DIY Roman Clay/Faux Concrete

I had no idea what Roman Clay was until I saw it on a wall and fell in love with the texture. This is a texture I wanted to use on the front surround for our fireplace.  I had to do some digging to find out how people achieved the look. I found out that you can buy it pre-made but it is a bit spendy. So, naturally I kept digging until I found out that I could make it myself with supplies I already had. When you make the DIY roman clay/faux concrete yourself, you can also make it any color you want with this DIY version. I feel like I have mostly seen it used in neutral colors. 

Supplies needed

This really is a very beginner friendly DIY project. You only need two ingredients to make the “roman clay” spread:  drywall mud and latex paint tinted in the color of choice. The ratio of mixing these two things is 1 part paint and 2 parts joint compound. I used a mixing paddle attached to the drill to mix the 2 ingredients together in a tall narrow bucket. Make sure the mixture is thoroughly mixed so there won’t be any color variation when applied to the surface. 

How to make and choose a color

I was going for more of a concrete look for our fireplace so I wanted my roman clay to be a pretty concrete gray. The key to choosing color with this technique is buying the darkest version of the color you want. During the process to mix the roman clay with the proper ratio of supplies, the end product will be very diluted and much lighter compared to its original color. When you go look at paint colors and see a light color you like, I suggest that you pick the darkest paint color on that same card to use to get the lighter color look in the end. I used tricorn black to achieve this light concrete gray look.

How to apply

Next you will need a plastic spatula and the size of it is dependent on how much surface you are covering. If you are covering a huge wall use a larger 6” spatula. Smaller projects and surfaces you can use a 2” or 3” spatula. The consistency of the mixture should be similar to greek yogurt, maybe a little thicker. You want to be able to spread the mixture on the wall without it falling off or dripping. Take your spatula and get some of the mixture on it and start applying in small strokes. The key to making this technique really look amazing is working small sections at a time. Make sure when you apply the “roman clay mixture” you are spreading in all different directions. That is what will give you the varied look that makes this texture so gorgeous. 

Finishing your DIY Roman Clay/Faux Concrete look

Once you have the area all done and you are happy with the texture. You want to let it dry overnight minimum before you move onto the next step. Make sure the next day that the texture is all dry before you start the sanding process. You’ll want to get a 220 grit sanding sponge for this step. The sanding process is going to be to your liking with how much you do or do not sand. You can just leave it exactly as it is if you love how it looks. The sanding knocks off all the high spots and goobers as I call them. It also gives this gorgeous dimensional texture when you sand it down. When sanding the main goal is to lightly sand all of it to knock off any goobers or rough sharp lines. You aren’t trying to get it smooth, this is meant to have a lot of texture and depth.

Sealing it at this point is optional. Some people say to seal it and others say don’t. I chose not to seal mine because it is not in a wet area or high traffic. Putting this texture in a wet area or high traffic area might benefit from being sealed to last longer and hold up to wear and tear. Here is a water based sealer you can use if you decide that is what you want to do for your project. Keep in mind the sealer will change the final look and possibly darken it. Maybe test the sealer on a sample piece seperate of your project to confirm you like the look first.

You can see the overall look of the final fireplace and how the DIY Roman Cay/Faux Concrete looks here!!!!

I can’t wait to see what you make! As always I love hearing what you thought of this project or if you tried this DIY in your home! Also, don’t forget to head over to my social channels to see videos of how I made this project start to finish!

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