menu prepared ahead and I haven't deviated off it yet. 

Amanda's finished penny backsplash

I'm telling you, Pinterest is going to be my downfall. I have found so many things I want to do in our house, it literally scares the snot out of my hubby. You can follow my Pinterest boards to see what I have in store...

Amanda Stephan~Christian Author
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