Copper Countertops Under 20$ What????

A little about me: I am a DIYer who goes out of my way to use items I already have when I make projects over. For instance, this project cost ME about $16 total to do. However to buy all of the products for this (listed below) it might cost between 50-60$. (Still a bargain)
Three of the 4 squares in this picture are real copper countertops, gorgeous, shiny, and expensive. However one of these squares is MY copper countertop. Which is also gorgeous, shiny, but cost less than $20 and as it turns out, is made of concrete.
My house was built in 1991. And apparently peach Formica countertops were a thing at that time?? I don't quite remember it being a thing, but it must have been because the builder in our development put them in everyone's house.
Just peachy.... Right?
I have ALWAYS wanted copper counters or a copper sink. But once I did the research I realized just how impractical it was, not to mention how expensive. Apparently, copper isn't all that durable. So I decided to fake it.
I found an art supply house online that carried powdered copper pigment. I mixed up a small batch of Henry's feather finish concrete and added the pigment to see if I could get a color that seamed realistic, and what do you know.... It worked!
I started by removing the silver trim and peach backsplash. I did not want to have my backsplash and counter the same. Then I got sanding.
After sanding the counter with 100 grit paper. I applied my first batch, and mixed it kind of thick. After spreading it around with a small trowel, I added a bit more water with the copper pigment in it to finish smoothing it out. Once I had 3 coats of the concrete with copper (no sanding between) applied, I sanded it by hand with 150 grit paper. I wanted to leave just a little texture so that when I used my secret weapon, it would truly look like copper.
My secret weapon......Heirloom Traditions Oxidized Patina soft wax! I took a soft rag (cut up t-shirt) and went over a few of the textured areas to get that oxidized look. I alternated between the wax and the pigment to get layers of shiny copper and the beautiful blue wax.
Now because I had used the blue wax, I would not be able to use any shiny coat over the top. I did however, spray a concrete sealer on and let it soak in. I did that twice letting it dry in between. Then to finish it off and give it some shine, I applied American Decor cream wax. Doing 2 coats and buffing afterwards.
But to complete the rustic look, I had wanted to use reclaimed wood as a backsplash. But given the small space, it seemed kind of overwhelming. Then it hit me.....
I gathered a bunch of the free wooden paint stir sticks you get from Home Depot and stained and cut them to fit, the area above the counter and alternating colors.
Once I had them up, I really fell in love with the look.
Copper isn't for everyone, but we sure love this bathroom at our house. There is still more to do (paint, flooring, light fixture) but this is a great start,
These pictures do not do this counter justice, but I can tell you, people do not believe me when I tell them it is not copper but actually concrete. And they REALLY have a hard time believing that it cost less than $20 for the whole look.
It's so much shinier in person. And it has a definite metallic look that my iPhone just can't seem to capture.
I got the look I always wanted, and I am so grateful for whatever gene it is that my parents passed down to me that makes me so confident, and feel like I can do anything. Because I tell you, it sure saves me money. Where there is a will, there is a way!
Oh and BTW, my counter is the bottom right.... The rest are all showroom copper counters ;)
Below is a how to video
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Have a question about this project?

3 of 44 questions
  • Jenny
    on Sep 15, 2018

    I am following your video instructions and redoing my kitchen countertops. They look great I put one coat of polyurethane on it but don’t know how many coats I should do and if the standing instructions are necessary what’s your thought?

    • Madison McGahan
      on Sep 15, 2018

      Wow that looks fantastic!!!! Good job!!! I would probably do several coats. Poly is a little bit porous. Which if you get a stain that you can’t get out, makes it easy to take a straight edge razor and be able to scrape the stain off without removing all of it and starting over. Then you can’t touch it up!

  • Cindy
    on Jul 14, 2019

    I would love to do this in my kitchen,however my countertop is rounded,will this work?

  • Jen Andrews
    on Jul 29, 2019

    Can I use any kind of concrete? I'm looking for the cheapest option possible. And I will only need a small amount. Thanks!

    • Madison McGahan
      on Jul 29, 2019

      In my opinion, the Henry’s Feather finish is the cheapest option! But maybe they have it in a smaller size?

Join the conversation

3 of 161 comments
  • Jen Andrews
    on Jul 29, 2019

    Sorry, one more thing - I know absolutely nothing about concrete, or the different kinds. If you could please, make a (super cheap, like less than $20) suggestion for a particular product. Thank you so much!

    • Madison McGahan
      on Jul 29, 2019

      When I made this project (3 years ago) Henry’s was the cheapest, but Ardex is also inexpensive. At that time Henry’s was 17$ per box. It’s now in the mid 30’s. However the Link Hometalk provides (above) you can find it for 22$ But Amazon has Ardex for 32$. And since reading your comment, that’s the cheapest I could find other than Hometalk’s link..... so here is the link for that.

      Ardex Feather Finish Grey/Gray/Gris Self-Drying Cement Based Bag 10 Lbs https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004GUAIT8/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_EGUpDb8NXCJ3R


      sorry I couldn’t find a cheaper option for you!

  • Dierdre Bird
    on Dec 16, 2019

    Wow! I'm thinking of our very out-dated bathroom sinks, and this may be the ticket! Madison, one concern, however--you were careful to use gloves when applying the concrete, but I noticed you didn't when applying the copper product and the blue. Our skin is one of the most absorptive organs, and the chemicals in these products are very toxic. Maybe next time you have a similar project, just keep those gloves on! :)

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