Finally!! The Kitchen Countertop Post!!

Ok I’m going to try this again. This is the 3rd time I’ve typed this post so hopefully this time it will actually publish correctly. If not, you’ll probably hear my scream from wherever state you’re currently in.

As some of you may know, I decided to paint my kitchen countertops. If you even  have the teeniest thought about doing this in your mind, don’t be intimidated at all. It was one of the easiest projects that I have done in my house to date, and it made the biggest impact by far.

What You’ll Need:

An ugly counter

Hand Sander (optional)

Primer (more on this later)

A few different colors of acrylic craft paints (the kind that come in a million colors at the craft store)

Sea sponges, paper towels or plastic grocery bags

Sealer (more on this later too)

Painter’s tape

Foam roller

Now, I should probably show you what my kitchen looked like before all this went down. The counters were a lovely shade of 1985 Mauve, with a white edging for a pop of color. Gross. Although I should say, that they were physically in a good condition. No scratches, they were solid, but they were mauve.

kitchen1

Beautiful right? I didn’t think you’d agree with that one. So last year, I decided to paint the tile backsplash thinking it would help the counter. Ya I was totally wrong. You know the old saying… Do things right the first time. I should have painted these dang counters a year ago.

So the first thing I actually did was take out the caulk between the backsplash and the top of the countertop. It was white and crumbly, and I knew it wouldn’t match with the new colors I was going to paint anyway. After that, I cleaned the counter with a mixture of vinegar and water in a spray bottle, just to get any goop or crumbs up.

Next I sanded the entire countertop with a Mouse Sander and a 220 grit pad. Some tutorials I’ve seen have skipped this step but since I already had the sander I figured I’d do it. It only took a few minutes, and I sanded it just enough to show some dust and to take the sheen off. After that was finished, I wiped the counter off again with the vinegar and water mixture, and taped off the sink, wall and other places I didn’t want to get paint on.

The next step is muy importante. Priming. Since this is actually going to act as your base color for your “granite,” the color depends on what you want your “granite” to look like. If you want a darker pattern, then go with tinted primer. I used Kilz Interior Oil-Based Primer in White, because I already had it in the house. You don’t have to be uber precise with the primer, but you do want to make sure you have good, even coverage, because you don’t want any of your colored counter to show through. I put a coat on at night, so it could dry overnight. When I looked at it in the morning, I decided it needed a second coat, because I could see some of the mauve through it. So I threw on another coat, and by the time I got home from work it was dry. Word to the wise: if you’ve never used oil-based primer before, be careful. It’s stinky, and it sticks to everything. Because it’s oil-based, it will not wash out of things with water like regular paint will. So be sure to either have mineral spirits to wash your roller out with, or use one that you can throw out.

kitchen2

So this was after my one coat at night. You can see that I primed the backsplash too because I decided to paint it to match the wall (which you’ll see in a minute). You can also see that the colors are still peeking through. After I put the second coat on, it was a crispy white and you couldn’t see any pink or brown through the the primer.

The next step is the fun part… making your “granite!” What you’ll need to do is either look online or go to the hardware store and pick out swatches you like. After you find one you like, go to the craft store and buy paint that matches the colors in the swatch. I used 2-3 bottles of craft paint per color I used, which was about 4-5 different colors.

I took my darkest color first, which was a chocolate brown, and sponge painted it on in a very random way. I started in the back corner so if I messed up it wouldn’t be too noticeable. Be random!! If you look at real granite, there isn’t a pattern. Don’t over think it!! Honestly… don’t think. Just go. Just take the sponge and go to town! I just moved my arm all over the place, making sure that I got pretty good coverage, but could still see the white show through. Next, I used a gray, and then the two lighter colors on top of that. You’ll kind of feel like an artist, because you’ll be moving all around and checking to see where you need more paint. If you think there’s a spot that’s too dark, then add a lighter color to that spot.

I used the same sea sponge for every color, and washed it out after each color. Some people used plastic grocery bags or paper towel, but I thought the paper towel would rip when it became too saturated, and I already had the sponges anyways.

So after you are all done with your granite and you’re happy with your look, let it dry overnight. Again, I did this step when I got home from work so it had time to dry overnight so I could do the next step: Sealing. Again, there are a few different ways you could approach this step, but this is what worked for me. You need to use something that won’t yellow over time, so don’t use Polyurathane. I used Minwax Water-Based Polycrylic in a Satin finish. There are several types of finishes, I chose Satin, but if you wanted a glossier finish you could do that too. Since the paint was acrylic, I figured the sealer should be as well.

