Did you know you can paint concrete garden statues? Or in the case of this concrete goose re-paint the statue? I can tell you which paint is best and how to paint the concrete. Sunlight and rain will fade or wash the paint from these pieces over time. I found out it's an easy job to repaint them. The concrete goose never looked better and I have a bonus concrete cactus project I painted using watercolors!
This is my first time painting a concrete statue. My neighbor has a vintage concrete goose statue that’s been in her yard for as long as I can remember and it was in bad need of a makeover. My neighbor, Evelyn, told me one day she was probably just going to have to get rid of it. Nope, not on my watch. I like seeing that goose from my workshop door and I know she would miss it.
I told Evelyn I would try to paint the goose but for her not to have any high expectations. After all, I’m not a decorative painter or artist. Although we’ve been neighbors for close to 30 years I’ve just gotten to know her really well over the past 3 or 4 years.
Evelyn's husband was killed in the Vietnam War and she never remarried. She is super funny and smart and tells the most amazing stories. She keeps me laughing. We have a lunch date once a week but sometimes she doesn't feel up to going out. She gets around great for an 80-year-old and is always running here and there, shopping, and visiting with friends. I think it's great.
Anyway, this is how the poor goose looked before I started her makeover. And I say her because I noticed barely there, faded, painted-on eyelashes. I don't have any idea how old this poor thing is but she has obviously been standing outside for a while.
How To Paint Concrete Garden Statues
You can see just had sad she looks in the closeup photo above. Lots of cracks and places where the cement/concrete had broken down. Bits and pieces are broken off of the tail and base. I was really beginning to wonder if I could bring this little goose back to life. Can you see those eyelashes I mentioned earlier? Sometimes it's the simplest things that turn an item into a conversation piece.
Clean The Concrete Goose Statue
I first cleaned the concrete goose with Simple Green. I scrubbed and scrubbed but couldn’t get off some of the gunk/spots. I figured I could paint over the dirt so no worries. When cleaning the bill (is that the proper term?) I noticed there were several loose pieces almost loose enough to fall off.
Make Repairs To The Statue
I grabbed some Gorilla Glue for the cracks and filled the holes and cracks the best I could trying not to knock off more of the cement. Then I wrapped the bill and head with painter's tape until the glue dried. It seemed to work. Remember where there's a will there's a way.
You guys have to remember I’m just wingin’ it (no pun intended) because I’ve never painted a garden statue. I was definitely going to give the little goose my best though.
Use The Right Paint
Good thing there was enough original paint on the goose that I could kind of figure out where the paint lines were. I used FolkArt Coastal Textured Paint for the body of the goose. The paint is for indoor/outdoor projects. Since this little girl spends all her time out in the sun outdoor paint is a must.
That was the only outdoor paint I had in the colors I needed so the rest of the paint is acrylic paint from the small bottles like you get at the craft store. These are also multi-surface outdoor paints so we will see how well they work. I found the perfect color in my sash for the bill.
Paint The Concrete Statue
The webbed feet are the same orange color as the bill. I used a variety of different size brushes and I didn’t use tape for straight lines or anything. The goose was a little rough so I didn’t think it would be a big deal if the paint wasn’t perfect.
I didn’t have the right shade of green for the "grass" so I added black to a bit of green acrylic paint to make it darker. You can see the difference in the paint colors in the picture above. My first choice of green paint was too bright and glaring.
The special mix of green paint was just right. When I don't have a certain color even when working on a furniture project I mix colors together until I get the shade I like. I tried to get the paint into all the nooks and crannies where the cement had broken off or cracked. A small paint brush worked best for these hard to get to areas.
Add Layers of Paint
The body color of the goose was too uniform and the feathers blended in so I dry brushed a bit of very pale, silvery blue paint over the feather details. A bit of contrast adds depth and dimension to paint projects and that's what the addition of the blue paint does for the feathers.
I painted the eyes black with Beyond Paint in Licorice and added the eyelashes with a black Permanent Sharpie. Whatever works right?
Apply an Outdoor Sealer
I’m not sure all that paint is going to stay on even though I sprayed several coats of Krylon Sealer on the finished Goose.
