Create A Natural Looking Stone Wall With Joint Compound And A Stencil

by Victoria Larsen - Date: 2006-11-18 - Word Count: 830 Share This!

Interior stone walls are expensive, tedious to install, and needless to say; a back breaking experience. You need to pick out and haul the stones, haul and attach the backer board, spread the messy thin-set, lay out the stones, and then grout them. It is a lot for the mind to comprehend when it comes to a weekend project, let alone to accomplish.

But I have a simple, beautiful answer that creates a wall of raised stone that looks so real you won't believe it!

Supply List:

1. Raised Plaster Stone stencil: Raised Plaster Stencils are now readily available on the internet (simply do a search for "Raised Plaster Stencil" to find all of the available sources). If you can't find just the right stone stencil design, you can make your own.

2. A bucket of joint compound (or more, depending on how large the intended wall is).

3. A small mixing bucket

4. Wide masking tape

5. A 3" wide plastic scraper

6. Pure pigment tint to pre-color the joint compound (these come in many forms from concrete and stucco pigments or in the paint department of most home stores or on-line sources). The color you choose will become the "base" color of your stones.

7. A small sea sponge. (Even an old towel works!).

8. Clear polyurethane sealer.

9. Craft paints in the secondary or "accent" colors you would prefer in your stones. (For instance, a pale brown base color with deeper brown and cream accent colors).

To create your own stencil, first decide on your stone pattern. Practice with pencil and paper until you have just the right design by creating various size stones in different patterns or simply copy a pattern from a garden book or magazine. Create a square or rectangle design since it will be the easiest to repeat over the wall.

Your stencil can be made out of just about anything that is large, flat and reasonably thick. Durable plastic sheets work the best since they will hold up to repeated use and can later be used with concrete over your existing patio to create a new stone surface. .14 mil or thicker plastic does the trick and will basically last through any abuse.

Though the openings for your stones can be cut out with a sharp craft knife, a stencil burner (available at your local craft store) glides through the plastic with ease, making the cutting chore a breeze.

You can create a more temporary version of your stencil by using heavy duty poster board from your local craft or art supply store. Tip: Spray the poster board lightly with aerosol hairspray or matt spray varnish to seal the paper surface which will help prevent the moisture in the joint compound from penetrating it before you have completed your wall project. A craft knife is all you need to cut the openings out of poster board.

Transfer the design on to the stencil material and cut the openings out.

Apply wide masking tape to adjoining walls, the ceiling and baseboards to protect them from unwanted joint compound. Be sure to protect the floor with a drop cloth or plastic sheet, then apply your stencil to one upper corner of the wall and tape in to place.

Transfer of the bucket of joint compound in to a clean mixing bucket and add a few drops of tint at a time, mixing in between color applications until you reach the desired base color for your stones. Keep track of the number of drops you have used so you can repeat the exact color if you need to mix more.

Stir the joint compound well. With your scraper, apply a thin coat over all of the openings. Scrape it smooth to force the compound in to all of the open spaces. Now, apply more joint compound over the openings. Applying a coat that exceeds " will only lead to cracking as the compound dries. You may or may not prefer this effect.

As you smooth on this second layer of compound, allow it to be bumpy, with dips and crevices, swirls and ridges. This will help to create very natural looking stone. Remove the stencil and allow the compound to dry before repeating your stones next to the wet design.

To speed things along, we do the first repeat, skip the second, apply the third repeat and so on. To accomplish this, simply measure over the width of your stencil openings and apply the stencil at that point.

Once all of the stones have been completed and are dry, add just a little water to each of the secondary (accent) colors you have chosen. Using your small sea sponge or an old, dry towel, begin to blot the colors here and there over the stones, blending as you go. Streaks or veining of color can be added with a cotton swab or artists brush.

Apply a coat of clear polyurethane to seal and protect. Enjoy the look of a stone wall you created yourself and hear the comments from friends and family who won't believe it!

Copyright Victoria Larsen 2006.

Victoria Larsen is a professional wall stencil designer and interior specialist. Her products and ideas have been featured in Better Homes and Gardens, Women's Day, Craft Trends, Creating Keepsakes,and Memory Trends magazines and The Wall Street Journal. Website:

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