So, what happens when you combine the desires of an artist and a mad engineer into a single bathroom renovation? In this case, a soaker tub surrounded by a literal colour wheel of tiles, each hand painted in one of 34 different colours. That's what! For our basement bathroom renovation, my wife and I decided to go all-out with our colour palette, and the result is gloriously bright, fun, and happy. When the sun comes through the window just right, the bathroom lights up with bright, bold colours that scream, "DRAW A BATH AND PLUNGE INTO THE RAINBOW!"

Our design was inspired by a smattering of bathroom tiling ideas I found throughout the web, though none of those designs had gone to the extent of custom painting 34 different shades onto their tiles. The product that made this possible was the FolkArt Enamels line of ceramic and glass paint, which is scratchproof, waterproof (and dishwasher safe!) once baked.

The main focus of this instructable will be the painting and installation of the tiles themselves, though I will go over the installation of the tub and vanity a little bit as well. I will purposefully gloss over the details of the plumbing since I am not a plumber and don't want to lead anyone astray. I'm sure I did a fine job, but a mistake made while plumbing can lead to an expensive disaster. If you're not comfortable doing plumbing work yourself, then hire a certified plumber.

This is the second of three phases in my Epic Basement Renovation. The first phase cleared out the space and granted me an office/electronics workshop. The third phase will complete my wood shop.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Simply re-tiling a bathroom can be pretty inexpensive.  The white tiles we used were only 33 cents each from a home improvement store.  The floor tiles were better quality and cost a bit more.  In total, I'd estimate the tiling portion of the bathroom renovation cost about $500-600.

  • Plain white 6x6" or smaller wall tiles, quantity as necessary for the size of the bathroom
  • Floor tiles, as necessary, to complement the wall tiles.  We used 8x8" white floor tiles.
  • FolkArt Enamels paints, in as many colours as you need.  We basically used half the available colours, and mixed them to the right shades.
  • Wall adhesive
  • Wall grout
  • Floor tile mortar
  • Floor tile grout
  • tile spacers (1/8" for wall tiles, 3/16" for floor tiles)

If you're building a bathroom from scratch, you will also need additional materials like lumber, plywood, drywall, drywall mud, concrete board, plumbing fixtures, wall paint, construction adhesives, screws, etc.

  • craft paint brushes
  • an ordinary kitchen oven
  • a wet tile saw (just go ahead and buy one, they go for as little as $50-60 new, which is less than renting)
  • a tile hole cutter and drill press (optional, depending on the fixtures you use)
  • a notched trowel
  • a few putty knives
  • a tile float
  • sponge and bucket
  • a shop vac for (lots) of cleanup

