For the longest time since completing our herb garden project, I’ve dreamed of having a fountain to break up the wall space against the house where plants don’t grow as well. When we lost so many of our herbs this year due to our harsh winter, it seemed a good time to revamp the herb garden and find that fountain.
Of course you know I wanted to diy the whole thing and so I looked at creating one of those pot fountains that sit on rocks with the pump underneath like I’d seen on Pinterest. Only problem? We have this funky pipe thing that goes to who-knows-what right at the base of where the fountain would sit. Which is why I thought of a fountain or pot in the first place, because we can’t plant anything there. But the other options all consisted of placing a pump in a large container like a half barrel, which was a little more ‘country’ looking than I wanted for this space.
So I went looking for a classic styled wall fountain (one that could be placed on the ground, though) and received sticker shock: $200-300 for a fountain? Um, no. Most of them are plastic or resin made to look like iron or stone and still cost that much. So I put that dream on hold for a while. I know – first world problems, commence with the tiny violins.
Then one day I decided to look on Amazon since I had accumulated a few gift cards from my birthday and Swagbucks (I still use it occasionally, do you?) and I was surprised to find one that was half the price of the others I had found – only $86 with free shipping (affiliate link).
The problem? While this inexpensive fountain was a good size (affiliate link to fountain on Amazon) and fit the space nicely, it really looked like plastic. The light color also didn’t go with my pots and blended into our light yellow house color. I had really liked the fountains I had seen that were darker, looking like iron or aged stone. So, what’s a serial diy-er to do?
Age it with paint it, of course! And I LOVE how it turned out – can I confess that I was actually a bit shocked at how much better it looked? And I’m here to tell you it was EASY. There are no complicated layers, finishes or anything to this DIY aged plastic fountain – it’s basically two steps: spray paint and then apply a wash and wipe it down.
And this technique will work on ANY plastic thing you want to look aged that has some good nooks and crannies – pots, birdbaths, and urns come to mind. So here are the simple steps that took this from blah to ‘where’d you get that great fountain?”
Note: you’ll notice I use affiliate links to Amazon in the following tutorial when mentioning the items I used – this is mainly to further describe what I used, but if you do purchase something it goes to the support of AOC, which I’m grateful for!
How to Age Faux Stone Plastic
1. Prime. Spray your plastic (or ‘resin’ which I think is just another type of plastic, isn’t it?) with an indoor-outdoor primer made for plastic. I used this Rustoleum Ultra Cover flat gray primer. Cover well and if you’re doing a fountain make sure to cover inside the bowl area, too. Let dry according to the directions.
2. Paint. Spray your object with an indoor-outdoor flat black paint. I used Rustoleum Painter’s Touch this time – mainly because it’s what I already had. The Ultra Cover in flat black would be good, too. Let dry.
Wash & Wipe It
1. Make a white wash. Mix white acrylic paint like this 1:1 with water in a small bowl. You don’t need much – my mixture equaled about 1/4 cup and I still had a bit left over. I mixed and applied the wash using a 1-inch foam brush.
2. Apply the wash. As you can see, it’s really watery. It doesn’t matter if it runs – you just want to make sure whatever you’re painting on is covered well.
3. Paint a section at a time. You don’t want the wash to dry too soon, so work in small sections.
4. Wipe the whitewash with a cotton rag. As you can see, you’ll be wiping most of it off, leaving just a film that ‘ages’ the plastic. This process is really just a learn-while-you-do-it thing – I decided I liked most of the whitewash wiped out of the lines, so I used my fingernail with the rag to get in most of the areas. You might decide you like it more white – it’s up to you to find the look you like. Wash and wipe the whole object – again not forgetting the water bowl if you’re doing a fountain like mine (and if doing pots, you’ll want to remember to paint the inside top edge about 2-inches down, as that won’t be covered by soil).
In the bottom photo, you can see that the fountain’s divots, faux carvings and rough spots all create spots for the whitewash to remain and that helps create the aged look.
Even though this isn’t the greatest picture, I just had to show you the difference the whitewashing made on the painted black surface – incredible, isn’t it?
The last step is to spray it with a clear protective cover coat (like this clear spray from Amazon). It did darken the finish a bit, but not too much. I made sure to spray the bowl that holds the water really well. But only time will tell how it holds up, though it will be no problem to redo if I need to.
And that’s it – see, it really is easy, isn’t it?
Here’s a close up before-and-after for you, and I do have to tell you that the photos make the before look a lot better than it did in real life. No matter if you were far away or close up, you could tell it was plastic. The paint job created a richer looking product and enhanced it’s ‘carvings’ and decorations.
Here’s a before and after as it looks in the herb garden – SO much better, don’t you think? Though I’m not sure why the before is a little blurry – I promise I wasn’t trying to stack the deck in favor of the after!
And now this is our view from the gazebo – isn’t it great? Not only are the new herbs I planted to replace our lost ones growing nicely (like our basil on the right, now that it’s not being eaten by bugs!), but this fountain really is a nice focal point and ties in with the black pots and obelisks. And the sound of the water in the fountain is pretty soothing and can be heard from most areas around our gravel patio.
Oh, did I mention that I LOVE it?
Do you have any faux stone plastic you’d like to age with this technique? Have you ever wanted a fountain like me?
Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links and by clicking on them you help support AOC at no extra cost to you – thanks so much! (Oh, and you can always read our entire disclosure page here.)