$20 “Granite” counters

No, this isn’t a joke– these counters literally cost $20 or less, depending on the size of your counter space! This is BY FAR, my absolute favorite DIY that I’ve done. In fact, I adore it so incredibly much that aside from painting my own counters, I’ve painted one of our friend’s counters, too. Although it is time consuming (I mean…you can’t rush perfection, right?!), it is absolutely, 100% totally and completely worth it. And while you also can’t put incredibly hot things on these counters like you can the “real deal” granite counter tops, they’re still an amazingly affordable, fashionable, chic alternative. So with all of that being said… let’s get started.

Begin by picking out the type of “granite” you want in your kitchen. These pictures are not of my kitchen, but they are my work! My kitchen will be posted in a later DIY blog, because we remodeled the entire thing and it deserves a more in depth breakdown 🙂 (my kitchen is my sanctuary, FYI). For our kitchen, as well as my friend’s kitchen, we went with a dark granite. Our paint colors were black, dark brown, dark gray, tan, cognac and cream. Don’t let our preference limit you, though, the granite options are literally endless! Just give a quick internet search of “granite counters” and you will be presented with hundreds– even thousands of beautiful options of all colors and patterns. The acrylic paint cost me 50 cents a bottle (can you say BARGAIN!!), and one or two bottles of each really is all you’ll need (unless you’re covering more than 9 feet of counter space). I bought my paint at Wal-Mart in the craft section. You’ll also need sea sponges, which I also bought at Wal-Mart in the craft section, but like the paints- you can pick these up at any craft store. For the remaining supplies, you’ll probably have to take a trip to the home improvement store! You’ll need 200 grit sand paper, any kind of primer (a small can will do), a mini roller foam brush (you need 2 foam roller refills), and a can of Minwax polycrylic (medium size can, depending on how much shine you desire on your counters).

The first thing you want to do after gathering all of your supplies is tape off your wall, sink, or any other areas connected to your counters that you don’t want to get paint on. I used blue painters tape. Next, you’ll need to clean your counters. Rid all of the clutter, dishes, bills and miscellaneous items off (is it just me, or aren’t these things normal countertop décor?!). Once your counters are cleared and cleaned (I just used soap and water), it’s prime time! Literally, though, it’s time to prime. Use the mini foam roller to spread an even, flat, THIN layer of primer onto your counter tops. Let it dry. 🙂

When the primer is dry, take a sheet of 200 grit sand paper and lightly sand the counters to get them even and flat. This step isn’t completely necessary, but it helps make them exceptionally smooth.

Wipe the excess dust off the counters, and you’re ready to paint! Let it be known, that there truly is no special technique to painting these counters. You’ll literally pick a sea sponge, dip it in paint, and dab away. You’ll probably end up “dabbing” on your counters thousands of times, but it goes by quickly! Alternate colors, mix colors, and switch sides of your sponge frequently! Remember, real granite is not a consistent pattern. Every inch of granite is different, and that’s what you want to achieve with your counter tops.

As you’re painting you’ll notice areas that need more of a specific color, less of another colors, more shape/direction/finesse, etc. I wasn’t kidding when I said you’ll probably dab thousands of spots onto your counters! Just be sure to put on your favorite music or TV show to help the time pass! (Or, play nothing and enjoy the peace and quiet! Quiet is something that rarely happens around here, LOL).

Although it’s not completely  necessary to let each layer of colors dry before applying another color, some people prefer to do this to prevent mixing different paints. Personally, I like the way the paints look when they mix! This is totally your choice and preference.

Once your counters are where you want them (hours and hours, later!) be sure to sand them again, to ensure that they’re flat and there aren’t any large chunks of paint anywhere. We want these counters to be smooth!

At this point, they should look exactly how you want them — without the shine (yet!). If you’re satisfied, then it’s time to add the polycrylic. Some people like to polish their counters off with polyurethane, but I did my research and read that it can “dinge” or “crack” over time, and I really did not want to take that chance– so I stuck with the polycrylic.
IMPORTANT– make sure your paint is COMPLETELY dry before applying the polycrylic, it WILL bleed your colors if they aren’t completely dry, and then your hard work is ruined 😦 (I know this from experience, trust me!). Spread the polycrylic layers on very thin, and use the foam roller. You’ll want to do thin layers to prevent imprints from your brush, I did 8 different layers on my counters. Be sure to let each layer dry, too! The shinier you want them, the more layers you’ll need to apply.

Once your desired shine is achieved, you’re finished! 🙂 And probably totally in love with your new (and WAY improved) counters! But remember, to better protect these sweet new tops, try to wait at least 3 days before using them! Tempting, I know, but don’t let all your hard work go to waste. I waited 3 days to use mine, and then 3 weeks to REALLY use to (putting pans, coffee mugs, etc. on them) just to ensure that the polycrylic was completely set.


As you can see in the photos, I added several random dark spots to make the counters look more realistic and legitimate, which I was EXTREMELY pleased with the outcome. From a distance, NO ONE can tell that they aren’t real. I frequently get compliments about my counters, and I never hesitate t0 let anyone just how cost effective they really are! 🙂

Note: as previously stated, these are the counters I painted for my friend! I did paint my own, but I will blog my kitchen in a later post (it deserves it’s own attention, of course!).


Good luck and happy DIY-ing!!



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