Adding a tile backsplash to my camper is something I’ve wanted to do since we first bought our little Coleman Santa Fe. It adds so much visual appeal and makes the kitchen area feel a little more homey. I wasn’t sure how to incorporate the tile look into the kitchen of our camper, as we don’t have a traditional backsplash, and I didn’t want to add the extra weight of ceramic tiles. A few months ago, one of my RV friends told me about adhesive vinyl tiles, and I thought they would be a perfect solution to the weight issue, but I still didn’t have a place to put them.
Then I saw Jessica’s remodel last month, and it clicked. Tiling the inside of our stove would be the perfect way to incorporate the tile look I so desperately wanted, and it would also cover up some stains on the inside of the stove lid. It was genius! Thanks, Jessica! 🙂 (Just a little side note… if you cook quite a bit on your indoor stove, you may not want to install vinyl tiles directly to the interior of the stove lid. We rarely use our indoor stove, so this little project serves as a cute way to cover up some scratches and stains on the stove without having to repaint. You can find more info at the bottom of this post.)
This is what my stove looked like when we bought it. It was in great shape, but pretty ugly. I had planned to repaint the stove, but I never got around to it. Years of abuse from the previous owner had left it looking shabby, and there was a red warning label that had rubbed off on the inside of the lid. I removed the label, but being the anxious person that I am, I adhered it to a piece of cardstock to keep with the other camper paperwork. If I ever sell the camper, it will be all there for the new owner. 😀
Then I got to work cleaning the inside surfaces. I used my Thetford Aqua-Clean and a Magic Eraser to remove most of the grime. A little Goo Gone removed the rest of the adhesive. Then I wiped everything down with rubbing alcohol.
I searched several Home Depots in my area, but I only found one that carried the Smart Tiles, and they only had one sheet of the color that I needed. I spent a few hours on Amazon–they honestly have a great selection of adhesive vinyl tile--but in the end, I was impatient and didn’t want to wait to have the tiles delivered. We made a quick trip to our local Lowes and hit the jackpot! They had at least five different styles of adhesive vinyl tiles in stock, and one was just perfect for our color scheme.
Each package contains one sheet, and I estimated I needed about 4 sheets to complete my backsplash. Each sheet was $7.98. I bought an extra sheet for good measure, and the whole thing cost me $43. I figured I could return whatever I didn’t use. I got my tiles home, ripped open the package, and stuck the first tile on the backsplash. Big mistake! Don’t do that! 🙁
A little planning would have saved me that extra tile I bought and also shielded my kids’ tender ears from a few choice curse words. 🙁 In my haste to start the project, I didn’t plan things out very well. In my defense, the instructions are more than a little sparse. Here’s what I learned from experience: Don’t cut off the side that has the “overlap here” tags printed on it. You need that side to line the tiles up properly. Start by cutting the uneven side of the tile straight. Line that up with the edge of your backsplash or stove lid. Leave those “overlap here” tags in place. Like this:
Once I pulled the first tile off of the stove lid, it was pretty much ruined. I also learned that things will go much smoother if you only remove part of the paper backing. Press the tile into place, and then remove the bottom half of the paper backing. This worked much better. Once you get that first tile in place, you can then begin to overlap your tiles.
After that initial setback, the rest of the installation was a breeze. Just keep lining up the tiles and removing the paper backing. Once you hit the end, you can use scissors to trim down your tile pieces. They cut easily with sharp scissors or a utility knife and a straight-edge.
Keep the extra pieces of tile, as they all fit together rather like a puzzle. You can cut the leftovers into smaller pieces in order to use as few tiles as possible. I used my scissors to round the corners of the tile so it would fit snugly inside the lid of the stove.
And that’s really all there is to it! It took all five tiles to complete my backsplash, but had I not made the little mistake above, I could have completed the project with just four. It’s also worth noting that the package recommends keeping the vinyl tiles away from open flame. They recommend installing the mosaic tile at least 14″ away from the stove burners.
I didn’t do that primarily because I didn’t like the look it would have given my backsplash, 😉 but I also figure that we use the stove infrequently enough that it likely won’t be a problem. If you constantly cook on your camper’s indoor stove, you may want to heed the manufacturer’s advice.
I am absolutely thrilled with how it all turned out. We also installed a Coleman Vanitymate that we bought off eBay last weekend. It hangs over the sink and holds towels and toiletries (although, I loaded it up with candles and cute stuff for the pictures 😉 ). I’m not sure how I feel about it yet, as we had to drill into the ceiling, and that’s something I don’t really like to do. It also made closing up the camper a little harder. I’ll keep posted you all on our thoughts about it once we’ve used it a bit more.
So have you installed a backsplash or used those awesome vinyl tiles in your camper? I’d love to hear your tips and see your pictures. You can email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or head on over to our Facebook page and post them there.
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