Use this simple marble effect paint technique on terra cotta, wood, canvas…most anything you can paint. See how easy it is to create a faux marble finish.
This post contains affiliate links, which means that I earn a commission if you make a purchase using these links. The price you pay, however, will not be affected. Thank you for supporting To Work with My Hands by using these links when you decide to purchase these products. View my full disclosure here.
I’m all about authenticity when it comes to doing life.
Everyone appreciates REAL, right?
But when it comes to DIY, I don’t mind one bit doing a little faking.
When I learned how to create a faux marble finish on a little stool I found at a thrift store, I was hooked. It was too much fun not to do again, so I gave it a shot on a couple of terra cotta pots.
Works just as well!
What You Need
Creating a marble effect with paint is so simple…it’s a great example of how a faux finish is really just a matter of tricking the eye.
Done well, it’s hard to tell the difference between real and fake. Plus you can save your $250 with this DIY version.
Here’s all you’ll need to make your own:
The Marble Effect Paint Technique
Start by painting the planter with a solid base coat.
I used three coats of Light Buttermilk.
Don’t forget to paint the inside of the rim too. Depending on what you plan to put in it, you don’t have to go far. I painted down to just beneath the rim.
After the base coat is dry, it’s time to add some veins. I used a feather in the thrift stool project but found that a small watercolor brush will work well too.
To keep the paint from looking like a painted-on line, dilute it in a little water first. I love using parchment paper spread on my counter to work on and it makes a perfect built-in mixing palette too.
Starting with Slate Grey, add some diagonal lines to the planter. Keep a light hand as you work and if some parts of the vein get a lighter coat than others, that’s great! We’re going for the natural look so nothing too precise.
Make these random lines all around the pot, keeping in mind that natural marble has veins that tend to run in a somewhat diagonal pattern.
Once it dries just a little, pounce over the line lightly with a damp sponge to smear the line some.
Next, add a second color (I used Desert Sand), and with a clean sponge, repeat the dabbing process.
Next, dab on the last non-white color (that was Khaki Tan for me) along the veins using the damp sponge.
Finally, use the damp sponge again to lightly pounce the white over the entire planter.
If you’re not satisfied with how it looks, you can always go back and add a little more pouncing with the sponge using any of the paints you’ve already used.
Just keep playing with it until you’re satisfied.
Here’s a handy tip to keep in mind: if at any point in the process you don’t like how it looks, you can wipe it off with the damp sponge (or a baby wipe). And if the veins or accents are too dry, simply repaint the base color over them and start again.
Here’s an even handier tip to remember: Since we’re copying a natural look, there’s no “right” way to do this. In fact, the more random you make your design, the more authentic your marble effect paint technique will look. So enjoy the process!
They make perfect planters for DIY Topiaries.