Thursday, December 31, 2015

DIY Painting Laminate Countertops

This is the post that so many of my amazing friends have been waiting for... How to paint your countertops!! If you're here, I'm guessing you have some seriously awesome countertops that you just can't wait to get rid of love :)

I had some amazing GREEN laminate countertops. I guess that was the thing to do in 1994 when our house was built?? I have hated them since the day we moved in but other things have eaten up our budget. After 11 months, I finally got sick of seeing these green monsters that I decided to take the plunge and use craft paint to change them. You can also use the paint that you put on your walls!! I will give you detailed step by step instructions on how to make your countertops look like granite for way less than the price of real granite.

Here are a few before pics:





It would be helpful to have a sample picture of the look you're going for. Either grab one at Lowe's or look samples up online. You'll also need to know how many square feet of counter space you have. I have 39 square feet. It's important to know that for your top coat.

Plan for a whole day to complete the entire process and then 72 hours for the top coat to fully cure.

Supplies you'll need:
1. Latex gloves
2. Sand paper (I used 150 grit)
3. Drop cloths (I used 3 plastic ones)
4. Painter's tape
5. A few plastic buckets (in the paint aisle at Lowe's)
6. Lighter or small blow torch
7. Paper plates to put your paint on and dab with sponge
8. Primer (I used Zinsser Bulls Eye water based primer)
9. Paint roller, paint trays and paint sticks
10. Small foam brushes (I bought 3 just to be safe)
11. Acrylic craft paint (I bought mine at Hobby Lobby) I also used 2 small samples of paint I   used on my walls from Sherwin Williams
12. Craft sponge (Hobby Lobby - I bought a big sponge in the painting aisle and cut it up into many pieces)
13. Top Coat - you have 2 options here and I will talk about them later but I bought 4 boxes (32 oz each) of Enviro Tex Lite. I found this at Hobby Lobby in the same aisle as the acrylic paint. Each box covers up to 8 sq feet which is why you need to know how much counter space you have. Your other option is to use 1-2 cans of Polycrylic.





I had most of these supplies already so my cost was a little lower than if you were buying everything new. I had to grab a few extra bottles of acrylic craft paint and 4 boxes of Enviro Tex Lite (the top coat) so my total was about $95 for this project. Use 40% off coupons at Hobby Lobby for the top coat and it will save you $14 a box!

I took as many pictures as I could but I had gloves on for the majority of this project so I wasn't able to capture everything. But I will try to give you step by step instructions.

Here we go!

Step 1: Sand counters. Honestly I don't think this did anything. Maybe I didn't rub hard enough but once I wiped off the residue, they felt pretty much the same as they did before. But it made me feel better. This helps the primer stick better but on the can it says no priming necessary so who knows! Wipe it all off really well with a wet rag.


Step 2: Prime. Make sure you have your walls and cabinets taped off first. I did 2 coats of primer and used a small roller for this. It wasn't perfect but I knew all of my other paint would cover this up. Wait 1 hour for it to dry in between coats and before you start painting with your sponge. If you choose to do black countertops, get a primer that you can tint black.


Step 3: Use your sponge to make a design. My one piece of advice is to PRACTICE before you do this on a piece of paper. If I had done this it would have saved me 2 HOURS! I could not get my technique down for the life of me and was so frustrated that it wasn't turning out great. But then I tried something different with the sponge and loved where it was going. Once I got my technique down it took me (another) 2 hours to complete this step.

These are the colors I used from Hobby Lobby (I did not use Slate Gray).  The metallic I used sparingly but I absolutely love the shine it gives! I also used a white I already had and a very light gray I used on my walls in my home. I bought 4 bottles of each color just to be on the safe side and I almost used all of them. *Grey Sky, Metallic Silver, Grey*

I also purchased a small container of very fine glitter and threw it on sparingly after one of my many coats. It's very subtle but I absolutely love it!


My counters looked like this after my initial few coats. I was not liking where it was going.



So I had to basically start all over but at least my primer was fully covered at this point.

Then I started dabbing just a small section of the sponge on the counters and it looked like a dalmatian dog puked all over my counters! Then after the 2 hour mark, I decided to use the whole sponge and it looked so much better. I knew this was the direction I wanted to go. One color at a time it was starting to look like I wanted.

Left: the way I wanted it to look   Right: Dalmatian dog gone wrong



I wanted lighter counters with a hint of dark in them. If this is the look you're going for then I recommend you start with your darkest color first. Work your way to the lightest. After I did this, I went back with one of my medium shade colors to blend everything in. It really depends what look you're going for and that is why you should practice first.

In the end they came out looking like this:




Here's a close up and to me they look like real granite!


Step 4: Top Coat. You have 2 options here. I will tell you what I did and tell you about the other down below. I used Enviro Tex Lite. It is amazing and even though I was afraid to do it, I am so glad I did and highly recommend this one. It is food safe which is a huge plus for this mommy with 3 little kids. It is super thick and super shiny. It goes on nice and smooth. It feels amazing and I wish you could touch it through the computer! Note: While you totally could do this step by yourself, I found it was much easier to accomplish with 2 people.

You will need to read the directions very carefully so I won't go into all the details but you need to pour it on quickly (within 20 minutes of mixing it up) and you will need a heavy duty lighter or small blow torch. You can also just use your breath but that really depends on your counter size. There was no way I was going to blow on 39 square feet of space! I started out using a lighter and that worked fine but when my mom offered me her small blow torch she uses for crème brulee, it was amazing and did the job much faster.

The reason for the heat is to pop the small bubbles that form while you're mixing and applying the top coat. I'll be honest and say that I'm positive I didn't get ALL of the bubbles out but so far the counters feel super smooth.

The box says it will harden within 24 hours and will be ready for full use in 72 hours. It also says it dries best when your house is 70-90 degrees and there's no humidity. I found that at 10 hours it was still tacky and my house was at 68 degrees. Once I upped it to 70 degrees the drying process went faster.

Option 2: Polycrylic. From what I read this will take 8-9 coats and is put on by a foam roller. It is not food safe and won't last as long as the Enviro Tex Lite (which is equal to 50 coats!). It will probably need touch ups every now and then where as the one I did, at least from what I've read, people have had it last 5 years. It also won't be super shiny and super smooth. However, this is easier and less risky to apply and you can do it yourself. You will probably want to sand between coats to keep it from getting too rough.

Now it's time for the AFTER pictures!!















I am a perfectionist and Type A personality so going into this was a little terrifying. I was worried that I would be too picky or would keep going for 20 hours and still not like how it was turning out. But trust me, you'll know when it's done. It will look amazing to you and you'll be giddy with excitement!!

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