For a long time, I've wanted a stone wall in my living room, around my fireplace, and beyond. I've never done stonework, so I knew I couldn't do it myself with real stone. I checked on some of the fake stone panels, and they were beautiful, but they were very expensive. I checked out some of the textured wallpaper, but it just didn't look real to me. I thought and thought, and I finally came up with an idea. Why couldn't I make a faux stone wall with sheetrock mud? I shared the idea with my husband, and I think he thought I'd lost my mind. After my insisting we give it a try, however, he consented. It turned out great! The old man now admits it was a great idea. Even better, this was a cheap DIY project. We used a five-gallon bucket of mud, which cost $15. As an artist, I already had plenty of paint, so I didn't have to buy that. Read on to learn how to create a fake stone wall for yourself!
What You'll Need to Create Faux Stone
The materials and supplies you'll need to make a faux stone wall are pretty simple.
- Sheetrock mud (We got our mud from Lowe's: USG Sheetrock Brand all purpose joint compound. It took one bucket – 4.5 gallons – to do our wall.)
- A large trowel
- Something with a hard edge (wooden or metal ruler, baking tray, etc.)
- A sanding block
- Paper towels
Before you get started, decide on the color you want your stones to be. You'll need several different shades of paint. Otherwise, the stones won't look anything like real stones. Using white, black, and brown can add depth and shadow. You'll also need white or off-white paint to create the mortar lines. I used a combination of acrylic paint, craft paint, and chalk paint.
How to Make a Fake Stone Wall
- We did our faux stone wall over finished and painted sheetrock. First, we cleaned the wall and made sure it was completely dry. Next, using a wide trowel, hubby applied the sheetrock mud to the wall, making about 3/8 inch thick.
- While the mud was still wet and pliable, I used my forefinger to trace around the mud, creating stone shapes. Where you trace with your finger will be the mortar lines. Go all the way down to the sheetrock. This is where you'll need lots of paper towels! The mud you remove will adhere to your finger, so wipe it off, as needed. Make stones different sizes and different shapes, being careful not to leave sharp corners. To create texture, press a ruler or baking sheet against the wet mud. Once you're done, allow the mud to dry. How long it takes depends on the brand and type of mud you use. We allowed ours to dry for about 24 hours.
- The next day, when the mud is dry, use sanding blocks to smooth the edges of your stones and to remove any stray drops of mud. I sanded my fake stones so that the edges would be somewhat rounded.
- After sanding and smoothing all the stones, dust off the wall with a large, soft brush.
- Now comes the fun part! It's time to paint the stones! The first coat should be the darkest shades of the colors you've selected. For example, I wanted grays, browns, and ochre in my stones. I began with a very dark gray, applying the paint to random stones. Next, I applied dark brown to some stones here and there, and then I used goldish-brown for the stones I wanted to be ochre.
- I suggest working in small sections so that you can work while the base coat of paint is still wet. Using a large round artist's brush, I went back over each stone with a lighter shade of the same color. Leave the edges of the stones dark in order to create depth. Follow this procedure, using an even lighter shade of color.
- If you like, you can create a more realistic stone by allowing the paint to dry completely and then going over some of the stones using a dry brush technique. Use a dry paintbrush, dip the tip in thick paint, and blot off most of the paint with a paper towel. Don't worry! If you mess up, you can always paint over your mistakes.
- I strongly suggest standing back every once in a while to look at your wall. Make sure you don't have numerous stones of the same color next to each other, and make sure you have a good mixture of different shapes.
- Now, to really bring your stone wall to life, you'll need to create the grout lines. I suggest using white, cream, tan, or off-white paint. Of course, you can use any color you like, including black. Using an artist's brush that's about ½ inch wide, paint the lines around the stones. To add more depth, you can use a slightly darker color under some of the stones to create the illusion of shadows.
You Can Do This!
Don't be intimidated by this DIY project. It isn't difficult. It's pretty labor-intensive, but it's not hard. In other words, you don't really need any special skills in order to produce a nice look. Yes, I'm an artist, but my daughter isn't, and she painted about half of the stones, and they look great. For just fifteen bucks, some paint, and some effort, I now have a wonderful wall in my living room that adds a lot of interest. It really makes the entire room look different!
John R Wilsdon from Superior, Arizona on August 06, 2020:
Your number 9 instruction rings a bell for me. I am a DIY person too and often wonder how to save a buck. So many times I have found that adding a darker color to suggest shadow has been the key to a realistic look. Your idea is wonderful!! Thanks so much for sharing this.
Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on September 01, 2018:
Great idea and you make it sound doable with such clear instructions. Thanks
Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on March 22, 2018:
Thanks, Adrienne! We're really enjoying our fake stone wall. I can't believe how much it changed the room!
Adrienne Farricelli on March 21, 2018:
Gorgeous stonewall, it looks really real. It brings the wall to life and provides a comfy atmosphere. Congrats!
Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on February 20, 2018:
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on November 21, 2017:
I have used mud to create textured walls and then painted it. You are so creative! Your stone wall looks great!
Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on November 20, 2017:
Hi Holle - what a lovely project! I've seen the faux stone in hardware stores but your idea seems so much more personal and quite doable.
Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on November 16, 2017:
We haven't sealed it yet, but I think we will. Thanks!
Mary Wickison from Brazil on November 16, 2017:
That turned out great, and you've got your stone wall after all and at such a good price too.
Did you seal the paint at all, can you clean it?
I have a neighbor who works with cement doing similar things, he has done planters, walls, table and benches. I'm amazed at how creative some people are.