Return The Goose To Its Home
Isn’t she cute? I’m glad I could do this for Evelyn and she was so happy. She lives right next door to us and I see this goose every day if I look out the garage door of the workshop or if I’m working on a project outside.
Evelyn is always telling me stories about her family, the old days, and the history of the area we live in. She is one smart and well-informed lady and so many subjects. Funny too. One of the stories she told me was about when aliens landed in Hopkinsville, Kentucky in 1955.
Now, Hopkinsville is right up the highway from us and where my favorite junk shop is located. She started telling me that story and she had me in stitches. I had to Google about aliens in Hopkinsville after that and sure enough, the story she told me is true.
I took this photo a couple of days after we returned the goose to its home. You can see it has a patriotic bow now. I was checking to see if the paint was holding up after a couple of days of rain. So far so good.
Paint a Concrete Cactus Statue
Next up. Painting a concrete cactus statue! After painting the neighbor’s garden goose I was ready to try another lawn statue project. The results were awesome if I do say so myself.
The cactus is just the cutest thing ever now. The secret to this look is using several paint colors to keep the painted cactus from looking flat or one-dimensional. The whole paint job took less than three hours including downtime……..watching the paint dry. Maybe I should show you how the cactus looked before I painted it then you’ll understand why I’m tickled pink.
I picked up the concrete cactus at my favorite junk shop for $5. It was plain old rough concrete, no paint, no nothing, so it was a blank slate. I didn’t notice the steer skull at the base until I got it home. I think this cactus belongs in Texas.
Choose The Paint Colors
The paint I used for the project is FolkArt ® Watercolor Acrylic Paint™. The watercolor paint can be used on outdoor items as well as indoor stuff. Perfect for the cactus. I only think of watercolors for paper. What about you?
Paint the Statue
The first step was to give the cactus an all-over paint finish. I mixed the white and sap-green watercolors together to make a pale green and brushed the paint all over the cactus. I dipped the watercolor brush in water to spread the paint on the cactus. The bold concentrated colors spread easily. I didn’t even use half of the 2 oz. bottle of sap green and the color is going to show up again in the makeover.
The next step after the first coat of paint was dry was to brush over the ridges of the cactus with sap green watercolor. I used the largest brush from the FolkArt® Watercolor Brush Set to paint the cactus.
Apply Layers of Paint
The third step is painting the grooves of the cactus using turquoise watercolor. I thinned the paint by dipping the watercolor brush in water and mixing it with the paint on a paper plate. The thinned turquoise paint is more of a wash and is a good contrast to the pale green color and the sap green color.
This is how the cactus looked with the three paint layers. Layering paints keeps the finish from being flat and dull. The cactus wouldn’t have looked the same with just one overall paint color.
Paint the Cactus Spines
We have one more step. Adding those little prickly things which I learned are called spines. We didn’t have many cacti where I grew up in Arkansas. I used the smallest watercolor brush and dabbed black watercolor paint here and there on the ridges of the cactus. You might notice a kid's car in the background of this photo. Miss Sofi was kind enough to take this photo of me adding the spines.
See why I’m tickled with the paint job? Doing the happy dance. I painted the steer skull with a mixture of white and gray watercolors and I painted the sand or dirt with a mixture of white and ochre watercolors.
Paint Garden Statues With Watercolors Made For Outdoor Use
Do you love this little cactus as much as I do?? I always thought watercolors were just for canvas art but my thinking has changed. I’ve used the watercolors on wood and fabric and now concrete. The colors are bold and almost have a luminescence to them. I feel more watercolor projects coming on.
Take a look at some of my recycled creations by clicking the link below the photo
Leave a note if you have time and as always, thanks for being here, Kathy
Author: Kathy Owen (Petticoat Junktion)
Kathy is the founder of PetticoatJunktion.com, a home décor blog focused on repurposing and upcycling furniture, old hardware, rusty stuff, and thrifty finds into unique home décor. Kathy’s projects have been featured on the Home Depot Blog, Plaid Crafts, Behr Designer Series, and in numerous magazines. Read more about Kathy here.