Last Updated on February 14, 2019 by Kristi Linauer
I had planned for my first week of the One Room Challenge to be all about making and installing cabinets in the pantry, but after giving it some thought, I realized that the first project right out of the starting gate really needed to be the marbled resin and alcohol ink tiles that I planned to make for the backsplash. I want the resin to be as cured and as hard as possible before I install them so that I won’t scratch them during installation and grouting.
It’s a fun process, and as several of you requested, I made a video showing how I made them.
(If you can’t view that video, you can click here to watch on YouTube.)
I tested this project on a much smaller scale a couple of weeks ago (you can check that out here), but in order to make such a large quantity of tiles, I had to turn my breakfast room back into a workroom and prepare the entire surface of my 4′ x 8′ work table for pouring resin.
My work table is just a 4′ x 8′ piece of 3/4″ MDF sitting on three adjustable sawhorses. I placed 2″ x 4″ lumber around the perimeter of the table top to prevent any resin from running off of the edge of the table, and then covered the entire thing with contractor trash bags, taped together with packing tape at the seams.
Then I cut scrap pieces of 2 x 4 lumber into pieces that were about one-and-a-half inches thick, and spaced those out on the table top. Then I placed the tiles on top.
The 2 x 4 pieces turned out to be the perfect stands for the tiles. They were big enough to hold them up securely, but small enough so that the resin didn’t touch them and adhere the wood to the tile as they dried. The wood also stood up to the high heat of the heat gun, unlike the little plastic Solo cups that melted under the heat of the heat gun on my previous attempt.
I used a total of twelve different alcohol ink colors, plus white and gold. On each tile, I used eight drops of the colors, plus about six drops of white and six drops of gold, for a total of about 22 drops per tile. I found that the process went smoother if I added all of the colors, then went back and added the white. But since gold alcohol ink is pretty finicky, I only added that to three tiles at a time just before using the heat gun on those tiles. And I tried to remember to shake the bottle of gold ink really well before moving on to the next three. My experience has been that the gold ink seems to separate pretty quickly and requires constant shaking and mixing between uses.
As you can see in the video, I worked out a system to work through all twelve colors using eight drops per tile. This system gave the tiles a coordinating look, while giving them just enough variation to be interesting. I found that when I stuck to only eight colors and used those eight colors on every single tile, the look got a little boring.
Here’s how they turned out initially…
I loved the color, and each tile was like a little work of art…
On their own, they’re just gorgeous…
But all together, the color seemed a bit in-your-face. Here are a few tiles sitting on my purple credenza, and keep in mind that as of right now, I’m planning on painting my lower pantry cabinets a deep purple.
But I wanted to tone down the tiles just a bit, so I decided to add a second coat of resin. But on the second coat, I only used white and gold alcohol inks to mute the colors just a bit. You can see the original tiles on the left, and the tiles with the additional coat of resin on the right…
Much better, I think. 🙂 If I were doing a small project, like a tiled serving tray, I think the bold, bright, in-your-face colors would have been perfect. But since I’m doing an entire backsplash, I think the toned down colors and patterns will work better.
And they’re definitely still colorful! There will be no lack of color on my backsplash. 🙂
Here are a few close up views of the tiles with the second coat of resin…
I’m so excited to get these installed! But I’m getting way ahead of myself. I still have to make the rest (I’m not quite halfway finished), and build some cabinets before I can be ready to install these tiles. But by then, they should be really cured and ready to be handled, installed, and grouted without scratching.
And just a note about the drips of resin on the back of the tiles. I had shared some ideas of how to handle those in the previous resined tile post, and I ended up going with the option of just letting the drips form, and then cutting them off with a razor blade. The other option I was considering was using Contact paper or packing tape, and taping off the backs of the tiles before pouring the resin. I decided against that because that process required additional work both before pouring the resin and after the resin dried. By doing it the way I did it, I avoided probably two hours of work before pouring the resin, and just needed to do additional work after the resin dried. My thinking was that even with the packing tape or Contact paper idea, those tiles would still require clean up with a razor blade, so I just decided to skip the tape/paper option altogether.
