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)
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.
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.
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…
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:
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.
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!
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
Sea sponges: $4
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 : )