First a few pro tips: Use a snap string to connect your long points for your pattern. Mix baby powder fifty-fifty with blue chalk in your chalk box. Chalk marks are easier to remove later.
If you wish to have your colors soak into the Aquastone more fully and to be more translucent, you can add up to 30 percent water to the Aquacreme.
When tearing tape, apply the tape to the wall first and then tear the edges on both sides of the tape to create your ragged grout line.
For a more free-form approach to your block, you can trowel on the Aquastone and create the blocks with no tape for the grout.
Remove tape while the stone is still wet but a little tacked up, anywhere from one-half to one hour depending on drying conditions.
Basecoat the walls in any of the Aquabond base colors. I used Off-White for this job. Decide on the sizes of your blocks and then lay up your pattern. The pattern I used here is similar to that used in Warwick Castle, an English castle built in the 1400s. It is a good idea to work from photographs or from books that show how real stonemasons lay up different patterns.
Step 1 - Apply Basecoat
Apply Off-White Aquabond basecoat.
Step 2 - Set up String
Use a pencil and the snap string to lay up your pattern. Check your lines both vertically and horizontally so they're level and plumb. On smaller walls, where you can use a level, you can connect the dots with a pencil. Use a #4 pencil so that lines are light and easy to cover up later.
Step 3 - Tape
For the grout pattern, apply 2-inch masking tape over the lines. Tear the tape on the top and bottom edge, making sure to leave the tape in varying thicknesses everywhere that you want to have grout.
Step 4 - Mix Stone Material
Mix Aquastone with 10 to 20 percent water, using a squirrel mixer, or another type. Apply the mixture to 100 percent of the area right on top of the tape. Either expose an edge of the tape now or extend an edge of the tape onto the baseboard or ceiling line so you can find it later to remove it.
Lay the material on in varying thicknesses, keeping the depth between one-sixth to one-half inch. When troweling it on, push and move the material, creating varying textures. I usually pull the material in one direction for each block.
Step 5 - Take Off Tape
Remove the tape after one-half to one hour of drying time. The material should have started to get a dry shine on top but be soft and pliable underneath.
Step 6 - Add Light Color
I used Aquacreme tinted with Aquacolors Dark Brown, Black, and White. I created three values with these colors and applied them one at a time onto each individual block with a 4-inch chip brush. I wanted some blocks darker and others lighter. Look for a good balance to your composition. Also, think about your light source to help start establishing your shadows.
Step 7 - Add Middle Color
Apply the mid-value color, working wet, into your first glaze color.
Step 8 - Add Bright Color
Apply the brightest-value color, working it into any unpainted area and blending wet into wet with values one and two. Rub off glaze with a cotton rag, removing any excess paint. Check and correct your color balance by wiping off more or less glaze.
Step 9 - Add Darker Color
Take your darkest value of color and dilute it with 30 percent water. Take a 2-inch chip brush and drag the color onto the bottom of each stone block and onto one side. Allow the color to go onto the stone and into your grout. Soften out these areas with a rag so the shadow will appear natural.
Step 10 - Apply Darkest Color
Using your darkest color from Step 9 and a 2-inch chip brush, drag the color up into the bottom edge of your stone so that the color will run downward. You may even use some of the mid-value colors this way. When the stone is dry, use a piece of 120-grit sandpaper to sand across the raided area of the stone. This will help increase your highlights and give an extra dimension to your project.
You will change the feel of your entire room with this distressed stone finish. Of course, even this stone finish can have a polished look by varying the colors used and by making the stones more uniform in size.
Gary Lord is the owner of Gary Lord Wall Options and Associates in Cincinnati. He also had contributed to Decorative Artist Workbook, Painting and The Artistic Stenciler. His work has appeared in many national magazines including Traditional Building, Home, Better Homes & Gardens and 1001 Decorating Ideas. He has appeared on the national Home & Garden Network show, Decorating With Style, as well as many regional television shows. He owns Prismatic Painting Studio with his partner, David Schmidt.