So, how did I decide this was the route to go for us? Well, mostly because our budget really would not allow any other option. But now, I am really glad that was the case because I am really pleased with the final result. So I started doing some research online and pinning different kitchens where I saw end results I liked. The two I went back to the most were General Splendour and Creative Kristi. Both of these sites had great information about how to accomplish the look.
Then, I started checking out granite samples online. I knew I wanted something that was still light and actually fairly similar to what we had in our last home. Here are a couple of the samples I used to inspire my look.
Then I painted a sample board. I think this step is important. It helped me get an idea of the order in which I wanted to layer my colors and incorporate them together. I included a picture of my sample board so that you can see my counters didn't end up looking exactly like it, but it was a great place to start and practice my technique.
Ok. When you are satisfied with that it is time to get started. First I gave my countertops a really good scrub down. Then, I sanded them with 220 grit. Just enough to give them a little grip. I used Zinser oil based primer and let that dry really well. Then I used the leftover paint from my sideboard as my base coat. When that was also really dry I got to the fun part. My supplies were really high tech! Paper towels and a paper plate and of course the acrylic craft paint. I later used an old toothbrush, but we'll get to that. (I told you it was a long post) Anyway I discovered that I liked using a slightly damp paper towel. Maybe it was all in my head but I felt like it thinned the paint just a little. One of the things I notice while researching other painted counters was that some really looked like splotches of craft paint on a surface and I did not want that. So I really tried to keep my layers thin and incorporate them together as seamlessly as possible while still getting that random "made in nature" stone look.
I ended up using six different colors of craft paint, but three of them were in a very similar color family just varying shades or finishes. In order of layers I used Rain Gray, Silver metallic, Champaign metallic, Stone Gray, Cream and a hint of red for an unexpected accent color.
I started with my Rain Gray and just blotted all over.
And here is what it looked like after the first layer. Then I moved on to my metallic colors. I actually used them simultaneously. I really, really think the metallic colors took the finished product up a notch. They are a little translucent to they added a wonderful depth that doesn't read as well in the photographs. I highly recommend if you do this, no matter what your color scheme is, that you get a complimentary metallic paint. Anyway, I did the same thing with them. I just blotted away until I got the coverage I had in mind.
Then I used my darker gray color. Creative Kristi recommended using a half paper towel for your darker colors so you don't get too heavy handed.
Um... I did use a half paper towel but I still went a little crazy with the dark gray. But if this happens to you don't freak out! That is what our next step is for. I then used my cream color to go back through and break up the dark spots a give an overall lighter look. I also was not afraid to just rub a little of the cream color into the countertop. I tried to go in a diagonal direction so it would almost look like the striae of cut stone.
After that step this is what I had. And then, because I noticed that some of the granite samples I saw had a hint of some unexpected color in very small sections I decided to do this with a tiny bit of red. This is where the toothbrush comes in.
I put the tiniest bit of red on the tip of the toothbrush and kinda flicked it on. The above picture shows how sparingly I used it. Just a little hint of this color is all you want.
After all of that I used a very fine grit sand paper... I think it was 400 and sanded the whole surface down to knock down the high spots and combine the colors a little more. For some reason I didn't get a picture of the counter after this step with the little section most of these pictures are from, but I did with another section.
If you are pleased with your result it is time to seal it all in!
We used the Envirotex Lite from Hobby Lobby. I saved up 40% off coupons and made separate trips for each bottle. I definitely suggest using coupons because this stuff is pretty pricey without them. Also you will notice in this picture we tried to use butane lighters for the bubbles. DON'T do that! I read this warning and ignored it. If you don't already have a propane torch spend the extra $30 and get one. You will not regret it. We got one for the rest of the countertops because using these was miserable!
Now... Cover everything!! Seriously this stuff drips everywhere.
Again with our high tech tools. We used craft paper and saran wrap. I don't have any pictures of us doing the Envirotex because with a large surface it is definitely a two person job. It starts to set up pretty fast so you both need to be moving to keep spreading and wiping away drips along the bottom.
Now after all of that work you will end up here.
Look at that shine!! You can actually see reflections in it. And when it all cures, which admittedly seemed to take forever... (three days). It feels so nice and smooth.
Here is a couple more finished pictures of the area you saw me painting in the pictures.
If you are on the fence about trying this I hope this informations helps. There were already good tutorials out there but when I was researching this, there was no such thing as too many examples. So I put mine out there hoping to make you that much more informed! If you have any other questions I am happy to answer!