Following the directions on the can of the Poly, I used a foam roller to apply the sealer and waited 2 hours between each coat. You can also sand before you you apply the next coat, however to be honest I was a scardy-cat and didn’t want to ruin any of my pretty work. Now that I look back, it wouldn’t have hurt anything to sand it so it’s smoother, but it feels fine without it too. Again, I did all of this after work at night, waited 2 hours between coats and finished the last couple coats in the morning. When everything was said and done, I applied 5 coats of Poly. It’s very simple to apply, you use the foam roller (or whatever your can calls for) and paint it on like you’re painting a wall. Since it’s shiny, you’ll be able to see where you missed and where you’ve already painted. Just make sure to have nice, even coverage so every inch of the counter is all sealed up.

So without further ado…

kitchen3

As you can see, I painted the backsplash the same color as the adjoining wall, so everything flows better together. I know this is the worst picture ever because it’s so grainy, and there’s no accessories up yet, so I plan to post a better picture with everything soon.

The last step I did was move the handles of the cabinets to the correct spot in the corner of the doors, and also spray painted them oil-rubbed bronze, which you can see in the picture below:

supplies

Here are the materials I used, including the wood filler and caulk.

Edited to Add:

I bought all of the paint from Michaels.

Craft smart brand: chocolate brown, dark gray
Folk Art brand : parchment, pure black and country twill
I dotted the black with a paintbrush first (which you really can’t see, so you could skip that part if you really wanted to), then the chocolate and gray. After that, I used the country twill (which was like my main color) and then the parchment here and there to brighten things up where it was needed.

I did all the same colors at the same time, I didn’t let them dry before moving to the next.
The only thing I let dry between coats was the kilz and the poly.

kitchen4

And here is a close-up of my “granite.” As you can see, there is no real pattern, and you can see all the colors I used from the white to the brown. Just have fun with it and let your arm do the work!

Cost Breakdown:

This project really only cost me about $30, because I had a lot of the materials already at home. If you were to do this from scratch, it would probably cost you around $60+, but you’d have materials left over for other projects like the primer and poly, as well as sponges and rollers. Still cheaper than purchasing a new counter!!

(All prices are approximate)

Primer (quart): $7

Poly (quart): $17

Paint bottles, each: $1.49 (can use 40% off coupon)

Foam roller (came with tray): $7

Painter’s Tape: $5

Caulk: $3

Sea sponges: $4

Time Breakdown:

I started this project on a Wednesday, and ended it on a Saturday. I started everything when I got home from work, which was around 6ish, and ended a few hours later. Here’s what my nights looked like:

Wednesday: Removed caulk, cleaned, sanded, cleaned, primed

Thursday: 2nd coat of primer (done in the morning before work), painted “granite” when I got home from work

Friday: Poly, 3 coats

Saturday: Poly, 2 coats

Again, I wanted to make sure the counter was nice and dry before I used it again, so I waited until Monday or Tuesday to put everything back on it. No biggie, I had the kitchen table to put all of my junk on, and I could still cook on the stove, and use the oven and sink with no issue.

Care and Cleaning:

I finished the counter the 2nd week of November, and it’s still holding up perfectly! No scratches, dings or dents. I clean it with the same vinegar and water mixture, and wipe it with a paper towel, sponge or regular kitchen towel. As with any countertop, just make sure not to put anything hot on it, so use a hot pad or kitchen towel underneath your pots, pans or cookie sheets. Also, I make sure to wipe up and standing water (but I’m sure you’d do this with any countertop too).  I just remember that these are now painted, so I be sure to take extra care of them. However, we do slide things across them, cans and bottles get left on them, and there’s still no scratches, so it seems the Poly holds up really well.

Again, I know that pictures are really low-quality but I really wanted to get this on here to show everyone that this can be done, and it’s super simple! Like I said before, if you even have a thought in your head about doing this, just do it! You can see how much better it made my kitchen look, and in person it looks even better, and took about 10 years off the house.

Any questions, please feel free to ask me!!

Lauren : )

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485 thoughts on “Finally!! The Kitchen Countertop Post!!

  1. My cabinets are white.. Would these colors that you used be too dark to use or would it look better with lighter colors ?

  2. Hi ~ I really want to try this, but I’m terrified of choosing the colors! I have light brown/blond Mexican tile on the floor, white cabinets, and a black stove. The previous owner covered the white laminate (?) countertops with green bricks and concrete, which actually looked pretty cool until the grout started crumbling, and it is a PAIN to clean the counters. I’m thinking about either a white marble look or light brown granite look or a black granite. One final option is trying to match the green granite-look laminate countertop that we had to put on 1 little section of a new cabinet a few years ago. It was the only thing that matched the green brick, lol. And I know that green granite sounds weird, but the green brick color works really well right now. Help!! (and thank you in advance) 😊

      • Hmmm…. That might work! But how do you know which colors of paint to pick out exactly, without a kit? I’m assuming I would need the black primer, but then how do you decide on the other colors (the small bottles) from the millions to choose from? 😞

      • There are a million to choose from, I know. Just get a few colors and put them up next to each other, and if they look good then go with those! And I used a white primer

  3. Do you think that you could add colors between coats of polycrylic? I have started mine and have decided the colors arent blending well. If I lightly sand the poycrylic and add more colors and then continue with 5 more coats of poycrylic do you think it would be ok?

