I painted over 30-year-old 12 x 12 tile, applied with adhesive over concrete. Any marbling techniques I have found are difficult. Doing a large floor would be too hard to tackle with my arthritis and fibromyalgia. It took me 10 years to figure out this marbling method. It is easy and quick. A lot of work, but not difficult. The results are phenomenal and really wear well. Since I completed this job some time ago, I will show you demonstration pictures on hardboard.
Zinsser Alkyd Enamel - for base coat (tinted tan)
Cream acrylic paint
White acrylic paint
Dark Brown acrylic paint
Masking tape – I used ¼ inch tape that I purchase from a Quilting website.
Contact paper for masking designs.
Torn pieces of copy paper
Plastic grocery bags
Polyurethane for flooring
Cost: I did a huge 20 x 21 foot area. It cost me about $200 to $250 in supplies. New flooring would have cost me 10 times that amount. I hate to buy what I can make or do.
Step 1: Painting Stages on Actual Floor.
1. First, clean floor well before painting, remove wax. I used the Zinsser Alkyd enamel because the floor is a high-traffic area. Paint the entire area. The Zinsser is indestructible. I had it tinted the color I wanted for grout lines. Let the paint cure for several days. If you are painting a floor, counter top, or anything with a gloss, your should use a product like Zinszer. If you are painting something other than a floor that will not get wear and tear, you can just use an acrylic paint. Mask the grout lines. Use the contact paper to mask alternate color small tiles. Include the grout lines in your measurement. Any design is possible, use your imagination. Unfortunately, I decoupaged the little square tiles, printed from my computer, on my floor, they do not wear all that well.
3. Immediately take a plastic grocery bag, and twist the top so that you have a sort of balloon (with air trapped) at the bottom. Start pouncing and pouncing the paint with the bag (up and down, no sideways) until the tile is completely covered with paint. Please, no turning or moving the plastic bag, other that up and down.
4. Now the magic, making veins: Quickly, take a piece of torn copy paper, and gently place on the tile. Each tile should have its own veining pattern.
Drop a thin white paint line along the edge of the tear, and use your artist brush to push it from the paper to the tile. Lightly pounce the grocery bag along the line. Peel up the paper.
This will pull up some of the acrylic paint, creating a translucent area. This is what really gives it the look of marble. I tear stacks of paper before starting this process, because you don't want the paint to dry too much. I make short tears, long tears, and double tears. I put one, two, or three veins on, whatever suits my fancy. DO NOT run a vein from one tile through another. This would not occur with real marble tile, each would be different.
6. If you are creating a pattern with different color tiles, choose your contrasting colors, remove the contact paper square mask, and mask the grout lines around the squares. I would use wide masking tape, so that you do not smear paint on to the surrounding painted tiles. Use the paint method, above, to paint the decorative squares in different colors.
You are only limited by your imagination with this project. If it had not been such a big project, I would have completely bordered the entire floor. Have fun, look at all kinds of marble and use at least three colors for the top coat. Remember the grout color will effect of the translucent areas. This wears really well. I re-coat the tile with polyurethane, every couple of years.