How to Paint Faux Marble Columns

Kristen Bennett

Faux painting is a decorative technique that involves using paint to achieve a look that mimics another finish. The most popular styles of faux painting mirror marble, granite, leather and wood. Faux painting is an affordable way to change the look of walls, tables, counter tops and even flooring.

Faux marbling imitates the look of real stone at a fraction of the price.

If you have columns in your home and would like to give them the stately look of marble without spending thousands of dollars on the stone, faux marbling is a simple way to attain your goal.

  1. Cover the floor around your work area with the tarp for protection. This will also allow you to create a work space where you can lay out your paints and brushes. Set up the paint pan and a bucket of water, and keep paper towels close by in case you need them.

  2. Coat the column using a white or light-colored oil-based paint. Pour the paint into the paint pan and use your roller to apply the paint. Make sure to apply the paint evenly, as this will become the base of your marble faux finish. Let the first coat dry and then apply a second coat. Let the second coat dry completely.

  3. Combine three parts of the polyurethane paint color of your choice (tans, golds and grays work best) with two parts mineral spirits. This creates the glaze that will be used to create the marble look. Using your flat paint brush, carefully stipple the glaze onto the column. Stippling is a paint technique where the brush is quickly poked at the surface to create a spongy look.

  4. Create lines in the stippled paint by using a dry brush to push the glaze into a simple vein pattern. Do this while the glaze is still wet. Make the lines light and varied for the most natural look.

  5. Stipple a secondary color onto the column using the same technique as above but with a smaller brush. You want to work to accentuate the first color, not cover it up, so stipple over some of the lines and between others. Use your dry brush to push the glaze into varying lines that interlace with the first color.

  6. Soften the brush lines by using a fan brush dipped in the glazes to whisk small lines of color around the column. If there are areas where paint lines are obvious, you can dip your fan brush into mineral spirits and lightly brush the fan over the paint. This will allow you to smooth the glaze colors over. Experiment with adding more or less of your colors and smoothing the paint out with the fan brush until you achieve the look you want.


There is no right or wrong way to paint; it's art. Use your creativity to enhance the look of the column.


Don't overpaint. It's better to thin out the glazes with mineral spirits than to cover the column with additional coats.