Marbling step-by-step

A Step by Step Guide to Marbling

The marble effect can give a luxurious look at any home and can be created on walls, tabletops, counters and furniture. In this step-by-step guide, we show you how to create a perfect marble finish every time. 

The Steps

Step 1

Load a small paint roller with the first colour and move it diagonally across the wall in a flowing movement to mimic the style of natural stone. Use a light touch and keep your wrist soft. Don’t worry about making mistakes; it will all be blended together later.

Step 2
Take a small sponge and dip into a complementary paint colour. Dab this on to the walls following the same lines as your original roller strokes. You can be quite bold here. Creating a contrast is important for the final effect.

Step 3
Take your original roller and make some more flowing strokes over the top of your design in the first colour. Push the paint down as you move the roller over the wall.

Step 4
Take a dry brush and move this across the paint in a cross-hatch motion, blending the two colours together. Keep working the paint with light strokes and the colours will blend without losing their distinction.

Step 5
Take some cling-film and place over the still wet paint, then gently remove it. The cling-film will take some of the paint away with it, leaving a lighter patch behind. This gives the natural, veined appearance of stone.

Step 6
Use a stippling brush and a dry brush to soften the effect. You don’t want harsh lines or obvious marks. The aim is to achieve a soft, natural look. Don’t worry, when it dries, the light brush strokes will fade or disappear.

Step 7
Use a vein brush and drag it lightly through the paint to create more distinct veins. Follow the diagonal paint lines when you do this for the most natural feel. Roll the vein brush as you move it along to create a thick and thin effect which is very reminiscent of marble.

Step 8
Allow the paint to dry and review your work. It’s not a good idea to add any more paint after it has dried, so if you are unhappy with the result, paint over it and start again. It may take a few practice attempts before you get it right.



Old world finishes

Create a timeless finish in your home with these old world painting techniques for a warm, luxurious feel.

Old world finishes

Old world finishes


You will need: Interior paint, white with an eggshell finish; interior paint with a matte finish; clear glaze extender; normal clear glaze; spray bottle; two empty paint cans; angled paint brush; floor staining brush; gloves; painter’s tape.

1. Paint your wall using the white eggshell paint and allow to dry.
2. Mask any trims and dado rails with the painter’s tape.
3. Mix one part matte paint and one part clear glaze.
4. Mist the wall with water using the spray bottle.
5. Take a small amount of the paint/ glaze mix and apply using a scrubbing motion using the angled paint brush. Apply varying pressure for some light and dark areas.
6. Take the floor staining brush and apply wide strokes to the walls, evening out the pattern.


You will need: White base coat; long-handled roller; textured roller, beige paint
1. Apply a base cost with a 15mm long-handled roller. Allow your base coat to dry well before you begin. Start with small areas of wall and leave edges jagged. Any straight lines will give this look a linear feel which is not what we are trying to achieve.
2. Using a textured roller, apply random strokes in varying directions. There is no hard and fast rule, just use your artistic eye and don’t worry about making a mistake.
3. Load the roller with a complementary beige tone and apply more textured strokes to the wall. Your wall will now start to look like parchment.
4. Create a natural looking blend of texture and colour before the surface dries for a beautiful parchment effect.

Old world finishes tend to work best in natural, earthy tones to give a unique and hand-crafted appearance to your walls. These techniques can be used to enhance a modern home as well as within the confines of more traditional décor.

If you are interested in creating a stone appearance, consider Venetian plastering techniques or go for a real European style and paint a wall fresco in an alcove in your kitchen.

Painting textures

You can create unusual and striking wall textures using textured paint to give your room interest and design flair as well as hiding a multitude of wall imperfections.

The first important point to consider is this – do you really want to create textured walls? Make sure you are fully committed to living with the results as removing this type of paint can be very difficult. Textured paint can be good for rented properties or areas of high wear and tear as they are very durable and long-lasting.

Sanding can make walls look a lot better.

