How to Get the Perfect DIY Faux Marble Look for Your Home

Hometalk Skills
by Hometalk Skills

A step-by-step guide to my favorite marbling techniques using acrylic paints. I’ll be providing a list of tools and methods necessary to achieving a fantastic faux marble effect, and also advice on practices to avoid. All that’s needed is some basic painting equipment and a plain white surface to serve as your canvas. The result? A fun and easy activity that will make you feel proud of your artistic and interior design skills.

Tools and Materials

  • Acrylic paints: White, a light base, and a dark color
  • Brushes of various sizes
  • Cloth
  • Water

Step 1: Gather Your Tools and Materials

To begin, I placed my blank "canvas" on a table I wasn’t afraid to get paint on. If you don’t have something similar, spread a drop cloth over a flat surface, as well as the surrounding space for extra measure. Try to pick something that won't have you hunched over it so you'll be comfortable as you work, whether seated or standing. Gather everything you need for your faux marble painting before starting, so no valuable time is wasted searching for important tools. This project involves playing with drying paint, after all.

Step 2: Lay Down a Base Color

I used a cream color, but any light shade will do. Take some time to think about where these faux marble features will be going and choose the right combination of pastel and dark colors to match the decor. You could also find some inspiration from studying real marble - so make a note of the preferred color scheme. Lay down the paint with a broad brush, but don’t aim for a uniform layer. Try softening the edges of the panel by dampening the brush.

Step 3: Make Lines with a Darker Color for Maximum Faux Marble Effect

Take a thinner brush and create dark lines over the base layer. They don’t need to be precise or even; a few flicks and waves should do the trick, aiming for a branch-like appearance. Hometalkers who lack a painter’s confidence or have a limited supply of panels, could try practicing on paper before starting any faux marble painting projects. Something to consider is that this tutorial includes several more tips and layers that can camouflage mishaps.

Step 4: Go Over with a Brush

Using a clean, broad brush, soften out the layers of acrylic. This merges the lines and base color into a smooth whole that resembles marble. This is another technique that’s not about precision, just firmly flick the brush over the panel until the dark lines no longer stand out so much from the layer underneath. When it almost looks like marble, it's time to grab your cloth.

Step 5: Pat with a Cloth to Dry

Instead of waiting for the paint to dry, I sped up the process by bunching a piece of fabric and gently patting the panel with it. Be careful not to rub the colors, however, as this may create unwanted streaks in the design. As already mentioned, even if this minor mistake does happen, the next steps can help cover it up. This particular stage is the one that requires intervention before the paint dries completely.

Step 6: Flick Water Over Your Work for a Faux Marble Trick

This technique is called cissing. You take a broad brush, dip it in water and flick it over the drying panel. This results in spots of color remaining wet, an essential part to the even more impressive effect to come. What you don’t want is to get too much water on the panel, so a few good flicks with the brush are enough. Let the panel sit for a moment or two before continuing with the final steps in creating the most convincing faux marble possible.

Step 7: Pat Dry Again

Once the surface is mostly dry, get the cloth and pat the whole composition again. The wet spots will turn into pale dots, creating the so-called cissing effect. This technique gives the faux marble a beautiful embossed look. The importance of not overwatering the paint in the previous stage comes down to the fact that you don’t want blotches instead of dots. Perfecting your work is now a matter of completing the final steps.

Step 8: Soften with a Brush and Add Veining for the Ultimate Faux Marble Look

The composition can be softened again with the brush before adding some finishing touches. With a thin paintbrush take some dark acrylic color and draw veins. How many depends on the size of the panel, considering the lines should be sufficiently spaced apart as per the appearance of real marble. For that same reason, all my lines are angled in, more or less, the same direction. Soften the dark lines and then include white veining for contrast. Blend everything once more and stand back to admire your faux marble handiwork.

Faux marble painting is a fun and creative way to decorate your home. This faux marble technique can be used to upgrade your countertops on a budget, or transform your old vinyl floors. For the best results, supply yourself with quality acrylics and brushes, while making sure your workspace is well prepared for a potentially messy project.

Follow this easy guide and enjoy the process of perfecting the techniques involved. Cissing and veining, especially, are versatile methods that can enhance any effect you wish to create, from trees to stone. Mastering marbling techniques opens your mind and skills to many more opportunities for creative DIY home decorating. What will you be diving into next?

Try your hand at faux marble painting and comment below with your successes or favorite experiences!

Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
  2 questions
  • MikiA MikiA on Jan 19, 2020

    What is the final step? Polyurethane?Would this process work on side wood panel of an island?

  • Mary Jane Mary Jane on Jan 20, 2020

    Could I use this technique to do over my counter top. If so what would I use so I could clean it.

Join the conversation
2 of 5 comments
  • Loneta Edison Stewart Loneta Edison Stewart on Jun 22, 2020

    This looks awesome! I have drab formica countertops and have been considering painting them. This technique looks SO GOOD. I am going to practice on some foam board! Thanks for sharing....

  • Gig69451122 Gig69451122 on Sep 05, 2023

    It's very convincing. An inspiring technique. I wish you made a step by step video.