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How to Paint a Marble Effect Drinks Trolley

This tutorial on how to create a marble effect drinks trolley was written for Upcycle My Stuff by Julia Clare of Julia Clare Interiors. Julia is a member of our Business Directory.

The drinks trolley has made a big come back and adds a sophisticated and luxurious statement to any living room, lounge or dining room.

Its Gatsby and Art Deco appeal reminds us that our favourite tipple is always handy, and it makes entertaining or just chilling effortless. It’s beautifully functional too as it provides ample space to show off a fancy glass or drinks collection.

Materials Needed – Marble Effect Drinks Trolley

marble effect feather technique
  • 3 tiered wooden table or trolley – preferrably on wheels
  • Sandpaper – mixed grits
  • Base paint – I used Rustoleum chalk paint in ‘Chalk White’
  • Paint brushes and/or roller for your base paint
  • A feather – I found one in the park
  • 3 shades of grey – I used sample pots of Crown period Collections in Polished Silver, Pencil Point and Carved Stone.
  • If you like a bit of bling then you can use a metallic paint too – I used Rustoleum Gold Craft Paint.
  • A water spray
  • A natural sponge or cloth for blotting
  • Finishing wax or varnish
  • A toothbrush

Step 1: Source your ‘Trolley’

drinks trolley makeover before

When my customer asked me to create a faux marble effect drinks trolley for her new living room, I got straight onto Gumtree and managed to find an old piece of furniture fairly quickly which met my criteria for upcycling it into a drinks trolley.

That criteria was: three tiers, on wheels and solid wood. It had seen better days but I knew I could solve that problem.

Note: If you find a suitable piece but it doesn’t have wheels you can easily add them so don’t be put off!

Step 2: Sand & Prepare

When I brought my secondhand trolley home I gave it a quick sanding over paying particular attention to the flat tray surfaces as this needed to be shiny like marble. 

I used a mixture of grits of sandpaper moving from the hardest to the finest.

Step 3: Paint your Base Colour

After making sure it was clear of dust and as smooth as possible I painted three layers of Rustoleum chalk paint in ‘Chalk White’.

This paint can act as a both a primer and a finishing coat. So my first coat was the ‘primer’ and then I did a further two coats. Because it is chalk paint it will then need to be polished up afterwards to a sheen using Rustoleum clear furniture wax.

An alternate method would be to use a white eggshell or satin paint instead if you don’t want to do the wax and polishing.  

Step 4: Hand-painted Marble Effect

Once I was happy with the white finish all over I started to hand-paint on the marble effect.

Before you start, look for an image online of a white and grey carrara marble that you like which you could use for inspiration. 

faux grey carrerra marble effect
Example of Grey Carrara Marble

Hand-Painted Marble Effect Method

hand-painted faux marble effect technique

Below is a printable instruction card for the faux marble effect technique.

Pin it or print it out to refer to later.

This technique can be used on all sorts of upcycling projects.

marble effect with a feather

Grey & White Marble Effect with a Feather

Active Time: 1 hour
Additional Time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 1 hour
Difficulty: Medium
Estimated Cost: 20

How to use a feather and sample pots of paint to create a faux marble paint effect.


  • Sample pots of grey paint in 3 shades
  • Metallic craft paint (optional)


  • Feather
  • Cloth and/or Toothbrush
  • Spray bottle with water


  1. The veins of the marble are created by dragging the feather with grey paint in a squiggly, uneven and zig zag diagonal line across the surface. Start with the lightest shade of grey and dip the feather in this, dragging it down across the surface with a shaky hand. Chose random diagonal lines across the whole surface.
  2. Spray a thin layer of water on this and blot to desired effect. 
  3. With the middle shade of grey do the same on top of most of the light grey veins and make some additional random veins. You're aiming for a random and natural look rather than pattern. Remember to vary the pressure you apply to the feather when you paint on the grey as well as the width of vein, aiming for natural inconsistency and variation.
  4. Spray a thin layer of water on this and blot. 
  5. With the feather again pick out the veining you wish to accentuate to give a finished look and paint on your darkest colour of grey in the same way as before, blotting as you go. You're looking for a kind of blurry under water look with the odd accent of bolder grey.
  6. Once the grey veins have dried and before applying the (optional) metallic, using a toothbrush or cloth lightly scrub on top of the marble pattern to create patchy/blurry areas of white.
  7. Once you are happy with this you could use a metallic (my favourite is gold) to highlight some of the curves and contours of the veins you have painted, going over some of the darker lines or the parts you want to accentuate.

You could use this hand-painted marble effect method on lots of projects, not just a drinks trolley so make sure to Pin this post to come back to later!

Step 5: Finishing Touches

how to paint a marble effect

As well as using the gold paint in the marble effect itself, I also used gold on some of the carved detail of the table legs, and to touch up the old steel on the wheels- you will likely need a few coats for this.

art deco marble effect drinks trolley

Once you’re happy with the look of your trolley you need to add a coat of furniture wax to protect it.

I use a brush to ‘paint’ this on, lint-free cloth to take off excess wax, especially any stuck in the corners, and then another dry, clean lint-free cloth again to polish to a shine after a few hours (or over night).

If you use a satin or eggshell white instead of the chalk paint I used then a gloss varnish would be fine if you felt it needed for the extra sheen. 

Lastly all that’s left to do is display your best crystal, and drinks collection, add an ornament or plant and pour yourself a congratulatory drink! Mine was an Amaretto sourz on this occassion 😉

how to create a marble effect
how to create a marble effect
marble effect drinks trolley

If you liked this tutorial, pin it to your Faux Marble or Paint Techniques board!

DIY marble effect drink trolley
Julia Clare Interiors

Julia Clare is an artist and designer based in Glasgow, Scotland.  She specialises in artisan hand-painted vintage furniture, boutique interior design, surface design for wall paper & textile as well as art commissions of her statement golden skyscapes.

Instagram: @juliaclareint

Facebook: /juliaclareinteriors

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