    • @Christa Did you ever end up doing this on your bathroom sink and countertop. If so I would love to know how it help with water please and thank you!

  4. Hi, I’m not sure if this question has been asked yet but when did you re-caulk? Was is before or after you primed, painted, or sealed? I can’t wait to start this project on my bathroom counter, which is an ugly yellow/white/brown faux marble. I’m hoping this will work on it.

  5. Hello! I just read your post. I also just painted my counter tops and was looking for a sealer did a couple of coats with th polycrylic and went to get more along with a new brush. The lady behind the counter looked at me like I was crazy. And said I needed to look up the product first. So here I am. How r your counters now have they held up?

      • I was just about to ask this same question regarding the sealer. I was told at Michael’s that I should be using a Acrylic Polymer Varnish. It used as a final sealant over acrylic paint. The sales person suggested Liquitex Varnish which came in Matte, Satin, and two types of Gloss. She told me that it’s non-yellowing, water-based, and is translucent when wet but completely clear when dry. She also said the Polycrylic was opaque and not transparent? According to her a lot of people that decoupage furniture use this as a final sealer. I ended up not getting anything because the last thing I want to do after all this work is to mess up the final step. HELP!

  6. Thank you for the wonderful information this has helped so much!!! How is it holding up!!!??? I’m so excited to try this with my fience we got a double wide with ugly blu counter tops and have been bursting how to Change them

  7. Look me up on Facebook I’m joanna probasco add me as a friend and pit pin in the comment so I will know it is you. I have recently added pictures for advice from friends you will see what I’m doing. Thanks so much again. I know this might say Charles Sandford but I’m on his phone . My phone is all full.thanks again and love what you did with kitchen!!. Yours kindly joanna

  8. This looks amazing!!! I would love to do it but I feel like mine would look awful. I don’t feel confident. Yours seriously looks like granite. Would you consider doing a video even just on a sheet of paper showing your sponging Technique??

  9. I did this a few weeks ago, and it turned out awesome! I’ve gotten so many compliments. I’ve even gone back and fixed a couple areas that were bugging me. I practiced on a paper plate to get a good feel for how much to sponge. I think the more sponging gives a more blended/stone look. I’d post a pic, but I don’t see how to do that here. Thanks for this great idea! 🙂

  10. I tried this, using Rustoleum Stone effects as suggested in a different article. I used the Polycrylic over top of that (I allowed a day for the spray to dry), and have so far put 3 coats on, waiting a day between each coat. The counter is nice and smooth; however, it is soft and easily scratching. any suggestions would be appreciated. I have thought about going over it with a polyeurathane or another type of seal coating to harden/toughen it up, but I’m really stumped here. Please help.

  11. When you used the individual colors did you wait for the first one to dry before you applied the next color? Also how long does it take the craft paint to dry? Thank you

    • Nope, once I got started and got around to the other side, I started with my next color in the place I began. Honestly I’m not sure how long it took to dry, but it wasn’t very long.

  12. I want to do black granite with sparkles, can i just do two coats of primer and sprinkle on the sparkles and let that dry and then use the Envirotex lite Epoxy?

  13. Thanks for the easy step by step instructions. Did my bathroom tonight and now plan on my kitchen! Soo easy! My 11 yr old helped.

  14. Hi. You did a fantastic job on your countertop! Very impressive! I appreciate your article and I’ve come here looking for an answer or two.I did all the steps, except for the poly.. so far I am stuck on the poly! I only put 1 coat on the countertop & it just won’t dry… and it’s been 2 days. Boo. It’s tacky/sticky. Just wondering how long it took yours to not be sticky anymore? I know you said you did many coats with 2hoyrs in between but was it sticky in between? Would you suggest that maybe mine needs more coats? That wouldn’t make since either because you’d want it to dry in between.. Haha. Anyway, thanks!

    • Try using a fan on it or something to help it dry. Mine wasn’t sticky after 2 hours of drying. Just keep the house as dry as you can to help with the poly drying!

  15. Hi Lauren,

    Just curious in how the counters with water poly held up over time….never mind. When I went to add the info for a reply I was able to see the comments below, but did not see them prior. Just an FYI. Anyways thank you for this post and info. I painted using the stone texture from rustoleum, so far it looks nice, now off to Poly.

