In my real life kitchen, I picked out the countertop first and then spent a crazy amount of time finding backsplash tiles that would go well with it. I ended up with tiles in the same color family as the countertop, but a few shades lighter.
Short version: it looked bad! The backsplash is busy and I didn’t have the right shades of green to paint something that looked good against it. I didn’t even take a picture. I covered up the green with a watery coat of Bleached Linen (the same paint I’m using for the cabinets) and put it aside for another day.
I looked online at pictures of white kitchens with green backsplashes and saw a lot of black countertops. It wouldn’t have occurred to me to try black, but why not? The nice thing about paint is you can cover it up. (And I usually have to a few times before I get a countertop right!)
For years I had a little bottle of black craft paint that came out nice and dark on the first coat. When that ran out last year I bought a bottle of Craft Smart paint that’s much more watery. It always takes several coats for full coverage. The middle piece in the picture below is after one coat of black — I didn’t like the brush strokes. So I tried sponging it on with a sponge brush instead. That plus the white base coat came out looking stone-like, as you can see in the piece on the right.
After sponging on one coat of black, I let the pieces dry and then sponged on another coat of black. Here’s the result.
I sanded the painted pieces with very fine sandpaper, then used gloss varnish to add shine. This is water based varnish that comes in the same little bottles as craft paint. I love matte varnish for giving things a stone look, but in the past I haven’t been happy with the gloss varnish because of the brush lines. This time I had an epiphany — if you use enough varnish, the brush lines disappear! I really glopped it on, and then let it dry overnight. Nice and shiny!
This isn’t perfect for a countertop. It has a sort of crackle texture, plus some little bumps where there were bubbles in the varnish. There are surely better ways to get a smooth, shiny finish. But since my cabinets are far back in the room, and the room is pretty dark, you don’t really see the flaws.
Next I glued on the countertops. To do this I put the glue on the cabinets, then put the cabinets in place and slid the countertops in place on top of them. Since everything is such a tight fit, this ensured I positioned the countertops exactly right.
In between steps on the countertops, I finished painting the cabinets and added all the knobs. The cabinets were a perfect fit when they were raw but the paint added some depth, so I had to do a bit of sanding to get everything to fit again.
All I have left to do in here is the backsplash over the sink and add trim. The window sill overlaps the sink backsplash so it’s a little complicated, but I have a plan. Oh, and I still have add a clock to the microwave, and to paint the stove. I’m dreading painting the stove so I’ve been putting it off.