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 ...and thanks for stopping by. I'm Claire Douglas,  DIY and home interiors writer specialising in money-saving and creative home interior projects. I've spent years developing my 'bespoke on a budget' approach to DIY and home interiors and I love sharing all my tips and tricks in tutorials and posts here on my blog, in articles I write for some of the leading titles, in the press, on Instagram, Tiktok and my online course

  • Claire Douglas

Marble tile bathroom or kitchen sink backsplash DIY tutorial

Updated: Mar 23

Create a marble tile feature with this DIY backsplash tutorial

marble tile sink splashback with ledge shelf

Adding a marble tile splashback to your sink can elevate its aesthetic appeal and give it a luxurious feel. This DIY tutorial will guide you through the process of creating a marble splashback using marble tiles, enhancing the overall look of your room. I created this backsplash with built-in ledge shelf in a powder room,  but you could recreate in a bathroom, pantry or kitchen. The great news is you can use marble floor tiles, marble slabs, natural marble wall tile or even marble-effect porcelain tiles to create this punchy powder room feature. 

How to make a marble tile backsplash

For this DIY marble tile backsplash, I was lucky to be given some very high-quality Calacatta viola, veined marble wall tiles that someone had leftover from their kitchen reno. I managed to repurpose the tiles into a few separate DIY projects. I wrote about how to create a DIY marble side table in this tutorial here, and I'll share the DIY marble sink backsplash tutorial below.

tools and materials to build a marble tile backsplash

You will need

  • Marble tiles

  • Tile adhesive

  • Metal shelf brackets

  • mdf or plywood sheet

  • Grout

  • Tile spacers

  • Tile cutter or wet saw

  • Level

  • Measuring tape

  • Notched trowel

  • Grout float

  • Sponge

  • Bucket

  • Stud finder

  • Protective gear (gloves, goggles)

Prepare the Surface

Clean the wall surface behind the sink thoroughly to remove any dirt, grease, or debris. 

Ensure the surface is dry before proceeding to the next step.

Measure and Plan

Marble tile veining

Measure the area where you'll be installing the marble splashback. Take into account the height and width of the sink area. 

Plan the layout of the marble tiles to ensure each one is laid in the perfect place.

Stand back and consider the various patterns in the veining as you can't move them around once set. 

Cut the Tiles

wet saw cutting through marble tile

Using a tile cutter or wet saw, cut the marble tiles to fit the dimensions of the splashback area. 

Make precise cuts to achieve a seamless look. 

Wear protective gear eyewear while cutting the tiles - it's a good option to prevent injury from any loose fragments.

Use a tile file to smooth the cut edges and remove any imperfections.  

Apply Adhesive

Installing marble tile backsplash

Using a notched trowel, apply tile adhesive evenly to the back of each marble tile. Press the tiles firmly onto the wall surface, starting from the bottom and working your way up. Use tile spacers to maintain consistent spacing between the tiles.

Once the bottom row was complete, I inserted three shelf brackets behind the tiles. The base of the brackets are very shallow so they didn't push the top of the tiles away from the wall.

Level the Tiles

Use a level to ensure that the marble tiles are correctly aligned and are not crooked. Make any necessary adjustments before the adhesive dries.

Create a Ledge Shelf

marble tile backsplash for sink with in built shelf

I didn't want to drill into the marble tiles as I didn't have the correct tools and knew I would damage them so I came up with a hack to get around this. I'd already set the shelf brackets in place behind the tiles, so used tiny screws and glue to attach a piece of mdf to the shelf brackets (see above image). Then I cut an additional piece of marble tile to the desired length and width for the ledge shelf. I made sure the marble was deeper than the mdf so you wouldn't see the base layer unless you looked under the shelf. If you make them the same depth, the mdf will show from the front which won't look good. You could make an overhanging lip for the marble tile shelf but I didn't find it necessary with the way I did it. Use a stud finder if you drill into the wall at any point to attach the brackets.

Using clamps to hold a marble tile ledge shelf in place until the adhesive set.

Next, I applied adhesive to the back of the tile and carefully positioned it on the mdf shelf base creating a ledge shelf. I used a level to ensure it was straight and level and then clamped the tile onto the mdf. As an extra precaution, I propped the tile/shelf up at the correct height to make sure the mdf didn't bend or move at all. (See image).

I then added a final row of tiles above the shelf.

