If any of you spend as much time on Pinterest as I do, I’m sure you have come across at least one Pin about painted counters. You know the ones… “Complete Kitchen Makeover For Under $100.00”.
You take the bait. The “new” kitchen looks like it has brand new cabinets, stone counters–the works. And you’re like–what?? How the heck did this happen on that budget?!
Well I’m here to tell ya, about the counters anyway. The cabinets we’ll save for another day.
Actually, I’m going to break it down step-by-step and show you how to get beautiful DIY painted countertops.
First let me preface this by saying, I am not an expert and I did a ton of research before I chose to head down this path.
I became obsessed. I could not believe the results I was seeing online. I kept searching for someone somewhere to say that it didn’t work for them, or it didn’t turn out like they had planned, or even that it really wasn’t as easy as they thought it would be. But that was never the case, I only turned up success story after success story.
Having just moved into my diamond in the rough (I mean really rough) home, I had nothing to lose. I figured if it didn’t work out, I would just replace the counters. Which was my original plan, because–well look at them.
1972 Called, They Want Their Counters Back
See what I mean? Yes, that is avocado green.
The decision was made. I just had a little more research to do before I took the plunge. I am nothing if not a perfectionist, and this research session was about different stone types, color, and pattern. I needed to know what I was going to try to recreate, or at least what color palate I tended to favor.
I already knew I liked Quartz countertops best. I have never been a Granite girl. I love the subtle sparkle and overall lighter color that Quartz contains.
I had my mental image of what I wanted. It was time to see if I could actually pull it off.
To the craft store I went. That’s right, the craft store–not the hardware store.
Supplies You Will Need
- Acrylic craft paint (in your chosen colors)
- Solid color base coat, opposite of the final shade you want to end up with(more on that later)
- Natural sponges
- Very fine grit glitter (optional)
- Variety of paint brushes for the paint (cheap is ok here)
- Premium paintbrush for the epoxy (you don’t want to chance it losing any hairs)
- Large measured mixing cup for the epoxy (you will not be able to re-use this)
- A couple clean wooden stir sticks (you can usually get these free at your hardware store)
- Plastic drop cloths
- Painters Tape
- Razor Blade
- Duct tape
- Envirotex Lite (calculate how much you will need here Envirotex Flood Calculator)
- Propane Torch
- PPE (Personal Protective equipment, gloves and goggles)
A small note about the acrylic craft paint. I knew I was going to do a trial mock-up on a piece on a scrap of wood before I committed to the whole kitchen. That is why I bought so many bottles of paint. I had no idea which colors I was going to like best for the finished product (as they were about $0.79 each, I was totally ok with going overboard). By no means does a normal person need this many colors. My suggestion is to pick between 5 and 7, depending on how complex a stone sample you are trying to recreate.
Getting Started – Prep and Set Up
First you are going to want to start off by protecting your cabinets, floor, sink–basically anything you do not want to get paint on.
I do not have an under-mount sink, so I began by taping all along the edges (tape the sink, not the counter) as to not ruin it with paint.
I had already painstakingly sanded and repainted all the cabinets. In hindsight I would not have started with that step–because now I had to protect them.
With the plastic drop cloth and duct tape make sure you cover everything. Do not be tempted into skipping this step. I didn’t really want to cover my entire kitchen in plastic and duct tape either, but trust me. You are going to be making a fine mess, and this step will save you a heap of frustration later.
Before any paint touches your countertops, be sure degrease them first.
A couple tutorials I read recommended using TSP (Trisodium Phosphate), a heavy duty cleanser that is typically used to clean the outside of your house before painting. I chose to not go this route, it seemed like overkill to me. I used a normal kitchen degreaser and scrubbed everything down thoroughly. I also decided to lightly sand the surface of the countertops, for better paint adhesion.
Wipe down and dry the counters completely one last time. Make sure you remove all the dust you just created by sanding.
Now your ready to paint!
The Base Coat
As mentioned earlier, you are going to start with a base coat that is the opposite of the color you want to end up with. So if you want your finished product to be white, your base coat will be black or dark grey. If you want the end result to be black, your base coat will be white or cream. If you are going for beige, use dark brown–you catch my drift.
I personally was going for a white-ish finished color, so I used dark grey. I happened to have some regular old latex paint (the kind you paint your walls with) laying around, so that is what I used.
*Note that there is no plastic wrapped around my cabinets yet–well hindsight is 20/20. What’s that saying… do as I say, not as I do? Trust me.
How To Get The Stone Look
If your anything like me this is the part you have been waiting for. All this research, prep, and due diligence–BORING. You want to get started already.
Unleash your creativity!
How exactly do we go from flat grey to fabulous? Layer by layer. Here is where those natural sponges you bought come into play. You want to build up to your desired color, so for me that was dark to light.
Right about now, you are probably thinking what a terrible mistake you have made.
My counters weren’t really that bad. Why couldn’t I just leave well enough alone? OMG what am I doing?! –Don’t worry, I had these exact same thoughts. Just silence your inner monologue and press on. You got this!
See? I told you.
Notice the texture in the bottom picture. That comes from a lot of layering. There is no right or wrong in this step. You paint until you get a finish that feels good to you. It’s all personal preference.
When I was almost done I used some gold and pearlescent paint (sparingly). I also chose to use glitter. I simply scattered it, like a fairy sprinkling pixie dust. Very technical.
Put Some Shine On It
Let your handiwork dry completely for 24 hours before proceeding with the next step.
Using the Envirotex Lite was the most intimidating step for me. It had to be mixed a certain way, not too fast or you get bubbles; not too slow or it doesn’t combine properly. It had to be just right–sure thing Goldilocks.
The Envirotex Lite is what seals your newly painted countertops and also gives them that beautiful shine. Before mixing, read the instructions at least twice. You only get one shot at this. The product starts to cure in about 10 minutes, so you need to make sure you have everything ready before you start.
Envirotex Lite is a self-leveling resin. Meaning, it will drip over the sides of the counter. I taped cut up cardboard on the floor along the base of my cabinets to catch the spills.
After you have read the instructions and prepped your work area you are ready to begin.
Mix exactly according to manufacturers directions. Begin pouring at the center and work your way out. Using the same wooden stir-stick that mixed the product with as your spreader. Smooth and level until counters are completely covered.
In about 15 minutes air bubbles will start to rise to the surface. You want to get rid of these! Grab that propane torch.
Placing the torch on low, and keeping about 6 to 8 inches from the surface gently move the torch back and forth to pop those bubbles.
Your beautiful new counters will be fully cured in 72 hours. They will be dry to the touch before then, but do not place anything on them.
You will need a razor blade to remove the tape that you used to protect the sink. I added a nice caulk line around the sink to really make it look professional.
Gorgeous right? I could hardly believe it myself.
I took these pictures in May of 2015, and let me tell you they look just as beautiful today. I really couldn’t be happier with my choice to try this crazy idea of painting countertops.
The Finished Product
I hope this helped anyone who was on the fence about trying this project. If you have any questions about painting your counters, send me an email, I’d be happy to help!