I Have Always Wanted To......paint My Bathroom Countertop!

7 Materials
1 Day

After over a year of staring at my ugly 80s laminate bathroom countertop (the one in our guest half bath on the first floor), and after reading so many success stories, I finally painted my bathroom countertop! I also did a bunch of other stuff in the bathroom to get my final look (I will post these as separate tutorials). Here, I am just focusing on my process of painting the countertop. Here is a picture of the final outcome:
Here is what I started with:
You can see I had ugly brown cabinets as well, which I had started slowly painting - again - a different project! I started by taping everything off around the walls and around the sink. I taped plastic all around the cabinets so nothing would get on those or on the floor. This worked well.
I custom mixed my base color using a bunch of stuff I had on hand already. Most people would prime with a good adhesion primer at this point, but I am too cheap and wanted to do it with what I had on hand. I have a lot of metallic silver paint left over from other projects, and metallic paint has actual metal in it and sticks to surfaces like crazy. So, I knew if I used this as my base paint, it would probably make everything stick to the surface really well. So, my mixture consisted of silver metallic paint, brown chalk paint, dark gray wall paint, black acrylic paint, black latex paint, brown acrylic paint and bronze acrylic paint! I just mixed until I had the color I wanted, it was definitely conglomerate of stuff.
Here is my first coat going on. It turned out as a dark charcoal gray with a slight metallic component to it. I have mostly metal wall art in this bathroom, so I wanted the counter to have a metallic component to it as well - kind of industrial looking. Some people suggest rolling it on with a roller, to avoid brush strokes, but my look was going to be a little more rough/industrial, so I just brushed mine on. After the second coat, you couldn't see any brush marks anyway.
I let the first coat dry a couple of hours, then applied a second coat of the gray I had made. I let this dry for a couple of hours, as well. Then, I made a glaze with copper acrylic paint to blot on and rub in to give it a copper sheen. Glaze is awesome for adding color to something that blends in with the current color but does not overtake it. It also dries slowly, so it allows you to wipe off excess and blend into your surface. I used glazing medium and copper acrylic paint and rubbed it on with a dry cloth.
You can see above that first I blotted it on and then gently rubbed it into the surface to give it some copper color as well. After the copper dried, I applied two coats of wipe on poly with a cloth. Wipe on poly is great, it goes on well and is easy to work with. I let the first coat dry for an hour, then put a second coat on. The counter has held up well so far!! I think it will last for a long time!
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Have a question about this project?

5 questions
  • Rebeca Susana Matus
    on Jan 16, 2018

    Can a formica countertop be painted using this method? Or any other method?
    • Dysko7710
      on Jan 16, 2018

      Yes, as long as you use something that will 'stick' to the surface. In my case, I used a silver metallic paint (not acrylic, an actual metal paint with metal in it), that I have used before so I know it really sticks to any surface. Some people who have done a more traditional method use a good bonding primer first like Kilz Adhesion, before they paint onto the countertop. This makes sure your paint will stick without peeling or chipping. Having a sealant is important too. I used a wipe on water based polyurethane, which has held up great, I did two coats of this.
    • Nancy Flemming
      on Jan 16, 2018

      Yes, I have done several and they held up for many years. You might want to give it a quick sand first just to rough up the surface, helps paint stick better. Love what this DIY'r did.
    • Edie Pfeifer
      on Jan 16, 2018

      I think Formica is a brand of laminate
    • Lavonne
      on Jan 16, 2018

      formica is laminate
  • Martha Ann O'Neal
    on Jan 16, 2018

    Will it work on laminate
    • Lavonne
      on Jan 16, 2018

      she says at the beginning that she had laminate counter top.
    • Dysko7710
      on Jan 17, 2018

      Yes, my counters are laminate, thank you Lavonne:)
  • Paula
    on Jan 17, 2018

    I have a 70’s bathroom sink that looks like marble or granite but I know it isn’t...I don’t know what it is but the sink and counter are all one piece. I was wondering if I could do this? Would the “sink” withstand the water?
    • Dysko7710
      on Jan 17, 2018

      That's a good question, and I don't know. My upstairs master bathroom has the same situation, where the sink and counter are one piece. I'm really leary about trying this same thing upstairs. It worked great in my above tutorial, but I don't know if it would work doing the sink as well, and I haven't thought of a solution for my situation either, I feel like if I did just the counter, it would look weird since the sink is part of it, but I feel like it might not stand up to a lot of water. But, I have seen people do it, here is a link - but she uses a special epoxy paint for tub and tile painting. I think in this situation, you can't just 'mix' things together like I did above, the right product is important:
    • Twe22090338
      on Jan 17, 2018

      It is possibly corian. They made lots of premolded sink and countertop combos out of this material. I had such a sink and did a similar process on it.
      I prepped it by sanding the surface and prepainting with Killz. I then painted a marble texture and sealed it with a 2 part epoxy. And it is holding up wonderfully.
    • Twe22090338
      on Feb 23, 2018

      Quick side note on my above comment:
      I had the drain pipe out of the first sink I did as mentioned above, but did a secondary sink, where I just taped up the chrome of the drain pipe instead of taking it out. The results were not so great. :(
      The draining water got under my sealant in places and started to erode my edges. After a couple of cleanings I could clearly see a problem.
      I've been toying with replacing the drain with a pipe with a slightly larger flange or taking the drain out and painting a decorative drain embellishment and replacing the drain making sure to seal it well into place so water cannot get under the edge again.
  • Rhonda
    on Jan 17, 2018

    Is this safe for a laminated eating surface? We have a table height bar where we eat.
    • Dysko7710
      on Jan 17, 2018

      I wouldn't recommend it, I'm not sure the metal paint I used would be safe. You can buy premade countertop kits to be sure of food safety. If I ever did a kitchen countertop or eating surface, I would probably invest in a kit. You always need to have a food safe sealant for surfaces like this.
    • Lig22414766
      on Feb 11, 2018

      I would think that several coats of the wipe-on poly would make it safe. I have applied several coats to my kitchen counter top and kitchen table top with great success...
    • Billie Jo
      on Nov 26, 2018

      I would you seal it with (2 part)epoxy afterwards.. most epoxy when dried is food safe.. not like you’re going to be licking the table, ya know!

  • Lucy
    on Jan 30, 2018

    When you say ’wipe on‘ polyurethane, do you mean the liquid in the can versus the spray on poly??? Btw counter looks great!

Join the conversation

2 of 60 comments
  • Dan Johnson
    on Apr 26, 2020

    At the risk of sounding negative, your mixture is a no-no. Acrylic paint and latex paint are like oil and water; they do not bond, so down the road, you will probably see your finish begin to peel off. And yes, those brush strokes are highly visible. The idea of covering a countertop is good, but the correct materials will allow for a much more pleasing, and enduring finish.

  • Linda
    on Apr 29, 2020

    Love it !

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