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How To Paint A Tile Backsplash In Your Kitchen (With Video)

Do you want to get an updated kitchen backsplash without tearing your old one out? This is one of our favorite DIY kitchen projects. You will love how you can makeover your tile by just painting.

white painted backsplash with red apples on counter in kitchen

*Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Read our full privacy policy.

Can you paint glass tiles?

Yes, you can! I honestly cannot believe how easy and quick it was to paint the glass tile. Proper cleaning, prep, and using the right materials will make your painted tiles last a long time. I wish I would have done this DIY years ago.

To be fair, we tried to make our oak kitchen cabinets look modern without replacing and painting everything first by adding this backsplash.

When we first moved into our house we knew that the kitchen needed some updating (you can see what our kitchen cabinets looked like before painting). Over time, we painted the oak cabinets white and added a glass backsplash and new counters.

However, the glass mosaic backsplash of yesteryear (like 8 years ago) was totally dating our kitchen and never really matched.

green painted kitchen cabinets with white upper cabinets and glass mosaic tile before painting

Now 8 years later we have jumped on the two-toned kitchen cabinet trend and wanted a completely fresh look with the backsplash. As you can see we were working on painting the lower cabinets and doors (this link is our detailed door painting process) at the same time.

First, is painting tile a good idea?

While we have not painted tile floors or tubs, we think painting your tile backsplash is a great way to modernize your kitchen.

Mainly because your backsplash really doesn’t get touched and beat up like other tiles in your home. You also can have a modern look without going through the hassle of completely tearing out the tile.

And for us, we knew that if this didn’t work we need to replace the tile anyway. It was totally a risk we were willing to take. Honestly, we were shocked at how well our tile painting project turned out

“What do you have to lose? Just paint it and you might be surprised.”

A DIY Motto from The DIY Nuts

Why did I choose to paint the tile white?

White paint gave the tile a more cohesive subway tile feel. I wish our counters had a little more bright white in them.

I didn’t want to go with a warmer white and have that conflict with the upper cabinets, white moldings, and doors we already have.

The good news is that I can easily change the color if I want. We have some amazing real-life examples of white kitchens if you need help comparing white cabinet paints for your kitchen.

How long did it take to paint the tile backsplash?

This was a very easy and quick DIY home project. The only thing that took the most time was the dry time. We have around 20 square feet of tile and this tile painting process was easily accomplished in two days. 

The most time-consuming part is the prep. Each layer of primer or paint was done in 30-40 minutes.

What supplies should you use to paint tile?

We researched a lot of different ways to paint tile. And first, everyone said that the prep is the most important part. Any time you are painting you want a clean surface. Don’t skimp on this. We used dawn dish soap, extra-fine sandpaper and Krud Kutter. I felt that our tile backsplash was completely clean and ready.

Some DIY painters recommended using an electric sander and something called TSP. My tiles were not that greasy so I thought my prep process was the simplest and easiest.

As far as the paint, once we found a primer (more on this later) that we thought would work we simply used a 2.5” angled brush and small foam roller to apply our favorite hybrid paint from Sherwin Williams. 

Simplified printable instructions are at the bottom of this post.

small foam roller in small paint tray.
Here are the small foam rollers we have used on many different paint projects.

What primer should I use to paint glass tile?

This part actually took me the most time due to places not having the primer I wanted. My first choice is to always just go to Sherwin Williams and have them tell me what I need. Paint stores are normally pretty knowledgeable. Just go in and talk to them about your project.

I will say at any place it does always matter who you get, so I am sure that this is only my personal experience. 

Due to the paint shortage through the supply chain or Sherwin Williams, they did not have the bonding primer I wanted to use. They recommended Stix and I went to order it on Amazon. However, even then that shipment was delayed.

can of primer sitting on store while tile backsplash is primed.

Off to Home Depot I went. I found this primer that was meant for glossy surfaces in kitchens and bathrooms. I figured for the price, I would just buy it and try it in a small area.

In the video in this post, you can see how I test the area by rubbing the tile to make sure the primer truly was sticking before doing the whole backsplash.

What paint do you use to paint glass tile?

After painting our kitchen island with Sherwin Williams Urethane Trim Enamel, I knew this was the paint I wanted to use. You will not be disappointed in this self-leveling paint. I bought a gallon of white because I figured I will repaint our upper cabinets whenever I get a spare moment.

paint stick with high reflective white paint in front of can of white paint.

You can see how we used the same primer and paint to paint a laminate bathroom countertop. We love when we can use the same supplies for different DIY painting projects.

Decide on the finish of your paint

Other things to consider are the finish you want your tiles to be.

  • Semi-gloss was the perfect choice for us because it gives the tile a little glossy look. We also like semi-gloss for the trim and cabinets as well. I would probably only use semi-gloss or gloss for cleaning reasons.
  • By using semi-gloss or gloss paint we have been able to easily clean or wipe our backsplash. And yes, we have had a few bacon splatters!
  • You may want to note that a few readers have told us that they wished they went with gloss paint for a little more contrast to their cabinets. It is a personal preference on what look you prefer. The only con to using gloss paint would be that it will show imperfections a little more than semi-gloss paint.