Sanding can make walls look a lot better.

Textured paint

Textured paint comes in many different forms from rippled and course textures to a paint which gives the finish of brushed suede. Buying a textured paint is often a better option than mixing it yourself as they are designed for covering cracks and imperfections.

Textured paint additive

A more cost-effective way to create wall texture is to use paint that you already have in the garage and add a texture additive like sand or beads. There are no hard and fast rules in terms of ratios but add your additive slowly. You can always add more, but it’s impossible to take sand out of paint. The more additive you use, the more difficult it can be to paint with, so be cautious! A more subtle texture is always best especially for internal walls as very rough textures can be uncomfortable to live with should you brush against them.

Create your own texture

If you want to create wall texture without specialist paints or additives, you could use a technique called combing. Great for beginners, combing is particularly easy because you are only working on the topcoat or glaze. Once your basecoat is completely dry, apply a thin layer of glaze or topcoat and drag the combing tool from top to bottom in one sweep. Keep the comb clean by wiping off the excess paint at every pass. If you don’t like the result, paint over and try again!

Other techniques

Do some research and you will find it is possible to create almost any effect on your walls. Here are a few techniques to consider:

  • Strie painting – make you walls look like fine linen
  • Rough plaster
  • Polished stone effects
  • Cross-hatch technique
  • Metallic finishes

Plaster, fresco and faux stone

The beauty of faux stone walling is it doesn’t actually use quarried stones; it lasts for ages, and is very cost-effective. Instead a mixture is poured into a mould allowing it to set. In doing so it takes on the look and feel of actual stone at a fraction of the cost associated with real stone finish sidings.

Another great benefit to using a faux stone finish is that it’s considerably less heavy and is therefore much easier to work with than real stone materials. In terms of appearance, there’s very little difference between the faux stone effect and the real thing.

Installing a faux siding or wall can be done using a grouted installation with grout between each stone, much like traditional tiling. For a more rustic look, over-grouting can create a pleasing uneven line to create an older stone masonry effect.

Faux stone walling effects can also be created using traditional painting techniques using specialist polymer plaster products. When applied this can take on a smooth appearance, or it can be easily brushed to give it texture.

It’s also possible to create a pleasing aged effect using a combination of plaster and over-painting to create a layered effect. Using this technique it’s possible to replicate the style and look of Greek or Roman-style plaster walls or marble surfaces.

Take this one step further and add eye-catching fresco to your faux-effect walls. The paint is applied as a base colour with subsequent glaze layers added. What style you choose is up to you. You could plump for an aged look resembling a Roman bath plaster wall, for example. Alternatively, applying a clear glaze gives the fresco a pleasing and clean looking stone appearance.

Faux stone

Faux stone

Polished plaster

Polished plaster refers to the finish applied to specific plasters and is used as a decorative effect on walls, for example. This very fine lime putty is made up of marble dust, pigments and other compounds, which gives it such an attractive and distinctive appearance. What’s more, you can use any standard palette colour for your polished plaster making it a very versatile alternative.

You can use polished plaster for walls and ceilings right across your home and it’s a particularly popular choice as a bathroom finish. In contrast to the faux aged look some plasters can give to a surface, polished plaster evokes a clean and modern feel too any space.

Usually it’s applied to a surface that’s already been treated with a primer, in addition to a ready-mixed mortar key coat. This style of plastering can be layered as many as four times before it’s sealed using a wax veneer for extra protection – particularly important when used in bathrooms and kitchens.

You’ll find different types of polished plaster on the market allowing you to get a whole host of pleasing finishes to your walls and ceilings. The most widely-known type of polished plaster is called Lucidato. This smooth, shiny finish is almost glass-like to the touch, hence its popularity. Similar in appearance to the Lucidato plaster is polished plaster stone, which contains flecks set within the plaster to produce a stunning finish.

