Posted on by Erin | Earnest Home

painted faux marble countertops

Guys….. I almost named this post, “the best DIY I’ve done to-date ever”, but then I came back to my senses and named it something that google could easily find should anyone else in the world want to do this project. And I hope everyone does, because it’s amazing. So amazing, in fact, that the $30 faux marble countertops fooled my (very style discerning) Mother-in-law, who said, “I didn’t know you guys were buying marble for the kitchen!”.  That, my friends, is a win.

But let’s back up to just two days ago when I was *this close* to throwing the whole project into the trash and forgetting about it completely. 

I had seen several online tutorials for faux marble.  Some of them looked good, most of them looked like a faux finish paint effect from the 80’s (sorry, it’s just true).  Then, I stumbled upon this YouTube video from Gorgeous Shiny Things and I loved her painting technique, but didn’t love the finish.  So, after a little more searching, I found this post by Batchelors Way and she used a finish that I loved.

So, I put two and two together and created this gem.

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Seriously?  How realistic does that look?  AND it looks even better in person.

But, let’s start at the beginning… If you recall, the original kitchen plan didn’t have any marble (faux or otherwise) on the docket, but then I realized that the butcher block counters and the butcher block island might not only be a lot of butcher block, but it might not match at all.  And, I felt like all the black cabinetry and wood might start getting really really dark.  I needed something light and white and marble would be perfect, but marble would also be about $800.  That’s $800 I’d rather spend on my upcoming vacation. I have priorities, clearly.

I was really afraid, however, to paint the butcher block directly, so I bough a piece of MDF that I’d top onto the island.  Then I gathered some white paint I had left over from my office renovation and some gray paint that I had leftover from my bedroom.

First, I applied two full coats of white paint to the MDF.  Then I mixed three different levels of gray paint (by adding more or less white) and got out a sea sponge and a feather. When I started with the shading and veining of the marble I was so nervous.  It looked ‘ok’ but not awesome.  It just looked like paint, not marble.  I realized that the marble pattern was a little too small and intricate, so I painted back over the entire thing with white and started over again.  I actually think that covering the first draft in white helped give it more depth, which make it look a lot more realistic.

The second time around, I watched Danika’s video and followed it to the ‘t’.  I went and got a big soft dry paint brush from the basement, got another mid-sized paintbrush for the larger veins, and kept the feather for the small veins.  I would paint an area, then sponge over it with watered down white.  Then paint again, then sponge over it again.  The entire process went like this:

  • Paint with brush
  • sponge with damp sponge
  • brush with dry brush
  • sponge over with white
  • repeat a gazillion times (ok, maybe 40 times)

then,

  • Paint with feather
  • sponge with damp sponge
  • brush with dry brush
  • sponge over with white
  • repeat about 10 times.

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So, I realized there is a huge gap in photos here.  It’s mostly because I had no clue what I was doing and was unsure if I should photograph anything for fear it was all wrong and would end up in the trash.  Really between the above and below photos, I just watched Danika’s video about 3 times.  Still, after all that painting, I was unsure about it.  But, I knew that I could potentially sit there all day debating the accuracy of my marbling and I needed to just get on with it, so I took my painted board outside and poured on the glaze.  I used Super Glaze from The Home Depot.  I mixed according to package directions and then spread it all out. The spreading was actually pretty fun. I made sure to spread over the edges and get them covered as well.

Now comes the disastrous part. I had to do this outside, because I was worried about getting any glaze on my floors. We don’t have a garage, so outside it was.  WELL, it seems that every bug and their mother wanted to be a part of my project and flew RIGHT INTO THE GLAZE. I spent about an hour with a wooden skewer picking bugs out of the glaze.  Since it was very wet, I couldn’t take it inside, either.  So, I just set up a stool outside and sat there for 2ish hours picking out any bug that flew into my glaze. Then, once it was dry enough to carry, we carefully carried it inside.

Had I to do this over again, I would have just bought some plastic drop cloths and done it inside. You live, you learn, right?

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So, even before the glaze I had some concerns about the marbling patterns, but as soon as that glaze went on, I knew it was going to be awesome.  The thick clear coat kind of fills in any paint or brush textures, making the whole thing look crazy smooth and realistic. I even followed Ronda’s advice and used some very fine white glitter on top of the paint (under the glaze) to emulate mineral deposits. It worked phenomenally.

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before and halfway kitchen

I really can’t even describe how amazing it looks in person.  It looks so much more expensive than just a $30 project. I wish you could all come over and have a look!

I think it’s made a wonderful addition to our kitchen changes, and I can’t wait to complete the rest of the stuff on our renovation list:

 

Finish cabinet build-out (waiting on cabinet doors…)

Replace hardware (it should arrive at the end of the month!)

Hang open shelving

Buy Rug

 

We’ll see you back here tomorrow for a super fun DIY that you can use from Thanksgiving through Christmas!