Faux Concrete Paint Finish

Sadly, sometimes it isn’t always so practical to cast concrete. I have been asked many times about casting very large pieces. Since the weight increases as you go larger it becomes an even larger problem to solve. Also, I would rather NOT break my back every time I want to move a planter or statue. My solution for this is to get the look of real concrete without the weight; go faux! This Faux Concrete Paint Finish uses a unique ingredient to give convincing results; it’s not just paint…

Faux Concrete Supplies:

  • Calcium Carbonate (powder form, see below how to make your own)
  • White, Black, Orange Acrylic paint (your choice of interior or exterior)
  • Brushes (old, preferred)
  • Acrylic Matt Medium or other sealer
  • ‘Object to be transformed’


Step #1: Make the Calcium Carbonate

Yes, egg shells! Did you know that you can make your own chalk paint?! It is just a matter of adding calcium carbonate powder. I have in past bought my powder it at the wine-making store.

You can however also make it yourself. Collect some egg shells, wash them, let them dry. To grind them I used my coffee grinder. I have the intention of using this powder in my paint for the projects that need a good coverage.

I did notice that the coffee grinder did not grind it as fine as what I had bought. However for this purposes it is perfect!

Step #2: Mix first colour of Paint

Make sure that your object is ready for paint. If you are using something that is very smooth or shiny (even plastic) give it a good scuffing with rough sandpaper so that the paint has something to adhere to.

If you look at concrete closely you will see there is usually some variation in the colours. This will be the lighter of the tones. Yes, it is grey however it is a warm gray, so it will need a bit of orange. Mix the lighter tone grey. I had a piece of concrete as a reference…

Add a good helping of the calcium carbonate. It can be quiet thick as you want to add some texture to your object. This is quite a ‘forgiving’ treatment and does not need to be fussy. I like to use my old brushes that almost end up like scrub brushes.

Cover the entire object with a ‘scrubby’ coat.

Step #2: Add second Tone

Mix another gray, this time a bit darker and add calcium carbonate again. Also add some orange to the mix.

This time in order to give it the concrete variations, only dab on with a ‘scrubby’ brush. If need be wipe some off. It should look quite mottled and rough. The larger particles in the calcium carbonate will look like the sand of the concrete; perfect. If you prefer an even more antique look you could also give it another wash of a thin runny paint to darken all the crevices and wipe off. This will accentuate the texture similar to aging.

Once dry, give it a good layer of acrylic matt medium (you want a dull finish) to adhere the texture from crumbling off. If you used sand instead of the calcium carbonate it would fall off even more. It is looking good already

Step #3: Adding more texture

Concrete usually has a lot of tiny imperfections, little holes/bubbles. To give the look of those use a scewer or toothpick to add tiny little dots to be the ‘holes’.

Pretty convincible!? It almost looks better than the real thing…

This Faux Concrete Paint Finish can be applied to anything. It will however look more convincing if the shape has character for concrete.

Clay pots work great since they are very porous and paint will adhere well.

Oh, that silly smile! This is a great and easy way to make a few different planters all match. But it is not limited to planters, this could be applied to many things.

I have a weakness for succulents lately! Why? They are quite happy even if you forget about them. They also propagate so easily which when you make as many planters as I; you need things to fill them. Huge Paddle plants are great in ‘concrete’ planters!

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  1. Thanks for sharing your information with us. These look more realistic than any others I’ve seen! I hope you will continue sharing you’re great ideas and projects.
    Best to you, Nola

  2. Hi Barb,
    Re: More to your recommendation not to leave your concrete pot outside

    Your work is better than perfect! Thanks for sharing.

    Is there any kind of matte sealer I can seal it with that would protect it outside? (I live in California, so not much rain.) I also have a lion fountain that is fake concrete (light-weight) and I need to refinish it. Since it’s a functioning fountain, I’d also want to use some sort of matte sealer. Any ideas I’d appreciate. Thanks Barb.

    1. I generally do not use sealer. I do not have any issues with my concrete outside unless it holds water and freezes. (Canadian winters) Concrete likes to breathe so finishes often fail over time. But feel free to make your own choices. The high density concrete is especially dense for any water penetration (Rapidset Cementall)

  3. I love your tutorials. Other sites almost always leave out details resulting in a failed or disappointing project. I know you are honest and include all the details. I have never had a problem using your instructions. THANK YOU so much for your dedication.

    1. I agree! Many just try something once and then post. I wear myself out making sure they do work. It’s a labour of love. Maybe I will combine all make a few books… Thanks for the kind words!

  4. So glad I found this. I have some artificial rock around my front door and for a while I was not crazy about it. I finally realized what I don’t like is the gray cement color. Do you think I could do this out side. I know it would be a lot of work but that has never stopped me. Would love your opinion!

    1. It depends on a few things. I’m not sure what it is made of and how absorbent it is. Since it will get the elements (rain/snow) and probably already has a texture. Using a matt exterior paint and mottling it with a lot of colour variation would probably work. Just pay careful attention that you use the appropriate paint. Use some images of rock to get ideas. Maybe sponge and brush textures will give the effect. Best of luck!

  5. I started following you lately I just love your Ideas. I have been outside in my happy place concrete.

  6. Would you be able to simply use baking soda to make a thick paste? Or wouldn’t that render the same effect?

    1. I would not use them outdoors, as if using as a planter water may seep through the walls. ‘If’ you use exterior paint and a vessel/base that is rated for outdoors it should be fine…