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.


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!

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 : )


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

  1. Lauren my counters are dated white formica in a house i just bought..could i skip the first step of painting them all white since they already ate white??

    • Well the white is primer, I wouldn’t skip it because that’s what helps the rest of the paint adhere and last. Let me know if you have any other questions!

  2. Yes, I love the way your countertops turned out. I have tile countertops what would you suggest filling in between the tiles to make a smooth surface?

    • Hmm that’s a tough one. To be honest, I’m not really sure… maybe some type of putty/spackle/grout?? I can’t really say to be honest, plus you’d want the paint to stick as well.

    • I’ve seen on Pinterest concrete countertops. People who have tiled countertops are concreting over them. I had an apartment once with concrete countertops and they were awesome! I’m sure they can be painted as well.

  3. I have just recently bought a house. I didn’t realize the countertops were painted. The paint is coming off at waist height and there is a few other spots. Do you have any recommendation as to how to fill in the spots. Also, is there anything to put on it to prevent from chipping?

    • I would try very lightly sanding it with a scotch brite pad, and then finding some colors to match and using a sea sponge or small craft brush to make touch ups. After that’s dry, then apply a few coats of poly to seal it and prevent chipping.

  4. Looking at trying this over the weekend. I know a lot of people have asked this, but, are they still in good shape? Have you had to fix them at all?

  5. Hi Lauren! THANK YOU for your post. I painted my countertops a few years ago and used the Giani countertop brand. It’s held up ok but with a messy hubby that likes to leave water on the countertops and not wipe it up….it’s starting to peel….UGGGH! I’m ready to try your method and was wondering what other colors you used besides Chocolate:)

  6. Lauren: I painted my countertops 3 years ago, using your tutorial. They still look great. My son and daughter-in-law wanted to do the same and started their project last weekend. They have terrible bubbles and brush strokes in their Poly application. What can I do to help them? Please respond! Thanks. Vada Tanner

    • Was it humid when the poly was drying? Because I didn’t have that problem The only thing I can think to do is maybe wait until it completely dries, and lightly (and I emphasize lightly) sand it down, and then start over with the poly. Keep me updated!

  7. This is great! My husband and I are currently doing this and we are on the poly stage. The poly is so thin that it’s not really getting a smooth coated finish, is that what your counter tops are like? We have only applied two coats so far but it’s still extremely rough to the touch, will it smooth out? Thanks!

  8. Hi luv luv luv ur counter top post. All your directions were on point and wonderfully detailed. I looked at many posts and picked my fav tips from each one, Yours however, I considered was closest to my ideal. Here is my question; due to weather we applied 2 coats of poly on a Friday and Sat & Sun it rained. I wanted 2 more coats to do tomorrow, Monday, but don’t want to do any sanding for health reasons. Do you think that will adhere and dry properly? I wanted to wait 2 hours between last 2 coats. Thanks in advance for any help and Thank you for your great post! YOU ROCK!

    • So you have a total of 4 coats? I think that would be ok, you can always be super careful with it until you have time to do another coat this weekend or whenever you have another chance to. Let me know!

  9. Hi Lauren, I simply LOVE how your countertop came out and I really want to try it on mine, but I was wondering if it’s food safe?
    Hope to here from you soon!!

  10. Hey Lauren. How are the counters holding up to this day? I’m an avid Clorox cleaner. Do you think the poly would stand against Clorox wipes or kitchen counter spray? Im really between this method and a method of contact paper with poly on top. We have a nice 1960s Formica with gold flecks counter. Ugh.

    • I typically use whatever I grab under the sink to clean it now, I use windex a lot, vinegar and water, dish soap and water… but I think counter spray would be ok, I’ve used Clorox wipes a few times but the others I use more often. Decisions decisions right?

  11. Lauren, I love your post and has given me the inspiration I needed. I love Michael’s question…this was laminate (Formica) when you started or was it a marble or granite to start with. I am really going to do this…needs a facelift really bad…is very old Formica

  12. Hey Lauren,
    I went ahead and did my counter that night…used some different colors as I wanted it a little lighter. Came out great!!!! Thanks again for your post. I love it and went ahead and did the rest of the counters in my kitchen. (I have allot) Should be finished this morning and will do the top coat on all of it. I am doing it in sections. Wish I could show a picture…Jackie

  13. I love , love, love you post. My counters are formica and we had the backsplash done in the same formica to match a hundred years ago. I wanted to do subway tile and new stone counters but after seeing this, I’m going to give it a try. What do ypu think about adding a few metalic grains throughout with either a bit of gold leaf or metalic paint here and there?

