Monday, October 27, 2014

Create a Faux Marble Countertop with Paper Illusion Wallpaper

Paper Illusion Wallpaper

Inexpensive Faux Marble Countertop Transformation

Would you believe the faux marble countertop shown here was an ugly eyesore just hours before this photo was taken? The surface may look like expensive marble, but it's wallpaper! What's the secret? Paper Illusion wallpaper, created by Blue Mountain Wallcoverings.

I've been using Paper Illusion wallpaper to decorate my own home for several years, using the original PaperIllusion wallpaper designs created by Village.

Since that time, I've successfully covered many surfaces including plaster, decades-old wallpaper, wallpaper liner, particle board, and even subfloor panels. Leftover pieces of Paper Illusion wallpaper have been transformed into photo mattes and wallpaper cutouts.

This was my first Paper Illusion faux marble countertop project, and after more than five years, the surface has held up admirably. Other than a couple of minor touch-ups with glue around the fixtures, the countertop has been maintenance free.

You can achieve the same results in your own home. I'll show you step-by-step how you can update your own kitchen or bathroom countertops with Paper Illusion wallpaper. Both of the papers used in this bathroom project are from the original PaperIllusion by Village line, now out of production.

However, there are still a few rolls of PaperIllusion wallpaper available online. The updated Paper Illusion line by Blue Mountain Wallcoverings includes 24 designs in a variety of hues. You're sure to find a suitable pattern for your own countertop project. Custom DIY home decorating has never been easier or more affordable.

Powder Room Sink Before Paper Illusion
Paper Illusion Sink

A Discolored Countertop Gets a Much Needed Facelift
Our house was built in 1926 and a bedroom closet was later converted to a half-bath, probably in the 1960s. The cabinet pictured here was cut to fit the space and still functions pretty well today. But as you can see, the countertop was discolored and not too pretty.

The walls had been recently covered with Paper Illusion Florentine Marble Earth (now called Cinnamon). I chose to update the countertop with Crepe Illusion in Bronze—a discontinued color, left over from a previous home decor project.

This is my teenage stepson’s bathroom and everything needs to be durable. Our Paper Illusion countertop was the perfect solution.

Florentine Marble Earth (now Cinnamon)
This is the Color Used on the Powder Room Walls
Paper Illusion Florentine Marble Cinnamon
Paper Illusion Wallpaper

Here's What You'll Need
  • Paper Illusion Wallpaper
  • Sanding Sponge
  • Scissors
  • Wallpaper Primer (if test piece does not adhere)
  • Medium-Sized Bowl of Water
  • Sponge
  • Smoothing Tool or Credit Card
  • Terry Washcloth
  • Water-Based Polyurethane
  • Paintbrush

Clean surface to remove dirt, grease, and mildew. Lightly abrade the countertop with a sanding sponge. Wipe off the surface, removing all dust residues.

Sanding Sponges
Lightly Abrade the Countertop with a Sanding Sponge

Three Steps: Tear, Dip, and Apply

Step One: Tear
Paper Illusion Wallpaper

Tear Paper Illusion Wallpaper Into Irregular Pieces
I usually tear an entire roll ahead of time. For a small project like this, I tore a few pieces to get started and additional pieces as they were needed. Before you begin tearing, you’ll need to decide if you want the “grout” lines to show. Paper Illusion wallpaper has an underside that resembles grout when applied and layered with other pieces. If you look closely at the roll pictured here, you’ll see the gray underside. I’ve done wall treatments both ways, but for this project I decided on a smooth finish without gray lines. I tore the pieces in a downward motion so the gray underside would not be visible. My pieces are divided into two piles: the ones on the left are torn all around, and the ones on the right have straight edges.

Step Two: Dip
Paper Illusion Wallpaper

Use a Medium-Sized Bowl of Lukewarm Water
After preparing the surface, I dipped an irregular piece of Paper Illusion wallpaper and applied it to the countertop. I always do a “test” piece to check for adhesion and coverage problems. You’ll need a medium-sized bowl of lukewarm water that easily accommodates a piece of torn paper. When you’re ready to go, just dip a piece, shake off any excess water, and prepare to place it on your surface.

Step Three: Apply
Paper Illusion Wallpaper

Place a Paper Illusion Piece onto the Surface
Place the piece onto your surface, and gently press it down with a sponge. Sometimes the piece will slip around. Don’t worry, this is normal. Feel free to lift and move the piece until you’re satisfied with placement.

