The $50 Stone Shower DIY {your pick}

stone shower diy

Who wouldn’t love a customized shower?  Stone and tile showers are amazingly beautiful, but having one custom made can come with a pretty hefty price tag.  Did you know that it can actually be pretty simple to create a custom shower look on your own?  Today’s “your pick” sent in from Mark, shows us just how inexpensive and simple it can be to create your own custom pebble stone shower.  Mark and his wife used pebble stones (purchased at the Dollar Store for a total of $53!) to transform a basic white shower stall into a custom stone oasis!  Here’s how they did it…

The Pebble Stone Shower DIY

Gather Up:

Pebble Stones (Mark purchased 53 2 lb. bags from the Dollar Store)

Tile adhesive



Lots and lots of patience…

step 1 p

Mark and his wife started out with these pebble stones from the Dollar Store

step 2 p

Use tile adhesive to carefully glue down each stone to the shower wall.  This process requires a lots of patience.  Mark explained that his wife would come home from work and do a 2″ x 36″ section each night!  Once the stones are glued down and dry, apply a layer of grout on top.  Skim off excess grout and apply additional layers as needed.  Finally, apply a stone sealer to help keep out moisture.

Mark and his wife cut tiles to size and used them for the shower inserts.  You would apply these the same way you applied the pebble stones.

Mark’s pebble stone shower DIY came out amazing!  At a cost of only $53 and A LOT of patience, I’d say this transformation was well worth it!

Share your thoughts and rate Mark’s transformation below!



80 responses to “The $50 Stone Shower DIY {your pick}

  1. I do not think you could do this over a plastic insert – you would have to remove it first and start on tile or prepared drywall or wood. Secondly, this is actually a neat idea and inexpensive, but it would cost most people more than $53 dollars because the tile adhesive ($25/gal), grout ($9/quart) and sealer ($20+/quart) will add significantly more (depending on size of shower and quality of products used). However, it looks nice and would cost ALOT less than a custom-installed job. Thanks for the post!

    1. I agree as a contractors wife that is more expensive then stated. It is a great idea and cheap to some extent but they should be more honest about it.

    1. The smooth surface of most fiberglass shower walls would not be suitable for the stones to adhere to; they will eventually fall off. A proper tile backer should ALWAYS be used – you could use the moisture rated sheetrock but I think a product such as HardiBacker will provide a more stable foundation and will be more waterproof.

  2. I have beige ceramic tile in my shower and would LOVE such a makeover, however I’m afraid I lack the patience to complete such a project. It’s beautiful.

    1. Yes, it will be incredibly hard to keep clean. Also where the water from the showerhead hits the wall in a direct stream the grout will eventually wear away and the stones will probably fall off. This application is much more suited to a kitchen backsplash.

      1. On the pebble shower, I sprayed them with laquer, and I don’t have a regular shower head. I have a spay rain grid that attaches from the ceiling. So, water isn’t running on the stones. I just love it!

    2. I had that same thought. It’s beautiful, but with my hubby and son both in construction our regular shower can be a b#@ch to keep clean. Cleaning this would be a nightmare.

  3. It does seem like buying the stones at the dollar store in 2 lb packages is probably a bad way to attempt a cheap DIY project… i checked and similar stones in 40 lb bags at my local home improvement store sell for about 35-40 cents per pound of stone, not $1 per pound! i think i could go even cheaper at the stone yard, but they’re already closed at this time on Saturday, so i couldn’t call to check.

    Also, for those who want the DIY experience without the glue-each-pebble-individually experience, you can get pebble tile at your home improvement store, too, check it out. 🙂

    1. Two things:

      First, in the post they said that they purchased 2 lb bags of stone from the dollar store, which would make it $0.50/lb, not $1/lb.

      As for the pebble tile sheets, they are very helpful but they break the bank compared to loose stone. Not exactly a budget project if you go that route…

    2. Yeah, and I just figured that the stone pebbles from Lowe’s would cost about $53 for a 36 x 60″ shower (big). Plus they’re in 12 x 12″ sheets, so easy and quick to lay . . .