I found that as long as I got the drips between 8-12 hours after pouring, they cut off very easily with the razor blade. (I use ArtResin, so other brands may very.) But if I waited any longer, and especially if it got beyond the 20-hour post-pour mark, those drips were very challenging to remove. So it’s important to get to them at just the right time to make the job easier. Once the resin is cured, I’d say the only option would be to sand the drips off with a rotary sander and very rough sandpaper (80-grit or lower).
Be sure to check out all of the other participants in the One Room Challenge!
UPDATE: I still wasn’t 100% pleased with the tiles, so I ended up doing a third coat of resin/alcohol inks on the tiles. On the third and final coat, I spread the clear resin, just like I did in the video, and then I placed the drops of alcohol inks onto the resin…and then I left it alone. I didn’t use the heat gun to “marble” the colors together. I just let the alcohol inks mix on their own without any help from me. I liked my third attempt so much better, and those ended up being the final tiles that I used.
Here’s how they looked without using the heat gun to marble the colors:
My pantry is finished! Want to see the entire project from start to finish? You can find every single post about the pantry build right here…
Or you can skip to the end and see how it turned out. Here’s a peek of the finished pantry…
You can see more pictures on the before and after post right here…
Addicted 2 Decorating is where I share my DIY and decorating journey as I remodel and decorate the 1948 fixer upper that my husband, Matt, and I bought in 2013. Matt has M.S. and is unable to do physical work, so I do the majority of the work on the house by myself. You can learn more about me here.
I hope you’ll join me on my DIY and decorating journey! If you want to follow my projects and progress, you can subscribe below and have each new post delivered to your email inbox. That way you’ll never miss a thing!
GuerrinaOctober 11, 2018 at 9:50 am
Love the toned down version for a large project! Your project has me thinking about my someday kitchen backsplash lol
JenOctober 11, 2018 at 9:55 am
Marianne in Mo.October 11, 2018 at 10:03 am
I love the toned down version, they seem to have more depth to them, as well as a softer appearance. I knew the wood blocks would work! I can’t wait to see the pantry all done, and I know you will be relieved to have it done! Bravo!
CarolOctober 11, 2018 at 12:12 pm
Totally agree, LOVE the muted tiles 🙂
CathyROctober 11, 2018 at 10:10 am
Sure wish I had kept my extensive collection of alcohol inks!
These are wonderful👍👍🎨🎨😉😉
KFebruary 13, 2023 at 10:24 pm
The pantry tiles are gorgeous! I don’t have your artistic ability so I won’t attempt to recolor my backsplash with inks as they’re already installed. Instead, I’m repainting after cleaning/lightly sanding/priming. To get the glassy, glossy effect, I’ll be using a special poly. Like you, I wanted some purple cabinetry. Three sides of my island are now a deep eggplant color. It took a couple of coats with a retint in between but I ❤️it. Thanks for sharing your knowledge!
SherreOctober 11, 2018 at 10:17 am
Comparing one tile to one tile, I like the vibrant ones a lot more. BUT I completely agree that altogether, in a pantry, they will be overwhelming. Especially if every other finish in the room isn’t white! I like your solution! Can’t wait to see them installed 🙂
EileenOctober 11, 2018 at 10:28 am
Stunning results! While I like the vibrant ones better, your thought process sounds right. The muted one are just gorgeous, beyond gorgeous and will look beautiful in the finished product.
KristiJuly 30, 2020 at 8:07 am
Kristi! These tiles are so gorgeous- I really love this idea. Question for you- why do the alcohol inks in resin vs just alcohol ink the tile and then spray with a top coat? Do you think the resin is more durable? cleanable? Just thinking from a cost perspective……
I really love your style. So happy I found your website. Thanks for sharing!
KristiAugust 7, 2020 at 3:47 pm
Resin is definitely more durable. I wouldn’t trust a spray-on finish.
