Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Painted Counter Top Tutorial

I have had many emails and comments about how I actually painted my counter tops.  I am by no means an expert and I am sure there are better looking counters out there but this worked for me!  So I will go through the steps that I used to achieve these for only about $25.

  1. TSP Cleaner
  2. Small roller and 2 roller covers
  3. Quality paint brushes (2" angle for painting and 3" for the polycrillic)
  4. Sandpaper in 80 and 220 grit
  5. Blue painter's tape
  6. Kilz oil based primer
  7. Various latex paint for sponge painting
  8. Clear glaze to mix with paint
  9. Sea sponge for painting
  10. Cotton lint free rags
  11. Brown painter's paper
  12. Polycrillic in either satin or gloss (I used satin)
  13. Felt pads for decorative items
Here is what they looked like before.  They are just plain speckled laminate.  I also had a few samples of granite that I used to get an idea of colors and style that I wanted.  In the end, I had to use what paint I had and my design didn't end up looking like either of them!!

1.  The first step is to clean the counter tops with TSP.  You can buy this at Walmart or any home improvement store.  I used it to wash the cabinets, soak our handles and the counters.

2.  Next step is to sand the counters.  I have a palm sander that I used with 80 grit sandpaper which is pretty course.  However, laminate is very hard and you want to lose the slick finish so this worked well.  

3.  Using blue painter's tape, tape around anything you don't want to get paint on.  For me, that was just around the sink and the pantry side cabinet.  I was going to paint the walls and do the back splash after the counters so I didn't worry about paint on those sections.

4.  Now it is time for primer.  I HIGHLY recommend using an oil based primer because it is the most durable and you need durable in the kitchen.  I used the Kilz oil based primer.  Oil base has a terrible smell and you must be able to have the windows open for ventilation.  I just put a fan in one window which pulled the fumes out without making the room too cold since it was November when I did this!!  Using an angled brush, paint around the tight areas that a small roller will not reach using an angled brush.  I rolled the remaining areas with a small roller.  I allowed to dry overnight.  I was able to remove the fan and close the window an hour after I finished painting

5.  Now you are ready for your base coat.  Remember that your base coat determines the overall tone.  A light color will give you a lighter background and a darker color will give a darker background.  Even though I sponged lighter and darker colors, the base keeps the overall tone.  I went with the ivory paint I had left over from the cabinets.  In this picture it was still wet so it looks white with the flash!  I let this dry for 2 hours.

6.  Now it is time to begin the fun sponge painting!  For this first layer, I used the brown wall paint and made a glaze.  I used two parts glaze to one part paint.  It goes a long way so you don't need much.  I think I used a 1/4 cup paint and 1/2 cup of glaze. This first layer is going to cover the whole area.  I sponged it on a one foot square area and then used a slightly damp t-shirt rag to tap the area and soften the look.  Rinse your rag as it gets color absorbed.  Remember to make it damp as too much wet will wash away the glaze.  Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture of this step!!!  Sorry!!  Continue on until all areas have been covered.  Let dry for about one hour.

7.  For these next steps of sponge painting, I used a 1:1 ratio for paint and glaze.  Since you won't need much, I mixed 2 tablespoons of glaze with 2 tablespoons of paint.  I used a walnut color brown and continued the same process of sponge painting a 1 foot area and tapping with the damp rag.  By the time I finished the whole kitchen, I could start with the next color as it dried quickly.

 8.  As you can see in the picture above, I also used a golden brown color.  Sometimes I would get too much so I would go back to the original sponge color glaze and just sponge a little over a spot if I messed up.  Some areas would look too harsh so I would take the very damp rag and would rub lightly over the area to soften the painting.

9.  To draw in the black from the room, I used some black paint/glaze mixture very SPARINGLY to just accent a little.  Black is very strong so you don't want to use much unless you want it to be dramatic.

