Paint Marble Effect: A How to Guide to DIY Faux Marble Painting
My search to buy a new marble top dining table came to a screeching halt once I saw the price tag of $1,500+. That was not in the budget, so a DIY paint marble effect project was born!
I was familiar with this project since I learned how to paint a faux marble look using our old kitchen island laminate countertops.
This time around, I had lessons learned from that project and was ready to try this look again for our dining room table top.
I wanted an oval table design that would fit up to six people. Cully cut the table top out of a ¾” thick 4×8 plywood sheet.
The base of the table was made from a repurposed table base I scored for free many years ago. I fell in love with the shape of the base and knew that one day I would put it to good use. So glad my hoarding tendencies paid off this time.
How to Imitate Marble with Paint
While this project is about how to marbleize paint on a wood surface, the steps are versatile and this same process could be used to paint a faux marble look on your walls, tile floor, countertops and more.
Imitating the look of marble using paint is easier than you might think. With a few easy to find products, you can have a stunning marble look in less than half a day.
A few key project tips to remember are:
- Use a chalky finish paint
- Allow the base coat to dry all the way before painting the marble veins
- Keep the painted marble veins damp, until you are satisfied with the look
- Protect the finish with a clear top coat
Faux Marble Painting Supplies List
- Chalky Finish Paint – I used Crisp Cotton for the base and Cast Iron, Denver Slate and Galvanized for the marble veins
- Protective Finish
- Paint Brush
- Feather – you really only need one or two feathers. We just found one on the ground from one of our chickens 🙂
- Sea Sponge
- Spray Bottle
- Paper Towels
- Photo of Desired Marble Design for Reference
DIY Faux Marble Painting Instructions
Step 1: Paint the White Base
First step is simple and straightforward. All you have to do is paint the white base.
Just make sure you paint until you have full coverage. You may need two or three coats, depending on what color the current surface is and what kind of paint you use.
Allow the paint to dry completely before moving on to the next step.
Step 2: Mix the Faux Marble Vein Paint with Water
You want the faux marble vein paint to be watered down so it will spread and be easier to work with. I went with about a 50% paint/50% water ratio and it worked well.
Keep in mind that you may need to adjust the ratio for your project. Too little water and the veins may be difficult to spread around. Too much water and the color may not show well.
Step 3: Draw the Faux Marble Veins
This is where your marble picture will come in handy. Grab the picture and a feather and let’s paint/draw the marble veins!
I started with the darkest color first (Cast Iron). Dip the feather in the paint/water mixture and glide it down the surface. Make the line somewhat wavy and twist and turn the feather along the way.
Watch the video below for a quick demonstration of this step:
Step 4: Feather Out the Marble Vein Using a Paint Brush
You will want to work quickly to make sure the line of paint does not dry.
Using your paint brush, spread out the marble vein the opposite direction it was drawn. Use short, quick strokes back and forth.
TIP: If you find the line is not spreading out with a paint brush, it may have already dried. Give it a mist of water and try spreading it out again.
Step 5: Dab the Line Using a Sea Sponge
By this point your paint will probably be dry enough that you will need to mist it with water to make this step work.
Using the sea sponge, dab all along and around your faux marble vein line. This is where the faux painted marble look really starts to come to life.
Step 6: Blend the Outer Edges Using a Paper Towel
This last step may be optional. If you see a lot of “fog” on the outside edges of your line and it looks unnatural, simply give the area a light mist of water and use a paper towel to blend the colored fog into the surface.
Step 7: Repeat for the Remaining Faux Painted Veins
Continue to use the marble design photo as your guide and repeat the steps above with the other colors.
Since I went with a more simple marble look, here is how my final faux marble design came together:
Step 8: Protect the Faux Marble Design Finish
Chalky finish paints dry to a matte finish. Because of this, to make sure your newly painted design lasts, you must protect it.
Most clear water-based top coats are easy to apply and will work great for this project. I used a total of three coats of Protective Finish to create the most durable finish.
You can simply brush it on or use a roller for a smoother finish.
Protective Finish dries to a satin sheen that will give just a touch of shine. If you want a shinier look you will want to use a top coat brand that comes in semi-gloss or gloss.
