Faux Marble Flooring


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.

Material list:

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.
Artist Brush
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.

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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.

Step 2:

2. Now the fun begins. (A little practice helps) Swirl the Cream acrylic on the tile area. Swirl on the White acrylic, a little less white than the cream color.  Put small spots of Brown acrylic  around the tile. You do not have to be neat or perfect.  As a matter of fact, being a perfectionist is a hindrance on this project.

Step 3:

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.

Step 4:

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.

Step 5:

5.   When dry, peel off the masking tape. Put several coats of polyurethane over the painted floor. This floor wears like iron.  As you can see in the third photo, the polyurethane on the right side makes the colors deepen and adds more depth to the marble.

Step 6:

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.

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    9 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Great 'able! Do you have to mask off each square and do it separately, or can you do a few at a time?

    1 reply
    pat gordonlisagd

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I masked large sections of tile, about 6 feet by 10, then I found I could paint, at most, about two to four tiles at once.

    pat gordonlemonie

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Well, since it was filled with furniture, I did it a section at a time. I worked as large an area as my knees allowed. My husband said he expected to find me passed out on the floor in the morning. Then I let my knees and body recover for a while.

    So, yes, it took me a long time. It was worth it, every thinks it is awesome.

    hi :) i just want to ask if i can to this with my tile?

    my tile is just as same as yours and we want to faux paint it into white marble effect, is it possible to get good results with this method? :) its our first time to do this.

    thank you!

    I hit the return button, and I don't know if my message disappeared or was sent. Use the right base paint, (it should be different than white, to show the grout lines), and choose the white and two other colors, maybe two different shades of grey. Make them three or four shades apart.

    Don't be too concerned about perfection. Every tile will be different. That is what makes the floor look like real marble. Make sure you "splat" with the plastic bag, no twisting or turning. If you do the floor in sections, you may use a slightly different technique, that is okay. Believe me, the less I tried to control the process, the better is turned out. That's what I love, the looseness of the whole process. Good luck, write if you have any questions.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    i really like the look of this it is way easier than marble