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Faux Marble and Marble Effect Painting

Listed under Blog, faux, Lee Simone, marbling-graining Posted Aug 21 2013

Traditional Painter for Yorkshire, Lee Simone, is a specialist painter and decorator with a very artistic streak. (He inherited his talent from his father, Neil Simone, an accomplished artist.) Lee shares with us his passion for faux marble and marble effect painting.

When I was introduced to the art of decorative painting nearly 15 years ago, I instantly fell in love with faux finishes and faux painting. To paint an illusion that ‘tricks the eye‘ really appealed to me and seemed to suit my style of fine art painting perfectly. A quality faux finish is not only a piece of art, but can also offer a practical solution to logistically difficult areas. Where a natural product might be too expensive or difficult to install, faux finishes can offer the perfect means of achieving just the look you want.

A bit of decorative painting history

Over 3000 years ago, the Ancient Egyptians became fascinated by colour and decorative painting. They employed almost every technique we use today, pioneering marbling, wood graining and faux stone work. Their artists spent years discovering different coloured pigments and studying the form and pattern of specific marbles, wood and stone.

Nowadays many of the finest faux finishes across the country were painted during Victorian times, when new found wealth was being invested in the arts. Master craftsman would spend years ornately faux painting the grand houses of the time.

For my part, I too have spent years experimenting with oodles of techniques, materials and paints. Spending hours playing alchemist in my workshop and reading dozens of books. Things didn’t always go to plan but then that’s the fun of decorative painting – sometimes even the less successful attempts opened up a new possibility or took me in a new direction.

Now, with tried and tested techniques in place, it’s all about expanding on the basics and tweaking things for a particular finish.

Faux Marble

Faux marble is perhaps the most decadent and luxurious of all the faux finishes and is definitely one of the most popular. There are dozens and dozens or different types of marble, each with their own intricacies and form. Some of the most popular hand painted marbles are Sienna, Vert de Mer and Carrera.

Materials and Tools for Faux Marble Painting –

When I take on any type of faux marble project, there are some essential bits of kit that I nearly always use. These are; oil glaze, oil paint (tube or pigment), white spirit, real feathers from various different birds, hog hair brush, badger hair softener, natural sponge, cling film, an old toothbrush, various artist brushes and lint free cloths. See MyPaintbrush for starters

Here are a few examples of faux marbling I’ve done over the years

Faux Marble Bath

Faux Marble Roll Top Bath

Close up of a Faux Marble Fireplace

Close up of a Faux Marble Fireplace

Faux Marble Effect Walls

Faux Marble Effect Walls

Faux Marble Fireplace

Faux Marble Fireplace

Faux Marble Walls

Faux Marble Walls

If you fancy having a go at faux marbling, then I wholeheartedly recommend it – it’s great fun and makes you really appreciate paint on a different level. Just a quick heads up about veining though – this can be the make or break of many a faux marble finish, as there is good and bad veining practice…

Good veining

good veining

Good Veining

– although the vein may split at intervals to form quite complicated patterns, two veins of the same tone should never cross.

Bad veining

bad veining

Bad Veining

– although really oversimplified, the common faults are: parallel lines, wobbly veins, cobweb effect and lines that are broken.

Good luck with the experimentation, if you fancy having a go!

Lee Simone hand painted kitchens yorkshireBased nr. Harrogate, North Yorkshire, Lee Simone began Imaginative Interiors in 1999 and now travels throughout Yorkshire transforming and rejuvenating furniture and kitchens to the highest level.

Alongside beautifully hand painted kitchens and furniture, Lee can also offer you outstanding specialist paint effects, faux finishes, murals and trompe l’oeil.


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10 comments to “Faux Marble and Marble Effect Painting”

  1. Jay

    Can Lee recommend a non-yellowing varnish for his oil-based effects?

  2. Imaginative Interiors Imaginative Interiors

    Hi Jay,

    If you need something thats really durable then I’d go with Kiva from Tikkurila….tis a water based lacquer,easy to apply and comes in lots of different sheen levels. Otherwise Clearcoat from Dulux or Polyvine varnishes are lovely to use and do the trick brilliantly 🙂

  3. martins ifeanyi

    Pleas how do I learn how to do marble work by myselfe. I need full knowlage about it am a decorator.thanks

  4. Avatar photo Andy Crichton

    The traditional approach to learning any aspect of decorating is to learn while working under a skilled decorator. If you have a solid background and understand the technicals and the products, no reason why you cannot teach yourself, go on courses, pick out what you can from DVDs from marbling / graining specialists (Youtube is a half way house.) but like all skills, the more experience and outside input you have and critique, the more sophisticated you will get. I would say with all self taught approaches, early on be fair to clients and don’t over sell yourself 🙂

  5. Samia

    Hi , I am fairly new at this and trying to do my baby’s nursery wall. Please could you tell me if clear wood varnish ( water based ) can be used as the glaze to mix in emulsion, to achieve the faux finish sponging technique?

    Many thanks

  6. Anri

    Hi from London,
    Question regarding -paint with Marble effect????

    Can you do it in Croydon area??? Please send me your price..Please

  7. Joseph Carragher

    Can I use acrylic paint then use satin glaze over it am trying to do marble finish but I keep getting told different things cheers

  8. Dwight Chizen

    I’ve made a speaker horn from wood and fibre glass epoxy, primed and painted it with spray paint, oil based. It is just OK and I would like to improve the look with a faux marble finish.

    Do I have to remove the oil and primer I applied, or can I fine sand to remove the gloss and start the marble effect with acrylic paint? I would hate to have the finish delaminates, and it will be too hard to totally remove the oil finish down to the bare material.

    Comments appreciated.

  9. Avatar photo Andy Crichton

    To check if the paintwork has stuck put some strong sellotape on a discrete spot and pull it off, to test. All being well, you have a good base which you can sand till it as smooth as marble, ready to apply your artistry.

  10. jillie may

    I want a table for my dining hall. I have two pillars to put a top made from mdf which will be approx. 42 inches by10 ft 6ins
    It will be rounded both ends with an og finish
    How much would you charge to paint this for me in situ?
    i live in North Oxfordshire betweeen Banbury and Chippng Norton
    Best wishes
    Jillian May

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