DIY Faux Plaster Paint Finish for Trash to Treasure Projects…

How to Make Faux Plaster- Trash to Treasure- The Creativity Exchange



For more than a year now, I have been transforming my trash to treasure projects and furniture pieces with a beautiful faux plaster paint finish technique.  I stumbled on this process by mixing a certain ratio of flat paint and lightweight spackle. This is a really quick way to update old junk and dated furniture pieces in a big way.  This technique also works perfectly to create a gorgeous chalk paint finish by reducing the amount of spackle in the mix and adding a small amount of primer.

Faux plaster/cement like finishes are really popular right now with home decor accessories and furniture but the pieces are pretty pricey.  Just take a peek at these amazing finishes on these lamps designed by Aidan Gray:


Aidan Gray Lamp-

Source: Layla Grayce


Aidan Gray Sconce

Source: Layla Grayce


Aidan Gray Lamp


These finishes have a thick plaster/cement chippy like look that can be darkened up with a little brown, black or gray glaze, or they can be left alone and finished in a off white plaster finish- with a dark under color, adding depth.  I will go into the instructions at the end of the post but in the mean time, let me show you some before and after pictures of how you can dramatically transform old junk with this technique.

I recently found this hideous gold tiger mirror in the attic that has been stashed there for at least a decade. I still cannot believe had this hanging somewhere in my home many moons ago during my animal print decor obsession {Hubby rolls eyes}:



Yep, it’s pretty scary!!  I was going to run it as fast as I could {in the cover of darkness} to Goodwill to get rid of it but then I realized it would be an excellent trash to treasure revamp using this faux plaster technique.  I ended up spray painting the piece with a dark brown and the used my faux plaster mix over the brown and sanded a few areas down to the brown.  It worked like a charm and I was able to camoflauge that “lovely” tiger painting by adding a cheap wood medallion that I glued on to the painting itself:


How to Make Faux Plaster- Trash to Treasure



I also used this faux plaster technique last year on this cheap lamp revamp.  With this project, you can see what the faux plaster looks like with or without adding a glaze to the plaster finish:


Faux Plaster Paint Technique- The Creativity Exchange- Lamp Revamps


Faux Plaster- Lamp Revamp


Ok, so let’s get to the easy instructions.

1)  You can use this paint finish on pretty much anything including accessories, furniture, wood, metal, glass, ect…  The first thing to do is to figure out what color you want as an under color to show through.

For my gold tiger mirror frame, I wanted dark brown to be the color to peek through under the plaster (you can see the dark brown in the picture below):



I spray painted the frame mirror with a brown satin spray paint and let it dry completely. For my lamp revamp, the lamp was already black, which was the perfect under color and I did not prime it.

2) If you are painting metal or glass, you will want to prime your item first. With anything else, if you feel that your item needs to be primed, you can add a little primer to your plaster mix. For thick and chunky plaster, I mixed together (in a bowl) a 50/50 ratio of latex wall paint and lightweight spackle:


Lightweight Spackle


For the paint itself, I like to use a very light taupe color; Wool Skein from Sherwin Williams for my basic plaster color (I just buy the sample size). You can use anything you like but if you want that cement-y plaster color, I have found Wool Skein mixed with the white of the lightweight spackle gives the perfect plaster color when dried. I also prefer to use a flat paint which gives an even more chalky finish:


3) Once the spackle/paint is thoroughly mixed together (I use a spoon), I brush it on with a foam brush. The foam brush gets more of the plaster mix onto the item, rather than a standard brush. The foam brush also allows a little more control.

The trick to brushing it on the plaster mix is not to completely cover and paint the object- but rather sporadically brush it on, leaving spots where your under color will be visable like this:



It also looks good to sporadically brush on thick areas of the plaster and alternate with thin areas of the mix as well. Don’t worry about brushing it on to look blended because you will blend it all in when you sand . I really just sort of slap it on here and there and leaving areas unpainted.

Also, the plaster mix consistency is really like paint, maybe a little thicker but when it dries, it really gets thick and chalky! You can also control the thickness of your faux plaster by reducing or increasing the spackle ratio but I have found 50/50 has worked best for my projects. If you want areas thicker, just slap on more mix!

4) Allow the plaster mix to completely dry. Overnight is usually just right.

5) Once the plaster mix is dry, you will need a really strong small wire brush, medium grade steel wool and very coarse sand paper. The plaster is very thick and hard and the coarse sand paper will quickly get you down to your under color and the wire brush will chip away in the hard to reach areas.  The steel wool is the finishing touch that lightly roughs up the surface and it sort of “ages” the plaster color as the steel wool is rubbed into the plaster and “dirties” it up:



I sporadically sand areas down to my under color and in some areas I will sand down beyond my under color and into to the wood. With coarse sand paper it does not take long to go around and sand areas or use the wire brush. My goal with the sand paper is to blend the plaster at the areas where I stopped and started my brushing on of the plaster, to make it look more natural. You can see above that in some areas I also sanded down to the original gold.

