When the Cricut Maker 3 and Cricut Explore 3 first launched with their ability to cut up to 12′ at one time, my very first though was “Yeeeess! I can finally make really long vinyl backsplash designs in one cut!” And then I remembered…whomp…our kitchen already has a tiled backsplash that is super textured and way too hard to cover up. Not to be deterred, I decided to “tile” the next best thing: our IKEA play kitchen. Although I’ll be demonstrating on a mini version, the process and techniques I’m showing here today can be used to make a vinyl tile backsplash with a Cricut for any-sized backsplash in any-sized kitchen. Let’s get started!

IKEA Play Kitchen with Subway Tile backsplash made from Cricut Vinyl

Why Use Vinyl as a Backsplash?

At least in our experience, rental kitchens don’t tend to be very fancy. We are often stuck with builder-basic finishes and neutral walls, with very few opportunities to add personality or style. The backsplash area is typically the only spot to add color or pattern; but being renters, traditional tile is usually off limits.

Using vinyl, however, is not only totally temporary, but it can also be cut into countless designs from a wide variety of colors. For example, using different shapes and different vinyls, I created two very different looks for our play kitchen backsplash:

 

I’ve used peel-and-stick wallpaper to cover our backsplash; and I’ve also created vinyl “tiles” that I’ve laid individually by hand. But now thanks to my new Cricut Maker 3, this is the first time I’ve been able cut an entire stretch of backsplash and apply it…all at once. When you’re doing a large area, this efficiency is a major game changer!

Idea 1: Subway Tile Backsplash

Supplies Needed

To create a “subway tile” backsplash with a Cricut, here is what you need:

  • Cricut machine – I used a Cricut Maker 3, which allows for cuts as long as 144,” but any Cricut machine can be used for this project (you’ll just need to use a mat and do more cuts to fill your backsplash area).
  • Vinyl in the “tile” color of your choice
    • Use Smart Vinyl if using a Cricut Maker 3, Cricut Explore 3, or Cricut Joy
    • If using any other machine, you’ll need to load standard vinyl onto a mat
  • Transfer Tape – A bulk roll will come in handy for this project!
  • Paint for your desired “grout” color
  • Tools:

Cricut Maker 3 with Smart Vinyl, foam board and tools to make Vinyl Backsplash

Desinging “Subway Tile” in Cricut Design Space

Subway tile is a really chic, classic look (for almost any style kitchen!) and thankfully, it’s really easy to design in Cricut Design Space.

Click any picture below to see it in more detail.

For my mini play kitchen, I only needed to do a single stretch of tile measuring about 30″ long; but for a larger area, you will likely need to do multiple cuts of “tile.” By designing your tile arrangement as described above, you’ll be able to simply repeat the same cut over and over and add each one to your wall as you go. Below is an example of how you’d built out the tile with multiple cuts.

Paint the “Grout” Color

To create the effect of real subway tile, you’ll need to contrast the vinyl stickers with a background color for the “grout” lines. The easiest way to do this is to paint your wall in whatever color you prefer (e.g., grey, black, sand, etc). I used acrylic paint below because I’m “installing” this backsplash in a play kitchen. If you’re doing this project in a real kitchen, I recommend using semi-gloss wall paint.

TIP! If you don’t want to use paint, you can first cover your wall/backsplash area with solid/colored vinyl or peel-and-stick wallpaper and then add the vinyl stickers on top. Be advised though, this will dramatically increase both the cost and work involved in this project!

Foam board and grey paint

Cut the “Subway Tile” From Vinyl

While your paint is drying, cut out your “subway tile” from vinyl. Instead of having to pre-cut and load vinyl onto a mat, I simply loaded a roll of white Smart Vinyl into my Cricut Maker 3 and let it run!

Cricut Maker 3 with white Smart Vinyl

TIP! If you’re “tiling” a large area, I recommend you keep loading your machine to cut the tile over and over while you weed, transfer, and apply each set to your wall.

Once the vinyl comes out of your machine, it’s super simple to weed. The background will likely peel off in a single stretch!

Subway tile pattern cut from white Smart Vinyl

Next, cut a length of transfer tape that will fully cover your set of tile. (This is where the extra long roll of 75′ of transfer tape really comes in handy!) Place the transfer tape onto the vinyl tile, sticky-side-down, and rub it vigorously (in every direction) with an XL Scraper.

Hand using tool over Cricut Transfer Tape

Once you’ve really rubbed the transfer tape in every single direction, peel up the transfer tape to lift all the “subway tiles” off the paper backing. Work slowly to make sure every tile comes up (to avoid having to manually place tiles later on).