10.  When you are happy with the look ( I had to walk away because after staring at it for so long, it was overwhelming!), let it dry overnight. Using 220 grit sandpaper, lightly sand the counter tops to knock off any high paint areas and to give an even finish for the polycrillic

  • Buy a top quality brush for the polycrilic.  It is worth the investment.
  • When you have curved counters, I laid the brown painter's paper along the bottom and sponge painted the back first.  Once dry, I then did the reverse by covering the back with paper.  This helps to get the paint in the curve.  I didn't discover this until I was almost done!!
  • The more glaze, the more opaque the color.  Since I used a dark color, I wanted to make sure it was more opaque. I used disposable plastic cups to mix and hold each glaze color.
  • I also cut my sponge into different size pieces.  Small pieces work well behind the sink and in that curve on the counter.
    • Before applying any polycrillic, if you have a large bar or peninsula like me, make sure to go in the direction against the most often viewed direction.  If you have any brush lines, they won't be as noticeable.
    • I put the small felt pads on everything that sits on the counter.  Like laminate, do not drag rough objects or ceramic bottoms across the counters.  Also, make sure to use pot holders under anything hot.  I try not to leave water standing on the counters but it has happened without any issues.  My son left a milk ring from his cereal that dried and I had no problem washing it away with soapy warm water. 

       I am very happy with how they turned out for the cost.  Once all my decorative items were displayed, I found that I didn't notice the areas that bothered me before.  They aren't perfect, but for $25, they are an amazing upgrade that I love!  Now, I only had to buy the polycrillic which is $16 at Walmart.  I estimated the amount everything else cost because I had it all on hand and plenty left over.

      I have had some emails about how I did the copper tin back splash for $20.  It was quite easy!  That will be another tutorial!
      I will do another tutorial of how I painted the cabinets.  We plan to finish the trim around the ceiling now that deer season is about over!!  Need help from Mr. Creative!

      I hope you find this as an inspiration to do something that you were scared of trying.  It is a lot of work but well worth the effort!!  I smile every time I come around the corner into the kitchen!!

      I am linking this tutorial to the following great parties this week!

      Domestically Speaking
      The new header is just a temporary replacement to the Christmas theme!!  When I have more time, the Christmas stuff is put away and the house is decorated again, I will take better pictures to work on a header!

      Have a great day!!!


      1. Bonnie it looks very beautiful. Your entire kitchen is gorgeous with the pop of red. Fabulous!

        I'm glad you are back. I hope all continues to improve with your Mom. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time.

        Happy day to you!
        Warmly, ~Melissa :)

      2. Bonnie-YOu certainly did a fabulous job! You know that I love it and I am so impressed with what a good job you did. It is amazing what creative eye, a little money and a lot of hard work can accomplish! I am proud of you girl...just darned proud! Hugs-Diana

      3. You did an absolutely amazing job. Plus the tutorial was clear and easy to follow, with all questions answered!

        Your creativity is amazing. Hoping your Mom keeps improving!

      4. I LOVE what you did!! But more importantly, I love that you found a way to use what you had. That takes a lot more creativity than picking something from a store. Definitely the "green" thing to do!!

      5. Bonnie, I think your kitchen redo is beautiful. I seriously thought you had purchased granite...way to go! You have a fun blog! Keep it up. :)

      6. It looks amazing, I may use this tut to do my bathroom counter top, if i can mustar up the nerve. I love your kitchen!

      7. Wow, Bonnie, that tutorial took a lot of work. So nice of you to share that. Thanks for joining the party.

      8. Your tutorial is great and our counters look fabulous. Pretty kitchen. Hugs, Marty

      9. Aren't you a clever gal! Great tutorial.

      10. Bonnie,
        Thank you for the tutorial. I have bookmarked it for future reference! Our counters need a change, this might be a great option!

      11. Bonnie this is fantastic and I can't wait to hear all about the cabinets as I want to put some glaze around the inset part of mine just so they don't look so solid and orange! Great Job!!

      12. Hi Bonnie, so nice to see you post this tutorial. I am happy to see you bee bopping around again....things must be going a better with your Mom. These tutorials will keep you busy.

      13. Bonnie - - I. Love. Your. Kitchen.

        Can you please come and do my countertops? And my cabinets? And the rest of my kitchen? Pretty please? It's beautiful!!! You did an excellent job!!! Thanks for sharing the tutorial!!

        Hugs ~~ Suz

      14. wOW! lOOKS fABULOUS! aWESOME JOB..

      15. Your kitchen looks amazing!

      16. Bonnie you did an awesome job on your countertop. And what a great job you did with the tutorial. Thanks for sharing.

