How to Paint Wood to look like Concrete

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Inside: How to paint wood to look like concrete, plus other ideas to get the concrete look for less.

So, here’s the thing. This project was a complete and total experiment. I have been lusting – LUSTING – over concrete planters lately.  I wanted something BIG. I have been trying to figure out how to snag myself some substantial concrete planters. But they are pricey, not to mention HEAVY! 🙂 So I experimented with how to paint wood to look like concrete!

While you’re here you might also want to check out a couple other posts I’ve done like these faux marble succulent pots, and then how we installed a real wood floor right over top of a concrete slab basement. I’ve also written about how to use wall paper to create a whitewashed brick look on your walls in just one day.paint wood to look like concrete

Here are the supplies to Paint Wood to Look like Concrete

Suggestions for how to Paint Wood to Look like Concrete

I recently found these beat up planter stands at the thrift store. They are not precious by any stretch. In fact – they are made of press board and plywood – but I really loved the brick-laid design of the top part. For $6 each, I really couldn’t go wrong. Little did they know that they were to become my DIY Faux Concrete Planters!Faux Concrete Planters Before

First things first, I painted out the ‘bricks’ with some warm white chalk paint. I used a dry brush technique and wasn’t too fussy about coverage.

How to Paint Wood to Look like Concrete

Then, I used some basic grey acrylic paint and spread it very thinly over the white, really using brush strokes to create an uneven look. Basically, I was trying to make my paint look like concrete.Distress Wood to look like Weathered ConcreteSo here’s where the plaster comes in. I thought I could be all neat and tidy and just mix in some watered down off-white paint to my acrylic grey and add in some plaster and slop it on. But it just didn’t work – there was something too smooth about the way it was going on with a brush.

What did I do? I made a mess. I tipped the table on its side on a drop cloth, spritzed it a couple times with plain old tap water and ‘sprinkled’ plaster right onto the wet painted wood. Then I used my hands to smoosh down the plaster. Smoosh. Totally a word. (I don’t think it’s a word.)DIY Faux Concrete using paint and plaster

Add plaster and water to paint to make faux concrete finishTHEN I went back over that with my watered down white paint + grey acrylic + plaster mixture to add even more dimension.Layer paint and plaster to create faux concrete finish

I just kept that up until I had a look that I believed resembled old cracked concrete. And at some point, I blew wise to the fact that I could do this on my Work-Mate and I didn’t have to look like a fool sitting cross legged on the floor in a giant, dusty pile of paint and plaster. (You see, I’m a head first kinda DIYer… haha)

DIY Faux Concrete FinishThe last step was to brush off the excess plaster using a rag and then I used a teeny craft brush to remove the build-up that happened in the corners.

Allow faux concrete to dry before sealingSo that’s how you finish wood so that it looks like concrete. Use Plaster and Paint to create DIY Faux Concrete PlantersOne word of caution – since this is water based plaster, I’d hesitate to leave these out in the elements like rain and/or snow or flying monkeys. UPDATE! I’ve had these out all spring/summer – they have chipped a bit, but it only adds to the look! Check them out in our Summer deck preview 🙂DIY Thrifted Faux Concrete PlantersThey probably won’t hold up even if you seal them with wax or a poly of some sort.How to Make Wood Look like Concrete

Nevertheless, they add a beautiful little display of foliage and colour for fall.Faux Concrete Planters in a Fall Scene

K- so am I cracked? Am I the only one who makes big messes like that?? 🙂

Other faux wood painting techniques you might like

And if you’ve now got a giant box of Plaster of Paris – here’s how you can use it and leftover paint to refinish your furniture with a vintage distressed look!

Using Leftover Paint

This is how you add a textured pattern to wood using tissue paper or a napkin. I love this technique for making wood look aged and decorative. add pattern to wood

This is how you paint plastic to make it look like rusted metal! I adore this technique and really want to use it more often in my DIYs.

patina paint
Patina Plastic Bins

And this is how you paint existing metal to look more like galvanized steel or weathered metal. It uses a combination of metallic paint and furniture glaze and a layering technique. It’s actually quite neat.

paint metal galvanized steel
Vintage Metal Love

Here are other techniques for painting wood and plastic to look like concrete

This project on Grillo Designs’ is unbelievably cool. She uses chalk paint and a rolling stencil to paint concrete slab floors and the result is gorgeous!faux concrete painted floor

Our Southern Home has a different take on updated an old concrete planter. She dresses it up to look sleek and black using a special paint technique. spray painted concrete planter

The Bold Abode uses yet another technique to brighten her concrete wall planters. They turned out so cute!painted concrete planters

She also has a great tutorial for how to paint a concrete slab floor. It’s not as messy as I thought it would be and the results are very bright and cheerful!painting a concrete slab

Here are some other posts you might like!

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2 thoughts on “How to Paint Wood to look like Concrete

  1. This is so, so neat! And, it isn’t as heavy nor does it risk breaking as easily if it were real concrete. They look great! Thanks for sharing at The Creative Corner- I will be featuring it tomorrow night at our party!


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