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Update: I’ve written another DIY faux concrete tutorial here. I personally like the newer tutorial better, but I’m keeping this one up so you can decide for yourself which version you like best! 🙂
I love creating faux finishes and was super eager to give this one a try…until I realised that said kit was $30AUD here in Australia, a bit outside of my price range for a small project. So I decided to see if I could achieve the same faux concrete effect with plain ol’ acrylic paint.
victim test subject was this little deer statue.
I’ll be honest: It took a few goes to get the fake concrete effect right.
At first I just painted the deer with acrylic paint. The colour looked alright, but the texture was too smooth to look like real concrete. The second time around I tried using a mixture of paint and salt in the hope that the salt would give me a good bumpy texture.
Spoiler alert: It did not work. It was a bumpy, sad mess.
After two fails in one day, I decided to put the deer aside. But then late that night, while toasty warm in my blanket cocoon, I suddenly had an idea: I could try using wall putty to create the texture I needed.
The next morning I gave the wall putty + paint combination a go and it produced the effect I was after.
So today I’d like to share how I created the faux concrete effect in the hope that someone else might find it useful! If you make something, I’d love to see a picture, either on Facebook or via email!
- A paintbrush and sponge (I just used a ripped up dish sponge).
- Wall putty. You might already have some on hand but if you don’t, it’s usually a few dollars at hardware stores.
- Matte white and black acrylic paint. Chalk paint will also work. Matte paints will look most realistic, but satin can work in a pinch.
- DecoArt Americana paint in Battleship
- Rust-Oleum Matte Clear sealant spray paint. This protects your finished product from chipping. Any matte spray sealant will work.
Creating the faux concrete effect:
Note: If you’re working with plastic or metal, it’s a good idea to apply some primer before you start painting. I don’t prime all of my projects but I find that acrylic paint is prone to chipping when applied to bare plastic/metal.
To begin, smooth wall putty over your object at random. This creates the textured base your faux concrete needs to look realistic.
Allow your putty to dry. The exact drying time will vary depending on how thick your putty is, the brand you’re using, and the weather outside. Mine was dry enough to paint on in about 4 hours.
Once your putty is dry, mix up the following paints in your palette:
- A mix of four parts white paint to one part Battleship, with a teeny (teeny) bit of black mixed in.
- Plain Battleship paint.
- A mix of approximately six parts Battleship to one part black
Using a paint brush, paint your object with a messy, light coat of the white/Battleship/black mixture. Allow to dry.
Once you have your base coat down, it’s time to work on the faux concrete effect. The key to getting the effect to look realistic is lots of layering.
Grab your sponge and dip it in the plain Battleship paint. Dab the sponge on a rag to remove excess paint, then dab the sponge over your object at random. Every so often, switch to a clean part of the sponge and use that to blend the paint in with the base coat.
Do the same with both the Battleship/black mixture and the Battleship/white mixture (the one you used for the base coat). Layer the colours until you have something you like the look of.
Next, dip a completely dry paintbrush into some white acrylic paint. I found that an old paintbrush works really well, as the effect looks best when painted with coarse bristles.
Dab the excess paint on to a rag, then apply the white paint at random to your object.
Finish by sealing your object with a matte sealing spray (I like Rust-Oleum’s matte spray) to protect your work.