If you’re obsessed with pattern floor tiles or DIY flooring projects, this idea is for you! I’ve had it in my head to create painted pattern floor tiles ever since last year’s budget-friendly backsplash idea, and now it’s finally done and ready to share. Currently, I have two patterns finished (the one you see above and one other which you can see after the jump). But they’re so easy to complete, I plan to do many more as time goes on!
What I love most about this DIY flooring project is that it’s very budget-friendly. All the supplies came in at under $1 per square ft and you can install it yourself to save even more cash. So, if you’ve always wanted the look of pattern cement tiles, but can’t figure out how to make it work with your budget, click through for all the details.
This project is great for freshening up a small space that already have vinyl flooring or something similar that desperately needs an upgrade. I could picture it looking amazing in a guest bathroom, kitchen, etc. Lots of possibilities!
One thing to keep in mind before getting started… Some vinyl flooring has very sticky glue backing. So, while it is easy to remove with a small chisel, if you ever need to, the glue could leave a residue on the floor beneath. So, if you’re renting, be sure to check with your landlord before starting this project. And if you own, just something to keep in mind before installing.
- really good painter’s tape (I like ScotchBlue)
- peel and stick vinyl tiles 12×12 (these are the exact ones I bought)
- flat or eggshell interior paint in desired colors
- matte or satin finish interior polyurethane to seal the tile
- paint brush with soft bristles (so they won’t leave brush marks)
- ruler or straightedge (I used this one, which was the exact size needed)
- sharp blade or boxcutter
Before getting started, I looked at a ton of floor tile patterns. There were a few things I saw over and over again that i really loved, so I based my tile designs on those two things: half circles and simple lines. Coincidentally, neither option is especially hard to create, so if you’re intimidated, don’t be. I promise it’s actually very simple to do.
Also, if you’re looking for tile inspiration, Popham Design and Cle have some really cool patterns ideas. If you decide to opt for the real thing (actual cement tiles) instead of my DIY version, I’d highly recommend both of them. Emily Henderson has a big cement tile roundup to checkout too. Just thought I’d mention. Okay, let’s get started!
1. Start by painting the vinyl tiles one solid color as your base. I alternated between a mustard yellow (that I custom mixed) and a dusty lilac color.
2. Once all the tiles are painted, set them aside and let them dry for at least 24 hours in a well ventilated area. Once dry, you can cut them down into smaller squares, if desired. Personally, I like 6 inch squares better than 12 inch because the pattern changes more frequently and keeps your eye moving. But it’s a preference thing. ***If you like the tiles as-is at 12×12 inches square, you can skip steps 3-5.
3. If you do plan to cut the tiles down to 6 inch squares, it’s very easy. All you need is a straightedge and a boxcutter. No special tools required, which is why I love working with vinyl tiles. BUT TAKE YOUR TIME AND BE PRECISE. It will make installing the tiles a much smoother process.
I happen to have a crafting ruler that was exactly 6 inches wide, which made things super easy for scoring. I just lined up the edge of the ruler with the edge of the tile and scored the tile, using the ruler as my straightedge. You don’t have to press down hard at all for this step. It’s just to get a score line.
4. Once the first line is scored, bend the piece in half at the score line and it will break with a clean edge. You will have to do a quick score line on the back of the tile after it’s been bent, since the peel and stick paper backing will still otherwise be attached.
5. Now, take one of the two pieces that have been created and mark off and score the second line with a sharp blade, just as you did the first. Bend on the scored line once again and score the sticker backing to separate the pieces.
6. Once all the tiles has been scored, it’s time to paint again. If creating a line pattern (like the mustard yellow pattern), you’ll need painter’s tape to mark off the designs. Just make sure to keep every line the same thickness to keep them consistent. The stripes and other lines you create do not need to be in the same position overtime though, just the same width. *Press down firmly across the entire taped surface and again once or twice on the outermost edge that will be touching the next layer of paint to make to get that super sharp paint line.
If creating a half circle pattern (like the rust and lilac half circle pattern), you’ll need to trace a circular object to create a template and then trace that template onto each tile in the same spot. I just found the bottom center of each tile and lined it up with bottom center of the template.
7. For the line pattern tile, paint the exposed part of the tile with a contrasting paint color if you’ve taped off the tile design. And then remove any excess paint from the tile and tape (just go over the surface with a dryer brush a few times) before removing the painter’s tape slowly at a 45° angle. FYI – For this particular project, I found that removing the tape as soon as possible gets you that super sharp paint line.