Jewell MasseyOctober 11, 2018 at 10:36 am
No doubt about it: YOU are a color/textural GENIUS! LOVING those tiles and am bookmarking!
CatherineOctober 11, 2018 at 10:41 am
Have you attempted to cut one of the completed tiles with your tile saw yet? My apologies if you have already discussed this.
Melissa KramerOctober 11, 2018 at 10:45 am
That is going to be one gorgeous backsplash!
Carol FOctober 11, 2018 at 11:15 am
I think that the toned down ones look muddy, sorry. I think you did too many colors together to start with, and then it got muddy looking when you tried to tone down. What if you mixed plain tiles with your vibrate ones wound that help?
KristiOctober 11, 2018 at 11:21 am
They don’t look the least bit muddy in person. I love how they look.
Rebecca NeustelOctober 11, 2018 at 9:40 pm
I’m a little surprised at the comment you received after how you described your love for YOUR tiles to be used in YOUR space!!
chiflipperOctober 11, 2018 at 11:27 am
I just HAVE to know, how well will the surface of these tiles hold up to a twice-a-week wipe-down (with warm water)? After viewing the tutorial I’m hoping to use this technique for a MB backsplash. I haven’t been this excited about a project in…well, forever.
palomaOctober 11, 2018 at 11:29 am
omg the tile is stunning and so unique I love this !
Susan P.October 11, 2018 at 11:56 am
You never cease to amaze me. Keep it up:)
Rochelle ThompsonOctober 11, 2018 at 12:01 pm
I love these!! especially the brighter ones before you toned it down but hey, it’s your house do what you want! These tiles are by far the prettiest thing I have ever seen you make.
Theresa POctober 11, 2018 at 12:09 pm
I love the brighter ones, as you mentioned, for a smaller project. And I love the dimensions/layers of the toned down ones. I’m kind of uncertain as to the overall color scheme, because right now it looks a little bit Mardi Gras to me. But, I know you’ll figure it out!
Elaine NessOctober 11, 2018 at 12:47 pm
It is going to be stunning, Kristi. You’ll have fun arranging them in the order you want them to go up, or have already been doing that in your mind as you are making them?
DeneenOctober 11, 2018 at 12:59 pm
These are very cool. I also like the brighter version, but agree with you that they might be too bright for a full back splash. I suppose you could use them as an accent against white? I’m looking forward to seeing how this comes out. I’ll be following.
Laurie TOctober 11, 2018 at 1:05 pm
I would not have hesitated to use the very very bright ones all over my entire kitchen. Those were fantastic. But the tone-down ones are pretty darn gorgeous too, so have fun!
ErikaOctober 11, 2018 at 1:18 pm
Wow those are wickedly beautiful. Love them, you go girl. I can’t wait to see these up on your wall.
SueOctober 11, 2018 at 1:19 pm
LindaOctober 11, 2018 at 1:55 pm
I’m with the others here! Absolutely gorgeous! Yes, I love the bright ones too, but agree for a big project like this, I love the toned ones better. If you were using them in your bathroom off the pantry, I’d say go with the bright ones 😋😋 I know they’re going to be amazing!
Rebecca NeustelOctober 11, 2018 at 9:42 pm
Hey, that’s an idea!!
LindaOctober 12, 2018 at 12:08 am
I think the bright ones would make a fabulous backsplash in her studio bathroom 😋
Rebecca NeustelOctober 12, 2018 at 4:30 am
I agree on that!
Tina WoodwardOctober 11, 2018 at 3:22 pm
I’m convinced you can do ANYTHING and make it look amazing!
JeannieOctober 11, 2018 at 3:51 pm
Both sets are gorgeous. Can’t wait to see them on the wall!
LisaOctober 11, 2018 at 4:27 pm
Just wow! You never cease to amaze me! Can’t wait to see them in the pantry!!
DebsOctober 11, 2018 at 5:09 pm
WOW WOW WOW. Phenomenal!
Joyce CaseyOctober 11, 2018 at 5:37 pm
These are amazing, breathtaking, beautiful I can’t wait to see them on the wall!
