Faux Painting Stone

Stone veneers and tiles are an attractive way to dress up your home, but they are often a hassle to install. Faux painting stone blocks, tiles, or flagstones is a fairly quick process and allows you to imitate unusual rocks inexpensively.

Tools and Materials:

  • Latex paint in at least two colors (eggshell finishes work best)
  • Sea sponge
  • Cheesecloth
  • Soft bristled brushes (optional)
  • Feather (optional)
  • Toothbrush (optional)
  • Acrylic glaze
  • Paint trays or other shallow containers, one for each color

Faux Stone Color Combinations

Faux stone painting requires the use of several different colors. Earth tones like brown, beige, and gray work best with most interiors, although more unusual effects can be achieved. Quartz, for example, is frequently a soft pink. Turquoise varies in color from true blue to mint green. And in many areas, iron gives rocks an orange-red color. Several types of stone, along with the colors you’ll need to recreate them, are listed below:

Slate – gray, dark gray blue, black

Turquoise – blue, green, black, white (use the faux marble technique for the most realistic finish)

Sandstone – tan, beige, white, gray/brown

Soapstone – white, light gray, dark gray

Limestone – cream, light gray, and pastels-yellow, green, or pink

Redstone – beige, terra cotta, brown

Marble and granite have almost infinite color variations. We cover the technique for these stone types separately, because marble and granite each require a different faux stone technique from the one that follows.

Faux Stone Painting Steps

1. Apply the Base Coat

Apply a base coat first. This will be your “grout”, so choose a light color that coordinates well with the type of stone you plan to imitate. Beige, tan, or pale gray are all good options. Allow to dry completely before taping.

2. Tape the Grout Lines

Before taping, you’ll need to determine the shape and layout of your stones. A random layout requires less precise measuring than tiles or bricks. Draw stone shapes lightly on the wall using pencil. Vary the size and position of the stones.

Keep in mind that rectangular shapes will be easier to mask than triangular or round/oval ones. Apply 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick masking tape around each “stone”. The masked areas represent grout lines, so position the lines accordingly.

If you are mimicking paving stones, square stone “tiles” must line up uniformly. Use a level and straightedge to mark evenly spaced horizontal lines on each wall. Then, mark horizontal lines at right angles to the first set of marks. Using these pencil marks as guidelines, use painter’s tape to mask off the grout lines. Using a straightedge, level, and T-square ensures perfect corners and uniform grout lines.

More elaborate arrangements are possible as well. You may wish to construct an elaborate faux stone wall with a basket weave or herringbone pattern, simulate stones of differing sizes, create designs with different colors, or set stone tiles on point.

When trying more advanced patterns, it’s a good idea to sketch out your design, to scale, on a sheet of graph paper. This will ensure your pattern works when applied to the wall.

Hint: if you’ll be creating patterns with different colored stones, write each stone’s color on the wall in pencil before beginning. It can be hard to remember which is which when you are standing close to the wall. You’ll save a lot of time stepping back from the wall by marking the color in each “stone.”

3. Choose your Faux Stone Painting Method

Method 1

The easiest faux stone painting technique requires just one layer on top of the grout lines.

  • Combine 4 parts acrylic glaze with one part paint (choose a color similar to, but much darker than, your grout color). Pour this into a shallow pan.
  • Dip the sponge in the glaze mixture and, working one stone at a time, dab it onto the wall. Apply it more heavily in areas that are naturally shadowed and around the stone’s edges to create a sense of dimension. Use a lighter touch in areas where there is a lot of sun and at the top and center of each stone.
  • Using a soft, dry brush or a piece of cheesecloth, lightly pounce over the top of the stone to soften and slightly blend the glaze.
  • Allow the paint to dry and then you can remove your painter’s tape. Apply the paint sealer to the finished wall to protect your new ’tile’.
  • Now you can put away all your painting tools after cleaning them and enjoy the new look you have created. It will be hard to tell the difference from the real thing.
Method 2

The second method uses several colors of paint or glaze and creates a more organic, realistic finish.

  • Use paint as-is, or thin it with up to four parts water OR acrylic glaze.
  • Dab the sponge in the paint and then onto the wall, using two, three, or four different colors per stone.
  • Don’t feel like you have to use every color on every stone.
  • It’s also ok to use more than one color on the sponge at a time; this will enhance the effect.
  • Rinse the sponge out as it becomes saturated, and change its position frequently.
  • Drybrush or sponge the surface with cheesecloth to blend slightly for a more realistic appearance.

Once you have an effect you like, you can stop, or add some of the optional effects listed below.


Use a feather or fine-tipped artist brush to create veins or cracks in some of the stones. Soften by dry brushing.


Put some glaze or thinned paint on an old toothbrush, then flick the bristles to create a fine spray of pigment.

After you’ve finished adding all the colors and veining or speckling you desire, carefully remove the painter’s tape before the paint dries completely to avoid pulling up the base coat. You’re done! See… faux painting stone is fun and easy!

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