Faux Marble Painting on Furniture

By Karl

The classic look of marble is hard to beat. Marble is rich, durable and ever-so eye catching. Marble is often associated with wealth and class. Unfortunately, marble is also very heavy and expensive. Faux marbling is a fantastic alternative to the real deal. While the faux marble technique can be applied to walls and ceilings, today we’ll discuss how to faux marbleize wooden furniture. We’ll learn what faux marbling is, how to faux marble furniture, and tools and materials needed to create the look of marble.

What is faux marble?

Marble is a rock known for its hardness and beauty. Because of these characteristics, it has been used for centuries in architecture and sculpture. More recently, table tops, mantels and other furniture have benefitted from the exquisiteness of this natural rock. Creating faux marble is a multi-step process. A basecoat is applied, then a creative hand creates the veins of the marble with a feather or artist’s brush.

How to faux marble finish furniture.

Before we get started on learning how to faux marbleize wooden furniture, you should know that you’ll need to set aside a good bit of time to devote to the technique. The results will be worth it, but realize faux marble takes a bit more time to create than some other faux painting methods. So gather your tools and materials, and get creative! Here’s how.

  1. Prepare work area. If possible, place your wooden piece of furniture on an old work bench so it is easier to manage (less bending and crouching for you!) Cover work space with a drop cloth or other protective material.
  2. Prepare furniture. Remove any hardware, drawers or doors. If there are any minor repairs that need to be made to the piece (filling small cracks/holes) do it now. Next, use the water spray bottle to wet the area you’re going to faux marbleize. Be sure to use a good amount of water to wet the wood. Let the wood furniture dry about an hour to an hour and a half and then lightly sand it with 180 grit sandpaper.
  3. Paint basecoat. Pour a minimal amount of latex paint into a small paint bucket. Using an appropriately sized foam brush, paint the area of the furniture you want to faux marbleize. Let dry at least a few hours and paint a second coat. Tip: When choosing the color for the basecoat, consider how it will work with the vein and top coat color- you’ll want the veins to stand out.
  4. Create veins. Pour the latex paint you’ve chosen for the veins in a small painters bucket. Remember, you’ll want the vein color to be darker than the basecoat color (white basecoat and black veins for example.) Use a narrow artists brush, or feather to paint the veins of the faux marble. Think of drawing the branches of a tree, or even bolts of lightning, and you’ll get the right idea going. Practice on foam board first if possible. It is critical to have a real piece of marble to look at when you draw the veins- whether you find an image in a magazine, book, on the web, or happen to have an actual piece of marble in your home. Wait 10 minutes for the veins to dry.
  5. Use a sea sponge to soften veins. Take one part basecoat paint and one part polyacrylic gloss and mix them together in a small painters bucket. Pour paint onto a disposable plate or the like. Dab the sea sponge into the paint and pat excess paint off on a lint free rag. Gently dab over the veins with the sea sponge to soften them. Next, blend the color with a piece of clean, lint-free white cloth. Let dry for 30 minutes.
  6. Repeat veins. Paint over the veins you created in Step 4. using the same color you used the first time.
  7. Apply top coat. Using a foam brush, apply a top coat of paint. Follow the grain when painting. Let dry for at least 2 hours, then gently sand surface with 320-grit sandpaper. Lightly brush off the sanded particles. Wait 5-7 days before using the piece of furniture.

Tools and materials to create faux marble finish on furniture.

  • Drop cloth or other protective material for your work space
  • Tools to remove hardware from furniture (if needed)
  • Blue painters tape
  • Water spray bottle
  • Latex paint for basecoat (satin finish)
  • Foam brush (appropriate size for project)
  • Small painters bucket
  • Narrow artists brush or feather
  • Latex paint for vein and top coat color
  • Polyacrylic gloss
  • Lint-free cloths
  • Disposable plate or palette
  • Small sea sponge
  • 180-grit sandpaper
  • 320-grit sandpaper


You know what your mother used to say… “practice makes perfect.” Well, I’m here to tell you she was right-on. When it comes to creating the faux marble finish, practice will go a long way toward creating a realistic result. And remember; don’t overwhelm the piece with marbleizing. More is not always better. Too much faux marbleizing can ruin a good thing! Consider how natural marble is typically used and mimic the look. It’s not likely you’d see an entire dining room table made from marble; but you may find a nice dining room hutch with a marble top.

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