Last weekend, I posted on Instagram about how bored I am with our home’s aesthetic and how I am ready for another renovation project. J & I have been discussing installing hardwood floors, painting our cabinets, and installing new counter tops. While all of that is really exciting, I couldn’t help but feel a little sad, because we pulled off a really amazing low budget DIY renovation when we moved into this home in 2017. It wasn’t perfect and it was very low budget, but we put lots of blood, sweat, and tears into it and although it was difficult at the time, I look back on it fondly. So, today, I want to share my favorite project: how I managed to turn our ugly forest green counter tops into pretty white “marble” ones. This was one of the biggest DIY challenges I’ve personally tackled and replacing them will definitely be bittersweet.
how to fake white marble countertops for less than $100
First, I would like to share what we were working with, because the difference between the before and after is STARK, ya’ll. That dark green laminate with dark green painted backsplash just wasn’t going to cut it for me, though. We had such a TINY budget at the time because we were essentially living on one income while I was in grad school, so replacing them wasn’t really an option at the time.
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For my diy marble countertop transformation, I used:
Trust me, you do not want to sand this project by hand.. it’s well worth the investment. One with a corner might be most helpful for this project.
How much you need will depend on how much counter space you have and how dark your current counters are. Mine were dark green and I have a ton of counter space, so I used a little over a gallon. We had a five gallon bucket of it that we used for painting the walls as well.
Grey Acrylic Paints
I got several shades of grey to make the marbling have depth.
These will help you create the stone effect.
Pointed Feathers (You can get these at Hobby Lobby with your 40% off coupon oftentimes!)
These will help you create the marbling effect.
Super Glaze Epoxy
This is what seals the counter top and gives it shine! How much you need of this will depend on how much counter space you are covering. A gallon covers 24.8 sq ft.
Paint rollers, paint brushes, old rags, water/water cup, stir sticks, gloves, masks, painters tape and plastic drop cloth also suggested. We had all of those items on hand because we were in the midst of our home renovation.
How To Paint DIY Faux Marble Counter Tops
Prep the area. We put heavy plastic over the cabinets to ensure that they would not be damaged in the process.
Sand counter tops down. You want to get all the shiny finish off so that your paint has something to stick to.
Roll on Kilz Primer. I ended up doing around 6 coats of it. Let each new coat dry before applying another, if you don’t, you will end up rolling the paint OFF.
How many coats you need will depend on how dark your counter top is. The photo shows what it looked like two layers in.
Once the primer is completely white, lightly sand the entire surface.
Now the fun part! Start painting the marble design! I watched this video to help me nail down the technique. I didn’t follow it exactly, but it helped a lot! Instead of the plastic bag she used, I used a damp sea sponge to make it a little softer.
I had a printed vinyl sheet with marbling that I put up to help guide me visually. While you are painting this, I suggest working in small sections and taking a step back and looking at it throughout. I had to re do some areas, it happens!
Once you are totally satisfied with your marbling paint job, it’s time to seal it.
This was the hard part for us, but it’s only because we were working with countertops that were already installed and they have a lip. That was the biggest challenge, because we couldn’t do the epoxy quite the way that the instructions tell you to. We ended up spraying the epoxy on in several layers. I would only suggest doing that as a last resort, though.
In normal circumstances, you would seal them this way:
Make sure you have lots of drop cloth, because this epoxy is strong and you don’t want it to get on ANYTHING other than your counter. All tools you use for the epoxy will have to be thrown out afterward, so don’t use any tools you care too much about.
Before you proceed, READ THE INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE EPOXY. These are very strong chemicals and you need to read all the instructions from the manufacturer before use.
The package will come with a part A and and part B. Mix those together in a container that you do not care about and stir well with a paint stick. The mix will have a yellow tint, but don’t worry -it dries clear.
Pour the epoxy on your surface and use tool to spread it out. They sell big disposable ones at home improvement stores for only a few bucks. Smooth the epoxy and ensure it is covering the entire surface. Don’t worry if it’s not level -it will level itself out. Keep careful watch of the edges and try to catch any drips because they will dry like that and you will not be able to sand them off (speaking from experience).
Once the entire surface is covered DO NOT TOUCH IT. There might be air bubbles in it. I used a needle and my breath to get rid of them, although I have also heard of people using heat guns to do it as well.
Let the epoxy cure for THREE days.
And then, you’ve got a beautiful new “marble” countertop! Hooray!
While they aren’t quite as luxurious as a slab of marble, they lightened my kitchen up so much and have served us well for two years! Here is how our budget broke down:
Kilz Primer: ~$30 (we got a contractor discount on it through my husband’s job)
Acrylic Paint: (Had on hand)
Sea Sponges: $5
Super Glaze Epoxy: about $50 (we needed two kits to cover all of our countertop)
We had the rest of the supplies on hand because we were already in the middle of our renovation.
This project cost us about $85 total!
PS: If painting isn’t your thing, my friend Katherine from My Eclectic Grace has a great tutorial on her blog for a contact paper faux marble countertop that is stunning!
Let me know what you think of our painted marble transformation in the comments below or on Instagram!