Faux Marble Countertop & Mistakes to AVOID!

8 Materials
1 Week

With a little ~** bippity boppity boop **~, our countertops went from laminate to marble!

Well... I wish it went like that. Let me show you how to paint your countertops and how to AVOID the mistakes I made!

Before photo & supplies needed

Here's what our countertop originally looked like. I really like the white base and sink, but the colour of the counter wasn't my favourite. Also, let's replace that lightbulb!

Here are the supplies you will need:

  • White tub & tile spray paint
  • White and black (or 2 shades of grey) paint
  • Water-based Varathane
  • White bathroom & kitchen caulking

Tools for this project:

  • Palm sander
  • 2 feathers (I got mine from the chicken coop!)
  • Dry paint brush
  • Makeup or painting sponges

1st mistake

Here was my 1st mistake:

I read so many blog posts of ladies successfully redoing their counters with contact paper and I was hopeful I could do the same. I purchased this roll at Home Depot and spent at least an hour trying to get this to work. When I finally had the first strip down and stuck to the counter, it ripped with the slightest bump from my ring. I figured I would just take the loss on this one... it was a cheap enough trial and error!

Option 2: Painting the counter

These are the products I used to successfully paint our counter!

  • Tub & tile spray (or regular) paint in white
  • A black and white paint to make grey (or just a light and dark grey paint)
  • Water-based clear Varathane

A product to NOT use:

  • Oil-based clear Varathane- this will dry yellow and ruin all your hard work!

Clean & sand

Give your counters a good clean and when dry, a light sand. I'm using a 100 grit sandpaper here and went over the whole counter, trying to dull down the shine a bit.

More sanding

I used a wire brush attachment here to get in the corners and spots the palm sander couldn't reach.

Base coat paint

Tape off your sink and walls and take out the Tub & Tile spray paint.

I did 3 thin coats to get the old colour completely covered. This paint dries fairly quickly, so I waited about 1 to 2 hours between each coat.

Base colour

This is the counter after 2 of the 3 coats of white.

Marble veining

Mix together the black and white paint to make 2 shades of grey- 1 being very light and the other a little bit darker.

Spray leftover white paint (base colour) on another plate. In this case, I just ran out of spray paint but the white paint I used for mixing was the exact same colour. This is to blend out the veining and will match the base colour.

Marble veining- a demonstration

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Generally, marble veining runs in the same direction across the slab. Think about where you want the veins to be and in which direction. I opted for less veining because I was nervous it wouldn't look very good and if I had to paint it over, there wouldn't be too much to cover.

  1. Using your feather dipped in the light grey paint, gently drag it across the counter, swirling in your fingers. This will give it a random cracking look.
  2. Use another feather in the darker grey and go over the same line, but with a few less strokes.
  3. Take a dry bush and gently stroke the paint in one direction. Be sure to use this same direction across the whole counter- this gives it a consistent look of how the stone would've been "cut".
  4. Dab a sponge in a bit of water to give some spots a water colour affect if it looks too harsh.
  5. Dab another sponge in the white paint to fade out the veining. Continue to do this until you've achieved the look you like.

Ta-da! Almost...

Here's what the counter looked like after the veining was done. I let this sit for 24 hours to completely dry before putting on the top coat.

Here was my 2nd mistake:

I had a can of oil-based Varathane in the garage and thought I would use this as a top coat before buying another product. DO NOT USE THIS! After a super thin coat of this product and letting it dry for 24 hours, it started to YELLOW! I couldn't believe such a small amount would completely discolour the counter. It wasn't too horribly yellow though, and I thought that I could still salvage my work and use another product for the next few layers of top coats.

