Easy Faux Marble Technique

Faux marble is a technique that can be used not only on small projects, but also for interior design, as you can use it on cabinet doors or anywhere you want to add that hint of expensive marble inlay. The best thing is that it is so inexpensive to do and it looks incredibly lifelike. This is a step by step process to reproduce the green marble style, but you can really use any base color, as you can see by the brown marble example.

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I just used the standard green, black, and white from a variety pack.

Here’s everything I used to create the above effects: for paints I have a base green acrylic, black (matte preferably), white (also matte), and gold (optional). I’m painting on a small oval wooden placque that I’ve primed ahead of time; I also prepainted the base outline with the gold to make it easier to see the detailing in the contour. I have a sponge applicator for the texturing, and even though there’s only one brush in the photo I used two, one wider for the base application, and the thin brush shown for the detailing. Also not shown, a small platter for mixing paints. I don’t recommend mixing them in the bottles. You only want to make as much as you need for each layer, but even more important than making too much is making not enough, because if you have to make more of a color you will never match the shade exactly a second time. It’s not fatal, but just be aware of it.

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Basically you’re going to be layering three different shades of the same color, so the green color I’ve selected will be the medium or base color. I’ll paint 2 coats of the base to make sure it’s evenly covered, allowing it to thoroughly dry between coats. I’m not too worried about neatness right now; I’ll touch up the base at the end because the sponge will be even sloppier.

 

Now we get to the fun scary part of paint mixing! I’m going to use a dot of green paint about as big around as the circle made by my thumb and index finger. I’m going to start with the darker tone first so I’m adding two small dots of the black paint.

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Looks like a little Martian skull.

Mix it up until the tone is well blended. Then dab the sponge into that color, just enough to lightly coat the sponge, don’t soak it. Now, gently pat the dark paint on the base paint. Turn the sponge in different directions to get a random look. Don’t worry if you have dark or straight lines, they occur in natural marble, just as long as it doesn’t look repetitive in the pattern, and don’t forget you want to see the base color underneath so don’t try and cover it all up. Don’t forget to hit the sides, and in order to do that you can’t get it neatly into that odd shape, which is why I said not to worry about not being neat.

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You can use an art sponge or even a clean kitchen type one.
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See the sponge stamp at left? That’s how I did it on the placque.

Let this layer dry; it won’t take as long as the base because you just lightly applied the paint this time. Clean out the plate, since the next color will be lighter than the base.

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Hypnotized Martian

Now we’re going to do the exact same thing with the lighter shade. Put out a circle of base color paint and give it two white eyes instead. Mix till the shade is well blended, and then apply the light color in the same way as the dark color, with the sponge. Do not try and match up the sponge marks with the darker ones. Let it dry again. Go ahead and clean off the plate, we’re done with the green tones. Also clean off the sponge, because we’re now going to switch to the detail brush.

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I switched plates to show the white paint more clearly.

Put a small amount of white in the plate and take a thin brush. Again you want to be random, but don’t draw straight lines and don’t make them all in one direction. On the other hand, don’t cross the lines too often or you’ll make a cross hatch pattern and marble doesn’t look like that naturally. Use a light touch, don’t worry about the paint lifting off or making a broken line. Don’t make too many lines. If you have to ask yourself “do I need more lines” the answer is always no, you’re fine, leave it.

IMG_4441This is an optional step but I like using it. Take some gold paint and do the same as you did with the white, only use even less than the white. You just want to give it a hint of sparkle, the way marble has the occasional shiny flaw. Also, since it’s the same color as the edging, I can now clean that up and cover up the sloppy parts from the sponge.

And there you have it! You can do this technique with any color progression. I usually do green marble since it’s the classic style but you can also do brown marble the same way. Have fun and experiment with different color palettes, and thanks for reading.

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Here’s the finished example. It will make a nice doll base for display.
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