      1. The pebble times 12 by 12 inch at lowes Box of 10 is 100 dollars on up you need apx 10 boxes so that is a grand! When it is true you can do with apx 50 to 75 bags of dollar tree rocks…. So say even if you need 100 bags…thats 1000 vs 100! I too have done this and its Beautiful! Only I put mine up with thinset and sealed it with a polyureyhane epoxy! 28 bucks a gallon…18 dollars.for thin ser, 67 on rocks 28 dollars epoxy…I did not grout used white thinset I call this brillant!

        1. Hi Bonnie, how big is your shower and did you do the floor. It sounds beautiful. How long did it take to do this? My shower floor is 40″x 65″. I just want to do the floor.

          1. Did you do one stone at a time. I guess if you did the floor of the shower you could dump the bag of river rocks into the thinset and use the grout float to press the rocks into the thinset. what do you think

        2. Love this Bonnie did you lay in place of existing tile or did you prepare the walls as if you were just doing tile?

  4. We just got done doing really stone on the front of our home. We did it all ourselves. It is a HUGE undertaking to do real stone and put it up piece by piece. This project looks great, but you would need A LOT of patience to see it all the way through.

  5. I was surprised to see your post here, as I just completed a simular project on our newly remodeled bathroom wall using polished river rocks from the dollar store, as well. Because I’ve actually done this myself… I have several things to say regarding your post. 1st: I can tell right now by the size of your shower that you have well over 53 bags of rock invested. I used almost 60 bags just to complete my 3×7 wall (21 sq ft)and my stones were much, much larger. 2nd: I would NEVER suggest that someone use any type of glue or adhesive to apply them to the wall. I used Mastic (but would also suggest Thinset)as these are both used for tile applications and hold up much better once you get the wall wet (after grouting). I applied this to the wall the same as if I was using tile (with a trowel), but sometimes had to “butter” a few stones to get them to stick. 3rd: Because the stones are larger and not flat, it’s way more difficult to apply the grout using a rubber float, as you suggested. I purchased a large grout bag (looks like a huge pastry bag) and went around each stone, pushing the grout in and around each and every one. I waited for it to dry a bit, and then went over them with a wet sponge (this is where your drywall becomes extremely wet and your stones would literally fall off if you glued them on instead of using the proper adhesive). The wet sponge also allows for more definition around the stones and really makes them POP. I then applied 2 coats of a “wet look” sealant, once completed. My project took me a full 3 days (with my husband’s help, of course). I’m inexperienced and have never done a project like this before – but I knew to ask A LOT of people A LOT of questions. I’d suggest anybody else who’s willing to take the time and effort to try this project, to certainly do the same. For instance, you can’t put tile over a pre-existing plastic surround so you won’t be able to do stone either.
    Your shower looks great… I just think it’s a little (or A LOT) misleading to other rookies out there.

    1. Marci,

      Thanks for your advise. This shower project was submitted to us by a Picklee reader (not something I’ve done myself), so we post their information and instructions. Your details will certainly come in handy for those looking to take this on themselves.

      1. Well its not that hard I did mine using a white thinset no grout sealed with polyurethane epoxy tub/shower 90 sq ft total cost 160 ish

      1. At about 8 different Dollar Stores because I kept buying them out! Realistically, it probably took more like 70 bags because not all of the stones were pretty enough or big enogugh to make the cut. I threw out quite a bit. As others have mentioned, you could get unpolished/outdoor stones a lot cheaper at a landscaping company… but I don’t think the end look would be the same. Just a guess.

    2. I’m thinking the same- this is a beautiful design and I love the idea so much that I am in the process of getting all needed materials… Yes, I am going to rip .y tub out and design a stone walkin shower- however I am using Mexican beach pebbles instead, also I will be using different materials altogether. I don’t think glue would out stand the test of water and time… Plus I really don’t like the idea of having to stand, glue, and hold each pebble in place for it to adhere. There’s a better way verses that. I will be using mortar, grout, and a water sealer.