...and my 3rd mistake:

I went out and bought a can of clear coat spray paint to finish the job. The oil-based Varathane was dry to the touch and had been at least 24 hours since I put it on. I started spraying this clear paint all over the counter when it started to bubble! I could have cried... I thought maybe it was some sort of chemical reaction between the products? I'm not a chemist, so how should I know?! It was obvious that the areas that has a thicker layer of the oil-based Varathane were bubbling more, which was around the edges and sink. I was going to let this disaster dry and considered stripping it and starting over. My husband suggested giving the bubbled areas a sand first and seeing if that might take a bit of it off. That was a great idea and did help, so I didn't have to start all over again! I couldn't get all of it off without starting to sand down the actual paint, so there are a few spots that have a bubbly look to them. To fix this, I just dabbed on more white paint, touched up the veining, and let it dry out again.

The final top coat & caulking

While recovering from the PTSD of all that, I did some research. Turns out that oil-based Varathane takes a lot longer than 24 hours to dry, even if it feels dry to the touch. When I sprayed on the second clear coat, it made it all ''wet" again. I'm not sure if there's a proper term for this, or if its just called a lack of patience.

This counter got a good time-out of about a week before I put the final and proper top coat on. I picked up a small can of water-based Varathane (which DOES NOT yellow over time). This product also dries quicker than the oil-based one, but I still gave each of the 3 coats a few days to dry.

Our counter needed some fresh caulking, so I went around the sink and counter with a white bathroom & kitchen caulking to finish the project off.

Close up

As you can see, there's a bit of yellowing, but it's okay with me. This is just our upstairs bathroom that most people won't see.


Avoid the mistakes I made and this project could be easy-peasy!

Enjoy your new fancy marble countertop!




For more ideas and ongoing projects, follow along on Instagram and Facebook!

Insta: @farmhouse.ongunnshill

Facebook: Lauren Ann Design


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Have a question about this project?

3 of 5 questions
  • Lori Ward-Laatsch
    on Aug 24, 2020

    First of all It looks great I want to do something to my ugly weird green Formica counters in the kitchen. I already used those stick on tiles to change the ugly dirty white tiles and the one with fruit on them. I used a black and white tile with 4 different designs. I love it everyone loves it. But those counters ugh. My problem is I have zero patients and anything I do usually ends up in disaster so I have a huge respect for people who actually take this kind of project on and WIN lol. My other issues is the round sloped edge of the counter I think it will just scream fake counters. Thoughts?

    BTW you did a great job on explaining the steps without too many words, I have seen some that they almost write a book and the project instructions get lost in the sea of words. So I really appreciated your instructions and it even has me wondering it I could try it.

    • Rhonda
      on Sep 11, 2020

      go to stone coat countertops or leggari to see some amazing videos for countertops. I would top this with epoxy.

  • Juls
    on Aug 24, 2020

    WOWIE!!! I watched the video, I'm very visual, it was just to fast going through the steps. I READ the steps instead and think I might have enough patience to do this. All of the counters in my house are tan and fake granite and showing wear and tear. Could this be done to kitchen counters too? I always wanted marble in the kitchen, but the expense it way out of my budget. What do you think? I really, really like your new look. Gorgeous!

    • Thank you! :) Yes, you could do this on your kitchen.... but I'd be really careful with cutting on it and putting anything hot on it. Apparently oil-based Varathane is a much better option for kitchens and will hold up to heat, but it will yellow. The water-based Varathane won't hold up to heat well, but doesn't yellow.

  • Susan
    on Aug 25, 2020

    Thanks for being real! Too many times it seems like everything goes perfect the first time which never happens for me. I have experiences like yours lol.

    what would you say the total cost of all materials including those you didn’t use/wasted?

Join the conversation

2 of 60 comments
  • Kuntreprinces
    on Aug 31, 2020

    Brilliant, amazing!! Great job and great explanations !!! Thank you for sharing!!

  • Denny
    on Aug 31, 2020

    That was a great project. My bathroom is screaming for it. I would have made all of those mistakes. I am the redo Queen so, I’m so glad you gave the Do an Do Not steps explanations so quick and easy. Love it*****

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