Make no mistake, polished plaster is a more expensive wall finish, and depending on the type you decide to use, prices can start from around £25 per square meter. High end polished plasters with a metallic finish are even pricier, but the appearance they bring to a space is well worth the investment and will add value to your home.

Polished plaster panels

Polished plaster panels

Top tips for finishes

Some of the top finishes are listed below:

  • If you seal your polished plaster properly, it will be easy to wipe clean.
  • Use a hydro-repellent for plaster in bathrooms.
  • Before you start plastering, make sure your surfaces are clean and free of dust.
  • Use a surface filler to fill in cracks and holes before you begin

Venetian plastering in three easy steps

If your walls need a facelift and you crave the appearance of polished marble without costly renovations, Venetian plastering could be for you. Suitable for traditional or contemporary interiors alike, Venetian plaster adds warmth and luxury to a room. This decorative painting technique is relatively easy and the results can be stunning.

A few tips before you start

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Consider practicing on a board first to get the hang of the techniques involved
  • If you are a beginner, buy coloured plaster rather than try to paint it yourself
  • If you are plastering a kitchen, bathroom or any other room with steam or moisture in the air, you can buy a sealant top coat to protect the plaster from the effects of water
  • Keep your spatula clean while you work to avoid marking the walls

Step one: Get plastering

Firstly, get your hands on a Venetian Plaster Spatula which is specially designed for creating this plaster effect. Start plastering your wall in small sections. Keep the coverage light and don’t worry too much about missing a bit or any rough areas – after all stone isn’t perfect so your plaster doesn’t need to be either. Keep adding layers, making sure the strokes overlap giving the plaster a natural and random appearance. The more layers you apply now, the more natural your result at the end. Let your work dry thoroughly before step two.

Step two: Level up

Once your handiwork has dried, it’s time to level the plaster. Fill your spatula with a small amount of plaster and skim over the walls, paying particular attention to any obvious dips and rises. Apply two coats for a better finish.

Step three: Finish off

There are a couple of ways to achieve a beautiful polished look. You could use sandpaper or a small steel trowel. Whichever technique you use, move the implement in a small circular motion to create the sheen and polish that makes this look so attractive. Use heavy pressure at this sanding phase for a deep burnish.


Wood graining

The wood graining effect, also known as ‘faux-bois’ has become more popular in interior design as the popularity of real wood has grown. It’s so easy to buy a cheap piece of MDF furniture and make it look like real wood using simple DIY techniques and cheap, readily available tools.
For this tutorial, we have chosen to create the faux-bois effect on a simple, white chest of drawers. Rather than create a wood effect over the whole surface area, we will be customising the drawer fronts only for a more subtle effect.
You will need:
• Latex glaze
• Brown paint
• Bristle paintbrush
• Graduated rubber comb
• Wood graining tool

Step by Step Process

1. Remove the drawers and make sure your drawer fronts are strapped together tightly. We want to create a wood effect across the whole surface, giving the drawers the appearance of having been cut from one piece of wood. You may need to place cardboard between the drawers to keep them straight before you strap them together.
2. Mix your glaze using one part paint, one part latex glaze and two parts of water. Stir this mixture well.
3. Take a bristle paintbrush and apply a thin layer of the glaze. Start with a relatively small area first, about a third, as you don’t want the paint to dry before you apply the wood grain effect.
4. Take the wood grainer and press down in one fluid motion from top to bottom. Twist the wood graining tool slightly for a natural feel. You can overlap a little here for an even more natural wood appearance.
5. After your third stroke with the wood grainer, swap to the graduated rubber comb and add in some straight lines. This mimics natural wood. Use your artistic eye to decide how many times to use the wood grainer and when to add in some straight lines.
6. Always leave a bit of paint at the end of each row. This is called the wet edge and it gives you space to work.
7. Clean up the edges of the drawers before it dries with a damp cloth.

This technique can be used on all different types of furniture; walls and ceilings so experiment and enjoy creating that warm wood feeling in your home.