📌 Featured Comment

“I book marked this page at least a year ago and finally got off my duff to try it. I have the same exact backsplash and so was glad to see how you were able to cover it. I followed your instructions to a T and it looks great!”

paint that tile backsplash with before and after picture

Other Considerations

  • Use an epoxy kits meant for tile. However, they are smelly, and who really touches a kitchen backsplash compared to other areas in your home? We figured since this isn’t a bathroom floor or something we could try a simpler method.
  • If using a kit, you will also have to compare the different white colors. Remembering not all white paints are considered equal. By buying a gallon of the High Reflective White (not tinted) from Sherwin Williams I knew I could use that paint to make everything match if I want to in the future.

Do you paint over grout lines?

First, use a brush to cover all the grout lines. Then use a small roller to create a smooth look. By using one color and painting the grout lines you are able to get a clean look.

Recommended Supplies

paint supplies used to paint tile with labels.

*Note our paint was not tinted and it comes in a color called High Reflective White. If you are trying to decide between colors you may want to check out Samplize where you can get larger peel-and-stick samples of your favorite colors. 

You can read how we used Samplize to help pick our bottom cabinet color here.

Tile Backsplash Painting Tutorial

See the video in this post as well.

Step 1: Clean Tiles

Clean the tiles with dawn dish soap and a sponge. You want to make sure that you are cutting the grease and grim.

Really make sure you have cleaned while around your stove as that is where it tends to be a little dirty and greasier (hello bacon at our house).

hand using sponge to clean and prep backsplash to be painted.

Step 2: Let Dry

Wipe dry.

Step 3: Lightly Scuff Surface

Use extra-fine sandpaper to scuff up the tile. I did not do a ton of this, just enough.

hand using sandpaper on glass mosaic tile.

Step 4: Prep Areas With Painter’s Tape

Wipe areas you don’t want to be painted like the counters and window frames. Add painter’s tape to the areas. Press your fingernail in the seam in between the counters and the tile. You may need to caulk this area after you paint.

DIY PAINT TIP!!! Use Press N’ Seal Wrap to help protect things you don’t want to be painted. We did this painting of our oak railing when using two different colors.

faucet wrapped in Cling Wrap to help with paint prep of tile.

It was great for the faucet in this case. If you wrap it loose enough, you will still be able to use the faucet as well!

Step 5: Use A Deglosser

Wipe down tiles with a deglosser.

krud kutter and frog tape on counter in front of to-be painted backsplash.

Step 6: Apply Primer

Use a brush with the primer to cover all the grout. Work in small areas.

If your tile is larger you may use a roller after the brush in the grout lines. Since our glass tile is so small, I only used a brush for the primer. This might have left a slight texture, but I liked that idea instead of completely flat-looking tiles.

tile backsplash being painted white

Step 7: Check For Drips

Make sure that you are lightly brushing away drips. This is probably the trickiest part of the painting. If you do end up with a few bumps, you can always sand them before the next coat.

glass tile getting painted white in kitchen remodel

Step 8: Let Primer Dry

Read the instructions on the primer you chose. This primer was dry to the touch within 30 minutes to 1 hour. It really was, so this helped with the overall length of time this project took.

Does the primer have to look nice?

Don’t let the splotchy priming job worry you. The most important part about priming anything is that you have completely covered the surface you are painting. You can see how the white color is much more solid once you start using paint.

Step 9: Start Painting

Once the primer is dry, you can repeat the brush painting with your paint. We used Sherwin Williams Urethane Enamel in High Reflective White.

white latex enamel painted on top of primer on backsplash tile

Use Brush and Small Foam Roller

After the first coat of paint with the brush, the next two were done mainly using the small foam roller. This allowed for more even coverage. Just make sure that your grout is completely painted to your liking as working.

small foam roller painting kitchen backsplash

Step 10: Allow Each Layer Of Paint To Dry

Allow proper dry time between each coat of paint. You may need 2-3 coats of paint depending on how dark your tiles were to begin with. We used 3 coats of paint.

painted white tile backsplash with painter's tape around edges and white and green painted cabinets.

Step 11: Remove The Tape

Remove painter’s tape and caulk any areas for a clean look.

white painted backsplash tiles with green painter's tape along kitchen counter.

How-To FAQs

How do painted kitchen backsplashes hold up?

It has been over a year and our painted tile backsplash looks the same as it did when we finished it. Because we used semi-gloss paint, you can easily wipe and clean any messes that splatter on the tile.

How do you paint ceramic tiles?

You can follow the same steps we used to paint our glass tile backsplash. The most important part is the prep, cleaning and priming. We always recommend testing the primer first to make sure that it does not scrape off with your fingernail once dry. If it sticks, you should be able to easily paint your tile.

Can I only use a roller?

If your grout lines get covered by rolling, you can get away with mainly using one and then just trimming hard-to-reach areas with a brush.

Can you paint the tile other colors besides white?

Yes, you can paint your kitchen backsplash any color to fit your style. The paint we recommend using can be tinted to match your decor. You can even use this method to add a stencil design to create a patterned look.

