Have you ever been to look at slabs of beautiful marble, quartz, or soapstone and think that it is a luxury that is out of your price range? Well, it was for me! I wanted a soapstone countertop above the cabinet I built next to my fireplace and for the hearth. I knew that it was not feasible to get the real stone, so I looked around the internet to find an alternative. Much to my surprise, there was not many ideas to create a soapstone look, mainly it was marble. Then as I was scrolling Instagram, I stopped on Jen’s account, @jenwearsmanyhats and she was creating the soapstone look for her coffee bar. So, I reached out to her and she sent me a link to the blog that she found to teach her how to do it. As far as I know THIS is the original faux soapstone tutorial. Once I read it, I knew this would be a great way to get the look without the price tag.
On to the tutorial. I will tell you how I went about creating this look, but you can always use the original tutorial that I linked above.
- Blackish grey paint (I used Cracked Pepper by Sherwin Williams)
- Paint rollers
- Paint brushes (variety of sizes)
- Spray bottle
- Black paint (can use acrylic)
- White paint (can use acrylic)
- Grocery bags
- Topcoat (polycyclic, epoxy, etc.)
Prime and paint your piece. Pretty easy and, probably should go without saying, but I want to be as thorough, as possible. I would always suggest to prime before doing most anything with paint. It gives the paint something to adhere to and will create a better finished product. If you are doing this over an existing laminate countertop, make sure to do a light sanding with a high grit sandpaper. Vacuum and clean to ensure there is no debris left behind, then start with the primer. By doing this it will help the primer stick better to the countertop. Since I was covering wood I only had to do one coat of primer and two coats of the Cracked Pepper paint to get full coverage. Allow that to dry before moving on to step two.
Now comes the fun part! I used an old empty spray bottle I had laying around the house and filled it with two cups water. Then I added two tablespoons of black acrylic paint and two tablespoons of white acrylic paint and gave it a good shake. I had a bigger area to cover so you may need to adjust your water and paint mixture depending on how big your piece is. Next, start spraying it all over the piece you are working on. Make sure to get the edges and underneath the lip, so that it will look like real soapstone. Also, DO NOT throw the paint mixture away, we will need it later.
I always keep grocery bags in my pantry. You never know when you may need one. In this project you will need quite a few. I cut the bags at the handles and down each side, so they would only be connected by the bottom seam of the bag. Then I laid the bags over the watered down paint I just sprayed. I made sure to smooth my hand over the bags, working my way down the piece. I also did this with the edge and under the lip. Immediately after I smoothed the bags out, I pulled each bag off, individually. I pulled them in an upward direction, so the bag would not accidentally cause streaks in the paint. You want this to look like stone which will give it a texture that mimics the real thing. Allow this to dry before moving on.
Once that is dry, you will want to make a black wash to paint on the entire piece. I first tried the ratio in the original tutorial, which I linked in the first paragraph, but it was to transparent, for my liking. I ended up using a 1:2 ratio, one part water to two parts black paint. I brushed that all over my piece and was happy with the coverage. If you try this and still want more coverage, then try doing a second coat. Remember, though, you want to see some of the texture, so don’t cover too much up. Then it will look like a black slab and not the beautiful soapstone we are going for.
Now comes the part that gave me the most trouble, veining. Remember how I said not to throw the paint mixture in the spray bottle away? Well, now is when you need it. You will use that to create the veins. My first attempt at painting veins went horribly wrong. I painted them too wide and it didn’t look natural. So, I started all over and it was completely worth it! I got a smaller brush with bristles that are longer and came to a point. This gave me thinner lines, which looked more realistic. I also, did not do as many veins as the first time. Less is more, in my opinion. Make sure to carry your veins off the edge and wrap them under the lip for an authentic look.
The last step is to protect. You can choose multiple ways to finish your piece. For this I chose to use a matte polycyclic. I have worked with this a lot and knew it would give me the look that I want. If I use this faux soapstone look again I would love to try to finish it with epoxy. I have not worked with epoxy yet, but it is on my diy bucket list.
That’s it! Now you have beautiful faux soapstone, that will make anyone want to take a second look. Remember, just because we know it’s faux, doesn’t mean anyone else needs to know. Deal? It will be our little secret.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! If you try this let me know, I would love to see your soapstone.
God Bless, Annice
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