Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Painted countertops

Okay folks... if you are interested in how I painted my countertops then settle in. This is probably going to be a long post. I feel like I should preface this post by telling you a few things. One, is that I am not generally a big fan of faux painting so I was skeptical when I started researching this project. Two, is that I am in no way shape or form a professional painter! And last, I have included a "tutorial" if you will of what I did with my preferences. One of the great things about painting your countertops is that you can play around and get a completely individual look for your space for next to nothing. Seriously. As I mentioned in my kitchen reveal we spent about $100 for ALL of our countertops. And we have a decent size kitchen.

So, how did I decide this was the route to go for us? Well, mostly because our budget really would not allow any other option. But now, I am really glad that was the case because I am really pleased with the final result. So I started doing some research online and pinning different kitchens where I saw end results I liked.  The two I went back to the most were General Splendour and Creative Kristi. Both of these sites had great information about how to accomplish the look.

Then, I started checking out granite samples online. I knew I wanted something that was still light and actually  fairly similar to what we had in our last home. Here are a couple of the samples I used to inspire my look.


Then I painted a sample board. I think this step is important. It helped me get an idea of the order in which I wanted to layer my colors and incorporate them together. I included a picture of my sample board so that you can see my counters didn't end up looking exactly like it, but it was a great place to start and practice my technique.

Ok. When you are satisfied with that it is time to get started. First I gave my countertops a really good scrub down. Then, I sanded them with 220 grit. Just enough to give them a little grip. I used Zinser oil based primer and let that dry really well. Then I used the leftover paint from my sideboard as my base coat. When that was also really dry I got to the fun part. My supplies were really high tech! Paper towels and a paper plate and of course the acrylic craft paint. I later used an old toothbrush, but we'll get to that. (I told you it was a long post) Anyway I discovered that I liked using a slightly damp paper towel. Maybe it was all in my head but I felt like it thinned the paint just a little. One of the things I notice while researching other painted counters was that some really looked like splotches of craft paint on a surface and I did not want that. So I really tried to keep my layers thin and incorporate them together as seamlessly as possible while still getting that random "made in nature" stone look. 

I ended up using six different colors of craft paint, but three of them were in a very similar color family just varying shades or finishes. In order of layers I used Rain Gray, Silver metallic, Champaign metallic, Stone Gray, Cream and a hint of red for an unexpected accent color. 

I started with my Rain Gray and just blotted all over.

And here is what it looked like after the first layer. Then I moved on to my metallic colors. I actually used them simultaneously. I really, really think the metallic colors took the finished product up a notch. They are a little translucent to they added a wonderful depth that doesn't read as well in the photographs. I highly recommend if you do this, no matter what your color scheme is, that you get a complimentary metallic paint. Anyway, I did the same thing with them. I just blotted away until I got the coverage I had in mind.  

Then I used my darker gray color. Creative Kristi recommended using a half paper towel for your darker colors so you don't get too heavy handed. 

Um... I did use a half paper towel but I still went a little crazy with the dark gray. But if this happens to you don't freak out! That is what our next step is for. I then used my cream color to go back through and break up the dark spots a give an overall lighter look. I also was not afraid to just rub a little of the cream color into the countertop. I tried to go in a diagonal direction so it would almost look like the striae of cut stone.

After that step this is what I had. And then,  because I noticed that some of the granite samples I saw had a hint of some unexpected color in very small sections I decided to do this with a tiny bit of red. This is where the toothbrush comes in. 

I put the tiniest bit of red on the tip of the toothbrush and kinda flicked it on. The above picture shows how sparingly I used it. Just a little hint of this color is all you want. 

After all of that I used a very fine grit sand paper... I think it was 400 and sanded the whole surface down to knock down the high spots and combine the colors a little more. For some reason I didn't get a picture of the counter after this step with the little section most of these pictures are from, but I did with another section. 

If you are pleased with your result it is time to seal it all in!

We used the Envirotex Lite from Hobby Lobby. I saved up 40% off coupons and made separate trips for each bottle. I definitely suggest using coupons because this stuff is pretty pricey without them. Also you will notice in this picture we tried to use butane lighters for the bubbles. DON'T do that! I read this warning and ignored it. If you don't already have a propane torch spend the extra $30 and get one. You will not regret it. We got one for the rest of the countertops because using these was miserable!

Now... Cover everything!! Seriously this stuff drips everywhere.

Again with our high tech tools. We used craft paper and saran wrap.  I don't have any pictures of us doing the Envirotex because with a large surface it is definitely a two person job. It starts to set up pretty fast so you both need to be moving to keep spreading and wiping away drips along the bottom. 

Now after all of that work you will end up here.

Look at that shine!! You can actually see reflections in it. And when it all cures, which admittedly seemed to take forever... (three days). It feels so nice and smooth. 

Here is a couple more finished pictures of the area you saw me painting in the pictures. 

