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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Building a Mini Building- the Look of Poured Concrete

A while back one of the folks on the Facebook page asked me about making wood look like concrete. She is working on a lighthouse and was trying to make the foundation look like it was made of concrete. She had tried painting it and it just didn't do the trick.

The problem with using just paint is that while you might be able to get the color you want that way you miss the texture. I am starting with paint, a good quality craft paint. I didn't have enough gray paint to do this so I decided to just mix my own gray. I have gotten in the habit of buying my white and black craft paint in the larger bottles since it seems like I was always out of at least one of those colors. For my gray today I mixed together some white and black and then added just a touch of the same dark blue that I used for the trim on the doors a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to cool down the tone of the gray color and by using the same blue (even though you can't really tell it's in there) it ties the colors together a bit better. You can either mix you own gray like I did or buy one already mixed. You can also tone your gray with either a blue or a brown paint depending on the look you are going for. I am going to be using some brown paints later in the process to dirty up and age this concrete.

I decided that I wanted to show you two different textures of this faux concrete. For the interior floor area I figure the concrete would be smooth and a bit polished looking. For the outside area I wanted more texture. Something that looked like it would belong outside.

For the smooth interior finish I poured some of my gray paint into a separate container. To this I added some white glue (any cheap white glue is fine) mixing it in really well. Then I added enough cornstarch (from the kitchen) to make the paint mixture fairly stiff. You want to thicken this paint up quite a bit. When I had a mixture that looked about right I spread it over the floor of my mini building using a cheap paint brush. Try to get it fairly smooth and even across the area.

Be sure to wash out your paint brush right away.

For the more textured outside areas I added a bit more white paint to my remaining gray paint. My thinking is that weather and time might have lightened the color a bit. Then I added some glue and some cornstarch, you don't need as much of the cornstarch for this mixture because we are also going to add some sand to this paint mixture. I am just using some white sand I got in the garden center of my local store. I think it was meant to go on top of the soil for potted cactus and such. I added a couple of scoops of sand to my paint, enough to get a really thick mixture. Now just spread this where you want the more textured concrete to be.

After I again washed my brush out really well I checked my painted surfaces to be sure I hadn't missed any areas and that the concrete was smooth. Now for one of the hard parts- let it dry without messing with it. I don't know about you but I have a hard time not fussing with stuff like this while it is drying. I almost always mess it up by fiddling with it. This time I just left the room and got busy on the computer until it was dry.

Once this first layer of the concrete texture was dry it was time to make it look old. As always making it old and gungy is optional. I really love the gunging up phase so I tend to use it a lot. Today I just picked out some craft paints: burnt sienna, espresso, eucalyptus, and black. I then watered these colors together and using a piece of a kitchen sponge I randomly sponged the colors onto the interior floor. I then wiped it down with a paper towel. This removed excess paint, mixed the colors a bit more and worked it into the surface of the floor. I used the same paints with a lot more water mixed in to basically wash over the outside area.
in the process of sponging and spreading the dirtiness

more sponging done

wiped and ready to dry

Once this “dirtiness” was completely dry I coated it with a layer of Mod Podge. I wanted to seal the colors down. I am happy with the interior floor- I used a Satin finish there and it looks just like I wanted. The outside area, I used a matte finish there. Is a bit too shiny. I will need to dull it down in the future. I will have to think about what to use for that. At least for now everything is sealed so it won't be damaged while we work on other parts of the building. 

finished interior floor

finished (?) outside pad

I hope you found this to be a useful technique to learn. Be sure to share photos of your projects with me. I love to see what you are doing.


  1. This is a new method for me to learn. I never would have thought of using paint, glue and cornstarch to make a faux concrete! Thank you for sharing this technique Joanne. :D


  2. Thanks for the great idea! I was the one with the lighthouse! lol After you gave me some suggestions on Facebook I realized that I didn't have grey paint, and I was on a mini (no pun intended) vacation! So I am going to try the method you used inside the garage :) I will let you know how it works out and I will post some pics on your Facebook site when I get it finished (hopefully today after work)!
    Take care,

  3. thx commented on your dolls blog wondered if you had another blog found you via camp E

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