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.
- TSP Cleaner
- Small roller and 2 roller covers
- Quality paint brushes (2" angle for painting and 3" for the polycrillic)
- Sandpaper in 80 and 220 grit
- Blue painter's tape
- Kilz oil based primer
- Various latex paint for sponge painting
- Clear glaze to mix with paint
- Sea sponge for painting
- Cotton lint free rags
- Brown painter's paper
- Polycrillic in either satin or gloss (I used satin)
- 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
SOME HELPFUL NOTES!!
- 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!
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!!!