Because of its texture, marble can be difficult to paint. Even so, with the right preparation and a good primer, it is possible to paint the marble and leave it looking great. If you prefer, you can create a marble effect on almost any surface using different paint colors. No matter which method you choose: the result will be a freshly painted surface that is beautiful and doesn't take too much time or work.
Method 1 of 2: Making the Marble Effect
Step 1. Choose a well-ventilated area and secure your workplace
If the object you are going to paint can be moved around, the best thing to do is to move it outside, the garage or backyard. If you can't get it out of its place, open all the windows and doors and turn on fans to let the room air circulate. You can wear a mask to protect yourself from odors.
- To prevent drops of paint from falling onto the floor, place rags or an old blanket under the object to be painted.
- Use paint tape to cover the parts where you don't want the paint to reach, like a drawer handle, for example.
Step 2. Paint with a clear pain and let it dry for up to 16 hours
Use a large brush or roller to apply a light colored foundation coat such as white, cream or silver. Paint the object with long, even strokes in the same direction.
- The type of paint you will need depends on the object to be painted. If it's a canvas, use acrylic paint. Wooden objects can receive latex or oil-based paints. Read the ink label to find out how long it takes to dry.
- In general, latex paints take four hours to dry, while oil-based paints take up to 16 hours to fully dry. Acrylic paint takes one to two hours. If the weather is humid or the temperature is low, drying time increases.
Step 3. Use a damp marine sponge to cover the entire surface with the same color
Using the same paint you used for the base, apply another coat using a marine sponge. Dip the sponge in the water and then smear it on the paint. Press it across the surface of the object on which you are going to make the marble effect. Cover the sponge with water and paint again as needed.
- Try not to create ink acorns.
- The marine sponge helps to make a texture similar to a real marble surface.
Step 4. Make large “veins” using a slightly darker color
The color is up to you, but shades of yellow or gray work well. Look at real marbles, in person or by looking at photos on the internet, to see what the “veins” look like. Use a medium brush to draw the veins on the surface of the painted object. They should look natural and asymmetrical, rather than looking artificial or too straight.
- You don't have to wait for each coat to dry because you're going to mix the colors.
- Dilute the paint with water to make it look more natural.
Step 5. Mix the “veins” with the sponge and then use a blender brush
Take a marine sponge, moisten it and press it into the veins you drew. This helps to blend the color and makes it look more natural.
- Use a dry brush to even out the color and blend more veins. Smooth it back and forth across the surface to smooth the marble effect.
- If the brush becomes full of paint, clean it or replace it with a new, dry one.
Step 6. Make “veins” smaller using a darker color
Choose a color a few shades darker to draw smaller veins. Use a very small brush to paint small veins on the object's surface. Vary the width, length and location of the veins to look like real marble.
For example, if you used a white and gray background to make the veins big, use black to make the veins smaller
Step 7. Mix and smooth the veins with a sponge and dry brush
Use a damp sponge to blend the fine lines. You can apply some of the paint you used as a background to the sponge to help even out the appearance of the veins, if you prefer. Then get a clean, dry brush to smooth the veins. Repeat until you are satisfied with the marble effect.
If you're not happy with the look of a vein or part of the paint, dip the sponge into the base paint and cover. Then make new veins using the same method if necessary. Don't forget to merge them
Step 8. Allow the ink to dry for up to 16 hours
Once you are satisfied with the look of the painted object, let it dry completely. This can take anywhere from two to 16 hours, depending on the ink you used.
Step 9. Seal the paint using polyurethane if you used latex or oil-based paint
If you've done an acrylic painting on canvas, it's done and doesn't need sealing. If you painted a wooden surface, you will need to apply two coats of polyurethane.
- Choose a water-based polyurethane with a satin finish.
- Use a brush to apply a thin layer across the entire surface.
- Allow the first coat to dry completely, which takes up to two hours. Then apply the second coat.
Step 10. Let the object dry for 24 hours
Before hanging the paint or placing anything on top of your “marble” object, let the paint or polyurethane dry completely. Avoid touching or moving the object during this period.
Method 2 of 2: Painting Marble Surfaces
Step 1. Paint in a well-ventilated area and wear a mask
It is important to have good ventilation when sanding and painting so that paint dust and fumes do not create respiratory problems. Open windows and doors or use a fan to circulate the air. Don't forget to wear a mask.
Step 2. Place cloths and cover the areas you don't want to paint
Floor cloths or an old blanket protect the floor from paint spills. You can use paint tape to secure the cloth and to protect areas you don't want to paint, such as outlets or faucets.
Step 3. Use a 36 grit sandpaper to remove the finish from the marble
The paint won't stick to the shiny finish that marbles have, so you need to improve the texture. Run a 36-grain paper back and forth across the surface you are going to paint to remove all finish. Sand until no shiny parts are left.
The marble should be opaque and a little rough when you're done
Step 4. Clean the surface with a damp microfiber cloth and let it dry
To dust off, wipe the area with a damp microfiber cloth. Wash or change cloth as needed to remove all dust and debris. Then use a dry microfiber cloth to remove excess moisture.
Wait until the surface is completely dry before drying
Step 5. Apply an oil-based primer to the marble
Choose an oil-based primer or the paint won't stick to the marble. Use a brush or roller to lightly coat the entire area to be painted. Make long, even strokes always in the same direction to apply the primer to the marble.
Step 6. Allow the primer to dry for six to eight hours
If you don't let the marble dry completely, it could smudge and you'll have to do it all over again. Plan to do this task for a few days so that the result is exactly how you want it.
Step 7. Paint the surface using an oil-based gloss cover paint
Once the primer has dried, you can apply the paint. Use a clean brush or roller to apply a thin, even coat of oil-based paint with chosen gloss coverage.
Always paint in the same direction rather than starting in one direction and then going the other way
Step 8. Let each coat of paint dry for 16 hours
After applying the first coat of paint, wait 16 hours or more before applying another. If you rush things, the finish can bubble, smudge, or have areas lighter than the rest.
Step 9. Apply more layers of paint as needed
You should definitely apply a second coat of paint, and maybe a third and fourth, depending on what color you're using and how the surface looks after each coat.
Use the same method to iron the other coats and remember to let each coat dry properly before proceeding
Step 10. Let the ink sit for 7 days
It is important not to touch or place anything on top of the marble surface in the meantime. If you do, objects may stick to the surface or remove paint.
- You can also use chalk paint for marble.
- Test the paint on a small area of the marble if you want to see what the color will look like after it dries.