Ha! You know I've just been waiting to weave a Brittany Spears lyric into one of my posts. Anyhoo, "What did I do again?" you ask? Me and my sassy little self painted another laminate countertop...the one in my son's bathroom to be exact.
Here's how his bathroom looked when we moved into the house.
Obviously, the room had been decorated for the previous owner's 4 year old son....and it wasn't quite my teenage son's taste (I know...shocking isn't it?).
We took down the dinosaur wallpaper border, painted the walls tan (Sherwin Williams Nomadic Desert) and changed the towel rods about a year ago, but I kind of left it at that.
The old grey-blue laminate countertop wasn't horrible, but it wasn't exactly from this century either. And since I couldn't afford a new fancy schmancy granite countertop (or even laminate for that matter), I had to improvise...enter Paint, stage right.
I shared a tutorial with you when I painted my master bathroom countertops a few months ago, but I'll go ahead and do it again since I did do a couple things a little differently this time.
Before you do a thing, decide what you really want the final result to look like. Grab a sample of tile that you like from the store and examine the colors closely. Try to identify 3-4 colors in the sample, and then find paint colors to match.
I'd also do a sample board first (with the painting techniques below). The first time I did this I was really nervous, and it helped to feel like I knew what I was doing before I touched my countertops.
Clean your countertops really well. Make sure you get any grime out of corners, etc.
Lightly sand the countertops and then wipe any dust off.
Apply one coat of oil based primer (I used BIN - you can see it in the photo below). Let it dry at least 12 hours...24 hours if possible. I know it feels dry after a couple hours, but it really needs time to cure.
STEP FIVE:Apply a base coat of one of your 3 or 4 paint colors. This should be the color that's most prominent in your inspiration sample of tile (or whatever it was that inspired you). I used the wall color as my base coat...I figured it was a pretty save bet that the counter would work well with the walls that way. Also, my base coat didn't seem to have quite enough coverage, so I actually applied a second coat (waiting about 8 hours in between coats).
Let your base coat dry really well (I'd say at least 24 hours) before the next step. You might be blending a little and you need to make sure the base coat is totally cured so it doesn't chip or smudge.
This is the tricky part. I'm sure there are many ways to add your "stone look", but I'll just tell you what I did, 'kay?
I took a big fat sponge (see photo below) and lightly dipped in a a color that was darker than my base coat but not super-duper dark. I then blotted it on a paper bag to get some of the excess off....and then just went for it. I basically tried not to over think it and just blotted the paint consistently over the countertop, making sure to let the base coat still show through. I think it looks more natural and stone-like if you don't over think it...let it be a little random, but consistent (you don't want giant patches on one side and only a few on the other side...keep it somewhat uniform).
I read that a good method to try was a "splatter method", so I decided to give it a shot. I dipped a (clean and unused) toothbrush in some dark brown paint, and blotted the excess on a paper bag. I then I held the toothbrush over the counter with the bristles facing down and ran my finger through the bristles so that splatters of paint landed on the countertop (see photo below). It kind of worked...but not as well as I'd hoped. Some of the splatters looked more like shooting stars than splotches of stone, so (I didn't panic) I used my sponge to soften the splatters that looked weird.
After the splatters dried for a minute, I went back and continued to layer the darker (or medium) paint color and then added a little of the base color back in...all with a sponge (the same sponge actually). I just kept playing with it until everything looked uniform and stone-like.
Word of Advice: I was way too timid when I painted the countertop in my master bath. You seriously can't mess this up. Add lots of layers until you like the finished product...it's okay. Real stone isn't meticulously perfect...it's a little chaotic and imperfect. It's okay! As long as you choose good colors you'll be fine.
You still there? Okay, good...Once you're happy with how your countertop looks, let it dry and then apply about 4 coats of polyurethane - sanding lightly in between coats. I used a gloss finish this time and I like it a lot.
Also, last time I said that every paint person I spoke with at Lowe's, Home Depot (and one guy at) Sherwin Williams told me that I couldn't use polyurethane over latex paint. You all said those people were nutso crazy lunatics and that you've been putting polyurethane over latex from the dawn of time...I chose to believe you (since I'm pretty sure you all know much more than my local Home Depot employee...no offense HD).
IN CONCLUSION (does this sound like a research paper?):
That's it....as far as the counter's concerned. I still need to frame out the ginormous mirror, replace the faucet, and replace the light fixture, but baby-steps people....like Socrates said, "Rome wasn't built in a day"....actually I doubt it was Socrates that said that, but he could have :-).