If you are on the fence about trying this I hope this informations helps. There were already good tutorials out there but when I was researching this, there was no such thing as too many examples. So I put mine out there hoping to make you that much more informed! If you have any other questions I am happy to answer!


  1. WOWZA!!! This is amazing! Since you're a "sponsor" and because this is amazing, is it OK if I feature this post to introduce you to readers?

    1. Of course, That would be great! Thanks!

  2. Looks great! Honestly this is one of the most realistic painting jobs I've seen out there. Love it!

  3. wow.. that is awesome!!! Great jov!

    Found you on TT&J. I'd love for you to come by and link this and any other project you have at my linky party called "create & inspire"


    P.S New follower

    Angie form A little Inspiration

  4. I have wanted to paint my old countertops for two years but am so scared that they'll look, well, painted!
    Yours look factory direct!

    I have a small linky party every Thursday. If you can, I'd love for you to link this up and share it with us!

  5. OOOOH! They look amazing! Thank you for the shout out too - glad I could help. So glad you are happy with the result! YAY! :-)

  6. WOW! These look amazing! Would love it if you came by and linked up to my Manic Monday Linky Party!

  7. Fabulous post,
    Thank you for linking your post up! , hope you will stop by today and link up another great post!!
    See you there
    Claire x

  8. Your countertops look fantastic!
    I have been researching painted countertops for months, but wasn't sold on the idea until I saw your kitchen transformation - you did an excellent job! I have two questions: 1) Just how many bottles of Envirotex did you use? 2) How well did the product cover the edges of the countertops?

    1. I ended up using 5 large bottles of Envirotex and one small from Hobby Lobby. It covers the edges, but not as well as thickly as the tops. Like I said it really is a two person job for the large sections. You just have to keep moving the product around the edges smoothing it with the brush. Good luck! I'd love to see how they turn out!

  9. There's Andy! Hi Andy!

    Oh, and you're crazy talented. Looks so good.

  10. I'd love to try this project on my laminate counter tops! But I'm slightly concerned about using the Envirotex Lite around my overmount sink. I don't think I can handle removing the sink with my DIY skills. How did you work around you sink issue? Any helpful hints or advice would be greatly appreciated :)

    1. We did end up removing the sink and I highly recommend doing it that way. My husband took that task on. You could try to paint an epoxy around it, but if you ever needed to remove the sink in the future it might mess up the epoxy.

  11. These are beautiful. I have been considering doing this and saw that you posted this a while ago. So, I thought I would ask you how they are holding up now. I am a countertop abuser and was wondering if the envirotex can handle it. Thanks so much!!

    1. They are actually holding up beautifully! The only issue we have found is that when we use our griddle we need to put a large cutting board or something under it. My husband put it directly on top and it caused the counter to yellow very slightly. I don't think it is something anyone would notice if they didn't know it was there. I have been very very pleased with how well they have held up to me and my two young boys. I still highly recommend it!

  12. “One of the great things about painting your countertops is that you can play around and get a completely individual look.” – I totally agree with you. Whether you want your granite or wooden countertop to have a unique look, painting them can be the way. With painting, you can mix and match some colors and patterns that would suit the overall look of the kitchen. [Robbie Marinero]

  13. OK, so thank you soo much for doing this post!! Your countertops are gorgeous...you must be proud! Alrighty,I have done my research on the countertops....and definitely like the $.79 (and $.59 at walmart) acrylic craft paint...BUT...I'm REALLY nervous about using the two-part Epoxy mix. Was this hard? I have read horror stories about getting it on the front edge of the countertop, it ending up wavy and thin and potentially clumpy, do you have any suggestions? My husband is kinda begrudgingly helping me with this and I want to make sure I am confident before I bring the idea to him! Also, does the surface look "natural" or does it look like a layer of glass just put on top of the counter? Your pictures don't look this wayat all, but several of the others I have seen do and the pictures do not portray it as an attractive coating....I'm just trying to be real! Have you seen what I'm talking about? Are they just bad photographers or do you have any suggestions?

    1. I will say that the epoxy was definitely a different experience, but I wouldn't say it was terribly hard. You really need two people because you have to be fast to catch the drips. We do have a couple of spots where it ran down the front of our cabinets. I don't think it is really obvious, but it is there. Even though it is extra work I recommend taping paper onto all surface that might get dripped on. I now wish we had been more diligent about that. As far as the finished product goes, we are very pleased with it. I don't think it looks like a layer of glass. I haven't seen pictures that look like that, but my guess would be that they just used more epoxy than necessary. We used just the amount that the box recommended and it worked well. Most people that have seen them in person don't know until we tell them that the counters were a DIY project. If you try it I would love to see how it turns out. Best of luck!

  14. I actually bought some countertop paint, not a granite kit but I am very scared to use it nonetheless..lol..this makes me feel better now