And for the half circle pattern, use a smaller paint brush to either paint inside the traced half circle you created in step 6 OR outside the traced half circle for a different look. I alternated each of these designs with the tiles as I went, so I would end up with an even number of each option in the end.
8. Set the tile aside to dry in a well ventilated area, again for 24 hours. Once the tiles have had time to dry, apply a thin coat of polyurethane, and set aside to dry once again according to instructions on the packaging.
9. Make sure your floor surface is clean and free of debris. And keep in mind that some vinyl flooring has very sticky glue backing. So, while it is easy to remove with a small chisel, the glue could leave a residue on the floor beneath. Just something to keep in mind before installing.
Remove the paper backing from the tiles and start sticking them to the floor. It might help to make some level lines on the floor ahead of time, to use as a guide. And when you get to any areas that need to be custom cut to fit, you can mark them off with a pencil and score them the same way as the earlier steps.
All and all, everything ended up costing under $1 per square ft (including all materials and then free labor for install bc its so easy).
WAY less expensive than cement tiles with a similar look. I found some yesterday that were $8 per 8×8 inch tile! So, I’m feeling pretty good about it. But what do you think?
What do you think of the end results?! Are you as obsessed as I am? Or do you prefer the real thing?
25 comments | Click here to reply
Love the half circle pattern! I could so see it on a back splash.Beverly Adams
cool idea thumbs up for your workJames
This is amazing! Do you think it would work in an outdoor patio that gets rain? Or would it degrade over time? Thanks!R
What you have done with your floor is definitely superb! I love the colors that you have used and the designs that you have picked. I may try to do this at my space. Thank you so much for sharing this!Emery Ocampo
This is stunning! Excellent job looks really tidy and professional. Thanks for posting.Jessica
This is really adorable. Thank you for sharing this awesome DIY. Will surely try them. Anyways, lovely blog. Looking forward to more! 🙂Esther Diaz
Thanks for the tip Linda. That’s great!Brittni
Vinyl floor tiles are easier to remove if you warm them with a hair dryer. It softens the glue and allows the tile to be removed with a paint scraper and patience.Linda Burhenne
I love the idea of using this project in a camper or treehouse, Lindsey. Brilliant.Brittni
This is GENIUS…would be super cute in a camper or treehouse too when you need something more weather resistant but still want design details!Lindsey McCord
Hi Littlest Fry. I have a backsplash tutorial for painted tiles as well, if you need that. Here’s the link: https://www.papernstitchblog.com/2017/08/03/diy-budget-backsplash/Brittni
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This is a neat idea! I’ve actually been brainstorming ideas for when we open our retail shop, I want to design a tile cash desk and this could actually be a more affordable option to real tile. On that topic I have been trying to research the process of creating a tile backsplash on wood (starting from square one!).The Littlest Fry
Thanks Julie. I don’t have a video tutorial. Just the photos in the post, but if I do another pattern in the future maybe I’ll make a video. 🙂Brittni
Really the end result is so pretty. Making my mind to try it for my niece study room. If you have made any video tutorial please share.Julie @ Houzz Mag
You flooring looks so cool! I’m not into DIYs and stuff but after seeing your post, I can’t help but feel excited to try it! Thank you for sharing this! I also got an inspiration for my next redesigning!Joyce Blass
These look amazing and it is so great to finally have a tutorial on how to make your own without spending a fortune. I adore the yellow ones with the line pattern & hope to try them out in Hunter’s Green or Peach – so pretty! Thank you so much for sharing!
Holly from The Art of Being Holly xoHolly
Great postThe pink pineapple
This is really cool! It kind of looks like there are gaps between your tiles. Is that true? I’m thinking about doing something like this in my bathroom.Catherine
Are you kidding me right now – this is the coolest idea ever! I have thought about stenciling a faux moroccan inspired cement floor or tile, but hadn’t thought of this! I love love love it!sara albers
That’s such a cool idea. I never would have thought to do that.Courtney Hardy
Thanks Michelle. The shoes are one of my fave pairs…I had Emma model them for this shot, so I could take the photo. But they’re from Rachel Comey. 🙂Brittni
How absolutely gorgeous this looks! I wish I had my own house to try this! By the way: I love your shoes!Michelle
Thanks Zoe. 🙂 I love how it turned out too.Brittni
This is such a great idea! I love the outcome! Very cute and retro! xxZoë