How to Faux Paint your Wooden Table Top to Look Like Granite
How to Faux Paint your Wooden Table Top to Look Like Granite
A granite table top is sleek and modern looking, giving any kitchen or dining room an instant feel of luxury. Unfortunately, a real granite table is one few of us can afford. It’s notoriously expensive and too heavy to be practical as a table.
You can still have the look you want though, for a fraction of the price. Use a faux paint treatment on a plain wooden table. Achieving a granite top look is one of the easiest types of faux paint job, and the results are both stunning and practical.
Granite is a natural stone that comes with many different color variations. You might want a black or deep gray, a bronze or tan color or go with chic and classy looking white granite.
The trick to achieving that granite look is in layering many colors with different variations. When deciding on your colors, pick a dark color, a mid-tone color, and a light color in the same color family.
If you can, look at a catalog or stop by the granite countertop section of your home improvement store to get a sense of shades that you like.
A wooden table will work best for this project. If you have a table made of some type of laminate or plastic, you can use it as well. Just know that, with heavy use, your paint job may not last as long on a laminated or plastic table top. Plastic and laminates do not absorb paint the way wood does, so they have a tendency to begin to crack or peel sooner. On the other hand, if you have an old table handy and don’t mind investing in a bit of paint, you can get a year or two (or more, depending on how often you use the table and how rough it’s handled) of use for very little investment. But wood, particularly unfinished wood, will last the longest and be the most durable.
For paint, you will need an acrylic primer, a quart of acrylic metallic gold paint, a quart of a dark acrylic semi-gloss color of your choice, a quart of an acrylic, semi-gloss medium shade of your choice, a quart of a light semi-gloss acrylic shade of your choice, a small (touch-up size) can of medium shade tan acrylic semi-gloss paint and a clear-drying, non-yellowing acrylic varnish.
You will also need a paint roller with ¼ inch nap, a roller pan, a 3-inch pain brush, a large sea sponge, a bag of Styrofoam plates, some old newspapers, plastic garbage bags, painter’s tape, drop cloths and sandpaper.
If your table has gashes or small holes, you will need joint compound and a putty knife. Keep your vacuum handy as well.
Place the table on drop cloths in your work area. Cover the table legs with plastic garbage bags and painter’s tape to prevent them from getting paint on them.
Take a look at the surface of your table. If it’s been painted a few times, if it’s old or worn, you may need to do a bit more prep work. Wash it thoroughly with a mild detergent and a cellulose sponge to really get off the dirt. Fill in nicks and gashes with a putty knife and some joint compound. Sand it smooth with a medium grit sandpaper. You can sand it by hand, or use a palm sander if you prefer, but scuff it up really good to remove any sealers, waxes, or slick paint surfaces. Vacuum up the dust as you go along.
If your table is unfinished, clean wood, you can skip all that. No matter what type of work the surface of your table required (if any), the final step is to sand it with a fine grain paper. This gives it a smooth finish with a mild “tooth” that the paint adheres to well.
Clean the dust up and wipe the table down with a tack cloth to remove any last remnants.
Prime the table with a roller using a ¼ inch nap for the finest, smoothest coat. It’s better to do two, light, even coats than it is to slop on a heavy coat, so go light-handed.
Acrylic primer generally dries to the touch within 30 minutes, but give the table up to 4 hours to fully dry before adding additional coats
Sponges for Painting
The Base Coat
The first base coat you want to cover your table with is a gold metallic acrylic paint. One of the hallmarks of granite is the shimmery metallic flecks; these will show through very little just to give it that effect.
When you paint on the gold base coat, don’t make it even and perfect. Instead, take a brush, and brush it on in random, crisscrossing strokes. Don’t go back to even them out. You want this variation.
Let this base coat dry about 30 minutes.
The First Color
The first color you want to add to your granite should be the medium shade you selected. Stir your paint well and pour a little onto your Styrofoam plate.
Dampen your sponge and wring it as firmly as possible— you don’t want to get any drips. Pat the sponge into the paint and dab it a bit on newspapers. This will blot it so you don’t get thick globs of paint. Do this each time you re-load the sponge.
Take the loaded sponge and dab, dab, dab it over the surface of the table. You want a heavy dappled effect, so don’t entirely cover up all the gold.
Let this first color dry for about 30 minutes. Clean your sponge while you’re waiting with soap and water until the water runs out clear when you squeeze it.
The Second Color
The second color you apply should be the darkest or the lightest of your three personal choices. Remember, this second color will not be the dominant color. If you want the darkest color to be dominant, choose the lightest color for the second coat. If you want the lightest color to be the dominant color of your table, choose the darkest color to be your second color.
Mix the paint and dribble a little into a new Styrofoam plate. Dab the color on the sponge, blot it on the newspaper, and pat it gently on the table, a little more sparingly this time than the last color. Again, you’re going for that dappled effect; now you want some of the previous color and gold to show through this one.
When you’ve finished, clean your sponge and let it dry.
The Third Color
This time you’re going to apply the final coat with your dominant color. Using the same technique, pat this color on gently over the table, leaving clusters of the other colors showing through. Keep going until you like the overall coverage.
Let it dry. Clean the sponge though, because you’re not done yet.
How to create Faux Granite Countertops
Natural granite has an earthy tone to it that is mottled in with the other colors. To achieve this look, get a shade of tan acrylic paint. Mix one part paint with four parts latex water-based clear glaze, and stir well to tint the glaze.
Pour it out into the plate and dab and blot that damp sponge.
Ever so sparingly, randomly here and there, pat on a little bit of this glaze color. A few dabs every few inches will do it. Since the glaze is translucent, the other colors will still show through from underneath.
Allow the glaze to completely dry overnight.
Sealing the Deal
Apply a top coat of a clear acrylic varnish. You can roll it on or brush it on, but try not to get any brush strokes in it. This sealer will do two important things: it will make your “granite” look shiny and polished, and it will protect your precious paint job from the wear and tear of using the table.
Don’t panic when the varnish looks cloudy; it dries crystal clear. Acrylic varnishes are thinner than oil-based polyurethane (which you should not use on this project). So be prepared to apply at least three to four coats of acrylic varnish, letting the product dry completely in between coats.
Before you call it finished, look at your table legs. With your new faux granite table top, they may look unattractive or out of place. It might be a good time to stain them a rich color, or paint them a solid color to contrast with the granite and match your décor.
After you let your table cure for a week or two, set it with your finest plates and flatware, put a pretty vase of flowers on it and invite some family or friends to dinner. Wow them with your new table. You can shock them by telling them it’s not granite and you painted it yourself—though beware; they may start asking you to help them do some projects at their house. Alternatively, you can just keep your mouth closed and let them fawn over it, to see if anyone even notices it’s not real stone.