DIY Painted Granite Countertop Update for $50

Update your kitchen on a dime.

We recently sold a small cottage on acreage that needed a fresh look.  When we bought it, we called it “50 Shades of Beige”.  We weren't sure where to start, but we replaced the white appliances with stainless and started planning how to brighten up the drab decor.  I wanted granite, but wasn't sure about the return on investment in the price range of the home.  Eventually, I could not take the scratched beige countertops any longer and read a few blog posts about painted faux granite countertops.  I had most of the materials on hand and only had to buy a few paints, so it was a go!  I'd love to show you how I transformed my kitchen for about $50.

Before & After

painted_granite_countertop_before_after.image.jpg

DIY Instructions for beautiful new countertops:

I recommend doing this in phases, because you have to wait a few days before using the countertops again.  If you don’t need to use your kitchen, then go for it all at once.  Before you begin, choose your ideal granite countertop.  I chose Giallo Napoleon, because I loved the sandy earth tones and thought that they would compliment the cabinet stain.  Choose and purchase the paint colors and supplies.  I used Folk Art paints because I found them for a steal ($1!) at Michael's.  

1.  Sand, tape, and prep

First, sand countertops with a medium-grit sanding block and afterward carefully wipe them down with a damp cloth.  When the countertops dry, tape the edges and apply a primer (I used Kilz Original).   After the primer dries, paint on a base color.  I chose a linen (all colors listed at the end of the post) in order to match my granite sample. 

2.  Add colors

Now, get out the wine because for the next few hours you’ll need to try not to panic.  It gets pretty ugly.  Take a deep breath, choose your first color and dab it onto the countertops at random, using a small sponge or scrunched up plastic bag.  You may want to use paper plates as your painter’s pallets.  I used plastic sandwich baggies and I found that the look was a little more natural than the sponge because you could change the shape and size of the print.  If it looks hideous, you’re on the right track!  

Let it air dry for a while and while it is still slightly tacky, start applying the next color.   Layering on the paint while it is still damp seems to help with blending and creating a more natural, less stamped-on look.  Apply your custom blend of colors until you are satisfied with the overall feel.  Adding a tiny bit of metallic paint at the end creates depth and shine.  It’s looking better now, isn’t it?

3.  Poly and sand

Next, you need to allow the paint to dry completely.  It wouldn’t hurt to run a box fan to speed up the process.  Now it’s time to put down the wine and make sure that you have ample ventilation because the fumes from polyurethane are potent.  Using a high-quality paintbrush with natural bristles, brush on a thin coat of oil based polyurethane, like Minwax 63000 Fast Drying Polyurethane in Clear Gloss.  This stuff is the key to achieving beautiful wet granite shine.  When the poly is completely dry, use a fine-grit sanding block and very lightly sand the poly to create a more natural, blended look.  Wipe down the countertops and start with a second coat of poly.  Repeat this process at least four times (poly, dry, sanding, wipe down).  If you’re looking for longevity, consider a fifth or sixth coat of poly.  Don’t use your countertops for 72 hours after the final coat of poly to allow for complete drying.

4.  Wait patiently and enjoy your new kitchen!

I hope you enjoy the new look of your kitchen or bath!  Please share your experience and feel free to ask any questions in the comments section.

Shopping List: 

  • Medium-grit sanding block
  • Paint brush
  • Kilz
  • Plastic sandwich bags
  • Acrylic Paints (Folk Art Brand - Base #879 Linen (2 big bottles), #602 Country Twill, #2933 Medium Gray, #989 Licorice, #20526 Country Grey, #515 Vintage White, Gold Metallic)
  • Paper plates
  • Mixwax Polyurethane
  • Fine-grit sanding block

Donna Peters

Front Porch Design Studio, Monroe, GA 30656, USA