Nothing says class like a bit of marble. Those Mediterranean stonemasons knew what they were doing with their big ol' pillars looking all fancy. But of course marble is heavy and expensive and so we must adapt.
Here's a method of making some boring old MDF into something much more interesting! We use this in the theatre industry for backdrops and flooring over huge scales, so I'd love to see it applied elsewhere!
Step 1: Base Coat
Choose a reference picture for the sake of colour matching.
Mix up some acrylic paint to match the background colour- I mixed white, black, orange, yellow ochre and a tiny bit of pthalo blue to make a pale green grey.
Use a paint roller or a paintbrush to slap a layer over the entire surface you're painting. I painted a 5mm thick MDF board but you can make this on as big or small a scale as you'd like.
Let it dry.
Step 2: Glaze
To make the next layers blend and slide around in more organic shapes, we want a slipperier surface than that dry paint.
Roll a layer of clear acrylic glaze over the surface and let it dry.
Step 3: Start Some Clouds
According to my reference, I mixed yellow ochre, orange, white, and black acrylics with glaze and water so it was a nice runny mixture.
You're gonna want to be in a well ventilated area. Paint on some puddles of this paint in stripy shapes and flick them with methylated spirits to make them bloom and dapple. It takes a bit of messing around and the metho gets really smelly so wear a respirator if you have one!
Use a combination of a rag and paintbrush and metho and blend out different sections of the paint so they look like clouds.
Let it dry, then sand down the entire surface very lightly, (I used 240 grit sandpaper,) just to give the next layer something to bite into.
Step 4: Repeat
Mix a slightly darker version of that last colour you used and repeat the last step, darkening some areas on the board.
This extra layer just adds another dimension.
Let it dry then sand it down lightly and roll on another layer of glaze.
Step 5: Veins
Grab a nice fine paintbrush for this bit!
Mix your reference's darkest colour, (I used black and pthalo blue acrylic paints.) Paint some lines across the dark areas you already have. Keep them free and organic but still all going in one direction - just check your reference!
Roll your brush between your forefinger and thumb as you drag the paint along to get varying thicknesses.
Work in small sections and while the paint is still wet, blend it out with a second brush dipped in methylated spirits. Keep some edges sharp and soften some out, go wild!
Step 6: Finish
When it's dry we want to dull the whole piece down a bit.
Mix a small amount of your leftover base colour with more clear glaze and roll it over the whole piece. It should knock those stark veins right back into the rest of the piece :D
Then it's done: a marble slab worthy of a Greek bathhouse!