How to Paint Faux Granite Step By Step


How To Paint Faux Granite: New Products and Methods


Creative painting techniques are always evolving as new products become available and “happy accidents” show us new reactions between paint supplies. Recently I discovered a great technique for making faux granite. For years the standard way of making granite has been the traditional mixing of several colors and spattering them on whatever your project is. Of course the result of this can be a build up of paint that in the end is hard to make smooth as most stone finishes are.

How to Paint Faux Granite: New Technique


In my new technique I make use of a product meant for removing wallpaper of all things. “Zinsser Diff Wallpaper Remover” is a viscous liquid that essentially, once applied,  keeps the surface of wallpaper wet longer than just water. This allows the glue on the back on the wallpaper to absorb the moisture and become reactivated allowing removal. Staying wet so long is what makes Diff work for our creative painting technique.

How To Paint Faux Granite: Step By Step


As we do with most finishes, we start off with a panel that has been primed with latex and seconded coated with an eggshell paint. We usually use eggshell because it gives us a surface that will take paint nicely without grabbing like a flat paint, but will grab more than semigloss. If you were doing a wood grain we would want a sealed semigloss background, but we will go into that on another post. Take the Zinsser Diff liquid and mix it about 50/50 with water.








We will be putting it through a pump spritzer and this mix will allow it to be sprayed. If you have problems with getting the Diff to spray properly,  just play with the the Diff / water mix.

Adjust the tip of the sprayer so that the Diff lands on your surface in “pea size” droplets. I usually spritz upwards like a sprinkler to get nice round dots. Spraying downward can cause directional lines. Now in the video we have on this process, we make a black granite, but you can make it whatever color you want. I like using Benjamin Moore Stays Clear for my finishes, but if you can’t find that product you can use almost any acrylic clear. We in the business call this Glaze. The sheen doesn’t really mater at this stage.

How To Paint Faux Granite: Mixing the Glaze


Take your glaze and add black tint. Tint is the colorant that gives paint it’s color. Tint by itself will not dry and needs to be in a medium or paint to dry. Seems like a video on tint will might be next.  If you had a quart of glaze it would be about a half teaspoon of tint. Let’s call that a squirt! Roll a coat of your tinted glaze on your surface as evenly as possible using a whizz roller. If you get some patchiness it’s ok. We call that organic variation. After applying the glaze, spritz your Diff droplets, while the glaze is wet, all over the panel covering it approximately 30 to 40%.


How To Paint Faux Granite: Here’s The Trick


Here’s the magic part. While your glaze mix is drying, the Diff droplets are keeping the glaze under them wet. You will be able to see when the glaze is dry and when it is, take a cotton cloth with warm water and wipe the panel. Your are removing the Diff droplets and the glaze that they were covering exposing a very organic natural looking shapes. Repeat this process 3 to 4 times and you have a wonderfully natural looking granite.

A couple notes, this process must be done horizontal. Try it on a wall and you’ll have something funkie, but not granite. Sand in between every coat every coat with scotch pads. They almost buff the surface and don’t leave swirl marks. Watch the Marble & Stone Video to see how that is done.


I was working on a television show where we had to produce some 25 4×8 panels of this granite. After wiping all day, my good friend Josh who is in the video, and I start doing infomercial sham wow style comedy routines to pass the time. Check out the video here. Always try to have fun when your painting. You will create better finishes and have more enjoyment with you Creative Painting Techniques







About the Author

Vaughan Baker, the creator of has been faux painting for feature film and television for 25 years and enjoys sharing his knowledge of the field. Vaughan is known for his simple and easy ways of generating masterful finishes in a short time period. Vaughan works in the film business to this day, guiding the people that create the finishes that you will see on the big and small screen.

2 Responses to How to Paint Faux Granite

  1. Summer says:

    So if I am reading this correctly… I’ll need:

    * Pump Spritzer
    * Diff
    * Latex Primer
    * Eggshell Paint
    * Tinted Glaze
    * Scotch Pads
    * Rags

    I would be painting with primer, then eggshell paint, then glaze. Droplets of Diff mixture, let glaze dry, then wipe off Diff. Sand with Scotch pads. Repeat 3-4 times. Cover with epoxy. Done.


    • Vaughan says:

      I think you got it. Again with this technique the key is leaving the glaze to dry long enough that when you wipe off the Diff that you don’t reactivate the the glaze. It’s a timing thing. If you find that the diff solution is drying too fast, and more Diff to the Water/Diff solution. Do a practice panel.

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