Stone Soup for Five: Painting our kitchen counters

Painting our kitchen counters

I did it.  
I painted my kitchen counters.

After months of obsessing about it.
Searching blogs, pinterest, google.
Questioning everything (would it work, would it look stupid, would it hold up) 


And I LOVE them!  

So questions answered first.

Was it cheap?  YES!  1 gallon of Zinsser Cover stain, sand paper, black latex paint, craft paint, and polycrylic

Was it hard?  NO! But you have to be brave because for the first 3-4 hours you'll feel like crying and wonder often why you were stupid enough to do this... but just hang on. WAIT it out.  KEEP working, it's going to be FABULOUS!

Is it durable?  Well, I can't say about long term durability yet, but so far it has been fine (after it cured--before it cured, not so much--live and learn).

How do you do it?  That's what I hope to show you in this (long) post.

First, degrease the surfaces you are going to paint (I used TSP) and when dry, sand to rough up the surface (I used 80 grit paper and a sponge sander for the edges and hard to reach places).  Wipe clean with a tack cloth or rag, so there is no residue left.

Second, tape off everything you don't want to get painted.  I should have taped off the lower cabinets to avoid touching them up.   Don't be a Kari.  Do that too.

Third, with a sponge roller, roll on the Zinsser Cover Stain smoothly.  I did 2 coats.  In hind sight I should have looked into having it tinted black.  It would have been MUCH easier... so look into that if you want to do this.  

We painted right over the shiny aluminum strips that connect the backsplash to the countertop.  

 Next, paint over the primer (with sponge roller) with the base color.  I chose black satin latex paint.

We did two or three coats.  Till we couldn't see the primer through the paint... which is why I should have looked into getting the primer tinted.  

Again, don't be a Kari.

No one wants that...
Wadded up paper towel bag, .99 craft paint

Now comes the scary/want to cry/fun part.  It's a whole gamut of emotions packed into a tiny place in time.  
We squirted craft paint onto a paper paint.

Wadded up plastic bags.

Dipped them into the paint (we used about 5 colors)

Hello 90's sponge paint!
Then tested them on another paper plate, to be sure that there were no dripping globs...

Then pounced them along the counter in random order.

Be sure to turn your hand between each pounce, so you don't get any real 'tracks' across your counter.

You may feel like crying at this point, but keep going.

Don't cry at this point... it gets better! I promise!

My sister-in-law and I did this and it takes hours to build up the layers for a nice granite/stone look.  Be patient and remember how much money you're saving on your faux-model.  We each did ALL the countertop area in the color of paint we had.  If you just work in a section at a time, you'll notice a huge difference in the pattern.  So work around the whole kitchen with one color, then move on.  Don't do sections!

After a few hours of working around the kitchen, slamming your stupid bags on the counters, and letting the kids totally thrash the rest of the house, you'll end up with something similar to this (depending on what colors you use).  

Oh, and use gloves.  

Don't be a Kari.


SO MUCH nicer than 90's sponge paint.!

(that's my nephew... sticking his fingers into the fan.)




We added some burnt sienna and just a few little spots of metallic copper, which I LOVE!

Hello Cheap and Beautiful!!

*big pink puffy scratch and sniff HEART*

Go to bed excited and exhausted.

Let dry overnight.

Get up early the next morning to come admire and squeal (just a bit).

Sand with sanding sponge (I used 80-100 grit) because it's really rough at this stage!

Sand and sand till it's nice and smooth.  

And if you accidentally sand off a big chunk of paint and it removes the paint down to the primer (see again where the colored primer would be NICE?) just touch it up with paint or a sharpie.


Look at that!  

 I still can't believe it's painted!

The final step is to buy a quart of Polycrylic (or gallon if you have a HUGE kitchen.  A quart did it with left over for us and was $17).  I had read that polyurethane yellows over time, so we went with the polycrylic.

Coat the counters with 2-3 coats of polycrylic. (I removed the tape first to be sure to get a good seal, especially around the sink.)

AND, I did 5-6 coats because I'm neurotic and tend to go overboard... and it took about a MONTH to cure.  We used it after about 3 days, but it was still curing and things would kind of STICK to the finish.  It didn't damage anything, but you could tell it wasn't cured yet.  Even now, a month later, if water is left standing on it, it will slightly discolor. But don't freak, once wiped off, it will return to normal.  This is a sign it is STILL curing!

Now, a month later, I LOVE it.  It is durable (though I have damaged it in places, and touched up with a sharpie and clear nail polish).  I don't cut on it, but the boys have slid things across it many times with no visible damage.  It does have a teensy bit of texture to it, but not enough to cause any problems.  My boys still do their work and drawing at the counter.

And here's a Before and After to enjoy.  Click to see it full size.

I'm going to try to remember to update this post in a year to let you know how it withstands daily use and 3 boys.

**5 month update***
  The countertops are holding up really well!  I did drop a huge can of spaghetti sauce on it once and chipped a big portion about an inch long ... but touched up with sharpie and I can't even see where it happened now.  It wipes up good and hasn't worn off or bubbled up at all, even by the sink.  I can't say the same for the beadboard and trim work we did around the sink that has been a total pain in the rear, but the countertops are still gorgeous!

Linking up to:


  1. *Cue Bette*
    "Did I ever tell you are my hero"

    Seriously this is amazing...I remember thinking how brave you were when you painted your upper cabinets...then you did your lower this....why oh why can't you live in FL next door to me...oh the fun we could have hehe.

    I do have a request, could you post some pix of your original kitchen before the painting and the demoing began and then a couple along the way to now...I think everyone needs to see or be reminded of just how amazing a job you guys have done.

    Blessings Kelsie

  2. YES! Just have to find them. SOMEWHERE in the attic I have old film pics of the house when we first bought it. DARK wood cabinets, white flooring... need to dig those out!

  3. I'm so impressed! Not only by the amazing results but that you managed to complete the task with 3 boys in your home! Awesome!

  4. LOL Maranda. When we did it, my boy were here, plus my sister's kids so we had a total of 8 all day. To say the house was thrashed was kinda of an understatement! :o0 But it was worth it!

  5. Thank you for sharing...

  6. Wow! You got skillz! Very impressive!

  7. Amazing!! What a great job. Very inspiring. I hate our counters, hmm. : ) Visiting from Serenity Now's party. ~ Catie

  8. Looks awesome, and thanks for the step-by-step detailed instruction (with pictures). One of these days I just might actually tackle the hideous pink counters in my kitchen and 2 bathrooms.


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