Tuesday, July 22, 2014

DIY Makeover: Painting Kitchen Countertops

I know when you think of doing a countertop makeover, paint doesn't usually come to mind. But honestly, paint always comes to my mind when I want to change something! It's easy and frugal, two things on my priority list. Although we would ultimately love to upgrade to something other than laminate, I knew that was not on our short term goal list for the kitchen. Enter: painting!
I'd seen several articles/blog posts about other people doing this and although it seemed somewhat intimidating, I figured I couldn't make our pink countertops any worse. Here's the reminder of what they looked like in all their pink glory (excuse the dirty dishes; just keeping it real-life):

 The first step was to tape everything off. I normally hate taping and skip it, but I felt it would make this project go a lot faster. And when it comes to not being able to use your kitchen, speed is necessary!

Then time to break out the mini rolling brush ($2 at Lowe's):

First paint step is primer which turned it white (already an improvement):

 Then I put down a base color in the tan family - this was temporarily disappointing, as it looks almost pink again. 

But no need for worry, other colors were coming right up. I used tan as a base because I wanted a good blending foundation on the lighter side of all of my other colors. The base paint I used was just a sample can of something I already had in my paint stash from Lowe's. This isn't a great quality picture, but these are my  5 acrylic colors I used for the sponging: 

These are just the cheap-o acrylic paints you can get at any craft store. I used a dark brown, creme, black, shimmery bronze and shimmery gray. I got a sea sponge and got to dabbing, starting with a medium color first, then the darkest, then the lightest. I read several tutorials before starting and combined all of their tips to create my own steps. 

After the first color:

I forgot to keep snapping pics after every color, so this next pic is after the first coat of each color:

Finished colors (1 coat of some, then adding a little bit more of the colors I wanted to be prominent): 

I [wrongly] assumed the acrylics would be dry overnight and started to put the first coat of polycrylic on the next morning. BAD decision. The acrylics starting smearing as soon as my brush hit it, so I had to wait another full day before starting the top coat. 

Just as a side note, I considered using an epoxy top coat but ultimately decided against it. Although I do think I would have liked the finish better than the polycrylic (it would have been like those super smooth, glass-like bar top tables), it just seemed way more complicated. With two kiddos running around I decided the poly would be faster and still give it a tough top coat. 

I only had to wait a couple of hours between each coat of polycrylic, and I did 7. In my research, I was recommended to do anywhere from 2-10 coats, so I struck in the middle with 7. So far it has been holding up great, even with using knives on the surface and placing hot pans on top, etc. 

Here are some pics with the tape pulled off (and I also re-caulked between the tiles and counter):

 And with everything back in place:

Overall, I am VERY pleased with this makeover! It was time consuming (only because of drying time) but it only took a total of 5 days, start to finish. We moved our microwave and toaster over to the dining room on the table so we still had use of those everyday things which made it more bearable. 

After the paint job, it has also convinced me not to paint the cabinets. That was a job I was dreading because of people saying how long and hard of a process it would be. But now that I see non-pink countertops, I think the cabinets look more neutral and not so pink-y. Changing the floor will go a long way to help that too, so we will see what we can do about that. 

In keeping-it-real fashion, I wanted to show close up shots of some of the not-so-perfect spots:

These are the sink edges that were taped off - when I took the tape off it peeled some of the paint off too. Obviously, this makes it not look like a solid piece of countertop, but a painted one. But that's ok! I'm not a perfectionist when it comes to DIY and little things like this don't typically bother me too much. And if it ever does, it wouldn't take much to grab a brush and touch it up. 

I also got some painter's tape stuck between the oven and side counters that I can't get out, but that is easily fixed with moving the oven out of its spot (which Jason will have to help with). 

If anyone wants to try this on their own, please don't hesitate to ask any questions! I didn't want to over do the details part on the post, but I'm happy to give you any help I can if you are ready to do this one yourself. A worth-it endeavor in my book. :)