How to Paint Bricks on Concrete

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Take a look at how we painted realistic bricks on concrete without using stencils.

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Painting concrete is the perfect way to brighten a dull or stained surface, and with these techniques you'll also be able to make it look as if it were paved in bricks.

This is the 'before' shot of one edge of our 60-year-old concrete porch.

Here is the same edge made of bricks which are painted to fool the eye.

Here is the edge of the concrete that faces a garden.

Now it's painted with a terra-cotta compass edged in bricks.

This doorstep into the house was stained and depressing.

Now this doorway is a pleasure to see as you walk in and out of the house. We made a previous video about how to transfer patterns onto concrete like this herringbone brick and the garden compass. We used sidewalk chalk to sketch the designs, not stencils. Chalk helps keep the paint from bleeding and spreading, and it washes away later or if you need to erase or adjust a pattern.

We used Behr Concrete Dye to paint simple bricks onto concrete. Then we mixed tinted primer into the dye to create a semi-transparent 'liquid brick' second coat. The grout effect is the concrete showing through, unpainted.

The concrete dye is Behr Cajun Rose. It's inexpensive and available at Home Depot. A half-quart did 150 bricks. It's also available in lots of other colors.

To make the 'liquid brick' we used two 8-ounce colors of Kilz Primer. Kilz Primer also comes in a lot of colors. We used just a tablespoon each to create 150 bricks.

The formula for 'liquid brick' is 1/4" tsp. of orange (PomPom), 1/4" pink (Berry Punch) Kilz Primer to about 1-1/2 ounces of Behr Dye in Cajun Rose. This mix will be semi-transparent. The dye helps the concrete absorb the primer. When dry, you can still see the textures and shadings of the concrete showing through, but the color is opaque enough to help cover stains.

By painting the brick designs slowly you can control the flow of the paint and avoid painting the faux-grout. BUT, if you should make a few goofs, you can blend the 3 colors of chalk paint above to cover any mistakes. We used a small artist's brush to clean up the finished design.

To create a dimensional effect, we used brown chalk paint to darken one edge and two corners of the bricks. You could also use brown primer. Both primer and chalk paint adhere well to concrete.

The finished bricks were a deep rose instead of coral as we hoped, but by mixing Solomon powder into water, we were able to stain some of the bricks to warm up the overall effect. This is optional for those who like sunny, warm reds instead of cool blue reds which is the effect of the concrete coming through the stains.

On the left are bricks warmed with the yellow pigment. On the right, the bricks are unpainted with the blue-ish cast of the concrete coming through. The compass art shows the blotchy effect of rubbing the yellow powder on dry.

Follow our HomeTalk page for more artist's tips on crafting a country home. You can also see more of our projects in our website archives here.

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Stephie McCarthy

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

3 questions
  • Betty
    on Jan 19, 2020

    My kitchen floor needs a paint job how do I get it done

    • Stephie McCarthy
      on Jan 19, 2020

      Hi, Betty, let me know what kind of surface you have and I'll do my best to give you some ideas. If you can't do it yourself the best thing to do is find someone who is a good painter and have them watch the #HomeTalk videos and practice on some out of the way places. If it's concrete, or you can it it down to concrete, or even pour new flexible concrete on top, it's pretty easy to paint it as long as you prepare it and seal it too. -- Stephie

  • Veronica Ronnie Taylor
    on Feb 26, 2020

    How many days did it take you? Does it dry fast ? Weather conditions must play into this project as well? Thank You

    • Veronica Ronnie Taylor
      on Feb 26, 2020

      Thank you you for replying much appreciated...my Sister did this many years ago it came in a kit it lasted for years...I love the look......

  • Con
    on Jun 29, 2020

    I'm not clear on the use of Kilz before you paint. Do you paint it on whole Poarch? How does the stain go threw the Kilz?

    Also what did you use for the teal part?

    • Stephie McCarthy
      on Jun 29, 2020

      The paints and the stain are all water based. We are able to marbleize get them to blend because we are using them on the same day before anything has a chance to set. This is a different way of painting then most people learn. We are mostly taught to apply one color, rather heavily all at once and let it dry. But what I am doing in this tutorial is watering everything down and using as little as possible so that we are staining, rather than painting. I'm blending everything as I go. The stain has a tendency to penetrate and I am using a matte Kilz which is easier to stain.

Join the conversation

4 of 22 comments
  • Connie Pemberton
    on Feb 15, 2020

    I am so excited to start this project! I have a good size patio of concrete, that just looks horrible. Thank-you!

    • Stephie McCarthy
      on Feb 15, 2020

      You're welcome, Connie. I am so glad I painted mine. Every time I walk on it I'm happy with it! -- Stephie.

  • Rhonda Brooks
    on Mar 30, 2020

    I am a watercolor artist and I want to applaud your ability in color and shading!!! You have inspired my next art piece to be on concrete. I am also 70 and I am never too old to learn💖. Humbly yours Rhonda

    • Stephie McCarthy
      on Mar 30, 2020

      Thank you so much, Rhonda! You will love working on concrete. It's the ultimate watercolor surface (don't forget to prep it with vinegar first). -- Stephie

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