Marble effect house painting techniques

Updated February 21, 2017

The marble effect is one of the most challenging faux painting finishes to create. Professionals and homeowners use the marble effect to give painted surfaces the look of polished marble to avoid the high cost associated with actual marble. With a little practice and some trial and error, you can transform your wooden posts or concrete floor with paint to make them look like marble.

Paint the surface with eggshell paint using a paintbrush in corners and along edges and a paint roller on the larger, flat surfaces. Allow the paint to dry overnight.

Paint the surface with linseed oil in a small, even layer with the paintbrush and paint roller. The linseed oil slows the paint's drying time, giving you more time to work when applying the faux finish.

Mix a small amount of the black oil-based paint with the eggshell paint in each plastic container to produce a grey colour. Create different shades of grey in each container by adjusting the amounts of black and eggshell paint used. Mix at least three shades.

Apply the grey paint to the area in overlapping, random swirling patterns.

Pull a dry, soft brush through the paint to soften and blend the colours creating streaks from the swirled colours.

Dab a dry rag over the surface to remove excess paint and further blend the colours together.

Pull the dry paintbrush through the paint again to remove any marks from the rag.

Add diagonal, irregular veins across the surface with the medium-grey paint using a small detail paintbrush. These veins should not cross each other.

Glide a dry paintbrush over the veins to soften the lines.

Dip the side of a feather into the white spirits and pull the feather backwards against a paper towel to rough the feathers. Then dip the feather into the darkest grey.

Move the feather lightly through the previous veins to add detail and depth to the veins. When you are satisfied with the finished look, allow the paint to dry.

Add a translucent glaze to the surface with a paintbrush to protect the faux finish and create the shiny look of polished marble.


Practice on a scrap piece of drywall or cardboard to get a feel for the technique before attempting to paint the surface. Experiment with different colours to create a decorative coloured marble finish. Refer to pictures of different marble patterns for inspiration.

Things You'll Need

  • Paintbrush
  • Roller
  • Eggshell oil-based paint
  • Linseed oil
  • Black oil-based paint
  • Plastic mixing containers
  • Small paintbrush
  • Cloth
  • Goose feather
  • White spirits
  • Translucent glaze
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About the Author

Chasity Goddard has been writing poetry, fiction and nonfiction since 1996. Her work has appeared in "Backspace" magazine, "Sepia Literary Magazine" and the "Plowman Press." Goddard holds a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing with a specialization in women's studies from the University of Tennessee.