wall-panel-081-2In mid-century America, people were frugal — and inventive. Ceramic wall tile — while fundamentally affordable — still may have been out of the reach of many Americans. So to bridge the gap, manufacturers came up with wall panels and even plastic wall tile to meet the needs of the DIY and super budget conscious segment of the market. Even so… paint is cheap… so their designs could be pretty spiffy. Today’s case in point: This set of Wallace Glitter Pre-Finished Wall Panel samples that I recently picked up. Glitter wallboard faux tile!

glitter wall panels

Wallace Manufacturing Company was located at 10th & Fayette in North Kansas City, Missouri.

The little samples in my kit are all 4″ x 4″ in size. They are scored, just as the wall board would have been. The wall board itself looks to be super sturdy, and the glossy paint finish looks very high quality and durable. The “glitter” on the glitter tiles looks to be painted — not real pieces of metal glitter, like we see on old glitter laminate. The grout on these glitter pieces also is painted. Overall — very nice!

Note: If you have stuff like this be aware that old materials may contain hazards – get with properly licensed pros to assess what you are dealing with so that you can make informed decisions! 

  1. Steve Wildman says:

    I had the chance to see the house I grew up in when the couple that bought it both passed away and their kids had a garage sale of the couple’s property. They had the tables set up inside so people could look at the house as it was also for sale.
    The house was built by my father in 1957 and we moved away in 1970 when I was 10…boy did it shrink! I am sure it wasn’t to code, but it was home and I still consider it home. Everything looked the same except for the kitchen which they unfortunately remodeled. They still had the original bathroom and a passage way between the kitchen and family room so mom could watch TV while in the kitchen.
    Due to my work requiring me to live in the county I worked in, I couldn’t purchase it, but would have if it would have been remotely possible.

  2. Dennis says:

    I have wanted to do this on my grandparents house, which is on Main Street in Piedmont, MO. Someone was stupid enough after their deaths to allow the front yard to be taken out, with its beautiful mature tree, take out the front steps leading to the 2nd story, and the porch underneath, and place an AM/PM type gas station flush against the house! An empty gas station sits across the street —- yet the house is still there!
    I remember push button switches, the transoms above the doors, skeleton key locks, etc – I would love to see if the house is still largely intact, or it is have been changed drastically – and if I or my sister won tons of money – knock the gas station back out, put the yard back, and the stairs, plant a good tree —

  3. Joe Felice says:

    I think panels like these are still made & sold, aren’t they? But the ones I’ve seen are not in colors or with patters–just white or bone. As per last week’s discussion, I still wouldn’t use them as a tub surround.

  4. Janet Salisbury says:

    I have recently moved back to my childhood home. Previous renters somehow knocked down and bent the rollers on the panel doors on the closets in the master bedroom. These are the original doors, house built in 1968. I have looked everywhere for these rollers, anyone out there have any ideas where I might find any?

  5. Mary Elizabeth says:

    Janet, are the rollers part of a track system? If so, you should look in the big box stores or any large hardware store for “sliding door track system parts.” If the tracks themselves are bent, you need to replace the whole thing.

    We had to do this when one of our pre-teen children had a tantrum and threw something heavy at the closet door in his bedroom.

    Hope this helps.

  6. Pen says:

    I am about to buy a home built in 1929 but it looks like the bathroom was renovated in the 50s or 60s. The shower/tub area is tile but the bathroom walls are tile board. The tile boards aren’t that bad but there are holes here and there and some wear and tear that has worn off the color.

    Does anyone know about doing touch-up with paint and what sort of paint would you use?

  7. Mary Elizabeth says:

    I have painted tile board with great success, but it was a complete coat, not touch-up. It’s no harder than painting walls. First, fill in any holes with spackle, dry and sand. Wipe down with a damp cloth to remove surface dirt. Apply a latex primer (ask for recommendations in the paint store if you are painting over a dark color) that is mildew resistant. I like Benjamin Moore, but you should stick with a paint that you have liked to work with on other projects. Choose a color that is close to your bath tile or provides a good contrast. A high gloss latex enamel works best f you want a tile look; a soft pearl or matte finish is best if you want it to look like a textured wall.

    Special effects: If the original had a gold or other color splatter, you can use Rose’s (see her recent story on this site) toothbrush splatter method, but be sure to cover all other surfaces before splattering. Follow this with a polyurethane sealant for extra protection (not necessary if you don’t use the spatter over the coats of wall paint). You can use one of the oil paint pens to redraw the faux grout, if you like. (I didn’t.)

    I think you’ll like the new, clean, fresh look the painted tile board gives you.

  8. Pen says:

    Thanks! I’m not really up for painting all of it, just touching up. But I am glad to know that you can paint it. I think I’m going to find a close match to the aqua, get a quart mixed, and fill in holes and cover the dark spots. Then I can use the extra paint to do a hand painted border around the top of the painted walls which are going to be white.

  9. Mary Elizabeth says:

    Sounds good. Be sure not to skip the step of wiping off the surface dirt. Post photos when you are done.

  10. Susan Rolfsmeier says:

    The panel connectors on my speckled Formica wall were of a plastic sort and now look worn and yellowed. The gold glitter on white panels are still in great shape though and I wondered if they still make connectors for these panels, or if there is anything else I can do to restore it. I tried to search for “formica panel connectors”, but my search terms don’t work.

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