Refresh a Wrought Iron Table with a Faux Marble Top

Restore a rusted wrought iron table base to it’s original beauty and add elegance with a new “marble” top

If the term faux painting conjures images of rooms full of sponged walls stenciled with cute floral or fruit-themed borders ala the 1980s and early 90s, put away those leg warmers and flat iron that over-permed hair, because faux techniques can be used to create beautiful current and even timeless looks while saving money.

We inherited a wrought iron accent table when my mother-in-law passed away in 2018. She loved the table, and from the time I met her the table held a place of honor on her side, covered porch. When she decided to move into a retirement community, the table was one of the special pieces that she wanted to take with her. Her new apartment had a porch, but it was not covered and the table was exposed to the elements for several years. 

Portion of rusted wrought iron table shown in yard

The wrought iron base had been painted many times, and layers of paint and drips had built up. This build-up along with a lot of rust had to be removed before painting in order to get a nice finish. 

Refreshing the wrought iron base

First, I scraped off as much paint and rust as I could with a wire brush. This removed the loose chunks, but clearly sanding was needed. 

We got these wire brush attachments for our power drill and went to work. My husband, Dave, and I took turns over several days using different-sized attachments to reach the various turns and crevasses on the legs. I don’t have any good tips for this other than to keep at it. Slow, steady movement of the brush across the metal seemed to work best. Also, the bristles on the wire brushes are very sharp, and grabbing them once they are covered in rust may result in a trip to the doctor’s office for a tetanus shot. (I’m good for 10 more years, now.)

Man sanding rusted wrought iron table with wire brush attached to power drill

There must be a way to have all of the paint removed professionally, but our method was never going to take it down to bare metal. We had to decide when it was good enough. For a piece that will be cared for, but used on our deck in the elements, “good enough” came after about a week of repeated sanding. 

Once it was ready for painting, we used Krylon primer and paint in one in Matte Black and sprayed four light coats, being careful not to be heavy handed in any one area. Several light coats is always better than one heavy coat that may lead to drips.

Man spray painting a wrought iron table

We let it cure for several days. To protect it from the elements, we sprayed it with Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish, also in a matte finish. Again, we sprayed several light coats. 

I was very happy with how elegant the base looked once it was painted. Now it just needed a proper top.

When we brought the table home, the glass top was shattered. I wanted to replace it with something more interesting and durable than glass. The opening for the top is relatively small at 28 by 17 inches, and I thought I could strike a good deal for a piece of marble or quartz at the local stone yard. I was wrong. While a remnant may have been affordable, having it cut to size ran the price up, especially because it could only be one-half-inch thick. Most pieces are at least twice that thickness, and planing it down would have been expensive. I was given a ballpark of three to four hundred dollars for a remnant cut to size. I love the table, but I wasn’t willing to pay that much. 

Faux painting the top

I loved the idea of a marble top and decided to try my hand at faux marbling. My original plan was to find a piece of plywood in the correct thickness. Dave remembered that we had a piece of plexiglass floating around in the basement, and lo and behold, it was exactly the thickness we needed (sometimes hoarding pays off).

Before you purchase new supplies, check your paint stash. I bought the white chalk paint and the glaze, but I used paint that I had on hand for the veining. 


• Miss Lilian’s Chock Paint in the color Eying the Past (this is a white with cooler undertones)

• Light Gray Paint (I mixed Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black with the white paint to create shades of gray)

• Medium Gray Paint  (Again, I mixed the SW Tricorn Black with the white but added more black for a more intense gray color)

• Sherwin Williams Dovetail (any taupe or greige paint will work)

• Miss Lillian’s Antiquing Glaze in clear

• Large craft feathers

• Sea sponge

• Microfiber cloth

• Foam paint roller

Faux painting process

• Step One

Paint the entire piece white using the sponge roller

• Step Two

Mix light gray paint of your choice with one part glaze and two parts water (I mixed SW Tricorn black with the white paint to create a very light gray)

• Step Three

Sponge paint the entire piece using the sea sponge. Work in a diagonal from top left to bottom right.

• Step Four

Use the microfiber cloth to dab the sponge painting and soften the appearance. It shouldn’t look like a sponge-painted wall. Leave some darker areas that flow in the diagonal direction.

• Step Five

Using the light gray paint mixed with one part glaze and one part water, use the feather to create veins, again in the diagonal direction.

Dip one edge of the feather into the paint, dab off the excess paint. Move the feather in the diagonal direction while lifting it up and down. This is definitely the hardest part. It helps to look at samples of marble that you like and try to mimic the veining lines. When faux painting marble, I think less is more, so you don’t need a lot of veining. Too much will look like you painted it.

After you pull your vein, use a blunt ended dry paint brush to soften the vein. Dab along the vein using a quick motion almost like stenciling.

• Step Six

Using the medium gray paint add some darker veins. There should be fewer of these. Add just enough to add some dimension.

• Step Seven

Using the taupe paint very sparingly, add highlights to some of the veins. I just used it in two spots along the edge of veins I had already created.

• Step Eight

Mix the white paint with one part glaze and three parts water. Using the sponge roller, cover the entire piece with the white mixture. I didn’t like my piece until I had completed this step. It really softens and blends the whole look.

• Step Nine

Spray with the poly of your choice. I used a matte finish, but you could use a gloss if you prefer a shiny look.

Wrought iron table with faux marble top sitting on hardwood floor

My “marble” top will certainly not fool everybody all of the time, but it definitely has a marble appearance and it complements the wrought iron table beautifully.

Wrought iron table with faux marble top on deck

Hi! I’m Erin. As life evolves, so does a home. Join me as I share DIY projects to update, renovate, decorate and improve my home to complement my empty-nest lifestyle.

4 Responses

  1. Wow!! That was quite a process. I loved reading about it and admire your patience. Dave’s mom is smiling and thrilled I’m sure! Are you available for consultations?

    1. Thanks, Karen, and thanks for reading. I’m hoping to share DIYs that are enjoyable to read and might help someone with their own project. I’ll consult any day if it gives me a chance to see you guys!

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