Walnut Bay Light - turning wood into concrete

by brae  

Walnut Bay Light sits on a large base that serves as the breakwater.

It started out as a large wooden box with a hollow interior for holding the wiring.

I started the conversion to concrete by spackling the rough ends of the boards and any nails.  I wasn't careful or sparing in the application since concrete in real life is not perfectly smooth.  I also masked where the structure would sit to keep that surface clean.

Once that was dry, I applied matte gel medium with a sponge brush, tapping the mixture onto the surface.

I let this dry and then applied a second coat in the same manner.

I let this dry overnight and then painted with leftover Benjamin Moore Silver Fox flat paint.  It was a great base color.

It also helped me see where there were still issues with the wood grain or spackling patches showing.

I touched up those areas with spackling and matte gel medium before painting the second coat of Silver Fox.  Next came the aging washes.  This was a very messy process, so I didn't take any photos during the applications.  I spread newspaper under the base to catch the excess paint and used these colors in a series of diluted washes.  Folk Art: Black, Clover, and Vintage White.  Americana: Neutral Grey, Bittersweet Chocolate, Terra Cotta, Plantation Pine and Foliage Green.  Joann: Robin's Egg Blue.

I brushed them on and wiped them off in random spots.  Over the sides, I let the paint washes drip down the surface and sopped up the excess with paper towels around the bottom.  I just kept adding until I liked the result.

Around the bottom of the base, the paints were less diluted.

The top is more consistent in color than the sides since the surface would have been cleaned regularly.  There were a few more washes added later, but they didn't change the look much from this initial application of color.

With the addition of the ladder and boat bumpers, it really looks like a water-aged concrete structure.

The railing and ladder are made from brass rod painted black and brown.  The boat bumpers are made from a foam hair roller.

10 comments

Comment from: Veronique [Visitor]

Sometimes I just don’t know what to say. Will “wow” do?
It really looks like concrete and the bottom part looks very realistic!
Foam hair roller bumpers and doll’s hair roller as lights…. The lighthouse in his entirety is perfect and deserves eloquent praise but all I can do, is sit here, mouth open, shaking my head with admiration and amazement.

Merry Christmas!!!
X
Véronique

12/23/13 @ 22:54
Comment from: Minworks [Visitor]

Hi Brae,

It is very realistic. I have scrambled over many a concrete dock in my sailing life and you have done a wonderful job.
All the best for Christmas.
Regards Janine

12/24/13 @ 00:41
Comment from: Anna K. [Visitor]

Brae, thank you for sharing this technique. I’ve been wondering how to create a realistic driveway for my current build, and this looks perfect (though I’ll use slightly different paint colors and dribble on some “oil” stains).

12/24/13 @ 03:20
Comment from: Keli [Visitor]

That’s a very realistic finish; well done!

12/24/13 @ 03:43
Comment from: Irene [Visitor]

Just excellent Brae and your algae effect is brilliant!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

12/24/13 @ 06:36
Comment from: Lucille [Visitor]

Merry Christmas, Brae! Hope you have a wonderful day with your family!

12/24/13 @ 17:31
Comment from: Abbe PB [Visitor]

I grew up near the coast of Maine and this just looks so incredibly authentic in comparison to the lighthouses there!

12/24/13 @ 17:44
Comment from: Teddi Brace [Visitor]

Absolutely wonderful Brae - your realism is astonishing! You do such stunning work, each one is a masterpiece! I always love to see your creations, thanks so much for sharing your work with us!

12/25/13 @ 18:28
Comment from: Jess [Visitor]

Thanks so much for posting this. I’m trying to make a front patio and this is perfect! Thanks for sharing your amazing work!

04/24/14 @ 17:35
Comment from: brae [Member]

Thank you!!! :>>

05/05/14 @ 13:26


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