Faux Finish : Granite

Learning how create a faux granite finish will not only lend an exquisite look to tabletops, desks, kitchen islands, etc., but also help you lower the cost of your remodeling budget. A replacement of countertop with real granite will set you back at least 60 dollars for every square foot, and if you have a large area to cover, the bill can run up to 3000 dollars just to get it installed. 

This is where faux granite painting comes in to save the day. Faux painting can give the appearance of granite without the outlandish cost of it. The look of granite is achieved by sprinkling many tiny specs of different colored paints over a primary coat of a solid base colour, which is usually black or a shade of gray. Highlight colours are often blues, grays, greens or light pastels. Make sure your base color ties in with your room colors. Granite faux painting can be both fun and messy. Either do your painting outside (if you can move what you’re planning to paint on outside the home), or cover everything around your work area that you don’t want to get paint on with drop cloth. 

Tools and Materials:

  • Base Coat Color in Satin Finish 
  • Latex Primer 
  • 2 or 3 Different Colors Satin Finish for Granite Specs 
  • Hand Held Whisk Brooms (One for Each Color) 
  • Paper Towels 
  • Sandpaper (180 – 220 grit)
  • Safety Glasses 
  • Paint Brushes and Roller 
  • Paint Tray 
  • Wooden Paint Stir Sticks (One for Each Color) 
  • Drop Cloths if Working Indoors 
  • Feather 
  • Polyurethane 

Wear safety goggles and clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty in when doing this project as it can get very messy.


  1. Sand the surface you are painting on with fine grade sandpaper (180 – 220 grit), then clean with a tack rag. If there is existing coating of varnish or polyurethane on the surface you’re painting on, use sandpaper to remove the coating. Clean the surface thoroughly with a damp cloth and wait for everything to dry.

Tip: Practice this technique on a piece of cardboard so you can get a good feel for how it works. You can adjust amount of paint that should be on the whisk broom before you apply it to your subject. Start with the darker colored paint for the specs and then use the lighter color to highlight.

  1. Roll or paint your surface with latex primer and leave it to dry overnight. 
  2. Apply two coats of base color and let it dry, allowing first coat to dry thoroughly before applying the second.
  3. Dip just the tips of the bristles of the whisk broom into your accent color and drag a stick stirrer along the tip of the whisk broom (towards you) allowing the fibers to “flick” paint onto your base color. Drawing the stick towards you will help control where the paint spatters. 
  4. Cover the surface with paint spatters, but not so much that the base disappears. 
  5. Use a different whisk and repeat the dipping and flicking process to apply your second accent color. 
  6. Don\’t put on too much accent color at one time. Remember, you can always add more to adjust the final appearance. 
  7. Once you’ve placed all colours in, use a feather to create granite veins randomly and never draw in a straight line. Be sure not to over-do it.
  8. Allow the granite-looking surface to dry overnight and then protect it with 2 or 3 coats of polyurethane. Let each coat of polyurethane to dry thoroughly before applying the next coat. 

If you are painting this faux granite on a writing desk or anything that requires a smooth surface, you will need to place a glass top as this painting technique is a dimensional one. It can be quite bumpy after it has dried.