How to Paint a Faux Concrete Finish

4 Materials
1 Hour

Do you love the trendy look of concrete? It’s possible to mix and cast your own concrete pots, however we are going to share in our tutorial How to Paint a Faux Concrete Finish. This technique uses a unique ingredient that creates convincing results; it’s not just paint…

Creating concrete pots can be fun, however it takes a fair amount of time and energy.

On the other hand painting a faux concrete finish is quick and easy and can transform an ordinary pot into an extraordinary piece.

We will also share how to create a vintage texture on a pot or other decor piece that will look aged and weathered, just like its been out in the garden for years.

Not only is it a great way to reuse and re-purpose a container you already have, but it’s also so fun do it yourself, get your hands a little dirty and just create!

Use this easy faux concrete finish painting technique to create an amazing concrete finish on accessories, furniture and outdoor pieces.

Last week I picked up this beautiful hydrangea at Sam’s Club. I knew it would be perfect for my front porch this summer. 😍

The plant was gorgeous, the pot not so much. It was just cheap plastic, however this was the perfect opportunity for transforming this cheap plastic pot with a faux concrete finish.

If you are more of a visual learner, we’ve created a short video tutorial.

Have you tried Saltwash®️ yet? We have used this product on several projects. Not only is it fantastic to create a  layered vintage texture on furniture, but it’s also great for adding texture on accents in your home too. Our most popular  YouTube video features  Saltwash®️ too.

Not only is it easy to get on Amazon, but it’s also very economical. With our can we have made 6 projects and we will have more than 1/2 a can left.

Step 1: Faux Concrete Finish | Add Saltwash into Paint

For this project we need 2 shades of grey paint, one that is a light grey and another that is a medium grey. Any type of paint will work for this project. I am using leftover paint samples. If you don’t have the right shade just add a little white paint to get the desired shade.

Any sheen of paint will work as well. When adding the Saltwash®️ additive, it will take the sheen down and make it a matte finish. The light grey I used was a eggshell finish and the medium grey happened to be a flat finish.

Begin by pouring the paint into a disposable container, gradually add the Saltwash®️ product and mix thoroughly with a stir stick.

You will want to gradually add Saltwash®️ until it is thick enough that it barely drops off of the stir stick. This is thicker than we normally mix it for a furniture project.

Apply the Saltwash®️ mixture with an old paint brush. Spread it evenly over the entire surface. My goal was to cover the embossed pattern that was on my pot. Depending on what your surface is you may want to retain the texture.

If the mixture is spread on too thick, it will crack slightly as it dries. That’s fine if that is the look that you want. Just know that if it’s thick it will crack a bit.

Step 2: Smoothing Out the Faux Concrete Finish

Once the entire pot is covered with the Saltwash®️ paint mixture, take a wet pallet knife and smooth out the paint brush lines. You can smooth it out as much as you want. I wanted mine to still have a rough texture, I was just removing the brush strokes.

Let it dry completely, it will depend on how thick it is applied as well as the humidity. Mine took about 45 minutes to dry.

Step 3: Apply Grey Paint - Faux Concrete Finish

Now we are ready to apply the medium grey paint. This layer is just paint, no Saltwash®️ is needed. However, if your paint is not a matte finish you can add a little Saltwash®️ to knock down the sheen. You will not want a sheen on the topcoat of paint since concrete has a matte finish. Let dry.

As the second coat dries, you may see areas that were missed. You can see here that there are several recessed areas on my pot where the first layer is still showing. This really doesn’t matter, because the next step will be sanding.

Step 4: Sanding - Faux Concrete Finish

This step is what really brings the pot to life. Lightly sand the topcoat with a fine to medium grit sandpaper. Basically we are just knocking off a bit of the color on the ridges.

Step 5: Adding Moss - Faux Concrete Finish

This step is optional. Using an old paint brush and a mossy green paint I dabbed on a little green paint around the bottom of the pot.

Using a damp coffee filter I blended the edges of the green paint to soften the look. That’s it!

My plan was to place my pot on my front porch. It is protected from the elements, however if you are placing your project out in the elements I would recommend adding an exterior topcoat to seal your work.

This faux concrete finish can be used on anything, the sky’s the limit. Are you inspired to try this technique on a piece at your home.

Once my pot was finished, I decided to put it on a plastic obelisk. I had a little leftover Saltwash®️ paint mixture that I didn’t want going to waste. For this piece I pounced the mixture on. I wanted the surface to be a little more textured. I followed the same steps as the pot, but I did not smooth it out with the pallet knife. Then I also added a dark charcoal grey paint in some of the crevices. 

Thanks for spending some time with us today! We love sharing our project with you each week!

If you're looking for more ways to reuse, recycle and upcycle click here.

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Frequently asked questions
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  3 questions
  • Barbara Bullard Barbara Bullard on Jul 22, 2020

    Does the pot hold up to being moved around and would this technique last through the winter without freezing and popping off of the plastic pot?

  • Pineapple Pineapple on Jul 24, 2021

    What else can I add to the paint if I don’t have Saltwash?

  • June June on Jul 23, 2022

    I like this idea very much. I have a very large pot that am tired of it. This gave me a great idea to do. My question is Where do I find the Saltwash ? I looked at what they had there and they took me to body stuff.. LOL,, not for crafts.

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