      Beautiful idea. However I would like to see pictures of it now…

  6. We’re in the process of tiling our shower stall. I just wanted to point out that all 90 degree angles need to have silicone on the edges/corners. Looks like a great shower and I hope they get to enjoy it a long time with no problems.

    1. A sand caulk for all the 90 degree angles is sufficient. Silicone will be a nightmare to try and clean out and replace when it gets dirty. Home Depot & Lowe’s both carry color sanded caulk that will match your grout.

      1. I would be very cautious using the sanded caulk. We used it from HD and within 3-6 months it peeled away. The area that got wet peeled first then the areas that got very little water peeled last.

    1. I read the post also and thought it was funny that the painstaking part of “Mark’s project”, that required the tedious work of applying the stones and likely took quite a bit of time, was done by his wife at night! LOL!

  7. I hope you had more than one shower….or good friends who let you use their’s while you redid your bathroom….I sure do think it is pretty but I have the one and only bathroom and it has a fiberglass insert so just going to get it refinished professionally soon. Good job though.

  8. A point on the shower niche — Make sure that you angle the bottom piece of tile so that water will run out and not pool at the back of the niche & seep through the grout. Use a sanded caulk on ALL 90 degree angles.

  9. I just came across this “cheap” project.

    Sounds intriguing.

    However, I’m concerned that no one mentioned the need for waterproof backing, which would exist between your shower and the beams.

    I’ve seen enough episodes of “Holmes on Homes” to know that when re-doing a shower with any sort of tile/granite/stone, one needs some sort of waterproof backing because you don’t want water possibly seeping through into your house and causing the beams to rot.

    Overall, it seems like a fun project, but you should consider the extra costs of having to buy lacquer, adhesive, waterproof backing, etc.

    While I’m sure that it is much cheaper than hiring a professional, you don’t want to call Mike Holmes to come and gut your bathroom because of something you overlooked.

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  11. I did this on my shower floor. A friend did it and paid $18 a square foot for her pebbles from a flooring place. Mine came from the dollar store. Feels like a foot massage every time you take a shower.

  12. Very cool idea, definitely bookmarking this bad boy. I’ve been longing to get a stone shower at some point to redo my condo bathroom and while I think some of the points are very valid using the Dollar store for the pebbles even if its just for the floor would be money saving!

  13. This is sooooo cooooool.!!!!! I want to this to our shower:)
    Currently we have white tiles…… Do I need to take down the white tiles before I start? What was underneath your stones when u started?
    Thanks…… Ariane

  14. So excited to try this (using mostly “Marci’s” suggestions; however, not willing to completely demo my existing marble shower and tub surrounds, so will instead put up waterproof backer board over the sheet-rocked section (above the tub and shower to the ceiling, and around the existing window), and make a stone wall as an accent wall. should be very spa-like 🙂

  15. I have done a lot of mosaic in showers and I decided save some money and have custom colors and textures for a job I did for my parents bathroom and found it was a lot easier to sit and assemble them and glue on mesh fabric at home and then install when I was ready to do it. Basically made my own High End 12×12 interlocking mesh backed ready to go sheets like you can buy anywhere for a lot of money. I used leftover tiles from other jobs, ripped them to 3/4″ (which by the way takes a lot of patience and time) then arranged them how I wanted them and glued to the mesh. Super cheap, extremely time consuming and hey at least I didn’t contribute to child labor in foreign countries either.

    1. What do u suggest using for the mesh backing? This sounds much better than crouching on the floor for hours 🙂

    2. I was advised not to use the weldbond/mesh method in a wet environment because it would create a barrier between the thinset bed and grout. Have you had any problems with loose stones?

    3. What kind of glue and nesh brand name ? I’d like to do this and your shirt cut sounds perfect fir a working out side of home person

  16. This a really cute idea. Although I would make some cheap 12 x 12 molds (because of weight), cover with wax paper and cut something like plastic window screen or any cheap material, place on mold and glue the stones on it (I think it would be better to use a porous material). Then you can place on wall just like the store bought tiles.