Peeling up vinyl Subway tile pattern

Apply the “Subway Tile” to the Backsplash

The final step is place the transfer tape+vinyl “tile” onto your painted (and dry!) backsplash wall. Take your time to make sure the entire stretch is level before sticking it firmly to the wall. Once placed down, rub the entire set of tile with the XL Scraper again.

Smoothing down Subway tile vinyl backsplash

When ready, remove the transfer tape from the wall by pulling from a corner, on diagonal, with the transfer tape all the way back against itself as you pull.

Pulling away transfer tape from Subway tile vinyl backsplash

Continue to cut, weed, transfer, and apply “sets” of tile…both horizontally and vertically…until your entire wall is finished.

Subway tile vinyl backsplash

Depending on the layout of your specific backsplash, you may need to clean up edges and corners by placing extra cuts and/or cutting away overlap with a sharp craft knife.

IKEA Play Kitchen with Subway Tile backsplash made from Cricut Vinyl

Idea 2: Moroccan Tile Backsplash

I love the classic look of “subway tile,” but one of the coolest things about using a Cricut to make a vinyl backsplash is that you can literally make any design…in any scale…in any combination of colors…that you want. Here’s another take on the same vinyl backsplash idea!

IKEA Play Kitchen with tile backsplash made from Cricut Vinyl

(I was super inspired by the color combinations in this chic kitchen that’s actually military housing!)

Supplies Needed

To create a “Moroccan tile” backsplash with a Cricut, here is what you need:

  • Cricut machine – Like above, I used a Cricut Maker 3, which allows for cuts as long as 144,” but any Cricut machine can be used for this project (you’ll just need to do more frequent cuts to fill your backsplash area).
  • Vinyl in the “tile” color of your choice
    • Use Smart Vinyl if using a Cricut Maker 3, Cricut Explore 3, or Cricut Joy
    • If using any other machine, you’ll need to load standard vinyl onto a mat
  • Transfer Tape – A bulk roll will come in handy for this project!
  • Tools:

Cricut Maker 3 with blue Smart Vinyl

Desinging “Moroccan Tile” in Cricut Design Space

If you enter “Tile” into the Cricut Design Space Image Library, you’ll find all sorts of fun designs that you can build into a repeating tile design. Since the launch of the newer machines, Cricut has also started adding some “longer” designs into the library. This tile design is from the “Tile Long Cuts” set, which has all sorts of neat patterns that start at 45″ wide!

Cut the “Moroccan Tile” From Vinyl

When you’re satisfied with the layout and design of your “tile,” cut it from your desired color of vinyl with your Cricut machine. Like the “subway tile” version, I skipped the mat and just loaded a roll of blue Smart Vinyl into my Cricut Maker 3.

Cricut Maker 3 loading blue Smart Vinyl

Next, weed the backsplash pattern. This “Moroccan tile” design required much more weeding than the “subway tile.”

TIP! Always refer to your original design in Cricut Design Space when weeding to make sure you’re pulling out the right details.

Using weeding tool to prepare vinyl backsplash

Next, lay a stretch of transfer tape over the entire backsplash design.

Laying transfer tape over vinyl backsplash pattern

Rub vigorously in every single direction to adhere the vinyl design to the transfer tape.

TIP! Do NOT rush this part. It can be very frustrating to not transfer your entire design all at once. So rub as much as you can in order to get the entire design fully adhered.

Smoothing out vinyl backsplash pattern

Apply the “Moroccan Tile” to the Backsplash

Once you pick up the transfer tape with the “tile” design attached, lay it down onto your wall/backsplash, ensuring everything is lined up and level. Rub vigorously with the XL Scraper, then remove the transfer tape slowly to ensure your entire tile design stays in place on the wall.

Removing transfer tape from vinyl backsplash pattern

Continue to build out the tile design vertically and horizontally until your entire wall is filled! Use a sharp craft knife to clean up edges and corners as needed.

IKEA Play Kitchen with tile backsplash made from Cricut Vinyl

I am fairly obsessed with both of these vinyl backsplashes…I really can’t decide which one I like better! Not only are the design options literally endless, but thanks to the new Cricut machines’ ability to cut long designs at one time, covering an entire backsplash area isn’t just doable, but also fairly easy.

All that said, I can’t sign off without one quick disclaimer. Although you will apply your entire vinyl design (or at least large sections of it) all at once…each and every piece of vinyl will have to be removed individually. This isn’t a huge deal for the “subway tile” design; but if you take on a more complex design (like the Moroccan version), removing it can be very tedious. Since this is a “temporary” backsplash treatment, I highly recommend keeping both application AND removal in mind when creating your design!

See You Soon!
Megan