How to Make a Faux- Marble Table Top with No Cuts, Thinset or Grout

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words... and other times a picture doesn't tell the whole story.

Let's take this photo for example.

I bet you by looking at it, you would never guess that the top looks like.... that.

The horror! It's pretty bad, I know. This Danish modern sideboard was a $40 craigslist find, and was refinished long before I discovered blogs and paint tutorials. We literally thought all we had to do was sand and paint. So that is what we did. In retrospect, it really needed a good layer or two of Killz primer, because this baby bled like a red sock in white laundry.

I literally applied TEN coats of paint in an effort to make it white, and not blotchy orangey white, and the result has been an ever tacky surface that dings and dents like nobodies business. I try covering it with loads of accessories, but that just makes it look cluttered. A few days ago, I just had enough, and decided to do something about it.

You know how most projects take way longer than anticipated and cost way more than budgeted for? Well, this was not one of those projects. In fact, it was the opposite. Because I was determined to not have to make any cuts in the tile, my search was narrowed to finding tile only 12 by 18 ". Since the table is 5 feet long, and 17.5 inches deep, five tiles would give me perfect coverage with a slight overhang.

I went in looking for marble. Obviously. Who doesn't like marble? But... Home Depot only had 12 by 12 bianca marble tiles and that just wouldn't do. Plus, I found the patterns very inconsistent and some very grey and veiny, and the purpose of this tile job was for it to blend as much as possible and look like a solid piece, and not look blatantly tiled. I think that the marble tiles they had were the rejects of the quarry, and that all the nice pretty white marble went to go live as a massive slab on someone's island.

So after a few minutes of pouting I let go of my marbled top idea... and then I saw it.

From afar, it looked like perfect white marble with just the right amount of grey veining. Mostly white and incredibly consistent. In a 12 by 18. As I made my way over to view this godsend, it hit me. This wasn't marble. Not even close. It's porcelain tile. It's porcelain tile that looks like marble. Shucks!  I almost walked away, and then I shrugged. Hey, it's better than what I've got now, right? It's the perfect size. It's super cheap. Ya. Why not? Let's just go for it.

And so I did. Determined not to use thinset or grout, I devised a plan. I used a tile setting mat and since there would only be 4 seams to fill, I would caulk it instead.

After cutting the sticky mat to size, I carefully spaced and lined up my table top. I wish there was a tutorial, but it was so stinkin' easy it's not even worth it. Peel and stick the mats, place tiles on top spaced evenly, caulk the grout lines. Caulk a couple more times to fully fill the space. Voila!

I would be lying if I said it was the dreamiest of projects I've ever done. I like the result. I like it boatloads more than before. And for a $50 makeover, I'm happy as pie! But one day.... one day... I will cover that baby with a big ol slab. That said, it certainly isn't bad for an interim solution!


  1. This is a perfect short term solution. It looks really gorgeous and no one will ever guess how cheap and easy it was!

  2. I can't believe how close it is to marble, what a great find!! Looks awesome.

  3. this is so lovely! thank you for the idea! it's wonderful!

  4. Hey, I wondered if you could tell me where you got the mirror from? I simply love it.

    1. I got it form a warehouse sale, so sadly no source that you could look up

  5. Next time try "Power Grab" all purpose construction adhesive. It dry's clear with an instant strong bond. It's used mostly for floor molding, trim or other such things. It works for anything on any material like vinyl, wood, ceramic, cork, brick etc. I'm talking about the grout not the mats. I've just used those mats to put glass tile on my backsplash. You would like this "Power Grab" better for sealing your slabs because it goes on white and dry's quickly to clear. Then you wouldn't even know that it wasn't a single slab! It comes in the same kind of calking tube too. I'm searching right now for faux marble counter covering you just stick on. Saw it for granite but looking for something like the color of your table top. I need something easy to cut because I'm making a "1/4 pie shape for a table top that fits my L-shaped kitchen booth.


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