DIY faux marble desktop

My office got a mini makeover and a bit of a tidy up last week. It was long overdue.

I’m generally a very neat person who has a place for everything and likes to ensure that everything stays in said place, but for some reason, my office has become a little dumping area and I have been meaning to get on top of the situation for some time.

Aside of the clutter that was starting to accumulate, I’ve been wanting to change the finish on my desk top since I got it. When I moved the old Ikea kitchen counter top off and used it to create a breakfast nook in our kitchen, I replaced the top with an MDF board. Unsure of what colour I wanted it to be at the time, I settled on a quick varnish as a (not-too-pretty) temporary solution and planned to finish the job shortly afterwards. That was months ago! Enough said.

I was considering a plain white finish until I came across a DIY using marble adhesive / contact paper and thought I had to try it.

Here’s a shot of what it looked like before.


And this is what it looks like now…

Whilst I’m pretty happy with the overall result, I think that with a little more effort, I could definitely have found a better quality and more subtle looking paper option. Sadly, patience is not my strong point and this was all that was immediately available. That said, the new worktop has provided a substantial aesthetic improvement. The contact paper offers a softer working surface than real marble would but I have my reservations about how well it will wear in my busy workspace. Time will tell.

If you’re a regular at House of Hawkes, you’ll know that I like my DIY projects kept simple, and this one is no exception. It requires very few tools and materials, but let me warn you that working with this adhesive paper demands patience (you see, I knew I had to save mine for later) and precision. Bubbles and creases are not welcome.


I started the process by giving my desk top a good clean. I used a scraper tool to rid the surface of any small bumps and spots of grimy build-up which included, but wasn’t limited to, spots of glue and what looked like the remains of a old, sticky sweet… I sometimes share this space with two smalls so I was better off not dwelling on what some of that gooey stuff might have been. I got one of my over-eager minions involved in this process. Any bumps will be obvious under the adhesive paper so it has to be as sooth as possible.

Once the the cleaning and scraping was done, it was just a matter of getting the paper stuck on in a straight line without any air bubbles. As my desk is wider than the paper, I had to run two strips across the length. I drew a pencil line down the centre as a guide and applied the first piece. This is where you can really benefit from some help. What I found to work best is to have one person working on the front side of the paper (i.e.: sticking it down by smoothing it over with a cloth) while the other person simultaneously manages the pull-away motion of the back paper which peels off as you go. Sticking the paper down as you slowly unravel or peel the back piece off avoids any air bubbles or creases. Once the first half is complete, trim the edges so that you can fold them over in the same manner that you would wrap a gift (with your neatest effort) and repeat the process on the other side. When both sides were complete, I ‘sealed’ the edges underneath with a layer of masking take, just to neaten up and finish it off.

If you like this desk, you can take a look at how I made it from Ikea kitchen components over here. I’ve had it for years and this is not it’s first facelift 😉



Linking with DIY ShowOff | Maybe She Made It | Delineate Your Dwelling | It’s Overflowing | A Stroll Through Life | Liz Marie Blog | Elizabeth Joan Designs | The Blissful Bee 

35 thoughts on “DIY marble desk

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  5. Teresa

    This is a great idea and the space is beautiful! I was wondering, do you know where you got the office chair, I absolutely love it!


    1. Kathryn Hawkes Post author

      Hi Teresa, thanks for your kind comments. I’m afraid the chair is pretty old… I purchased it probably a little over 10yrs ago at a shop called DWELL in London.


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  8. Marina

    My Lord, I’ve been searching for marble paper for ages! Do you know where can I find it in Dubai? Thank you


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  11. anna

    Hey….love the idea of using marble paper! I’ve never seen that before. I’m sure I will find a use for it somewhere in my house 😉 What i’d really like to know right now, though, is where did you get that light gray rug? I really like it.


    1. admin Post author

      Judy, thanks so much for your comment. I do love my office – the natural light is brilliant.
      Thanks for stopping by.


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  13. Monique

    Wow, I LOVE it! You are just so damn good. When are you coming to Gabs to give me some tips on my extremely, boring, undecorated home?


  14. Daniella

    I like the plants on the desktop! do you use real or fake plants? Maybe a post on plants for the house please 🙂 🙂


    1. admin Post author

      Hi Daniella,
      The plant in the silver vase is from my garden, the other one under the glass dome is a fake one 😉
      Thanks for stopping by, Kath


  15. Anton

    Morning Sis,
    Love that new look!!! Great idea. Where did you find the adhesive paper. Would like to look for something like that here in SA.


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