6) You will just have to play with the sanding and steel wool to get the combination and the look that you like.  Some areas of dried plaster I didn’t touch and other areas I either lightly sanded or rubbed the sand paper into the piece enough that sanded the plaster completely off.

7) After you have finished sanding your piece, you can either leave as is or you can “pat” the plaster with antique glaze for this look:
Faux Plaster Paint Technique- The Creativity Exchange- Lamp Revamps


For adding glaze to the top of your plaster, you can find antiquing glaze in brown, black or gray at the craft store. Just pour a small amount of glaze onto a white rag or old torn t-shirt and “pat” the glaze into the plaster and sporadically around. If you get to much glaze on an area, you can remove by patting the area with a dry rag. Be sure and leave some areas white to keep that plaster look.

If you are interested in the paint combination for making a chalk paint finish for furniture revamps using spackle, I use a ratio of 1/3 flat paint, 1/3 cheap primer and 1/3 spackle mixed together.  It works beautifully and has the same chalk paint finish as the expensive chalk paints!

Well once again, I have written a novel here! Ugh!  Oh well, I hope you have more details than needed if you decide to give this a try!  There are so many possibilities and this process is so easy even though I made it so long!

Have a great rest of the week and I’ll be back for Friday Favorites!  If you missed last week’s Friday Favorite’s “What’s  Your Favorite- Friday Favorites Rewind”,  you can go to it here:



TDC Before and After

The Shabby NestFunky Junk's Sat Nite SpecialUndertheTableandDreamingSomewhat Simple

This entry was posted in DIY, Do It Yourself Projects, Paint Techniques, Revamp Projects, Tutorials and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

44 Responses to DIY Faux Plaster Paint Finish for Trash to Treasure Projects…

  1. Shannon Fox says:

    Completely gorgeous! What a wonderful tutorial too. That tiger has new stripes now. OMG, it looks like a million bucks now!! What a super transformation!!

  2. april says:

    Love this tutorial and its length…i am eyeing several ite
    ms around the house for a makeover. Thank you!!!

    • Cyndy says:

      Thannk you April! I am so glad that you liked it and I hope you will give it a try! It’s so easy and it’s such a great way to update! Thanks so much for stopping by! Cyndy

  3. Amanda Eck says:

    This is a great idea Cyndy! I LOVE Aiden Gray lamps, but not the price! This is a great alternative.

    • Cyndy says:

      Thank you girl! I forgot to mention that I did this same technique on some bookshelves for a revamp for a friend and then did a dark gray glaze and they also have that Aidan Gray furniture look. I reduced the spackle to a little less than half and I used a brush with thick bristles and swiped the plaster on! You would love it! I’ll get some pictures and add them to the post and let you know when I do! Thanks again Amanda!

  4. katie sommer says:

    Unbelievable revamp of the tiger mirror. Incredible. Great job! thanks for the tutorial.

  5. Kathy says:

    Oh what an awesome transformation!! I’m sitting here looking around & thinking of the items I can use your process on!! 🙂 Thank-you for a wonderful, very thorough tutorial, too!! I’m excited…running off to Lowe’s for some spackle (& hoping I don’t screw something up!). Blessings!

    • Cyndy says:

      Thank you Kathy! You will not believe how easy this is to do and what a huge transformation that it makes. I hope you find a few things to transform! Thank you for your sweet note and stopping by! Keep me posted if you do this project! I would love to see your pictures! Cyndy

  6. Thank you for sharing a clear and thorough tutuorial! Great “tiger” piece transformation!

  7. Oh, wow! That turned out amazing!! Thank you for sharing. Visiting from Funky Junk. Would love it if you would share this at my Make it Pretty Monday party at The Dedicated House. Hope to see you at the bash! Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  8. Deb says:

    You are brilliant!! This post could not of come at a better time as I just found a pair of lamps at an estate sale that I wanted to give the Aidan Gray look!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing this tutorial!!

    • Cyndy says:

      Thank you Deb!! I’m thrilled that you like the technique and so glad that you can use it! Please, please send my pics when you are finished! I would love to see them. Let me know if you run into any problems or have any questions too! Good luck and that you for your sweet note Deb! Cheers!

  9. Tonda B says:

    I typically don’t reply to these posts — I just grab the useful info and run with it — but I had to take time to tell you how thrilled I am to have found this. You provided enough pictures and detailed information to make it doable without additional headache of figuring out “how much is enough” or “how do I tint this stuff?” Much appreciated and I am excited to try the technique! Oh, and you SO know I pinned it …. 😀

  10. FABBY says:

    Oh wow, this is just what I want for around my chandy in the ceiling! Everything you’ve turned into treasure, it sure is! Great things.

