Restoring Concrete Statuary, With Masonry and Paint.


My father asked me if I could, "Do something" for his concrete deer. He'd enjoyed having them in his yard for so many years, I decided to see if I could give them a facelift. Even real deer used to come up and check them out.
Meet my father's deer family.  They've sat in his front yard for over 30 years.
Meet my father's deer family. They've sat in his front yard for over 30 years.
I really had to do some hard thinking on this project. I'd never attempted to rebuild/restore anything concrete except basic sidewalks or masonry. Notice that the fawn has a broken ear, and the original paint is all but gone. :(
Badly weathered, but survivors all the same.
Badly weathered, but survivors all the same.
The first step was to remove the antlers and wire brush the entire surface. The aggregate was exposed already, so this just removed moss and lichen.
Cleaned up!
Cleaned up!
Next step was to apply concrete patch. The nice gentleman at our local building center suggested adding a 'shot' of concrete adhesive to the concrete patch to make it just a little bit more dependable. No measurements were given. I used a little artistic liberty to add musculature to the buck and rounded eyes to the doe.....
Adding a new 'skin'.
Adding a new 'skin'.
Finished! The body was painted a light brown with a brush, then I used an air-paint gun to add body lines and contours.The nose and eyes were finished by hand.....Now to see if they can still fool the real deer!
Back home under their tree. :)
Back home under their tree. :)
Follow-up.....Yes, a real deer did come out and check them out! Will try to get a photo of one touching noses with them.
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Have a question about this project?

6 questions
  • Sabrina
    on Dec 1, 2015

    i ran across your post when searching for someone to repair 2 deer that are 30+ yrs old! Do you live in WI? Any chance you would be interested in repairing my deer??

    • Christi Joyce
      on Mar 7, 2016

      Hi Sabrina, So sorry it's taken so long to answer your question. We moved, but not to WI. We're in WA state. I sure hope you can find someone to try and restore your deer. We sure are getting a lot of pleasure out of ours. Maybe you can try it yourself?? Good luck!

  • Bonnie
    on Apr 7, 2016

    Can you suggest a way to make a replacement ear for my Mom's concrete fawn and replacement tail for her doe? These are special to my Mom, or I'd just go buy her a new set. Thanks so much! Bonnie

    • Christi Joyce
      on Apr 7, 2016

      Hi Bonnie, Is there any wire or reinforcement left? (think of an inner skeleton) Most concrete statues have this reinforcement in them, unless they're really small. If you notice the ear on my fawn, it still had the wire there. I patched it will the mortar mix that I used to re-skin all three deer.

  • Vicki
    on Sep 24, 2016

    I can see how you repaired the ear that was broken, but how can I make an ear that is completely missing. The rebar is sticking up, but no ear at all.

    • Christi Joyce
      on Sep 26, 2016

      Hi Vicki, I am by no means an expert, but if this were my project, I would build a new ear in layers of mortar mix or quickrete. These are both available in pre mixed bags and you can mix as much or as little as you need with a little water. I'd also add a little shot of concrete adhesive just for a little bit more adhesion. Good luck!!

  • Diana Rutledge
    on Jun 25, 2018

    I have a old Christmas deceration

    i filled it with spray foam and chicken wire

    i made a mix of concrete mix ,peat moss and pearite

    made a test peice a rabbit waited 3 days

    it crumbles

    antlers are ok

    do you have any suggestions

    plaster Paris or papier-mâché , concrete?

    HELP!!!!

    • Christi Joyce
      on Jun 25, 2018

      Hi Diana, what an interesting project! I’ve never worked with that particular combination, but if I did, I think I would try adding concrete adhesive to the mix. It may help stabilize the other mediums and hold them together. I noticed hometalk added a picture of concrete adhesive in a tube—that is not what I used. The stuff I used came in a plastic bottle and poured like a heavy glue. It was easy to mix and made the patch extra sticky. Good luck! Love the project!!

  • Brenda
    on Oct 28, 2018

    I can't do this project myself I have a deer in the yard that needs repair it is made of cement is there a service for this project? Is there a company who will fix it for Me In St Louis?.

    • Christi Joyce
      on Oct 28, 2018

      Hi Brenda, I do not know the St Louis area. Perhaps you can look for someone locally who makes concrete statues who could do the repairs? Or ask at your local lumber yard—they will sometimes have a list of contacts who might help you. Good luck!

  • Karen Rodnite DePasquale
    on Jan 10, 2019

    Any thoughts on how to repair the hands on this Virgin Mary statue? It is a special piece that someone has asked me to repair.

    • Christi Joyce
      on Jan 10, 2019

      Hi, do they need repair? They look intact in the photo, just in need of touch-up paint.

Join the conversation

2 of 36 comments
  • Mar13288607
    on Jun 1, 2018

    One thing that I didn't see mentioned is that after you are finished painting, you really need to spray your cement statue with exterior clear coat. This keeps the paint new looking and needs to be resprayed every couple of years. Yours was a work of art!

  • Tara
    on Aug 6, 2018

    Your deer look Amazing!!!! I bet your Dad was over the moons

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