There isn’t a lot of information on this topic, Good information that is, I know because I searched for it and it is why I created this site. I will tell you what kind of paint to use and how to properly apply it to your concrete statue. This is my “tell all” guide to painting concrete statues. You will have a paint job that will last a long time if you follow my advice.
What Kind Of Paint To Use On Concrete Statues?
Flat Exterior acrylic latex paint. It is the best to use cause it will last for years when done right. Plus if you’re painting a concrete birdbath, this paint won’t cause your backyard friends any harm. I recommend Apple Barrel Paints
You do not have to use the brand names I am going to mention, But I highly recommend you use the same type of paint. More than likely you can get these paints at Wal-Mart or any hardware store. I do have links to Amazon if you want to buy them online.
My family and I have been making concrete statues and painting them for a long time (1979). So you can have faith and trust in what I say 🙂
How To Paint Concrete Statues
The base coat is the single most important step to painting your concrete statue after it is cured. If you don’t apply it in the right way, your paint will bubble or chip from your statue and then your gonna have to remove the rest of the paint and start over. Removing paint from a statue is not very fun. Trust me!
If you need paint brushes, ones that the bristles won’t come out while using them (been there) check out this post here, Best Paint Brushes
Basecoating Concrete Statues
I recommend Glidden Flat Black Exterior Paint (Link to Amazon) You don’t have to use that particular brand or even color. I just prefer a black base coat. Always use a flat paint that is latex exterior and you will be fine. The top coat on your concrete statue you can use almost any kind of latex paint. My preference is flat acrylic paint. Just as long as it’s an exterior acrylic latex based paint, you will be fine, and so will your statue.
The reason I say flat paint instead of medium gloss or enamel paints is because they tend to smear. Whereas flat paint won’t. It’s just easier to work with.
The general rule of thumb I was taught is if the topcoat of your paint is going to be dark colors or mostly dark colors, use a dark basecoat, like black. The opposite holds true too. If your topcoat is mainly brighter colors, use a bright basecoat, like white.
That is how I paint everything, whether it is painting garden gnomes, animals, birdbaths or any other concrete yard ornament.
Applying A Base Coat
This best and only way to apply the base coat, in my opinion, is to wet the statue with water (don’t be afraid to drench it) first and then apply the base coat while the piece is still wet. That way the paint will absorb into the concrete creating a seal, which will protect your top coat of paint. I water down the paint too. That will also help it absorb into the concrete. I do 50/50, 50% paint 50% water mix. Only do that to your paint that you are using for a basecoat, not your topcoat paint.
Here is a video I found on youtube that demonstrates how to apply the base coat properly.
After your base coat is dry, it is time to apply your top coat. The type of paint I use for my top coat is Apple Barrel paints you can find it cheap on eBay here, Apple Barrel Acrylic Paint
If you want to see how I paint some of my statues, you can check it out here, Statue Painting Techniques: [Only The Best]
What colors you use to paint your statues is entirely up to you. All about personal preference! So, onto the next step.
Sealing Your Concrete Statue
This sealer you apply over your acrylic/latex paint. I use a brush to do it, I guess you can use a garden sprayer, I never tried it with a garden sprayer so I can’t say how well that would work. Just pour a little bit in a bowl and use a chip brush like these from Amazon, and apply it. In this line of work, a chip brush is your best friend!
If you want a spray on sealer, I use the Krylon clear enamel spray. The clear gloss spray will add a shiny coat over the top of your paint and help protect your paint on the statue. Use it outside as it does have a strong smell. Here is what I use. Krylon Colormaster Crystal Clear Gloss Spray (Link will take you to Amazon).
If you’re looking for a spray on sealer that doesn’t have a strong smell and that won’t blow you up if you’re a smoker or near a fire, I recommend trying the brush on sealer from Rainguard. It’s water-based and non-toxic and it has a no cancer-causing formula (always a plus). If you have a lot of statues to go over I’d get a gallon of the sealer instead of the spray, It can be found on eBay here, Rainguard 1 Gallon Premium Paint Sealer This paint sealer isn’t limited to just statues, it can seal and protect the acrylic paint on any surface.
If you want to add a “shine” to your statue, I recommend RainGuard High Gloss Sealer ( Link To Amazon) It will add a shiny overcoat to your painted statue. Apply 2 thin coats and you should be set to go. I don’t recommend using this on the inside of a birdbath lid. But for everything else you should be fine. Just as long as there is no standing water.
Note- if you don’t want to change the look of your paint to a “wet look” use the premium paint sealer. But if you do want a shiny look to your ornament, use the high gloss sealer or the Krylon spray. You don’t need to apply both to 1 statue.
Putting sealer over top your painted statue will help the paint last longer, plus it’ll give you peace of mind that your paint will hold up. In the end, that’s what you want, a great looking concrete lawn ornament that will last. One last tip, never put sealer on the bottom of your concrete statue, that way the concrete can “breath”.
Spray Paint For Concrete Statues
I would not and never have recommended spray paint for concrete statues. It won’t last on concrete. Yes, painting concrete statues with spray paint is quicker and cheaper (in some cases), but I hope you like painting the same statue over an over year after year. When that concrete gets hot in the summer sun your spray paint will peel off and I don’t think you would want that.
If you follow the advice given above, you’ll be painting concrete statues like a pro. That is how I do it and what I use and your painted statues should last for years to come! The most important step is your basecoat!! If you get that part right, you’ll be set. Hope you found this helpful. Thanks for stopping by!