Main Menu
  Sponsored Content

Coloring Techniques for Stenciled Concrete

Modello Dye Stains are available in 24 colors including metallics like the Copper used on this Eastern Medallion. To achieve this depth of color and shine, the Copper Stain Concentrate was only slightly thinned and two layers were applied with a stencil brush.
Modello Dye Stains are available in 24 colors including metallics like the Copper used on this Eastern Medallion. To achieve this depth of color and shine, the Copper Stain Concentrate was only slightly thinned and two layers were applied with a stencil brush.

Stenciling and coloring go hand-in-hand to create works of art in concrete. Acid- or water-based stains are the most widely used — and most versatile — materials for coloring stenciled projects. Acid stains tend to produce muted, earthy colors, while water-based stains are available in brighter, more vibrant colors.

Perhaps the simplest coloring technique is to apply stain to the concrete, apply a stencil and then sandblast or etch away the exposed surface, including the stain. In the finished project, the stained color will remain in the pattern protected by the stencil, while the background will be the original color of the concrete and any aggregate exposed during the process.

Modello Dye Stains were applied by spray, brush and sponge to complete the look of copper wrought iron through a Modello Design on a concrete overlayment surface.
Modello Dye Stains were applied by spray, brush and sponge to complete the look of copper wrought iron through a Modello Design on a concrete overlayment surface.

The mirror image to that technique is to create a resist. Apply the stencil. Then apply a sealer to the exposed areas, whether sandblasted, etched or plain finished concrete or overlay. Remove the stencil and apply the stain. Only the unsealed areas, the pattern of the stencil, will be colored.

Melanie Royals of Modello Designs also uses adhesive-backed Modellos to create resist patterns. The design area can be left untouched or colored with acid or water-based dyes. The area is then sealed with a concrete sealer before removing the Modello pattern. After removal the surrounding area can be acid-stained. The sealed areas of the design resist the stain, resulting in a lighter-colored design on a darker field. The technique looks complicated, but the effect is actually quite easy to achieve. 

This exotic floor treatment uses a combination of acid stains and Modello Dye Stains. While acid stains are ideal for creating organic effects with more neutral colors, the Modello Dye Stains allow for the incorporation of more dramatic color — in this instance, the red and green areas where the stains were applied in thin layers to create a translucent effect.
This exotic floor treatment uses a combination of acid stains and Modello Dye Stains. While acid stains are ideal for creating organic effects with more neutral colors, the Modello Dye Stains allow for the incorporation of more dramatic color — in this instance, the red and green areas where the stains were applied in thin layers to create a translucent effect.

Multiple colors of stain may be added to various parts of the design. Keep in mind, though, that liquid colors may migrate. Porous concrete can wick the liquid, drawing it under the stencil. The solution is to use a gelling agent such as Stain Mule stain carrier from Surface Gel Tek or Modello Gel-lo from Modello Designs. Aqueous gels can carry acid-based, water-based and powdered coloring agents. Once the color is neutralized according to the manufacturer’s instructions, the gel can be rinsed off.

Contractors can apply many colors to a single stencil by “weeding” the stencil. Tamyrn Doolan of Surface Gel Tek explains, “I cut the whole design into the stencil, but only punch out the parts of the pattern that will be, for example, blue. I apply the blue and then move on to other colors in order.” Doolan applies a temporary sealer to previously colored sections to prevent mixing colors.

Royals sometimes sprays a diluted stain over a finished project where a border has been etched with gelled acid. The stain settles into the deeper areas of the etch to add more color there.

Modello Dye Stains were sprayed to color the orange/ochre background after which a Modello border design was applied and “embossed” by spraying through the design and center area with Concrete Solutions’ Spray Top, a sprayable overlayment. The green dye stain colors were then applied over the Spray Top area. Then the Modello pattern was removed to reveal the original stain color below.
Modello Dye Stains were sprayed to color the orange/ochre background after which a Modello border design was applied and “embossed” by spraying through the design and center area with Concrete Solutions’ Spray Top, a sprayable overlayment. The green dye stain colors were then applied over the Spray Top area. Then the Modello pattern was removed to reveal the original stain color below.

Contrasting colored overlays are achieved by applying the base coat in one color, placing the stencil and applying the top coat in another color. Stains can also be used. For example, applying a stain by hand to random stones or bricks in the pattern makes it look more natural and more interesting. Grout lines are also enhanced by the addition of stain.

Brickform’s Glen Roman described an interesting coloring technique to be used on fresh concrete or an overlay of 1⁄4 inch or more. After the stencil is placed, throw on a dry-shake color hardener and float it in. Then run a texture roller over the top of the stencil and push it into the surface. When the stencil is lifted, the texture will be visible.

Finally, sealers impact the look of the colored project. Utah contractor Clark Paepke heightens contrasts by staining the concrete and sealing it with a high-gloss sealer before sandblasting. After the sealer and stain are blasted off the exposed areas, he reseals them with a matte sealer so the glossy logo stands out even more.

Related Content

How To Use Stencils on Fresh Concrete

Stenciled concrete pathway leads to this home. Stenciled concrete can look more realistic than stamping and is a great option for homes.Stenciling gives a more detailed and realistic finish to fresh concrete than stamping. And there are other advantages to stenciling, as well.

Experts share some “whys” and “hows” for using stencils on fresh concrete.

Stenciling Existing Concrete

Stenciling floors or objects is a fun, rewarding artwork form with almost immediate gratification.A look at sandblasting, stenciled overlays and the new gelled-acid etching techniques.

  Advertisement












Top