What you will need to get started
Do you want the look of expensive slate but don't have it in your budget? Consider painting it!
I painted my front walkway, using concrete paint, to look like slate!
Using specially formulated paints specifically for concrete you can have the look of real slate at a fraction of the price.
Here's what you will need:
- Several bottles of Folkart Outdoor Opaque paint in various colors. Shades of blue and green work best, with a little bit of brown. The main color used was a sand color. I mixed most colors with this one to mute the colors.
- Several paint brushes in various widths. Don't buy expensive ones. Cheap chip brushes work perfectly
- Paper towels to wipe brushes
- A bowl of water to clean brushes
- A straight edge. I use a metal right angle ruler.
- A radio to keep you company. You may be there a while, depending on the size of your project.
Here's what you do
- Practice your painting techniques and color combinations on a 12" concrete paver
- Clean the surface that you will be painting. I pressure washed.
- Begin by drawing your tile pattern using a piece of chalk. If you are making tiles you will need a straight edge. I chose to make a random tile pattern varying the size of the rectangles and squares in no particular order. I used a right angle metal ruler.
- Next, paint over your chalk lines with the light sand color. This paint drys to the touch in minutes.
- Now begin painting in the tiles, one at a time. Paint each tile individually for a more convincing effect. Switch color ratios and combinations for each tile. This will also give a more natural look. The technique is simple. Smudge different colors together, leave it darker in some areas, lighter in others the messier and less exact the better. Have fun with it! There's no right or wrong way to do it. The trick is in choosing the right colors. Go with natural colors and you can't go wrong.
- Finishing touches. Add details. With a thin brush paint some random lines using dark blue/gray and brown. This will create the illusion of ridges. For added dimension paint a line whitish line right next to the dark one for a highlight! This really gives it WOW!
- Finally, don't forget to add a little shadow to the grout lines. This can be achieve by mixing a little blue/gray with tan. Paint a thin line along the outer edge of the tile in the grout area and instant shadow!
That's it you're done! No sealing with varnish. This paint is self sealing.
It says on the paint bottle, UV and weather resistant. Permanent outdoors. Waterbase, nontoxic. Satin sheen. Self sealing.
I will attest to all of these claims!
I painted my walkway about 3 summers ago and it still looks great! Plus it seems to resist mildew because I have never needed to pressure wash it. There is no pealing and minimal fading.
I hope you enjoyed the article and found it helpful!
Nancy on June 12, 2018:
Wondering if being in the Northeast and weather makes a differe.
KCkitty on May 27, 2018:
Excellent revival of ugly drab concrete pavers. This is beautiful. And it costs very little. With good sealer over top,this should last a long time.
You can find the paint on amazon, Michaels stores, hobby lobby, even Walmart in their craft section by their fabric and sewing section.
And don’t let lack of time stop you. Do it in sessions. A section a day if you are short on time. Wrap brushes in plastic bags or foul and rubber band them and stick em in your freezer.
This is great for those people needing time to reflect on things in your life. I call it my listening for Gods wisdom when I’m troubled about knowing what to do in my life about situations I’m not use to dealing with. Works great to if you just quit smoking or quit another habit you need to break.
Mike McNabb on October 21, 2017:
Man! You're an artist maximus! How long did this take? I'd love to try this, but it would take me a year and a half.
This is beautiful!
Rachael on July 06, 2016:
Hi I just found this and want to do it but I'm having trouble finding the folk art outdoor and the sand color.
Marlene on August 09, 2015:
I am getting ready to paint my sidewalk as above. any last minute techniques before I get started?
teana on August 10, 2014:
Can you tell me how this held up over time?
RTalloni on August 02, 2014:
This method really is worth attesting to! :)
Brenda Kyle from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA on May 04, 2013:
Very cool technique, I love it! Thanks for sharing the details and advice.