        Enjoy your day,

        P.S. I hope all is well with your Mom.

      17. It looks GREAT - when I hear sponge paint I think 80s all the rage on the walls - LOL - but your countertops look amazing! GREAT JOB and thanks for stopping by my blog!

      18. Your hard work was well worth it. This looks so good! Love your cabinets and the beadboard on the ends is just the right finishing touch!

      19. This still blows me away that you could paint your countertops and make them look this awesome. They look like they were designed this way! Thank you for your kind comments on my kitchen. I have never thought about yellow for my stools...hmmm.....:) Have a great evening!

      20. Wow! That is so brave, and it turned out so great! Your cabinets look beautiful too. laurie

      21. You are amazing. I have painted linoleum floors before but never thought about a countertop. It looks really nice and you should be very proud.

      22. Oh, my goodness! Just the information I need right now. I'm busting my brain on what to do with my countertop in the bathroom and this tutorial has been so helpful. Thanks! Also thanks for stopping by my blog :)

      23. What a great job! So many people want to remove their dated counter tops but can't afford to. You just gave an easy affordable way out. Plus it looks fabulous!

        Take care,

      24. I'm so glad you stopped by today and sent me to your blog.. you did an amazing job...!!!
        I was not brave enough to add the sponging of different colors..but am happy with my counter. As you said, "Anything is better than what I had"!!
        You did GOOD!

      25. That is so cool! I've never seen anyone do that! :)

      26. I ♥ your kitchen! You did a great job on those counter tops Ÿ Wish I had the nerve to tackle that on my own cabinets.

      27. Bonnie

        I had no idea you can actually paint countertops. What a transformation! Looks beautiful. This is the first tutorial on painting countertops I have ever seen, and you did such a good job explaining every step.

        We have renovated our 70s style kitchen, painted cabinets and did everything ourselves as well.

        Your kitchen looks fabulous!

        Thanks so much for your comment on our blog.
        Kinga from Canada

      28. This look absolutely fabulous. I love your entire kitchen. We need new countertops but are on a tight budget. What a great stop gap measure.


        (Saw this while looking at the on the B to B party and had to come take a look.)

      29. This was great Bonnie...your good your really good...Hugs and smiles Gloria

      30. WOW,you did an amazing job! I have to show it to my hubby when he gets back home!!! Your kitchen is adorable. Thanks for stopping by the other day :)
        Have a great weekend, Veronica.

      31. Great job! I'm going to try this on our counter tops & try to do a backsplash. I bookmarked your site.

      32. Wow what an awesome tutorial. I love your kitchen it is gorgeous and I love the counter tops what a great idea!! Thank you for coming and stopping by my blog and becoming a follower I appreciate it!! I am now your newest follower. Have a great weekend!


      33. Man I wish I had seen this about a year ago. I tried to do the same thing with my bathroom counters- that faux technique-and it was a disaster with a capital D. Yours look fantastic! I can't wait to see what you have up your sleeves next!

      34. Hi Bonnie! So glad you found me. I love your tutorial! It is so comprehensive and that's really important when tacking a job this big. It's not like you can chuck it if it doesn't work out. Your kitchen really does look so fantastic! I am glad you are feeling better, I think I am coming down with a cold now myself. Great! I may need some help from you getting my header picture stretched out and narrower. It's getting held up too much when you first click on to I want to resize it to something similar to yours. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

      35. Bonnie, Your countertop turned out wonderful and your kitchen is beautiful.

      36. Bonnie, this is an amazing transformation & I would have been overwhelmed before even starting such a daunting task. You did a GREAT job & it looks wonderful!!!

        Good luck with getting that job. I'll say a little prayer for you, that they love you & hire you immediately.

      37. All I can say it that you are one amazing woman!

      38. Thanks for the visit. Stop back by for my giveaway!

      39. I just moved into a new house and have been thinking of painting my kitchen countertops. Yours turned out so nice! I appreciate the tutorial and tips and will be using some of them when I do finally get around to doing ours here.

        thank you!


      40. Thanks for your step by step instructions for painting a laminate counter. I would be interested in knowing how they have held up. I will begin this process soon. Thanks for the tips.

        Kitchen Benchtops


      I know how busy you are and appreciate that you are taking the time to leave me a comment! God Bless! Bonnie


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