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How to DIY Epoxy Counters the better way

Alright....I think this is going to be a longer post - but if you're interesting in learning how to DIY epoxy counters that look like marble/quartz then you're in the right place! I was super nervous to do this project - I've never worked with epoxy before and I read a ton of info on how to do it before I started. Most of the tutorials I read used this Giani kit - (you paint your design onto your counters and then put a clear coat of epoxy over it) and although the results looked nice, I thought it could look better if I did it a different way. I just didn't want my counters to look like I hand painted a marble design - and then covered it with a clear coat of epoxy. I wanted them to look like you could mistake them for marble! Or Quartz! So I researched to see if there was a better way.

I saw a few people who used the actual epoxy (mixed with additives and paint) to create the marble effect instead of using paint - so that's what I decided to do! There wasn't a ton of info out there - but I found a few helpful places where I got info on how to create this effect. Here's a couple other places with helpful information on how to do epoxy counters this way!

Alright lets get into it. Here's a list of all the supplies I used with links to what I can link!

  1. Epoxy (used the half gallon for my counters)

  2. Liquid Epoxy Dye (white)

  3. Metallic Powders (silver & pearl)

  4. Isopropyl Alcohol (mixing metallic powders)

  5. 2 Spray Bottles (for spraying metallic powders)

  6. Paint Sticks (3)

  7. Paint Brush (for blending)

  8. Foam Rollers (for spreading epoxy)

  9. Mixing Bucket with measurements (you need to measure everything accurately so this is important!)

  10. Gloves

  11. Heat Gun (gets rid of bubbles and helps spread design)

  12. Plastic Drop Cloth

  13. Painters Tape

  14. Tape and tarp

Okay so first things first - prep work. If you remember from my last post I demoed the tile off of the counter and that left me with a smooth surface. You need a smooth surface to put the epoxy on! So don't skip this step.

You don't have to do this - but I did sand down the top edge of the counter in order to round it a bit - epoxy doesn't like to stick to edges, and so this helped the coverage for me I think! The other thing to do ahead of time is pain the countertop. I used BIN primer - but you can use any latex primer/paint in white.

Also make sure your counter is clean and there are no dust particles. I gave the surface a light sand to smooth it out before painting, and then wiped everything down with a dust rag before doing the epoxy process.

The day I did the counters I premixed my metallic powders with alcohol. I mixed about 10 ounces of alcohol with 7.5g of the powder. (this was about half the bag).

Here is what it looks like mixed in the spray bottle:

I tested it out by spraying it on a piece of paper just to get a feel for what it would look like:

It's super pretty - I feel like it definitely helped to add dimension to the countertop!

Next up - make sure you have everything taped off with plastic. Epoxy will bleed through paper so it needs to be plastic. Tape all the edges of your cabinets.

I like to use tape right up against the cabinet edge - and then tape the edge with the tape and tarp that has the plastic attached.

I removed by sink - but you don't have to. You can just tape around it.

I also taped some photos of the look I was trying to create on my mirror to reference while working. I have an app called procreate so I took a picture of my countertop beforehand and mapped out where my veins would be.

Here is the epoxy I used. This was enough for me to do my bathroom counters with some extra to spare.

This is the mixing bowl I used! The epoxy I used was a 1:1 ratio. So I used the measuring bowl to make sure I had an even ratio. Then I used a paint stick to stir it for 5 minutes straight, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl to get it properly mixed. It's important that it's mixed thoroughly so and evenly in order to set correctly.

After mixing the epoxy parts - I added the additive to turn it white. I mixed about 1/3 of the additive into the epoxy and mixed for a coupe more minutes.

You don't have to do this - but I created these backsplash pieces - as well. I followed the same process on these as the counter and ended up using construction adhesive to glue them on.

I poured the epoxy onto the counter - and used the foam roller to spread it out. I did not bring it all the way to edges right away so it could set up a little before spilling over the edge onto the counter.

After spreading the white - it was time to do the veining. I started by lightly spraying on the mix of the silver metallic powder and alcohol - this creating a cool fish eye effect - and I used my brush to blend it a bit. That's the lighter spots in the photo below. Then I mixed a little bit of white epoxy with grey spray paint into a cup with a stir stick. Then I used the stir stick to drip the darker grey epoxy onto the countertop.

Then I used my paint brush to "chop" the paint into the counter. All this means is I blended it with my brush.

It looked a little dark - so I blended it some more to get a lighter grey color. I used the same grey mixture for the whole process - the lighter hues are because I blended it more in certain areas, and if it was too dark, I sprayed some white spray paint on it and blended that in to get the lighter shades.

After creating a lighter background on the counter - I used the paint stick to drizzle more dark grey - and blended that out but not as much.

The last step I did was spraying on the pearl metallic powder all over the counter - focusing a bit more on where the veins were to have it be a bit more concentrated.

A few more notes - you only have about 45 minutes of working time to do the veining etc. So use your time well. I removed all the tape about 4 hours after doing the designs. Also it took my counters about 18 hours to not be tacky/sticky anymore. I ended up putting a space heater in bathroom to keep it at 70 degrees and help it set better.

Here is the final result and some up close photos of the veining!

Let me know if you have any questions about this process! Up next I'll be painting the shower tile - and then installing the new flooring! Thanks for reading!

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