The EASY Way to Age a New Cement Statue

TO GIVE THE NEW STATUES in my Pool Garden an old-world patina, I turned to my friend Michael Laudati (above), who is a professional make-up artist. Would you like to see how he transformed my Satyr and another cement figure into works of antiquity? His process, which takes only 10 minutes, is surprisingly simple:


A spray bottle, filled with plain water

A bucket or a large bowl

1 pint clear water

1/2 pint concrete bonding adhesive

2 tablespoons charcoal-colored, water-soluble pigment (we used Quikrete Liquid Cement Color)

Disposable gloves

1 paintbrush

1 lint-free rag (we used an old cotton T-shirt)

In the bowl or bucket, mix together water, bonding agent and pigment.

1. Spray a small area of the statue with water. Pre-wetting this way will keep the color-solution from soaking in too fast, and causing blotchy areas.

2. Dip the paintbrush into the color-solution, and apply the color to the area you’ve just wet.

3. Using the rag, immediately wipe any protruding, or “high” areas. (In nature, high points of a statue are always lighter in color than indents and creases — the “low” points.)

Continue steps 1-3 until the entire statue is colored.

4. Step back and look at your work. Are details sufficiently pronounced? Michael and I thought certain low points, such as the Satyr’s eyes, and also the indents between its torso and arms, required accentuation. Consequently we applied a second coat of color to these areas.

Before treatment. This 300-pound, five-and-a-half foot-tall cement statue was glaring white and devoid of details.

After treatment. The charcoal “wash” brought out the Satyr’s intricacies.

We applied the same charcoal wash to my statue of “Autumn.” From the creases in her tunic to the grapes in her hand, every component is evident.

With a brush, a rag, a bonding agent and a little paint — you can turn any painfully-new statue into a glorious old one. And don’t worry — the procedure doesn’t make a mess!

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  1. Beautiful. They really look like vintage statuary! I especially love Autumn!

  2. Katreader – I love Autumn, too, both the season and the statue! Her plinth is arriving next week. It, too, shall receive the aging technique described above.

  3. Great work – looks easy. Did you consider adding green paint for a moss effect?

  4. Oooh, all you gotta do is apply a buttermilk-moss mixture to the base going up just a bit to get some moss growing on them! What beautiful work. I adore that Satyr! He looks so devilish! 😀

  5. Donna B. – That Satyr is indeed devilish, and I think he has his eye on Ms. Autumn.

    I originally intended to treat both statues with buttermilk and moss, then realized the moss wouldn't “take” in full, blazing sun. That technique is great, however, for statuary in a shady place.

  6. That's neat. It does add definition!

  7. For our recent family reunion, I took the blueberry bar recipe. It was a hit and so good. Definitly will keep it in my recipe collection. Thank you. Enjoy every subject you write about and your home has been a very interesting project.

  8. SUPER

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  10. Hi Kevin,

    The special-effects make-up artist’s solution is a big improvement over the buttermilk/yogurt/moss method, which always seemed to wash off too fast to do my statues any good.

    Thanks for the info on the concrete bonding solution as well as the aging technique.

  11. I’m in England and don’t get the sun that you obviously enjoy, but I used your technique on a brand new concrete garden bench and I’m delighted to say it’s worked beautifully.
    The seat now looks aged and I’m very pleased with how it has been transformed.
    When the weather dries out in the spring I’m sure it will be a pleasure to sit on it, meanwhile I’ll just look at it out of the window and enjoy what I see.
    Thanks for the recipe.

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  13. Mary in Iowa says:

    Would this technique work on fiberglass and/or fiber stone statues/birdbaths/etc., or does it work only for concrete?

  14. Hi Mary in Iowa – I forwarded your question to Michael Laudati, and this was his response:

    The materials would not work on fiberglass objects because they are water based and won’t adhere well to synthetic materials. Maybe the fiber stone items, as I believe they are gypsum or cement based with fiber reinforcement.

    Fiberglass would probably have to be painted with an oil based paint. In this case, if the items is already a gray stone-like color, a similar technique can be used using an oil based paint thinned out significantly with mineral spirits, painted on and rubbed off leaving the recesses darkened. If the item is not an appropriate color to start with, it should be painted a medium gray color followed by the dark shadow wipe color once the base color is thoroughly dry.

    Hope this was helpful to you!

  15. Mary in Iowa says:

    Thanks for the info, Kevin–and Michael.

  16. I was going to go buy an expensive can of concrete stain, but I got all this stuff lying around in the garage, thanks for the great advice.

  17. Can I use this to age my new section of sidewalk that I had to replace due to cracks and sinking issues

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