Decorative Paint Technique: Furniture and Wall Marbling Instructions

From our online exclusive Decorative Paint Techniques with Danielle Hirsch of Color Splash. Marbling exudes richness and sophistication. It can have a big impact on both walls and furniture.
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Marbling exudes richness and sophistication. It can have a big impact on both walls and furniture.

Marbling exudes richness and sophistication. It can have a big impact on both walls and furniture.

Difficulty level: 2.5 out of 5

Danielle's Tips

  • Practice on a primed/base-coated sample board until comfortable.
  • Crosshatching technique is brushing in diagonal or intersecting strokes.
  • Reactivate technique is adding moisture so you rework an area that's already dry.
  • Keep rags on hand to remove paint from the dry brush.
  • It's helpful to have a visual aid, even if it's just a picture of marble from a magazine.

Materials and Tools:

paint tray
several china bristle brushes
artists brushes
latex paint, eggshell sheen: (base coat: Linen White); three or four marble-like colors (Jackson Tan HC-46, Hasbrouck Brown HC-71, Coyote Trail 1224, Valley Forge Brown HC-74) – Benjamin Moore
sea sponge
water bottle
latex primer; latex glaze (Studio Finishes 405) – Benjamin Moore
plastic containers
220-grit sandpaper
semi-gloss acrylic varnish
foam roller and handle
visual aid (piece of marble or a magazine picture)


1. Prime and base-coat the item (sand it lightly once dry and remove the dust with a damp rag between layers).

2. In separate containers, mix one part of each marble-like color with one part water and one part latex glaze (each should be the consistency of heavy cream). Squiggle the Jackson Tan and Valley Forge Brown mixtures onto a small area, and then use parchment technique to soften them.

frame 9


figure A

figure A

3. Next to the parchment area, add a vein for a realistic marble look by pulling the Coyote Trail and Hasbrouck Brown mixtures into a natural flowing line with a dry brush or cheesecloth (figure A). The marble won't look realistic if you see brush marks, so crosshatch over them with a dry brush so they're almost imperceptible.

4. To create depth in the marble, slowly dab a damp sea sponge over the parchment area to reactivate it, and then lightly crosshatch over the areas with a dry brush.

5. Repeat these two techniques (parchment and veining) until the entire piece is covered. Avoid overworking areas as they'll lack the clarity and luster of real marble.

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figure B

figure B

6. To create more veins, twirl and drag an artist brush with Linen White paint across an area (figure B). If the vein is too thick, use a dry brush to gently spread the paint.

7. Add more texture by applying paint directly to the sea sponge. Dab it where desired onto the piece, and then soften it with a dry brush as above.

8. Once satisfied with the finish, add varnish with a foam roller as directed for a durable finish.

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