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How To Paint Faux Marble

Make old furniture feel new and luxurious with this easy-to-do painting technique!

faux marble table

One of the easiest and most impactful ways to update old furniture is to paint it. And you can take it up another notch by adding a decorative faux marble finish. While this project looks difficult, it's actually quite basic-you just need some paint, a handful of tools and a smidgen of patience. The following steps will show you how to paint a faux Carrara marble table.

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Time
A full day
Complexity
Beginner
Cost
$51–100

Before

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Before

This circa-1970s side table cost just a few dollars at a garage sale. While not much to look at, it’s sturdy and solid. With a little bit of paint, though, it’s going to look great.

Faux Marble Table Top Tools and Materials

  • White paint and primer in one, satin finish
  • Black paint sample, satin finish
  • Clear water-based polyurethane, satin finish
  • Sander and 120-grit sandpaper
  • Small roller
  • Paintbrushes in various sizes
  • Sea sponge
  • Soft blending brush
  • Disposable bowls
  • Disposable rags

Step 1

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Sand the Surface

Sand the table to remove the old finish and smooth out any imperfections in the wood. Wipe off the dust with a damp cloth.

Step 2

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Apply Primer

Apply at least two even coats of white paint and primer in one. I used Behr Premium Ultra Paint & Primer in One in the color Polar Bear. Let the white base dry completely.

Step 3

Mix Paint Colors

In separate containers, mix white and black paint to create two different shades of gray. Also, keep a small container of the white nearby. Add a couple of teaspoons of water to all colors to thin them out.

The following steps can be completed in one sitting; no need to let the paint dry between layers.

Step 4

Sponge on White

Use a slightly damp sea sponge to apply a light layer of white all over the table.

Step 5

How to Draw Marble: Brush on Large Gray Veins

Next, use a medium-size paintbrush to place the lightest gray color in various large areas.

Step 6

How to Draw Marble: Sponge Over Gray

Sponge over the gray to create a smoky look. Then sponge white randomly on top of the gray.

Step 7

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How to Draw Marble: Blend Out Gray

Use a dry blending brush to smooth out the sponged colors. Repeat this process once more.

Step 8

How to Draw Marble: Create Fine Veins

Use a very small paintbrush and the darker shade of gray to create more precise veins.

Step 9

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How to Draw Marble: Sponge Over Fine Veins

Immediately after placing the paint, go over each vein with the sponge (add a little white with the sponge, if you desire).

Step 10

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How to Draw Marble: Blend Out Fine Veins

Use a dry blending brush to smooth out the fine veins. Repeat this step at least two times, and add in some white veins to create highlighted areas. When you’re satisfied, allow the paint to dry for several hours.

Tip: Sponging white back into the marble pattern is a secret weapon! You can easily fix mistakes, highlight curves and break up veins that are too dark. Remember to dry-brush any areas that you sponge to blur the colors.

Step 11

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Apply Coats of Poly

Finally, apply two coats of clear, water-based polyurethane with a satin finish. Allow a full 24 hours for the table to completely dry before using it.