Installing Penny Tile

I have slowly been working away at the penny tile backsplash that I am installing in our kitchen.  This is where I started, with a plain wall.  I started by making a straight line on the one edge.

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I had a slow start because at first I could not figure out how to cut the tile without smashing it to pieces and plus, I have been a little less energetic at 11 weeks pregnant.  (I will be in the second trimester on Monday.  Sometimes, energy is supposed to return in the second trimester so I am hoping that is the case for me this time!)  I first tried a tile nipper (which I ended up using again later) and kept breaking the tile into several pieces.

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I was holding the tile nippers directly in the center of the penny tile and kept breaking the penny tiles up into several pieces. (I discovered later that the tile nippers would work for me if I held them about half way on the tile and clamped down.  I got a straighter line that way and no crushed and broken up tiles.)

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I was not happy with my tile nippers, before I figured out how to use them, so I went to Home Depot, and the employee that was there assured me that a wet saw would work on the penny tile so I bought a wet saw despite having serious doubts because I knew it would be very difficult to hold a piece of mesh with small round tiles on it and saw through.

I had to add this part about our couch in the kitchen….At this point we had the couch in the kitchen because we were putting the wood floors in the living room.  So I sat on the couch while I put the wet saw together.  (I think having a couch in the kitchen might be the new wave of the future!  Gone with kitchen islands….get a couch!)  It’s really convenient when you need somewhere comfortable to sit to do a project.


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It’s also awesome if you are pregnant like I am and hungry because you can easily access the refrigerator without having to get off your couch!


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I put the whole wet saw together and found out that the Home Depot employee was very wrong and it was a horrible mistake to try to use it on the penny tile I had.  It was useless because I could not hold the penny tile (as I suspected) in place to cut it directly.  Plus, I found out later, that if the mesh gets really wet, like um, perhaps from a wet saw, the tiles ALL fall off of the mesh.  So I returned the wet saw and went back to the tile nippers.

Even though I have done a little tiling before, like on my fireplace you can see here, I made the mistake of putting too much adhesive/ grout mix on the wall and so ended up just finishing it off more adhesive/ grout mix even though I didn’t plan on doing the final grout until later.  This was my first section.

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This is how you make a straight line with your grout if you have an edge that is just going to be grout with no trim.  You take tape, painters tape works, and line it up straight.  When I grout this, I will pull the tape up and I should have a nice straight grout line.

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This is the adhesive and grout mix I use.  I got it at Home Depot for $7.99 a tub.  I have half of the job done and have used 2 and 1/2 tubs of this so the expense is really minimal and I don’t have to buy adhesive AND grout.

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A little progress.  I need to fill in some spaces around outlets, window and cabinet with cut pieces of tile.

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It will look much better when grouted!

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Apply the adhesive with a putty knife.

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Stick tile on and apply more adhesive for next piece.

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Remove all outlet plates and light switch plates.

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Use a rubber mallet to tap each tile after setting it in the adhesive so that no individual pennies are raised up because of a thicker area of adhesive.

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Almost done behind sink.

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To cut the penny tile when you need a straight line, fold it in half.

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And just cut down the folded over line.  It makes it SO much more easy than holding it flat and trying to cut a straight lined area.

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Here is the cut piece.

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Before it is applied (around the outlet area).

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After- applied around the outlet area.

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Slowly but surely working my way around the kitchen!

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More Progress coming soon!!!

(Skip ahead here to see the penny tile completed!)


  1. The tile is gorg! Those nippers are tricky. Thanks for stopping by and commenting on our wood wall!

    • Thanks Lisa! I am still trying to master the perfect cut with the nippers! I’ll let you know if I ever come up with a Method that works 100% of the time! I do love your wood wall. So cool looking and creative! Thanks again- Kristie

  2. hi lisa- do you a picture of your finished
    backsplash with the penny round tiles? i’d love to see it.

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