Thursday, December 19, 2013

Faux Marble Painted Table

I am well behind on blogging about my latest work. It's been painting non stop here at Lilyfield Life and I even had to hire my nephew who has just finished his HSC to sand and prime for me (and to clean my shed and organise my tools - it's amazing to be able to find my stuff easily. Let's see how long it lasts!)


Yesterday I tried my hand at painting faux marble for the first time. The first attempt was just passable and from a few metres away it looked okay but close up it was all smudgy and VERY obviously painted. At the 11th hour I decided I couldn't live with it and stripped it back to the bare timber and primed it again and painted it again. Phil took the kids to Christmas carols and I stayed home working but I'm very pleased I did as I am happy with the result.

It also meant I finished all my work for 2013 by lunch time today - save for the references check and drafting up a letter of offer for the recruitment job I've been doing (we've found a wonderful person, yay!). So the kids and I headed to Bronte for an afternoon on the beach. Just beautiful. Why don't I do that more often (more than just the weekends - can I fit more into my days??)

I agreed to painting the faux marble top with some hesitation but really I thought how hard can it be - I've got "google and ""you tube. It'll be okay. Carolyn delivered her table top to me a week ago. It was a reddish timber and I primed it but let it sit for days while I completed other jobs. I was actually fearful of starting!  Anyway I finally decided to give it a try. I watched these videos about ten times each. My google search history is full of marble, faux, paint, veining, cararra etc.

and this one in French

I won't list out how I did it as for most of the time I was freaking out full of self doubt. When I get better I will write a tutorial. I'm not a fan of tutorials written by people who've done something once so won't do that myself. I started with my supplies using Drying retarder and a watercolour emulsion to help my paint flow. I also stole a feather or two from our chickens. You are meant to use a goose or swan feather but we have chickens in our backyard and not geese because I hate honking geese; and not swans because my backyard is the size of a postage stamp.

This is my first attempt below. Passable but barely. I made the mistake of doing the background veins in dark grey and not mid grey so it all got too dark and heavy. And also because it's my first attempt and I think you possible need years of practice to perfect this technique.

So last night I stripped it all off and started again. Carolyn was coming first thing this morning so I had time pressure as well. Phil took the kids out and I had a vodka because so many people say to have some alcohol; to relax you before painting faux marble.
Second attempt is much improved.

Here it is on the table top which actually makes it look much more realistic. The table also has a huge black ornate mirror over it.



It looks good but not perfect but at a fraction of the price of cut shaped marble I think it will do.

I am keen to practice this faux marbling technique more. I'm even thinking I should take some lessons if I can find a teacher.

and of course I'm keen to spend more time at the beach.. lucky it's Christmas and summer holidays.

Time to breathe...

I'd love to hear what you think of the faux marble. Love or hate? (or in between). 

Have you ever tried to paint it yourself?

Edited to say see it in situ here

Fiona xx


  1. Looks incredible!! Nice work!! (found you via facebook!)

  2. Replies
    1. OMG Cassie can you remind me next year not to bite off more than I can chew....

  3. Beautiful job! Might have to try this some time myself!

    1. thank you Sue, so worth trying. perhaps not on a commissioned piece for your first go. LOL. but i'll definitely be doing again to improve my technique.

  4. I do like the faux marble - your job make that little piece look so much better!

    We have some faux marbling that was done on our fireplace around 1910 or somewhat. It's all peeling now, done in an art nouveau/deco painted frame that I don't really care for. I am happy with the peeling and fading; it'san exercise in "saving" the old house. When you get really good, you can come over and redo it for me! ;-) In the meantime, you will not see me attempting faux marble for the first time on the fireplace!

  5. Feel the fear and do it anyway.

    That looks great.

    1. too true Carolyn. I'm good at a challenge!
      have a lovely Christmas. Hope your day is lovely
      Fiona x

  6. Fiona the marble looks really really real (haha)!! You must be thrilled with it.

  7. That really is very good Fiona, well done!! :)

  8. Replies
    1. Thanks so much Monica, I’m so relieved i made it passable!

  9. It looks so real, great job!

  10. Absolutely amazing - I used to do this a LOT - and I don't think mine ever looked as good as this one - so there goes your theory lol
    Your client must have been over the top thrilled -


Thanks for taking the time to comment! Sorry if you have trouble commenting, you can always email me at