DianeOctober 11, 2018 at 5:46 pm
I have been following your wonderful blog for years because it is so unique and I love your style. Today when I opened up your blog page, the Travel Nevada ad popped up several times. I laughed out loud because it featured my son, David Low, who is a Nevada State Park Ranger at the Spring Mountain Ranch State Park outside Las Vegas! I had heard about the ad but had not seen it! Thanks for making my day Kristi!
Margie EOctober 11, 2018 at 6:14 pm
I love these tiles! I think toning down the colors for such a big project was a great decision. They are all so beautiful! I can’t wait to see them up in the pantry!
Rebecca NeustelOctober 11, 2018 at 9:47 pm
You had probably already considered using alcohol inks, but I’m glad I mentioned them and very glad you filmed the making of them, too!! They are incredibly amazing, and you definitely didn’t use too many colors! You are going to get so much pleasure every time you go into your pantry.
Val from UKOctober 11, 2018 at 9:48 pm
Kristi, I am trying to pick up your thought process. Why did you decide to use these particular tiles? Wouldn’t it be easier (less work) to use a bigger size? Something like 2 ft x 2 ft (in UK it would be 600 x 600 mm)?
KristiOctober 11, 2018 at 9:52 pm
I just really love a standard subway tile size. 🙂 It’s what I used in my kitchen, and wanted to carry that size into the pantry as well.
SherryOctober 12, 2018 at 1:01 pm
I recently watched a UTube video that showed a simple way to handle the drips at the back. Tape off the underside edges as is often described but in order to easily remove the tape use a heat gun. Heat the tape and drips 4-5 inches at a time and the softened glue from the tape and the drips themselves just pull right off. As soon as you feel resistance then heat the next section. It was a lot quicker (and safer) than using a blade.
AnamOctober 12, 2018 at 3:50 pm
This is going to look absolutely stunning. I can’t wait to see the final look.
ChrisOctober 16, 2018 at 8:45 pm
These are FliPping AMAZING!!! WOW!
carmenJanuary 3, 2019 at 12:49 pm
ToriFebruary 21, 2019 at 2:52 pm
where do you buy your inks? These tiles are absolutely amazeballs!! LOVE.THEM. 😉
KristiFebruary 21, 2019 at 9:23 pm
You can find them on Amazon.
AmyMarch 7, 2019 at 3:09 pm
Crazy question, how do you think these would work in the shower??? I would love to do that technique in my bathroom but will the resin hold up?
KristiMarch 7, 2019 at 3:46 pm
Hmmm…interesting question. I’m just crazy enough that I would try it, but I think the wise response would be contact different resin companies and see what they say about their product withstanding the constant contact with water and heat. I can’t imagine why it wouldn’t work, but I’m just not 100% sure. It would certainly be beautiful!
Briana BrittAugust 8, 2019 at 4:26 pm
I’m planning on starting a tiny house build in the spring of next year with my brother. I’m trying to plan my kitchen and you just helped me out MORE THAN YOU COULD EVER KNOW!! Now I need to be mindful not to tile the whole interior of the house. LOL I LOVE these tiles AND your Butler’s Pantry. I’m going to use that post to build the cabinets in my kitchen and bathroom. You just saved me tons of money!!! THANK YOU!!
Nichole SorhaindoSeptember 19, 2019 at 10:53 am
These look amazing! How did you apply the tiles to the wall without scratching the resin? I’ve tried this before, and failed miserably. Any pointers would be great! (I was hoping the video would help so I wouldn’t have to ask, but it won’t load for me.)
KristiSeptember 19, 2019 at 11:36 am
I applied them with regular mortar, and then grouted with unsanded grout. If you use sanded grout, it will scratch the tiles. Unsanded grout will work, though.
CindyAugust 7, 2020 at 3:11 pm
They make a product called liquid latex. If you put this on the tile edges and around the back edge prior to doing your resin. After the resin drys you can supposedly pull off latex along with the drips. I have not personally tried this, but saw it on a Utube video.