  16. I know this is an old post but just in case you are still here lol I have a question! 🙂
    I just painted my kitchen countertops and the polycrylic top coat doesn’t seem to be doing very well … have you had any problems with yours? Like if I get a water droplet in them and don’t wipe it off right away it messes up … just wondering
    Thanks debby

      • We finished the last coat Sunday afternoon and I think my husband put it on too thick (ugh) … by messing up, if a drop of water sits on it then it would like um I don’t know, say I realize it’s there so I wipe it off but it will be wet and when it dries it’s not shiny anymore in that spot lol … so frustrating… I am thinking he put it on too thick and it’s going to take forever to cure … them I guess what scared me was earlier today I was reading about all these finishes and the man said not to use water based poly where you are going to be using water lol …

      • Well you want to use water based so it doesn’t yellow : ) sounds like he may have put it on too thick, so maybe give it a few days to cure. And maybe blow some fans on it? Or open the windows if you’re in a place with low humidity? I think with some time it’ll be ok. Let me know if you have any other questions!

      • Hey Lauren I did reply to you but I am not seeing it up here lol… let me know if you didn’t get it and I will resend it
        Thanks
        Debby

      • Ok I got it lol I am sorry I am knew to these “blogs” I guess !! Thanks for all your input! I will see what happens

  17. Hi Lauren. This is amazing. What a great job you did. Well done. Have you ever tried to do the same on granite? Just curious as would love to change mine. Best of luck with the wear amd tear but sounds like you did a really thorough job so it should last.

    • I’ve never tried it on granite, I would imagine you’d have to rough it up with a sander pretty good, and prime it really well before you put any color on. Let me know if you have more questions!

    • They still look good! Honestly I haven’t had any issues with them at all. And I would tell you guys, trust me, I want to be fully honest with these posts. I should probably do a follow up one of these days eh?

  18. I painted mine and everything turned out good except when I pulled the tape off the sink it peeled some paint up too. Did you paint up around the sink and then put caulk around it?

    • Yes I taped around the sink and painted, but then I caulked on top of that. I think if you taped it off again, and then fixed your spot, and pulled the tape right off once you’re done you’d be ok. Don’t let the paint dry and then pull the tape off, it might peel : )

  19. Hi, I’m so excited to try this after reading about so much success with this technique! I do have one question. Does the primer have to be oil based?

    • Personally I wouldn’t put anything hot on directly on it, but I wouldn’t do that to a regular counter either. If you use a towel or hot pad or rack, it’ll be fine.

  20. What did you use the wood filler on? Does you counter have cracks from in the corners like from one counter to next? Did you fill those in?

    • I used it on the cabinets, I moved the handles around to the corner. They were in the middle and left s hole. I didn’t use the filler on the counter at all. : )

  21. How long has it been since you painted your counteracts? I have been interested in doing this as well but I’m unsure how well it holds up.

    • I did it in 2012 I believe. I’m actually very shocked at how well they’ve held up, I’m not really “that” careful with them and we’re always throwing keys and stuff on them. I don’t put any hot items on it (but I wouldn’t do that to a regular counter either). I think the key is priming and sealing 👍🏼

  22. What did you use to paint the tile backsplash? Our countertops and backsplash are 4×4 tiles and I’m wanting to update without having to bust it all up.

  23. We bought a house in December that the previous owner did this in the bathrooms and kitchen. Really wish I’d looked closer, not even the inspector realized it wasn’t laminate. It’s pealing in the bathroom and wearing off the kitchen in high use areas. Seems the laminate was blue! 🙂 I’d guess it has a 3 year lifespan. We’re having to replace the countertops now. She did a beautiful job, it just isn’t for people who actually use their kitchens to cook I guess.

    • Oh no! We cook in our kitchen everyday and it’s not peeling. I’ve seen s million different ways to do it, it could have been her application or anything really. Enjoy your new house!

  24. I just painted my cabinets a medium gray, with light gray walls and a greystone laminate floor. My old countertop is white and needs a face lift. Do you think the acrylic craft paint with sparkles in it would work? I wouldn’t use a lot but I think a little sparkle might be fun.

  25. I have done this in a kitchen and a bathroom. I have had no trouble at all with either of them. I found that doing a practice piece on some cardboard helped me get the colors I was going for, so that I wasn’t guessing with the final product. I say go for it. I love the way mine look and have held up, and it has been almost 4 years. I do put a top coat on once a year, using the same materials listed here.

  26. Looks amazing!! So I am thinking about doing something similar to this on my ceramic stone floor. I plan on using water base poly for a few coats, then do a couple coats of oil based poly over that for the hardness… What do you think! I have heard the higher the shine, the harder the finish..

  27. Hi! My kitchen cabinets color is white and I want to change cabinet color, because my kitchen countertop color is black granite. 6 months ago I have changed the cabinet color but I don’t like it because there are black dots showing on the paint that looks very bad and now I want to respray it again. Any suggestions about the color you would like to suggest me? Kindly reply.

    • Yes it was, and all I did was Kilz it, and then paint it with the same paint as my walls using regular interior paint. It was kind of a last minute decision.

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