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How to make a DIY countertop that looks like marble, without the high end cost!

Ellie loves to create and is always busy working on a new masterpiece. This bedroom makeover was screaming for a large workspace and lots of storage!

Not only does this built-in design offer her a large work surface, but there is now ample storage space for all her art supplies.

Follow along as we show you how you can create this DIY countertop for under $60.

Another option for  a DIY countertop would be an epoxy countertop.

While it would be more expensive, the results are stunning.

Supplies Used

We already had a lot of the supplies used on hand. The only supplies we purchased for this project were the MDF and contact paper.

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Building The DIY Countertop

DIY Countertop
DIY Countertop

We purchased a piece of 3/4″ thick 4′ x 8′ MDF board from Home Depot, and had them cut it down into two pieces 21.5″ wide.

(It’s so much easier having them cut it at the store instead of trying to man this huge and heavy piece of wood on the table saw. And it’s easier to get home in smaller pieces as well.)

After the wood was home, we measured and marked where the counter top would sit inside the window sill. We then trimmed the MDF with a circular saw to create notches on both ends.

DIY Countertop

To make the countertop look more substantial we secured the two pieces of MDF together using wood glue and the brad nailer. Brads were driven into the wood from the underneath side of the countertop.

You’ll also notice in the picture above that the bottom piece of MDF is straight so it will fit flush against the wall, where the top piece of MDF has the notched area to sit inside the window sill.

(If both boards were notched to fit in the window sill, it would’ve been too high and covered the window.)

Route Edge of Countertop

DIY Countertop

The top front edge of the DIY countertop was then slightly rounded with a router. This creates a little softer edge.

DIY Countertop

Once the edge has been routed, use a palm sander to smooth the front edge of the counter.

Then you’ll want to apply a thin layer of dry dex putty to fill in the seam of the two pieces of MDF.

Once dried, lightly sand until smooth.

Prime MDF

DIY Countertop
DIY Countertop

Next, add a layer of primer to the MDF. This will help create a better bond between the MDF and the contact paper.

Once dried, give the entire surface a light sanding with 220 grit paper, so it’s smooth to the touch.

How To Apply The Contact Paper

DIY Countertop

I chose a heavy duty contact paper rated for countertops and furniture that was 24″ x 118″. Purchasing it with these dimensions will allow you to apply the paper to the entire surface without any seams. And that is key to creating this DIY countertop to give it more of a realistic marble look.

DIY Countertop

Slowly unroll the contact paper over the countertop and trim off the excess leaving a few extra inches. This will make it easier to work with and give you a little wiggle room.

DIY Countertop

Starting at one end, gently peel the backing away exposing about a 1″ strip of the contact paper.

Carefully line up the contact paper leaving enough to cover the sides of the counter top.

The contact paper is reposition-able, but to maintain the best bond, it’s best not to reposition unless absolutely necessary.

Then slowly pull the backing back a couple inches at a time and smooth the contact paper down with a straight edge (I used a plastic ruler). Be sure to smooth out any air bubbles pushing the ruler in the direction that the contact paper backing is being removed.

DIY Countertop

Once the entire top surface of the DIY counter top has been covered with the contact paper, use your fingers to wrap it over the front edge. Using the ruler here may cause scratches or tears, so fingers are best.

Then take a utility knife to trim away the excess contact paper.

*Since this countertop was going to be built in under the book case, I decided to add a sealer to make it even more durable (and prevent it from any possible staining from Ellie’s art supplies). This was the first time I’d used the contact paper, and I would’ve been devastated if it were to get damaged down the road, so I was just taking some extra precautions.

We used the Varathane Polyurethane in a satin finish.

The Finished Marble Look DIY Countertop

DIY Countertop

The DIY countertop was then secured to the wall with a cleat as well as the unit of drawers and book case. To see how we secured these all together, visit our post on how we made the built-in desk.

DIY Countertop
DIY Countertop
DIY Countertop

I’m so happy with the way it turned out! It looks just like marble, with extra durability and stain resistance!

We’ll keep you posted on it’s durability and how it’s holding up.

DIY Countertop

Thanks for spending some time with us today. We hope you’ve found some inspiration here and will come back again.

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And as always here at Sunny Side Design


DIY Countertop

To see how we turned this existing furniture into this beautiful built-in desk area, see our step by step tutorial here.

Be sure to follow us on Pinterest for even more home decor and DIY ideas.

To see what we are working on before it’s on our blog, follow us on Instagram.

You can also find our video tutorials on our YouTube channel. 

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Ivana

    Looks beautiful. Great job!

    1. Michelle Dickson

      Thank you Ivana, so glad you enjoyed it.

    2. Michelle Dickson

      Thank you Ivana! So far it is holding up beautifully.

  2. Brenda Smith

    Love looking at your stuff!

    1. Michelle Dickson

      Thank you Brenda! You’re so sweet!

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