Finishing: Removing Bubbles
Paper Illusion Wallpaper

A Credit Card Helps Remove Excess Water
Look closely at the surface of your paper. Are there bumps or air bubbles? If so, use a smoothing tool or credit card to gently move them out and away from the center of the piece. If this doesn’t work, remove the piece and apply it again.

Finishing: Removing Excess Water
Paper Illusion Wallpaper

Gently Blot with a Dry Washcloth
Use a terry washcloth to gently blot the piece, taking special care around the edges. The piece should be firmly attached to the surface, with no traces of air bubbles or excess water.

Allow Test Piece to Dry
Paper Illusion Wallpaper

Wait About an Hour for the Test Piece to Dry
I waited about an hour to see how well the paper adhered to the surface. In this case, everything looked great. If your paper doesn’t adhere properly, you’ll need to apply a coat of wallpaper primer and allow it to dry thoroughly before proceeding with a new test piece. Once you’re satisfied, it’s time to cover your surface.

Paper Illusion Application: Step-By-Step
Apply pieces to the surface, overlapping them slightly. Use edged pieces along areas with straight lines, and irregular pieces everywhere else. Press overlapped areas with a moist sponge, then gently blot with a terry washcloth.

Paper Illusion Wallpaper
Paper Illusion Wallpaper
Paper Illusion Wallpaper
Paper Illusion Wallpaper
Paper Illusion Wallpaper
Paper Illusion Wallpaper
Paper Illusion Wallpaper
Paper Illusion Wallpaper
Paper Illusion Wallpaper
Paper Illusion Wallpaper
Quality Control Inspection by Sammy

Keep Scissors Handy for Trimming Edge Pieces

All Dressed Up with Paper Illusion
Paper Illusion Wallpaper

Total Application Time: About 2 Hours
The oiled-bronze fixture was installed previously by our plumber, so I papered around the faucet and handles. Even though this part of the project took a couple of hours, I did everything over two busy days with lots of interruptions.

That’s one of the advantages of Paper Illusion wallpaper. You can do a little and return later to do more. Clean-up is easy and very little measuring or trimming is needed.

The Finishing Touch
Paper Illusion Wallpaper

Added Protection for Bathroom and Kitchen Surfaces
Allow your Paper Illusion project to dry for at least 24 hours. You’ll want to protect it from water damage with at least 4 coats of water-based polyurethane. I chose Minwax® Water Based Polyurethane in a clear, semi-gloss finish. It’s also available in gloss and satin finishes. Use a synthetic bristle brush or foam brush to lightly coat the entire surface. Let dry about 2 hours between each coat. After applying the final coat, allow 24 hours before light use.

Powder Room: Before and After
An Ugly Countertop is Transformed with Paper Illusion Wallpaper
Paper Illusion Wallpaper

My Secret Weapon ... Shhhh!

My home is full of Paper Illusion walls and ceilings, and from time to time a piece will detach. Fixing it is a simple matter of applying a dime-sized portion of Elmer’s Glue to a damp sponge and gently pressing the piece back in place, making sure to get some of the glue on the underside of the paper.

For the countertop project featured here, I applied a generous portion of glue to the edges that wrapped into the recessed sink. I also used a damp sponge with a little glue to seal any other overlapped edges that did not lie flat. Elmer’s Glue dries clear and cleans up easily with water.

When I complete a Paper Illusion project for someone else, I always present them with a small bottle of Elmer’s and a sponge for quick fixes. Don't worry, it's easy to repair Paper Illusion wallpaper.

Elmer's Glue-All Multi-Purpose Glue

Paper Illusion Sink Project
Paper Illusion Wallpaper

Paper Illusion Wallpaper in a Sink?
You can also use Paper Illusion wallpaper to cover the inside surface of the sink. I had some green paper left from another project and decided to cover a beat up sink.

Despite three coats of polyurethane, the paper began to lift after a few weeks, thanks to an inept and dishonest housekeeper we have since discharged. A properly sealed Paper Illusion surface should hold up as long as water does not sit for long periods of time in the sink.

How to Install Paper Illusion Wallpaper
Anthony Federico (A. Federico Painting & Paperhanging)

Paper Illusions Faux Finish Wallpaper Samples
8 by 10-inch Sample (Discontinued Wallpaper)

How to Repair Paper Illusion Wallpaper
Our Hallway Repair with Step-By-Step Instructions
Repair Paper Illusion

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