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Carrara marble

Carrara marble is a popular effect for decorative paint finishers, created over a solid white eggshell base.

Just to clarify the spelling, Wikipedia says:

Back in the day, Mark Nash was known as the Carrara Kid, as he would create the marble effect on anything that stood still long enough.

Jason Walker also transformed a church altar, once of MDF, into a solid carrara marble structure, using oil based scumble and glaze.

Martin Dunn has an example of replicated carrera marble in his portfolio.

If you have examples of carrara marble, please add them below.

If you have any insights or opinions on the best or not so good materials for this kind of decorative work ie traditional v water-based scumbles, pure bristle v synthetic brushes, please start a new topic in this section.

Hi all, my 1st attempt at a painted marble effect.

Id appreciate any pointers and any good detailed examples of real marble (links) that i could use as reference - I havent been able to find any good ones yet.

2nd sample

I realise that the samples are not particularly good - hence the request for criticism - constructive of course.

to start myself - i havent used glazes or a sponge. I think back to basics is for me is the way forward and to get the stone background right before veining is even attempted.

Both samples are in oils but for expediencey & practice acrylics would have been more suitable.

Anyway - the 2 samples can serve as an example of how NOT to marble :smiley:

For you’re first 2 attempts I’d be pretty happy if I were you though i would definitely play about with oil glazes rather than acrylic. Personally I’m all about oil glazes for faux marbling as I think they offer distinct advantages to water based alternatives - first and foremost you have have a much better ‘open time’ with oil glazes so you can play around with the paint and manipulate the glazes to get just the finish you want.

If you set yourself up with a few tinted glazes, a hog hair brush, a good quality badger hair softener, a couple of Canadian goose feathers, a long haired sable brush (for the veining) and a lint free cloth for playing about with the background then you’re well well armed. Just have a play and see what effects you can create, it’s all about experimentation. It’s taken me 13+ years of ‘playing’ about to get my process down and I’m always tinkering.

Veining wise, i think less is more with a lot of faux finishes, after all every piece of marble is naturally different. Below is a bit of a guide to good and bad veining, the picture shows what not to do - hope it helps.

Bad veining - although really oversimplified common faults are: parallel lines, wobbly veins, cobweb effect and lines that are broken.

Good veining - although the vein may split at intervals to form quite complicated patterns, two veins of the same tone should never cross.

All the best with the experimentation, I look forward to seeing the results!

If you want to have a look at some of my faux marble check out

Hi Lee, thanks for your advice. Less, as you say, is definately more! - I was aware that i was overdoing it with the veining but couldnt stop myself and went with it because I tend to learn a lot from mistakes. The above were in oil glazes and I agree that the open time is greater than with acrylics - Ive also found that depth and transparency are better with oils - a more versatile medium imho - the only reason for my suggestion of using acrylics was for expediencies sake in my learning curve. It definately is a subtle art and your work from your website shows an clear underdstanding of this - they are excellent examples of marbling. I particularly like the grey marble from the sunderland museum.
Thanks for the pointers and constructive criticism - it has been a great help and I will post other examples when I have done them (and they are worth posting :slight_smile: ) - hopefull not to far in the future.

Thanks Paul, glad you found it helpful. The depth of colour and transparency of oil glazes is definately better than the acrylic alternative as you say. Another good way of practicing, (though you may have already sussed this)is to create a base you’re happy with and then leave it to dry. You can then do the veining as a completely separate layer and change/rub off as much as you like until you’re happy without ruining the whole board. If you’re going down this route then i would suggest wiping a very thin layer of untinted glaze over the base prior to veining as it makes the blending a lot easier and gives a more realistic finish. I look forward to seeing the results, best of luck!

Hi Lee, thats a great tip for practicing and as soon as I get a chance I will give it a go. Again - thanks for your advice - it couldnt be better received!