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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Volakas White Marble: Faux Painting Tutorial

I decided to put that art degree to good use, and save us some money on counter tops, so I faux finished them like Volakas marble. I followed the basic instructions found on Gorgeous Shiny Things  which included a video (Which you should definitely watch first!). I decided to go with Volakas, rather than Carrera because it seemed a little more forgiving.  
Here are the basic instructions of how I painted my counter tops. 
You will need
-Sea Sponge
-Softening Brush (I used a wide bamboo brush I found at hobby lobby)- bristles soft and loose like a makeup brush.
- A wide (2" or more), medium, and small paint brush. 
-Acrylic Medium (paint extender, or glaze- found in the real paint section at Hobby Lobby).
-White Acrylic Primer
-Black and Cobalt Blue Paint
-Sealer like EnviroTex or Polycrylic-
Photos of the Marbles you like- keep them close to help gauge the randomness of the veins.

BEFORE: 1967 White and Gold Formica, that was very loved. 
Clean them off really well, and remove your socket covers. Tape off you appliances, because it will look weird if your counters have a halo around each appliance. 
Prime with a BRUSH at least two coats of white primer. You are using a brush instead of a roller because marble has a grain, and this will be one more interesting layer. No gray is added yet, that is just old counter top showing through. If you counters are not white to begin with, you may need more primer. 

Mix 2 parts white paint (you can use your primer), 1 part acrylic glaze in two  disposable containers. Ad 1 drop of black and cobalt blue to one of the white glazes and mix. DO NOT MIX WITH YOUR BRUSH! Do not EVER mix/stir paint with your brushes- It will get it all up inside the bristles and all over the metal part, which will drastically shorten the life of your brushes. ALSO try not to ever get the paint above half way up the bristles- your brush will be easier to clean if you do this. And remember, a paint brush is not a spoon, you should never scoop paint up with it, especially during this process, where less is more.  

Once it is dry apply a layer of glaze over the whole counter so you paint will float. 
With a wide brush apply the gray glaze in the wide vein shape, like we saw in the video. Then sponge, and feather out with a softening brush. Let dry. 
Add another coat of glaze and some stronger veins, sponging and feathering less.

Add a coat of white glaze sponged and feathered over the whole counter, heavier in the places you don't like as much. 
(I felt like the pattern above was too even like zebra stripes which looked cheesy. I sponged about half of them down. This is why you should keep your picture close at hand!)
Add more veins, sponge, and this time use your softening brush in the same direction as your vein to give the look of a many small, fluid, hairline strokes. 
The more layers you add, the more depth there will be in your marble.
Add a gloss sealer- the high gloss looks the most realistic in my opinion. I sealed mine with an acrylic glaze temporarily, until we change out our cook top and sink next week. Then, while the cook top and sink are out, I will EnviroTex the whole counter top and backsplash. We used EnviroTex on our sorority lap desks  in college, and that stuff is tough. Hopefully I won't have to constantly be touching it up, like the people say they have to with Polycrylic.
 - No hot pots directly on the counter- but you wouldn't do that directly on most surfaces any way.
Update: EnviroTex, I tried to be frugal with it, and stretch it as far as I could, which meant I now have to do a second coat because the surface is uneven. Pour on WAY more than you think you need and let it drip off.  Lightly sand off anything stuck in the paint first too. The heat gun got rid of all the bubbles. Make sure to tape down the plastic on the floor, or it will move when you walk on it and then the drips will get on your floor. I will let you know how coat two goes. I will be using polycrylic on the backsplash and around the sink because the EnviroTex is so thick. 

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