    • Cyndy says:

      Thank you Fabby! Yes, I forgot to mention that this technique would be a great way to revamp an old chandy!! Just add a primer for metal and it should work beautifully! Thank you so much for stopping by Fabby! Cyndy

  11. Wow! What an amazing transformation! Thanks so much for the tutorial. I’m pinning this!!

  12. Gina says:

    Thank you so much for sharing. I cannot believe before and afters! That tiger mirror….what a hoot! Loved your comment about taking it to Goodwill under the cover of darkness! I’m sure you’re glad you kept it….the transformation is amazing!

    • Cyndy says:

      Thank you so much Gina! Yep, can you believe I bought that tiger mirror?? I was probably even excited about too at the time! UGH! Thank you for stopping by! Cyndy

  13. Rosemary says:

    Beautiful finish. You’re a woman after my own heart. Mixing concoctions is a true passion of mine.

  14. Love it! It sounds pretty easy, but looks like it’s been around for ages. Now I just need to find a lovely stalking tiger mirror to redo….hmmm…to the basement I go…

  15. you did a fantastic job on this tutorial! thanks so much for such a well written post.

  16. Linda says:

    I love love love the faux plaster finish. I have to add this to my want list. I love the medallion you have added to your mirror, but can never find them anywhere around where I live. Do you mind sharing where you found such a jewel?
    Thanks so much!

    • Cyndy says:

      Thank you Linda! I purchased a bunch of them in different sizes and finishes at Hobby Lobby. You may be able to order them online at Home Decorators catalog. Thank you again for stopping by!

  17. Joy says:

    I love your lamps you painted!’ thanks for sharing

  18. Jennifer says:

    Cant wait to try this!! Im in a mtg at work and went on Pinterest cuz it was boring. Couldnt stop reading this post!! Its torture I need to go home and start working on this!! 🙂 Anywho…what do you mean by ‘cheap primer’? thanks!!!

    • Cyndy says:

      buy the most inexpensive primer available. The cheaper the primer, the chalkier it is. Have fun with this treatment Jennifer and thank you so much for stopping by!!

  19. Love your recipe. It is really hard, which is good. I love lightweight Spackle or Patch n Paint. It is great to decorate with like a cake. Thanks a lot, Ruth

  20. Cyndy, Always love your posts and project ideas – so inspiring! The faux-plaster paint finish is such a useful technique to know and use for so many parts and pieces in decor/wall trim. Great pictures too.

  21. Robby Johnson says:

    Bless you for this. I have two stunning old world lamps that I inherited and did not want to throw away. However, I was at a loss as to how to repair/restore them. Your website it truly a blessing. I will post again and let you know how they turn out. Cheers!

    • Cyndy says:

      Thank you so much RObby for your kind words. I’m glad that you can use this tutorial, it’s one of my favorite techniques! Thanks again for stopping by!

  22. Melanie R says:

    Hi, loved this post! I have been searching for this kind of ‘do it myself’ painting.
    What color of glaze did you use on the lamp? It’s gorgeous! The mirror is wonderful also!

  23. Debbie Lieber says:

    I LOVE your site and especially these instructions for the faux plaster and the unique recipe u came up with for your chalk paint. I just have one question and that is about where you go to fine the “cheap primer” you referred to, Cyndy? Would you mind giving me a brand name to look for? I checked out Lowes and Home Depot and not sure the brands they carry are quite what you were referring to. Thamks for all your willingness to share! Southern Deb

  24. Theresa says:

    I love the change!!! And thank you so much for sharing the entire tutorial, I’m ready to try this on so many things!! I love that look, and it looks so authentic! <3 You have a new fan <3 Hugs & Smiles, Theresa

  25. Gary Carrasco says:

    Thank you
    YOU are awesome! gary

  26. Jeanine says:

    I have a plastic medallion. Can this technique work?

  27. Jeudi Williams says:

    Would this technique work on the large faux pumpkins used as decor at Halloween? I have a bunch of them which have become scratched and banged up, and would like to change up my fall decor a bit.

    • Cyndy says:

      Hi Jeudi! Yes, pumpkins would be perfect for faux plaster. I love that idea. Just to be safe, I would prime the pumpkins first to make sure the plaster adheres. Sounds so fun!

  28. Chris Davis says:

    Hi! Amazing tutorial! I am using your DIY info to update two lamps as we speak. They were a mess, but I have them primed and painted with the dark undercoat. I am just hoping that they will turn out half a beautiful as yours. I have one question. Do you use any type of sealer on your projects when you are through? If not, do they hold up to dusting and cleaning afterward? Thank you again for this tutorial. I am so excited to start the next step.

    • Cyndy says:

      So excited to hear you are in the process of doing the faux plaster technique! Nope, no sealer needed! It’s like cement when it dries. You can always spray a matte clear sealer but I haven’t had any issues with the pieces I have painted. Thanks for your note and kind words! I hope you keep me posted on your final project 🙂

  29. Carol says:

    I’m wondering if the technique might work on walls to give a plaster finish?
    Maybe go a little lighter on the spackle?

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