Before and After Painted Backsplash Makeover

Yes, I know the angle is a little different and this is what our cabinets looked like before I also started painting the lower cabinets. But you can totally get the idea of the amazing budget-friendly kitchen makeover using ONLY paint!

white cabinets and glass backsplash before cheap kitchen makeover

And then paint magic!

two-toned green and white cabinets with white painted backsplash with granite counters in kitchen.

Follow us on Pinterest, Youtube or Facebook for more DIY inspiration!

We absolutely can’t get over how much our painted tile backsplash has modernized our kitchen. If just hate the look of your backsplash and don’t want the hassle of tearing old the old tile, you really should consider this DIY kitchen idea.

If you like this tutorial, make sure to give it 5 stars below 🤩🤩🤩🤩🤩. It truly helps us continue bringing you more free and budget-friendly DIYs.

glass tile getting painted white in kitchen remodel

Painting A Tile Backsplash

Learn how to paint tile for this cheap kitchen remodel idea. Easily redo your glass backsplash tile with this easy painting home improvement project.
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: DIY Home Ideas
Keyword: DIY kitchen painting project, how to paint tile backsplash, painting tile, painting tile backsplash
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Active Time: 3 hours
Additional Time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 3 hours 30 minutes
Author: Erin
Cost: under $50


Recommended Supplies

  • Deglosser
  • 220 Sandpaper
  • Dawn Dish Soap
  • Primer
  • Sherwin Williams Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel Paint
  • Butcher Paper Cardboard or Drop Cloth


  • Clean tile with dawn dish soap.
  • Wipe dry.
  • Use extra-fine sandpaper to scuff up the tile.
  • Wipe away dust.
  • Tape out areas you don’t want painted and cover counters with cardboard, drop cloth, or butcher paper.
  • Optional: Use Press and Seal to protect the faucet handle.
  • Wipe down tiles with deglosser.
  • Use a paintbrush to paint grout lines and a small foam roller with primer. Make sure to wipe away any drips that are occurring when painting before it dries.
  • Let dry (read instructions on paint cans for your dry time).
  • Repeat with Urethane Trim Enamel paint in the color of your choice.
  • Paint at least 2 coats with proper dry time in between.
  • Remove painter's tape and clean up any areas.


  • Test that your primer adhered to your tile by painting a small area and letting it dry. Use your fingernail to make sure you cannot scratch away the primer.
  • Semi-gloss or high gloss paints will mimic the look of real tiles.
  • Continue to check for drips as you are working. You can always sand with extra fine sandpaper in between layers if needed.
Don’t Forget this Tutorial? Pin This Today!Visit @thediynuts for more great DIYs!
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Monday 11th of September 2023

I just painted my glass backsplash with Benjamin Moore Regal Select semi-gloss in white. It turned out great but I'd like it to be really glossy. Can I apply the same paint but in a gloss over what I've just painted or use a clear high gloss top coat? I'm new to the DIY game and loved your tutorial. I'll definitely be checking out more since I plan to paint my staircase soon.


Monday 11th of September 2023

Hi Jamie. My guess is that you could add a top coat of some sort. Just be careful that you don't apply something that would yellow over time. I would go into your Benjamin Moore store and ask what they suggest since you used their products. I am glad your tile painting went so well!


Sunday 10th of September 2023

I have question will the paint sustain the heat of the stove and oven?


Monday 11th of September 2023

Hi Edith. I can only talk about personal experience and our painted cabinets and tile have held up well. When in doubt, we always recommend heading to your local paint store with specific product recommendations for your specific project.


Wednesday 30th of August 2023

Hi thanks so much for the tutorial. I did it this weekend and it looks great! However, any tiny little touch to the tile and it chips instantly. any solutions to this? it already chipped in a few noticeable areas and it is heart breaking!


Thursday 21st of September 2023

@Erin, Thank you!! I am still extrememly pleased with the results. thank you a million!


Thursday 31st of August 2023

Hi Mary. Bummer about a few spots. It is hard to say why that would be the case. I wonder if there was grease or something still present that isn't allow the primer to fully adhere. Did you fully cover all areas with primer and allow proper dry time? Did the primer pass the scratch test (meaning it didn't scrape off after it dried). I would let the paint fully dry and then try to touch up (which may include lightly sanding, primer and painting those spots). It can take paint up to 30 days to fully cure. I am sorry I can't be more help as I did not have this issue at all as the primer fully adhered to my tiles. Good luck, I hope you are able to fix those areas.


Monday 14th of August 2023

Thank you for easy to follow along with instructions. This detailed information will be used soon on my outdated backsplash.

I’ll send before and after pictures.


Tuesday 15th of August 2023

Hi Charlie. We would love to see your painted backsplash when you finish. Good luck!


Saturday 12th of August 2023

Thanks for this article, it was well written, easy to understand, provided tips and tricks and supplies! I can't wit to get started!


Saturday 12th of August 2023

Hi Lori. Thank you so much for the kind words! I hope your tile painting project turns out well! It is still one of those DIYs that gave us the most bang for our buck!

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