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Concrete Bowl Paint Techniques

It’s the end of summer, so time to finish off outdoor projects. I had been busy making concrete bowls so I had a few still needing their ‘design’. Do you cringe when you think of how difficult it can be to get a perfect paint job? Does your hand shake when you have that brush in hand? Don’t worry, these are easy-peasy techniques, step-by-step…

Don’t you just love an empty canvas?! So many possibilities! Seize the opportunity! I have been mesmerized with cool paint techniques lately so here goes:


The designs:

Nowadays you can draw inspiration and reference from the millions of images out there! Pin it, screen-shot it, take a close look. I designed a simple version of these effects.


What you need:

Yes, you’ll see my favourite colours and metallics here:


The technique:

It’s pretty simple actually. Section off a portion of the bowls that you want to paint. I like to only paint one side. You can use elastics(or masking tape) to give you the edge to paint up to. The black background is quite dynamic, but any colour can work. Paint some ‘squiggly’ shapes in a bold colour.


Try to be random, like blobs of paint floating on water. There are no definite rules here. It’s as relaxing as those new fancy colouring books but no lines to stay within.


To make it have more dimension, mix some white into the colour and paint some ‘blobs’ to the middles of the shapes.


Add some ‘squiggly blobs’ of a metallic (like this wonderful copper) or what ever colour you like.


Again, add a bit of white to the paint and add blobs to those shapes.


So simple, but oh so cool!


Yes, you could stop there, but I always go a bit overboard. I added more white to the colour and some smaller ‘blobs’ on top of the other ones. Yes, you really could paint this on anything… hmmmm


The teal is very nice against the copper because they are somewhat opposite on the colour wheel, so they make each other ‘pop’!


Some Squiggles:

The other effect that I like is the look of marbled paper or any natural marble stone . Marbling takes a lot of setup and paint to be able to dip in a thickened paint. And then sometimes it doesn’t perform as wanted. I tend to like control ofmy media. (Aren’t we all control freaks?!) So this has no guess work or big clean up.

Again, start with a dark background colour. This time use a fine brush and run windy rivers of varying thicknesses. Run them next to each other but not too parallel, squiggle along…


Add some of a complimentary colour or metallic.


Since this was a dark grey background the black adds some nice variety. Don’t be hard on yourself, it’s just a design. If your hand shakes, it’s all good! Thin, thick, winding…


Bend the ‘rivers’ over the edges and wind around. It’s almost like tiger stripes.


Cool! I coated the teal ones with some acrylic medium to create a shine. I’m happy to say the ones painted early this year have stood the test of outside wear, many with succulents in them.

UPDATE: (2021) I have not seen any peeling of paint on these and they have been outside for years. I think the key is that they were not completely covered so the concrete can breathe; that is important for longevity.


My intentions are to bring these indoors as it gets cold up here in Canada. So my succulent propagation has helped fill them. Making the bowls, painting and propagating can create awesome gifts. Imagine these also as wedding centrepieces, endless possibilities… Good Job! Enjoy!

See also some more painting to accent these with the Geode Pillows and Chairs


I'm an artist & I make things... all kinds of things.

This Post Has 23 Comments

  1. Concrete planters and flower pots are all over the internet. These are, by far, the most creative and unique treatment of them I have seen! I love them, and have pinned them. Awesome work!

    I also make creative planters at – now I am going to have to put on my thinking cap and get more creative!

    1. Thank you kindly! You have nice work as well! There are always ideas floating around in my mind, but I just can’t manage to ‘make’ them all! One idea leads to another… to another… I’ve been making things since that first paper/straw chain in kindergarden. I always say; make it look like it was intentional, so anything goes. And I work at one of the largest Art colleges in the world… Craft on!

    1. I am not sure what you mean by this. I do have a fair bit of concrete work on the site under the garden menu. I have been happy with how all the pieces are doing… Let me know if I can clear up anything

        1. Maybe a thin layer of Matt medium. I like the concrete to be able to breathe so these are not totally covered. I tend to be sparse on the coverage for that reason.

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  4. Both design ideas came out wonderful. How long do you think painted pots like this will hold up outside year after year? Do you have any that are more than a year old? Thanks!

    1. Thank you! Many many (over 10)years ago I had done some rock painting crafts with my daughter. I used the acrylic for outdoors and have noticed that those rocks are still around the garden. Some are still looking like original. Water, salt, extreme sun would probably have an effect. I usually get tired of things before they actually lose their colour. Be careful about having water freeze in a concrete bowl though… Good luck

    1. Well, that is the a bit of the problem. I have been keeping my eye out for old table tops etc. A friend had mentioned that a patio table had broken and there was the glass everywhere; so I managed to get some. Maybe make friends with a glass cutter… Car windshields are different. There is also glass available for aquariums and for fire glass for fire bowls. It’s a matter of scouting out. Good luck!

    1. All I do is make sure it’s well cured and pretty dry. Sand off any rough spots, but that’s about it. The absorbency of concrete makes paint adhere quite well.

  5. It looks fantastic!
    How acrylic paint keeps on concrete after time? I’m looking for pains but I found info :Do not use oil-based or acrylic house paints on concrete or you’ll just have to paint it all over again, because acrylic paints peel, crack.
    And i don’t know what to look for.

    1. I generally do not like to paint my concrete. Concrete is porous and likes to breathe so it will ‘push’ off some paints. Oil paints are less flexible and no not allow breathing so they tend to pop off. If I use paint I use acrylic sparingly. I would rather have some natural patina grow on the concrete. I did notice my concrete eggs from last year emerge from under the snow and look the same! There are some acrylic patio paints that are made for outdoor use.

  6. Have you looked into using Zentangle on your works like these? I mean, to be honest, that essentially what they are. 😁 If you have not seen this method yet, Google it. And I apologize in advance. 😂

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