      • I used Giani paint on my last countertop plus I added some glittery grains to it..It looked great..But after a year it started peeling, I think due to the grains of glitter were rough..and constant wiping. We are now in a different home..I’m going to paint my counter again, but this time without glitter and add polycrylic to it..I’m doing my cabinets now..Also plan on a coat or two of polycrylic..I don’t really want to have to do several coats though, do you think 1will be enough on cabinets??

  14. They look great!! How have they held up? You have inspired me to try my hand at this. I’m a big fan of water based poly for my wood projects, I never though to use it for countertops. Thank you for the detailed step by step instructions!

  15. Hi…I just did this to my counters. Need to do last step, so want to know how are they holding up? Is the polycrylic the way to go? Yours look beautiful! Thank you for your time.

  16. Hello! Your countertops look great! I’ve been watching tons of videos and reading articles on doing this and I’m ready! A couple questions I wanted black primer but couldn’t find any at the store. Do u think it’d work to tint white primer black? Or should I buy black primer online ?(can get Giani brand on Amazon) also, how long does the poly acrylic have to dry before you can put small appliances back on it? Is it heat resistant? I want to do this before we have our family Christmas at our house on 12/23 but was wondering if it’d have plenty time to cure by then if I get it done this week. Thanks!!!!

    • I think you’d have plenty of time! I know you can tint primer, I think they can do it at lowes/Home Depot or anywhere you shop. I’d let it dry a few days (maybe 2 or so). I don’t really put any hot things on it, but I wouldn’t do that with a regular countertop either. I usually use a towel or something under my dish or pan and it’s fine.

  17. Thanks!! I appreciate your input! I think I’ve watched your video about 20 times lol. I watched while I practiced on construction paper too 🙂 I just hope mine turn out as good as yours! I saw a video where a couple people sprinkled very fine glitter on top of the wet acrylic paint to give it that granite sparkle. Ever done that?

  18. Also my countertops have the wood strip around them. Meaning the countertop doesn’t rube over the edge. It has wood edges. Do u think the primer will adhere to the wood ok? Thanks!! Sorry for so many questions!

  19. Lowe’s said u can’t tint it black and said there are no black oil based primers. I can order a black primer from Giani that they sell in their countertop paint kits. It’s water based though. Think it’d still work as well? I REALLY want black primer. Thanks!!

    • I’m not sure… that one might be up to your discretion. For reference, I used a white primer and can’t really see any white at all. If you sponge enough dark color over it I think you’ll be ok

  20. Hello!
    Just wondering if sanding is a necessary start? My counter had no cuts or anything in it but my paint doesn’t seem to stick! I also didn’t do the primer because I wanted black as my base so I Just started with that

    • I’d for sure recommend a primer, I can’t really say anything about the sanding, but the point of the primer is for the other paint to adhere to it. If you want Black as your base, you can still use a white primer and then sponge on black for your first color and cover most of your counter with it.

  21. Hi Lauren, I done this also about 8 years ago and doing this again now a different color I used a high gloss polyacrlic last time but painting them again I am kind of liking the duller look.. Do you like the satin sheen? Why didn’t you want to go high gloss? Do you think the satin will hold up as good as high gloss.?

    • I used satin because I didn’t want a ton of things to show like fingerprints and such. I like it! It gives just enough sheen without being dull or too shiny. It’s shiny when the light hits, but looks normal if you’re just looking at it (if that makes sense)

  22. I did this 3 years ago, but now I want to stripnit all off and try something else. Do you have any clue how to get it all off? 😬

  23. I like this. I will be trying it. Could you have used oil based paint? Would this make a stronger bond. Using an oil primer. Was the sealer the strongest there is? I hope to do this with a lifetime of say 10-15 years before I need to repair it. At 64 I am looking for long term options. Your ideas are great.

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