How to Make Paint Look Marbled

If you’ve scrolled through TikTok or other social media platforms recently, you might have come across viral content on faux marble finish. This technique can instantly transform an ordinary finish into a sleek & eye-catching surface. Plus, it’s a lot cheaper than installing real marble. In today’s tutorial, we show you how to create a faux marble finish in 5 easy steps!

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What is Faux Marble Finish?

Marble is beautiful, luxurious, and classy. It also is quite expensive and labor-intensive. Instead of breaking the bank, there’s a creative alternative: making paint look marbled.

Marbled Technique

A faux marble finish is created through a handful of steps: preparation of workspace, primer/base coat, marbleization, and application of a protective coating. The last step – typically, this involves a couple of polyurethane coats – is reserved for high-contact surfaces. These include countertops and furniture.

So, how do you actually create marbleization? Once a surface is properly prepared, it’s ready to go through the process of mimicking the veining (or lines) you find in real marble. This is done with the use of different size brushes. There are a few other key steps involved, but we’ll get to that later on in this guide.

Type of Paint Used for Marbling

You might be wondering, what type of paint do you use for marbling?

When creating a marbled effect with paint, you want a glossy primer. The base coat helps create the polished look of real marble. As for the actual marbling process, a glaze is a great pick. Due to its slow-drying nature, it allows you to work with it effortlessly. Plus, it’s easier to wipe off in case there’s a mistake or drip.

You can use varying colors. The most widely used are blacks and grays. To mimic more complex marble, you’ll need at least two different colors.

Best Applications

There are so many different applications! One popular spot to apply a marble look is a bathroom. A kitchen is another great space to add major visual appeal. However, you are definitely not limited to room walls.

Other popular applications include countertops, furniture, wood paneling, and much more. It really comes down to your imagination. Many types of surfaces can be prepped and finished with a marbelizing finish.

How to Create Faux Marble Finish

Okay, enough of all the background information. Let’s get to the fun part! Once you’ve picked up all the necessary items, it’s time to prep, practice, and put down gorgeous marbling effect.

Tools and Materials

In order to paint look like marble, grab the following:

  1.     Paintbrush
  2.     Feather (yes, actually feather)
  3.     Sea sponges
  4.     Spray bottle (for misting)
  5.     Dampened rag or baby wipes
  6.     Base coat paint
  7.     Veining paint or glaze
  8.     Polyurethane (only for applicable surfaces)

Marbling drywall? Use the following to fix any cracks or holes:

  1.     Spackling compound
  2.     Putty knife
  3.     Sanding paper or sponges
  4.     Primer

Prepping a wood surface? Grab the following:

  1.     Sandpaper or motorized sander (220 and 320 grit)
  2.     Wet rag or sponge (to clean dust)
  3.     Primer

Working with plastic? 

Make sure to use a primer that’s specifically formulated for plastics.

Step 1: Prepare Workspace

Preparation is key to any project, and the same goes for faux marble finish. Whether it’s the walls of a bathroom or a tabletop, you’ll want to make sure the surface is ready to take on marbleization. Let’s focus on interior walls for this step.

First, if there are any cracks or holes in the drywall, you’ll want to patch them up. Using a putty knife, fill the spots with spackling compound. Allow to dry and then sand smooth. Remember to lay down drop clothes prior to your work. Also use painter’s tape along corners and edges for a clean line. Once you prepped the area, it’s time to lay down some paint.

Step 2: Apply Primer and Base Coat

Depending on the surface, you’ll prime and/or lay down a base coat. If you need to prime, two coats might be necessary. You also want a base coat that mimics the underlying color of the type of marble you’re trying to emulate.

When it comes to the actual paint, you’re looking for something that will provide plenty of gloss through the marbling effect.

Step 3: Practice Marbling Technique

It might be tempting to jump headfirst into this project, but you can save yourself a lot of frustration with a little practice. Try your hand at marbling on a spare piece of cardboard, drywall or wood paneling. This will allow you to perfect the technique and boost confidence.

Another handy tip is to take a look at images of real marble. Study the look of various types of marble. Better yet, take a trip to a local tile store to see the real deal in person. Studying and practicing is the best bet if you want your project to turn out fantastic!

Step 4: Apply Faux Marble Finish

Cover all the prep steps? Awesome! Now it’s time to lay down some marbling.

Using your color(s) of choice, apply veins on the surface with a paint brush. You can use a photo as reference to help you dial in the right look. Work in small sections. In order to soften up portions of the lines, mist it with a spray bottle and then dab with a damp sea sponge.

If you want more defined lines, keep your brushstrokes untouched. For softened lines, or some muddled texture, a sea sponge is your best friend. You’ll most likely use a combination of brush and sponge to get the right look.

Another great tool for creating realistic-looking marble effects is a feather. You can run a darker color over a little color, for instance, with one. This can create nice fine lines and cool texture. Again, practice. Experiment with techniques until you come across what you want!

As you’re marbling the surface, there might be a drip or line you don’t quite like. Simply take a baby wipe or damp rag and clean it off. Glaze is especially forgiving.

Step 5: Apply Polyurethane Coat (When Applicable)

Marbling a countertop, table or another item that sees a lot of contact? You’ll want to grab some polyurethane spray. Make sure it’s water-based and either satin or gloss finish. This will give your finish a polished touch just like real marble.

We suggest using two coats of polyurethane. This will ensure full coverage and protection. Last but not least, allow the surface to dry for at least 24 hours. Once it’s fully dry, you should have a surface that highly resembles genuine marble.


Adding the classy & luxurious look of marble to your home is definitely within reach. Instead of paying a ton of money for the real deal, you can always recreate the appearance with some time, patience, and creativity. Looking for a topnotch painting contractor to help with your marbling project? Great Guys Painting makes it easy to find the right fit.

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