DIY Marble Paint Effect Conclusion
Here it is! An after shot of my painted marble effect tabletop. I absolutely love how it turned out.
Overall, this project was fairly easy. It may look complex but the more you forget about perfection and just roll with what comes out, the more you will love it!
If you are hesitant to jump into this project with a bigger piece of furniture, try it out first on a scrap piece of wood. Once you get the hang of it, then move on to your furniture, wall, etc…
I can’t stress enough how important having a visual is to the success of your final design. So be sure to take the extra five minutes to find a marble design you like and refer to it often as you are painting.
Use a more simple design (like mine) your first try if you’re feeling a bit nervous.
Oh, and for those wondering, this table did not cost $1,500+….it came in under $110!! Now that makes all the work worth it.
DIY PAINT MARBLE EFFECT FAQ:
When I posted this project on my Instagram stories, several questions came in about the process and where else this process could be used.
For quick reference, here are the most common questions I received about this project. If you have any other questions, feel free to drop them in the comments section below!
What Kind of Paint do you use for Marbling?
The best paint to use for the painted base and the marble veining is a chalky finish paint. Reason being is it is easier to work with when it comes to spread the veins around.
Since chalky finish paints produce a matte finish, it tends to like to “blend” into other matte finishes. That is exactly what is needed to produce the faux marble vein look.
I say it is the best paint to use for the solid base color because chalky finish paints do not require any stripping or sanding of the original finish beforehand.
The 4×8 plywood sheet we use had a smooth finish with a light shine to it. Because I used chalky finish paint, I did not need to rough up the smooth finish before I started to paint. This saved both time and money.
How to Mix Paint for Paint Marble Effect
The best ratio I’ve found to use when painting the faux marble veins is 50% water/50% chalky finish paint.
Depending on your project, you may need to adjust this ratio.
For example, if you want more bold veins, you may opt to add less water to your solution.
Play around with different ratios to see what mixture you like best.
Can You do a Faux Marble Look on Textured Walls
As I mentioned above, this project is quite versatile and these steps can also be used to paint a faux marble look on a wall.
If you’re going to create a faux marble look on your wall, I recommend starting with a wall that has no texture.
A wall with texture may look unnatural since marble is known as a sleek and smooth material. You can typically remove the texture on a wall, it will just be the first step you want to do for this project.
How to Paint Marble Effect on Countertops
Yes, for those who asked this DIY faux marble painting process can be done on countertops!
In fact, the first time I tried this project, I did it on our kitchen island countertop.
It was the perfect budget friendly solution as we were saving up for phase two of our kitchen renovation (reveal coming to the blog soon!).
The only additional, and optional, step I took was I primed the countertop before I painted it with the chalky finish paint.
Otherwise, I followed all the same steps as outlined above.
Can You Paint Floor Tiles to Look Like Marble?
Yes! You can also use this exact same technique to paint a faux marble finish on floor or wall tiles.
Since the floor is typically the heaviest traffic surface of your home, I recommend priming the tiles (after thoroughly cleaning them, of course) and using 2-3 coats of a semi-gloss finish clear topcoat to protect them.
Semi-gloss top coats are easier to wipe clean than a satin finish. And it is not so glossy that it may make the surface more slick, like a gloss finish could do.
How Many Paint Colors do you Need to Create a DIY Faux Marble Finish
For this project, I used three different paint colors (Cast Iron, Denver Slate and Galvanized). Cast Iron is a black shade and the Denver Slate/Galvanized colors are gray shades.
You may choose only one color, if you wish. Or you could even add a couple more colors, if your design calls for it.
I recommend doing an online search for “marble designs” and find a marble design you like best.
Then, use this picture as inspiration for the color combinations and for the overall look.
What Did You Use to Protect the Faux Marble Finish
I used Protective Finish. It is a clear top coat that is durable enough to use on floors. Since my project was painting a table top, the durability was just what I needed.
Protective Finish comes in satin sheen. This means it will have just a slight shine to it, but I would not define it as a “shiny” finish.
If you are looking for a more subtle sheen, Protective Finish is the answer.
However, if you’re after a truly “shiny” look, go with a clear top-coat that comes in a semi-gloss or gloss finish.
Until next time!
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