Hello on this winters afternoon!
I am a bit excited to share my current transformation with you all as it involves a rocking horse form!! I have received a number of messages asking how I achieved the weathered concrete/stone finish, so I thought that I better get cracking and do a blog post / tutorial on this gloriously fun and effective finish.
Be warned – this tutorial is photo heavy and includes words like “blob”, “smear” and “splat”!!
Here we go….
Last weekend the hubby and I stumbled across the most amazing but very sad abandoned project rocking horse. Now let me tell you that we didn’t have to think twice when it came to buying this project. This horse has been made from scratch and hours of work and carving have been put into this beauty. It is sad that whoever made the horse to this point didn’t get to finish it, but we just knew it had to come home with us and find a new life and purpose.
What you will need:
- Imagination (be creative)
- Patience (don’t rush)
- Interior Filler Putty (as pictured)
- Beach aggregate sandstone plaster (as pictured)
- Chalk Paints in your chosen colours (light grey and white are vital for the washed out concrete look, and you will want a nice dark base colour – I recommend a warm dark greige, grey, latte or charcoal colour)
- Cheap chip brush (one of the real cheap ones with the stiffer bristles)
- Paint brush (c’mon lets face it.. there is nothing like a Cling On brush)
- Scrap cardboard or plastic plate
- Plastic cup for mixing & plastic spoons
- Crackle Lacquer (optional)
- Hair dryer
- Paint rags (lint free white rags preferably)
- Disposable dish cloth
- Sand paper/ orbital sander
- Dark wax
- White wax
- Ageing dust (optional)
I literally wasted no time in getting started on this one. We hauled it home, threw a drop cloth over the coffee table and got started.
As you can see the horse is in its raw state and was in desperate need of a bit of love. We wanted to create a good foundation for our transformation so we decided to “render” over the entire form with a interior filler putty solution.
I actually scooped spoonfuls of the putty onto a makeshift paint palette (cardboard) and mixed some of the putty with a beige chalk paint I had on hand to thin it slightly. The putty is actually a soft beige colour, so if you don’t have beige chalk paint don’t stress, just add a teensy bit of water to make the filler a bit more spreadable (as pictured above).
Next I grabbed a cheap synthetic chip brush and loaded some of my “render” solution onto my brush and got started, spreading and pushing the solution on in different directions. You can see the detail created by pushing your brush in different directions in the photo below..
I ended up using all the putty solution and gave the horse one solid coat of ‘plaster’, evening out and sealing the raw surface and building up any areas I felt needed attention.
I left the plaster coating to fully dry (approx 3 hours) and then I decided on a base coat. I wanted a nice dark warm tone base coat, so I went with a warm brown toned greige chalk paint.
I used my trusty cling on brush for this part, slapping on one solid coat over the entire form. The plaster coat really drinks up the paint so be prepared! I didn’t bother touching up and small exposed areas. One coat was fine for this stage.
Now for the fun part. I had on hand in my stash of paints a plaster solution with beach aggregate in it, perfect for creating a stone finish or for raised stencilling or really for getting crafty in general.
I spooned the aggregate solution out into the empty putty container, added a smidge of the light beige chalk paint to thin it a tad and then grabbed the poor cheap chip brush and began roughly slapping it on. I wanted to create a worn stone patina so I applied the aggregate in random areas and in varying levels of thickness, stippling, splatting and applying it in blobs and smears (you were warned).
As you can see from the picture, I went a bit crazy on this step!!
And loved every minute of it 😊 ..
Now it was time to bring out some crackle lacquer which I brushed sparingly over a few smooth areas. To add to the patina I also used direct heat from my trusty hair dryer to crack the aggregate.
Please excuse the poor lighting in the photo above, it was very late and there was no natural light. As much as I would have happily stayed up working on this glorious horse till the wee hours of the morning, I knew we both needed rest (the horse to set and dry overnight and me to function well the next day – sleep is important guys!!).
The next morning I was up and back at it. I applied another coat of the brownish greige chalk paint but I didn’t fully cover all the aggregate areas, I left some exposed. I did add a couple more smaller patches of aggregate where I felt it was needed and dried them with my hair dryer.
Now to create that gorgeous stone finish. I watered down some grey chalk paint to a milky consistency and brushed it on very wet, sponging over the areas with a disposable dish cloth.
I did this over the entire surface and left it to dry. Be warned – this step looks so effective that you may be tempted to stop here, but the next stage adds that extra subtle dimension that really makes the finish special!!
Go ahead and grab some white chalk paint and get ready to do some light dry brushing of white and blend and dab at it with your wet cloth. Do this all over the piece in varying intensity till you you are happy. You don’t want to cover all the other lovely tones you have already created so don’t go too mad, sometimes less is more.
Let the paint dry completely.
How amazing is that concrete look!!
Now for a little distressing to add detail and blend I carted the horse outside, no simple feat as this beast is butt busting heavy.
I used both my orbital sander and some sand paper in a medium grit. Go easy with the orbital and use light pressure to distress. With the sand paper I focused on smoothing some areas and preparing the surface for the final stage.
Now add your final dimension and detail with waxes and ageing dust!
Make sure you are aware of what type of waxes you are using. Solvent waxes tend to be more intense and dry super fast making blending a tad trickier. Also you will need hand protection and good ventilation to use solvent based waxes.
I use natural waxes that are soft like butter, safe on me and the environment and easy-peasy to use. Using a wax brush (or a chip brush if its bristles are stiff enough and your wax is soft enough) I applied my dark wax (which tends to be a subtle dark wax) directly into my finish.
If your dark wax is very intense then I would recommend blending some of it with some clear wax in a separate tub and then apply the blend. Work the dark wax into all that lovely patina and wipe the excess off with a lint free white paint rag. Work in sections and wipe as you finish each section until you have covered your entire piece. I went back over and really pushed some dark wax into some of the rougher areas to add contrast and really make them pop.
I gave the wax about 15 minutes to dry and then applied a white wax in varying intensity over the entire horse as per above. The white wax helps to tone the dark wax and really blends it in, bringing back that washed out stone look.
Now to finish! I used a soft brush and dusted over the whole piece with some ageing dust. Think of how you apply foundation powder to your face, just like that with the ageing dust and dust off excess. I didn’t take any photos of the ageing dust step but if you can powder your nose, then you can use ageing dust…. and drum roll!!
STAND BACK AND ADMIRE YOUR MASTERPIECE!! … and if you are anything like me, grin like a maniac and fist pump the air.. booh yeah!
Just have a look at the detail in the close up shots..
If you were wondering earlier what the sanding accomplishes, then just have a look at the lovely exposed layers in the photo below..
I was lucky enough to have the most amazing original antique farmhouse sideboard covered in chipping and worn original blue paint.
This side board literally blows my socks off, its the stuff my dreams are made of. Perfectly worn, perfectly chippy, perfectly blue and the perfect base to style Mr. Horse on.
I am absolutely thrilled with the transformation of an abandoned rocking horse form plain and sad to an amazing weathered stone feature piece with the most impressive presence and gorgeous patina. I am so excited to take both these beautiful pieces to the shop as part of our new display!
Here is one more piece of eye candy.
If you are interested in either the horse or the sideboard feel free to message me or even better, come and visit our shop and have a look at these beauties in person.