Again, if you're building a bathroom from scratch, you'll also need various construction tools like saws, drills, screwdrivers, levels, plumbing tools, etc.
<p>Thanks for sharing</p>
<p>look's wonderfull ill love to do thish</p>
<p>I was very much glad to see this lovely bathroom.Floors are a great addition to any space whether kitchen or bathroom.The way you presented this project will make the bathroom look awesome and inviting.Thanks for DIY techniques that you have shared .One day I will definitely try your tips for my future project. </p>
A very cool idea, and excellently done!
<p>Love this! I like how you worked with the water and rainbow connection. It looks therapeutic :D</p>
<p>This is great on so many levels. All I dream for my bathroom is a bathtub on a platform but I didn't know where to begin and I was afraid of screwing things up. I'm still afraid of that but at least, now I've got an awesome tute to screw up things in the right direction ! =D</p>
<p>LOVE LOVE LOVE this! What a cheerful room! I would soak myself into a giant prune!</p>
<p>Thanks for the kind comments, everyone.</p><p>Three years later it's held up fairly well, though it isn't used nearly as much as our main bathroom. I noticed one of the yellow shades is flaking a little, though that may be due to surface prep. It's hard to say. The colours are still as vibrant as ever though.</p>
<p>Simply stunning, especially that first photo. Brilliantly executed and documented, too. Thank you!</p>
<p>LOVE! </p>
<p>This makes me happy! Beautifully done!</p>
<p>My all time favorite !!!</p>
<p>Wonderfully explained, exactly what I need! Thank you and congrats for the amazing result! :-) </p>
<p>I've started my tiles, but no matter how many coats I put on there are always brush strokes. The paint always pulls apart between brush strokes so I can still see white tile underneath</p>
<p>ps, you need to enter this into the Paint It contest!</p>
Hi Jeff-o, absolutely amazing instructable! I've wanted a bathroom like this since I saw it and am now in a position to after buying my first property. I'm starting work on the bathroom soon and am really curious about how they are holding up after 3 years. The bathroom I want to do it in is the main bathroom so the tiles would have to resist the usual amount of wear and tear so don't want to do it if the tiles aren't going to survive. I'm interested in your opinion about this.
I am thinking about doing this in the kitchen and I was wondering how well the painted tiles have held up to all the water and being wiped off.
that is very nice
Help!!...So I decided to do it. I painted the tiles, baked them, installed them. Now I am grouting and the paint is peeling off!!! The only thing I did differently was I did 3 coats but gave drying time a few hours in between...any ideas??
Don't panic! First off, is it a specific colour that is peeling, or all of them? Do you have any spares that you can test? <br> <br>Also, how easily does the paint come off? Does it come off with a single swipe of the grouting sponge, or after some scrubbing?
Thanks. I only have one color (Aqua) that I did on an entire wall. I do have spare. <br> <br>I would say that after I apply the grout and wipe for a second time (not really scrubbing, maybe alittle pressure) the paint may peel. Please not also that not all are peeling but maybe 1 out of 10
Ok so I tried doing this but all my tiles bled color.... So I am getting some <a href="http://www.darycarpet.com/laminate" rel="nofollow">tile in Schaumburg</a> where I live done like this.. What did I do wrong with my tile?
This is so awesome! I love the tiles! I have been looking into <a href="http://www.x-tile.net/site3b/index.php/aboutus" rel="nofollow">tile toronto</a> and how they can help me! would love to have this in my home! Thanks again!
Great Guide! I'll have to get to the <a href="http://www.pphc.ca" rel="nofollow">bathroom stores</a> so I can get started on the project!
Wow, this is gorgeous. I'm definitely going to use the tile painting tips when I renovate the mancave-attached bathroom into a video game theme mosaic ^^ Tetris, Mario, Pacman, here we come!
This is really cool! I want to use <a href="http://centura.ca/residential/floor-tile/" rel="nofollow">ceramic tile</a> in my bathroom. This would be a cool way to do it. A friend of mine in Vancouver did something similar but in a monochromatic palette.
This looks so cool! We've been trying to decide the colors of our <a href="http://centura.ca" rel="nofollow">bathroom tile in Toronto</a> and I really like this rainbow idea :) Thanks for the tutorial! Definitely might be using it!
how are the colors holding up? This is amazing! but I am curious :)
Thanks for the post, and when I first read the headline of the post I didn't really know what I was going to see when it said rainbow. But wow, this is incredible and very colorful and creative and artsy all at the same time and I love it. I think that it's a great <a href="http://www.gdgraniteandmarble.com/bathrooms.html" rel="nofollow">bathroom remodeling</a> project. Now after seeing it I really want to do that to our bathroom and surprise my wife.
Can't believe how many things you include in this instructable! Amazing job and a beautiful bathroom. Bravo!
My kids would fall in love with that bathroom! They have been begging me to create a rainbow themed bathroom for them when we start our renovations next week. The <a href="http://www.x-tile.net" rel="nofollow">tile</a> in your bathroom is exactly what they have been wanting. I'm not sure how I feel about painting all of those tiles by myself, but I'm sure my kids would love to go pick some colors out by themselves. Thanks for the instructable, you two really seem to know what you are doing.
Wow! That is just so cool! Thanks for the post. I really love it! This is a great <a href="http://talonconstruction.net" rel="nofollow">remodeling</a> idea that is unique and different from anything else I have ever seen. It is also so bright and fun and makes it a great place to be and would definitely make it a happier place to be. So thanks for sharing your remodeling work!
Awesome! I wonder how it would look if you carried on with the colors on the floor tiles.
It would look pretty awesome! And initially we had planned to install coloured tiles (from the same line as the white tiles we ended up using), but decided against it. In the end, the floor space just wasn't large enough to justify it. In a larger bathroom however...
Really amazing. One of the very best instructables I have ever seen. Not only for the great job on the bathroom, also for he really complete instructable entry. Full of photos and really well explained step by step. Great job!!
Jeff-o... <br>Great (and long and detailed) ible, as usual... but -- i really wish you'd put in some sheet rock screw here and there... especially in those areas where you only glued them. that concrete board is heavy and the liquid nails might start to sag or 'creep'. but a really good (and whimsical and neat) job!
I did! I just neglected to mention it. :)
Haha Awesome
Please show me tiles sealer in zoom how u put it and how its look like after dry ..
The tile paint is applied with a fine bristle brush. Nearly all the colours are glossy when dry, except the royal blue. On that one, we added a layer of clear glossy tile paint so the tile would look the same as the others.
you applied sealer in corner of tiles i want to see it closely plz show me that ..<br>
Sorry, I didn't get a picture of that step. Use a good quality bathroom sealant. Run a thin bead along the corner, then smooth it out with a moistened finger. There should be tons of videos on YouTube showing you how.
for all yall wonderin bout painting them you can honestly prolly buy colored ones like that. you'll most likely have to special order them off of the net though ;D second, that looks really awesome dude! haha xD my girlfriend wants a bathroom like that now :P
Trust me, I looked! If you can find a site that sells tiles in 30+ colours for about 40 cents each, let me know!
it'd be a long and grueling search xD but im sure someone somewhere does it. ooorrr maybe if you have acess to a kiln you can glaze your own blank non-shiny tiles :D how is that paint holding up btw?
This is amazing, well done, how long did this take?
Actual construction time was a few weeks. But, the whole renovation was dragged out over several months due to various reasons!
Wow, but im still impressed :P
This is a superb idea, thank you for the clues about the paint. We have a project here which we are chickening about; saw some children's pirate tiles in a shop which were &pound;12 each ($25?) and have started to make up the rest of the bathroom in that style, different shades of blue tiles to make up the sea, and next is the sky with a victorian blue and making those paintings of pirates... We found a paint coat that can go over normal paints and then cooked in the conventional oven, but we have both been too scared they bugger up, melt, crack... We have managed to find online some &quot;quiche&quot; tiles which are unglazed, clay tiles, which are lovely to paint on and much better than glazed ones, for 20p each (very cheap).<br>But to see your achievement gives me a bit of courage! Well done!
That sounds great! I wouldn't hurt to do a few sample tiles. Don't paint anything fancy, just use a few colours and experiment with line thickness, paint thickness, glazing, baking, etc. Subject the tiles to hot water, soap, cleaners, etc. See what holds up and what doesn't.

About This Instructable


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Bio: By day, Jeff is the Jack of All Robots at Clearpath Robotics. By night, a mad scientist / hacker / artist / industrial designer wannabe!
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