Allow the adhesive to cure according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Allow Adhesive to Cure

Allow the adhesive to cure according to the manufacturer's instructions. This usually takes 24-48 hours, depending on the type of adhesive used.

ledge shelf for marble tile backsplash

Grout the Tiles

Once the adhesive has cured, prepare the grout according to the manufacturer's instructions. Using a grout float, apply the grout in between the marble tiles, ensuring that all the gaps are filled.

Clean Excess Grout

After applying the grout, use a damp sponge to wipe off any excess grout from the surface of the tiles. Rinse the sponge frequently in clean water to prevent grout haze from forming.

Clean and polish

Allow the grout to dry completely before applying any sealant. 

Once dry, polish the marble tiles with a clean, dry, soft cloth to remove any remaining grout residue and enhance their natural shine.

Seal the Tiles

To protect the marble tiles from moisture and stains, consider applying a grout sealer according to the manufacturer's instructions.

The last thing you want is water or dirt marking and staining the beautiful natural stone tile so it really is a good idea to seal them. The process is quick and easy and will maintain the timeless look you've created. I bought a natural stone tile sealant from B&Q and it worked brilliantly (& cost less than £20). 

DIY marble backsplash with ledge shelf

By following this DIY tutorial, you can create a stunning marble splashback for your powder room sink. It's a classic look using this stunning natural material. It might seem like a daunting task, but with the right materials and careful execution, you can achieve professional-looking results while staying within your budget (even if your budget is tiny like mine usually is!). 

marble tile backsplash tutorial

Incorporating a ledge shelf made from marble tile adds functionality and visual interest to your powder room sink area. Follow these additional steps to seamlessly integrate the ledge shelf into your marble splashback design, creating a cohesive and stylish look for your space. Enjoy the beauty and practicality of your newly upgraded powder room! 

Cararra vs Calacatta marble tiles

I was lucky enough to use calacatta marble tiles which are reknown for having a thicker and more substantial vein than the cararra ones. For a more subtle look use bianco cararra white marble tiles as these are the perfect choice with finer and less pronounced veins. Carrara white marble is more cost-effective than calacatta. Calacatta veins often have a blue hue whereas carrara tend to be paler with a grey tinge.  

A word of advice about wet tile saws.

I didn't have an electric tile saw before I started this project. I'd always coped with a manual scribing tile cutter than scores the cutting line then cracks the tile aong the line by applying pressure. However, you can't use these tile cutters for natural stone tiles, so I knew I needed to buy a new one. I was loathed to spend too much money because I wasn't likely to be undertaking another similar project in the near future (tbh I'm more tempted now I have the right tools and had such good results with the DIY backsplash!). So I got an absolute bargain by going into Topps Tiles and asking if I could buy their display model at a discounted rate - they said yes and let me have it for £20 - result! 

Pros and cons of marble tile

Ask any interior designer; marble tiles and bathroom walls are a great combination! Marble, with its rich textures and irregular pattern, screams luxury and elegance and will elevate any interior space but there's no denying it does require regular maintenance and can be prone to damage if you don't take care of it. The same rules apply if you are using marble for a kitchen wall tile or kitchen backsplash - there are steps you'll need to take. 

- avoid high temperatures

- avoid acidic substances

- ensure you seal marble tile 

- avoid cleaning with abrasive materials as this can lead to scratching 

Marble tile DIY project ideas

I've written a separate post about how I used some of these beautiful marble tiles around my living space. I made a DIY marble side table - read the tutorial here... I also repurposed some of the marble tile offcuts as candle plates which was such a simple project that only required a little filing, sealing and the addition of some stickers for the base to stop the tile scratching surfaces. 

DIY marble side table

Here are some other ideas for how you could use marble tile in your home interiors for timeless style. 

  • Marble tile bookends

  • Marble tile rectangular vases

  • Marble tile cutting board

  • Marble tile serving platter

If you are considering marble tile for your next project, you're in for a visual treat - they are a great choice for a polished finish. Yes, they are expensive per square foot, but they make such a striking feature. If your budget is limited, consider DIYing a sink backsplash as this project requires fewer tiles than you would need for, say, marble flooring but brings all the same aesthetic advantages. Another top tip I can share is to keep an eye out on Facebook marketplace for people selling leftover tiles from large home renovation projects as I've been lucky this way before too. It pays to be thrifty and employ a few money-saving home decor hacks to get more bang for your buck!

Where next?

Below are some other tile-related blog posts you might enjoy…

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