How to Paint a Marbling Effect

Updated February 21, 2017

Painting a faux marble effect can be difficult but, if done correctly, aesthetically pleasing. Installing real marble can be quite expensive, so a marble appearance can often be the better option for many. The faux marble effect can be painted on walls or other surfaces, such as countertops. When painting a marble effect on large surfaces, simplistic methods are best. With a little practice, you can achieve the marble effect you're looking for.

Choose a latex wash or glaze in two colours of the same tonality. Washes and glazes may be found in home improvement stores, such as The Home Depot or Lowe's.

Tape around any trim or areas you don't want to be painted, using painter's tape. If painting a wall, tape around any woodwork, windows, doors or sockets. This will prevent the paint from reaching areas you don't want painted.

Lay down a large tarp or plastic sheet to protect the floor.

Paint on a satin base coat using a roller or brush. The base coat should be in a colour which matches your latex wash or glaze closely. Paint in the traditional fashion, using clean lines in an up and down or side to side motion.

Use a paintbrush to paint on the latex wash or glaze. A paint roller may be used in lieu of a brush if the area being painted is large. Paint on both colours, mixing and layering as you go. Do not paint in the traditional manner, but instead paint using jagged lines and shapes. This will cause the colours to blend.

Dampen a rag or cloth, and gently go over all painted areas before the paint dries. Apply pressure lightly, your goal is to soften the edges.

Wait for the glaze coat to completely dry, touch up as needed.

Choose a third, and possibly a fourth, colour that complements your latex wash or glaze. This colour will be used for "veining," the painting process that gives the cracked look of marble. Common third colours are a combination of white and grey.

Use an artist's paintbrush to paint veins on the wall using the third colour. Veins can be painted on in any arrangement, as marbled veins are sporadic. Use different pressures to achieve the marbled look and avoid patterns.

Lightly dip a feather into the paint to achieve finer marbled veins. Draw the feather across the area being painted in random patterns. The feather technique will complement the brushed veins nicely.

Things You'll Need

  • Satin base coat
  • Latex wash or glaze
  • Latex or acrylic paint
  • Painter's tape
  • Plastic sheets or tarps
  • Paintbrush or roller
  • Small artist's paintbrush
  • Feather
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About the Author

Lacy Nichols is a graduate of Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., where she earned a Bachelor of Science in communication and English. She has written and produced several radio advertisements and commercials, with publications in several literary magazines as well.