How to Paint Concrete Statues

Written by gail marie
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How to Paint Concrete Statues
Concrete gnome statue (park gnome 01 image by fotosergio from

Painting an old concrete statue, like a garden gnome, can give it a cleaner look. You can also paint a new statue to match the decor of your patio or garden---just make sure it has been removed from its mould for at least three weeks before painting it. The process is much the same as other painting projects, which is good news: If your statute lives outdoors in extreme hot or cold temperatures, it may need occasional repainting.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Concrete statue (at least three weeks out of its mould)
  • Water
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Air hose or blow dryer
  • Exterior latex concrete paint
  • Mineral spirits
  • Patio paint (optional)
  • Concrete sealer
  • Paintbrush, sponge, roller or paint sprayer

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  1. 1

    Wash your concrete statue with water using a garden hose or a bucket and a soft-bristled brush. Allow it to dry completely.

  2. 2

    Blow leftover dust or concrete flakes off the statue with an air hose or blow dryer.

  3. 3

    Lay the statue on its side, if possible, and use a paintbrush or paint sprayer to coat the underside of the statue's base with exterior latex concrete paint, diluted 20 per cent with mineral spirits. Allow the underside to dry before setting it upright. This step is optional.

  4. 4

    Use a paintbrush, sponge, roller or paint sprayer to apply the same diluted paint to the surface of the statue as a base coat. Allow it to dry completely and apply a second diluted base coat.

  5. 5

    Apply a finishing, full-strength (not diluted) top coat. For example, use a top coat that is darker or lighter than the base coat and, before it dries, wipe some of it away to reveal the base coat. This gives the statue a distressed look. You can also paint or stencil a design or pattern over the base coat using patio paint.

  6. 6

    Allow the top coat to dry for 24 hours before sealing your concrete statue with a waterproof concrete sealer. (If your statue is small, you can buy the spray-can-size sealer.) Follow the directions on the sealer to apply correctly. It will help keep the colours you just painted bright, as well as repel moisture.

  7. 7

    Allow the sealer to dry for 24 hours, and do not expose the painted concrete statue to moisture for another two days.

Tips and warnings

  • Paint your concrete statue only when the temperature is at least 7.22 degrees Celsius and no more than 29.4 degrees Celsius.
  • Set your painted concrete statue on a well-drained surface like pebbles, rocks or patio blocks to prevent the base of the statue from absorbing ground moisture. This can make the paint peel and the concrete crumble.
  • Reseal your painted statue every year if painted with very bright colours; reseal less often if painted subtle colours.
  • Don't use de-icing products or strong cleaning solvents on your painted concrete statue.

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