The truth is, I wasn’t planning on painting my kitchen counter tops. But as I slowly painted my fridge and cabinets, they looked uglier in comparison to the rest of the kitchen. I kept getting asked what I was doing for my kitchen counter tops on social media. I searched on Pinterest, but was stumped. A reader mentioned painting them and I thought “maybe I could paint them to look like marble.”
Honestly, it was a bit of a crazy idea. What if it looked horrible?! What if I hated it worse than the original tile? But I decided to just go with it. I mean, could it really be worse than the brownish tile?!
Spoiler alert- I am so glad that I ended up painting them! Just as an FYI- I think this tutorial will work on laminate and stone countertops.
how to paint kitchen counter tops
- slick stick (primer) 32 oz.
- white fluff chalk paint 32 oz.
- driftwood chalk paint 8 oz.
- spray bottle
- gator hide 16 oz.
step 1- prime
This is one of the MOST important steps. Clean your counter tops and let them dry. Then paint a layer of slick stick. I just used a normal paint brush. Let it dry for 2-3 hours and then paint the second coat. Let it dry overnight. This part is super fast to do the actual painting, but you want to do it the night before you paint the marble look on so you have plenty of time for the primer to cure.
step 2- paint the base white
Use a paint brush to paint the counter tops white. Let dry. Apply 2 coats.
step 3- veining prep
Mix a small container with 1/2 fluff white and 1/2 driftwood. This is the color you’ll do the veining with.
To help make veining easier, pull up an image of marble that you like on Google images. This will help you better visualize how you want the veins to look. As a hint, they run on a diagonal. Some branch off like trees and some are small and short. Veins can look like they are under water- a little like they’re blurry. The image you find will be your guide.
To create the veins, you use a feather. I found mine in my backyard (my son loved helping me search). You can also buy yours on Amazon.
step 4- painting the veining
Dip the tip of the feather into the mixed light grey paint and then draw a diagonal line with the tip of the feather. You’ll want to move it on its side and back and forth as you draw the line. Give it variation so it is realistic looking.
step 5- blotting grey
Next, you’re going to start blotting your rag into the light grey and then putting it on the tile. This is to create the muddy background of marble (which is never pure white).
step 6- water it down
Lightly spray water on top of the veining. The goal is to blur some of the veining and the blotting to create that blurry look. Use the rag to smear the paint and absorb the excess water. Don’t leave too much water on the surface so you avoid raising the white coat of paint.
step 7- add some white
At this point, go back in with a bit of white paint anywhere you’d like to soften things up. I used a small craft paint brush for this. Use the water bottle and the rag to spread out the white- make it thick in some areas and thin in others.
step 8- accent with dark grey
Go in with the driftwood grey to lightly accent the veins. Remember that the more varied the veins, the more realistic it’ll look. At that point, you’re done with the veins! Let dry.
step 9- finish coat
Make sure to continue the veining down and around the edge of your counter tops.
To finish the paint job off, I painted it with gator hide that’ll help it repeal water (since it is a counter top). I’ve heard of some people using wax since it’ll give a finish that is more similar to actual marble.
counter top painting faq
is it going to scratch off? is it long lasting?
I’ve used a knife on it and tried to scratch it off- it is on there pretty good! I think it’ll last a long time! As always, I’ll keep you posted.
how long did it take you?
The first 1/2 of the veining took me at least an hour. But by the time I was warmed up, I was able to do the second half in 30 minutes. I still have the rest of the kitchen to do, but since this is more creative project, its pretty fun to do!
how will you clean/maintain it?
I’ve just been using a rag and all-purpose cleaner on it and it cleans up nicely. I’m not sure if it’ll need more maintenance than that. Again, I’ll keep you posted.
what is the texture like? Is it smooth?
It is smooth- that’s the beauty of chalk paint (it self levels). If you get areas that aren’t smooth, sand them flat. You want it as flat as possible so it looks like marble and so that it is easy to clean.
can you do this if you aren’t artistic?
I think so! Especially if you “copy” a picture of marble. You could also go to Home Depot and buy a tile or two of marble tile to have on hand to make it even easier.
how much did this project cost?
I bought $103 worth of supplies to paint all of my counter tops (I already had the spray bottle, paint brush, and found the feather). My kitchen is big and you might even be able to get by with less supplies than I did if you have a smaller space. DIY can add up quickly, but I think this is a VERY affordable project to get a totally new look for your counter tops.
check out this post on how I installed the peel and stick back splash!
I’m super thrilled with how my counter tops turned out! Yes, its not real marble and yes, I am still saving up for “real” counter tops in a renovation down the line. But for now, this is much, much better! How exciting is it that you can take something you hate and in a few hours and with a little paint, get a whole new look?!
Update- if you’re wondering how these countertops are wearing/any regrets, check out this post.
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