  17. This will work well with existing plastic or fiber glass just use sandpaper to rough up surface then wipe down with rubbing achohol before you start the gluing process

  18. I agree the pre made stone mosaic is very costly! And purchasing the stone at the dollar store is how I did my bathroom vanity! By the way to get a vanity TOP that is equal in quality strength and appearance would run well over 700 dollars here in Tampa, FL I have custom made mine solid 1 3/4 inch real wood too pebble rock top (from dollar store )vanity was an antique buffet thing got at a mission store for 25 bucks! The rocks I bought 11 bags to cover it. I covered the top section at a time with thinset and placed each pebble for the grout I used a layer of more thinset for I liked the color. I then got glaze and seal one part epoxy and painted on several coats to seal and waterproof . Beautiful vanity now at 60 bucks then the cost… glass vessel sink and nickel brushed faucet added to my cost another 180! So the grand total is under cks! You couldn’t buy a new compared complete vanity for less than 1300i have gotten several compliments on this vanity just love it and if I didn’t I would make myself over the huge savings! Doing stone shower now but I painted on redgard a waterproofing membrane on concrete backer board. 2 coats! And will seal with the same glaze,and seal the redgard is the expense but gives me peace! Using thinset to set the stones I think you could go right over the plastic/fiberglass shower or existing tile as long as there is no mold and water damage. And then sealing with this glaze and seal (home depot) 2dollars a gallon the stones should not fall off! I see no negative implications only serious savings! And for the contractors you too are welcome for the money saving idea (yes for my two showers I will be buying Mexican beach pebble rock at a local landscape yard for under 75 dollars a cubic yard can’t get tile for the one shower! Will have two complete bathrooms gutted down to foundation completed for under $550! Wahoo! Girl power! I’m a 49 year old lady! You can do this!

  19. Why not buy the drywall or whatever and first apply the adhesive and stones while it lays on a work bench? Leaving spots to screw on drywall to the wall? Would it be too heavy?

    1. It’s way too heavy and flexes, which will pop off all the stone!! Depending on the application- it should be applied to wonder board not drywall.

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  24. It’s cheaper and has more of a personal touch than regular tile or a fiberglass shower, but it doesn’t cost $50. Tile adhesive is at least another $30, grout another $30 and sealer another $25

  25. Just bought a home. the shower stall floor is NASTY, but replacement is not in the budget right now. I’d like to do this technique on the floor of my shower. I’ve seen many tutorials, but noone addresses the issue of the drain. I’d be curious of others advice on that. Thanks!

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  27. I love this idea, however I’m not sure how I should go about getting it done. My shower /tub is that ugly stained whiteish yellowish color plastic insert with nothing that I know of behind it. Is there a way to do this on top of the insert or would it absolutely have to be taken out and Sheetrock put up?

    1. I am wanting to do my sink bason this way. Was wondering if anyone could tell me what type of surface I would need to use? Also when using polished stones do you need to rough up the surface that will be applied to the adhesive?

    2. You can glue the rocks on the plastic. I used liquid nails to do so. Very tedious, but it worked. I used sanded grout and then sealed the rocks/grout. I lived in that house 10 years and never had a stone pop off.

  28. if I wanted to do this as an overlay inside a cast iron tub that’s looking really shot, would I follow the same steps that one would if grouting them to a wall? Thanks. Donna

  29. I just want to thank the person that made the original post , your shower is beautiful. Having said that some of the other comments really pissed me off. There are many ways to skin a cat. Ever heard that saying? To the woman who knows everything… Marci… You don’t put mastic in an area that will be as wet as a shower. You have a bit to learn before you try to tell someone else that their post was miss leading. Honestly, why don’t you just keep your comments to yourself. I’m about to tile/ dollar TREE beach pebble my bathroom in different areas. I’ll keep you guys posted if I learn anything new.

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