Have you ever wanted the look of an amazing marble kitchen countertop but didn’t have the budget or stomach for yet another construction project? I found a simple solution–faux paint them! For very little cost, I found painting my kitchen countertops gave me the feel of marble but with a country charm.
Obviously, this is not for everyone. If you are looking for something that is exactly like marble, this is not a perfect substitute. However, I love the artistic/handpainted quality of these countertops as it blends naturally into my country style decor. With a house full of antiques and a passion for old homes, I’ve learned to love objects even more for their little quirks and tiny imperfections. Plus, I’ve always been a bit of a conservationist and the thought of ripping out perfectly good countertops because of their color just felt destructive. For those of you who know me, nothing brightens my day as much as a fresh coat of paint. It can instantly brighten a room and can cost very little if you do it yourself.
For this project, I used the Giani Marble Countertop Paint Kit with a few modifications. The great thing about this kit, is that it comes with almost everything you need, including brushes, paint, a sponge for faux painting, amazing how-to videos, and even a plastic dropcloth. The only thing I purchased outside of the kit was sandpaper and paint thinner for prepping countertops, painter tape for painting, and Minwax Polycrylic as my substitute for the topcoat. I also used plastic bags for the marbling effect and tons of paper towel.
Giani claims that their product works on almost all countertops and it worked well on mine. I have granite countertops. These were tricky to work with, but with effort, the paint did adhere. It is VERY important to be working with a clean surface (think no grease). I may have gone overboard, but I washed mine with soap and water, then scrubbed with paint thinner, and then roughened them up with an SOS pad followed by sanding. Again, this is very likely overkill but I’m just the cautious sort.
The Giani Kit provided the basecoat which also acts as the white background for your new countertop. The first coat was tricky and definitely very streaky on my dark, shiny, granite but with three coats and a little patience, I got the bright white I was trying to achieve. I used the roller brush provided in the kit as well as the foam brush for edging.
Now you are set for the creative part. Have fun with this! It’s paint. Anything you don’t like, you can paint over. Also, I practiced on an old floor tile I had in my basement until I got the hang of it.
First, decide the look you are going for. Some marbles have lots of veining, others very little. Giani has amazing how-to videos. Watch them. There is also a great one on GMA. The basic technique involves drawing a line of gray paint with a fine paintbrush, spritzing with water (water spritzing bottle provided in kit), and then dabbing at it with a large, dry brush so that it feathers and spreads out. Much of the marbling they show are very fine lines. I like the look of heavy veining and markings so I got a little more creative with mine. For the larger markings on mine, I dabbed on big splotches of gray paint with the sponge and then blotted it with a crinkled up plastic grocery bag to lift some of the paint and get the irregular markings. I then dipped the sponge into the white accent paint provided and sponged that on top to give it depth and more of a marble effect.
Here’s where I chickened out. The Giani kit comes with an Epoxy to use as a topcoat. From my research online, this looked difficult. You have to mix two chemical agents together and then pour it within a certain period of time. As you can imagine, when you pour it, it is self-leveling so much of it drips off the countertop so you have to make sure that you cover everything very carefully with plastic to catch it. You then have to remove all of your painter’s tape in a certain time frame too. There isn’t much room for error. From the reviews I saw, a lot of people were very successful for this, but I just didn’t want to risk it. I’ve never been one for timed activities.
Instead I bought Minwax Polycrylic for my topcoat. If you use a Polycrylic versus polyurethane, there is less yellowing and I didn’t have any problems with mine. The best thing about Polycrylic is it goes on just like paint and it is water-based so you can clean up like normal. Polycrylic also comes in multiple finishes. I chose Matte for mine as I like the honed look of marble. For a glossier look, you could choose satin, semi-gloss, or glossy.
This finish will help the countertops hold up to the water that splashes on to them so I put on seven coats, sanding in between each one. Every year, I plan to give it another sanding and add one or two more coats of polycrylic to help it hold up. I used one of the synthetic paintbrushes provided in the kit to apply it.
My new countertops have brought me such joy. The kitchen looks brighter and cleaner and I love that it is handpainted–perfect for a country kitchen. So far, the countertops have held up to the water and food that gets on them daily, although I am quick to mop up any messes and always use a trivet for hot foods. Plus it was fun!
Check out our Beginner’s Guide to Country Living for more tips on bringing a country lifestyle into your home.