How to Paint Faux Marble

faux marble

If you’ve ever seen photographs of the Palace of Versailles in France (or been lucky enough to visit), you'll know it’s an architectural masterpiece. An outstanding decor feature is its many different species of beautiful marble, from floor to wall to ceiling, as far as the eye can see. But, surprise, surprise! A portion of that display of nature’s artistry is actually faux painted marble.

When I was at the Palace a few years ago, my guide explained that the faux marble painting technique was used to match existing marble when repairs were made. Additionally, a series of temporary opera houses built over the years at Versailles were entirely done with a faux marble painting technique.

Find out more about this decorative painting technique and how you can do it yourself.

About Faux Marble Painting

Faux ("false") painting is a time-honored tradition in the decorative arts, and once you learn to paint faux marble, you will be able to use your new skill in your home to great effect. Faux artists have always been highly prized as skilled artisans, and mastering a faux marble painting technique is an excellent skill to have.

There are, in fact, two different types of faux marble. The first resembles an actual species of marble. When learning to do such a faux marble painting technique, start by selecting the type of marble you wish to imitate and studying its colors, veining and overall texture.

The second type of faux marble is called "marbleizing," which is a fantasy marble design for surfaces that could not possibly be made of real marble, such as a door. In the case of marbleizing, you will want to study the properties of several different types of marble to create a look that makes one think of marble, but doesn’t try to fool the eye.


Due to the soft-looking nature of stone, the faux marble painting technique uses oil paints and glazes that allow for slow drying times and softly blended edges and colors. Marble veins are created by dragging the edge of a feather through the paint, while water drops splattered in the paint create the look of natural flaws in the stone.

Learning a faux marble painting technique is a fun way to create an elegant and high-end look throughout your house. Large areas such as walls and counters or even small decorative items like boxes and planters will become showstoppers when covered with just pennies' worth of paint and materials.

Love the look but don't fancy doing it yourself? Hire a talented contractor to decorate your home with faux marble painting.

Updated August 8, 2018.

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