How do I paint a pattern on a section of cinder block fence?
February 15, 2019 11:26 AM   Subscribe

I have an unpainted cinder block (CMU) fence in my backyard. One section has some graffiti from the previous owner's kids. I want to paint over it and then attempt to overlay a geometric design. I am a painting novice. How do I do this?

Here's a picture of said fence. The section with the graffiti is about 10' x 5'. I am not going to paint the whole fence, just that one section.

My idea is to paint the entire section in light gray to cover the graffiti. Then I want to overlay a simplified version of a stain-glass design from Frank Lloyd Wright's Coonley house (here's an example but think even simpler). I'm going to keep it to one color, probably a dark gray or blue over the light gray background, and I'll likely eliminate most of the small boxes in the design.

Since my painting experience has been limited to wood doors and small sections of drywall, I need some advice.

Some questions:
1. I know cinder block soaks up paint. So I assume I'll need to use a primer? Is this concrete & masonry bonding primer what I should use?

2. After applying primer, do I still to use a masonry paint for the finish coat? Or just any exterior grade paint?

3. What kind of paint do I use for the design? Spray paint?

4. How do I execute the design? I am envisioning a combination of masking tape and butcher paper for the straight lines and stencils cut out of posterboard for the circles. Any advice on how to best do these things would be appreciated.

5. Would it be easier to invert the color scheme (dark gray background, light color design)?

6. About how long will this take?

Any other suggestions are appreciated. Thanks!
posted by mullacc to Home & Garden (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
4. How do I execute the design?

I noticed a neighbor doing something similar a few years back. As for getting his rather complex design sketched onto the wall, he went out one night with a projector, got it where he wanted it, then traced all the key lines. Later, by light of day, he filled in the blanks.
posted by philip-random at 12:14 PM on February 15, 2019 [5 favorites]

I haven't tried a project like this, but I did recently do a bunch of research on how to paint a brick fireplace. Sherwin Williams has a concrete stain that you can apply without primer. For brick, the recommendation I saw was to use an airless spray gun, and then use a roller on the sprayed paint to get into the porous surface, and then repeat until coverage is adequate.

It might be easier to paint the wall first with the line color, and then mask out the lines with masking tape and paint the negative space, although masking the circles will still be hard. Green Frog tape is more expensive than blue tape, but it gives a really crisp line. Remove the masking tape before the paint has dried, or else you'll have to run a razor blade along the edges.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 1:37 PM on February 15, 2019 [2 favorites]

I would also suggest starting with the line color and painting the negative space on top. The wall and circles are big enough that I think you could use short pieces of overlapping tape to mask off the circles without the curves getting too jaggedy. Skip the paper template, use a string and some chalk to draw a circle directly on the wall to follow. Maybe use a razor to round off the outside angles of the tape before you paint, but on cinder block I don't think you'll need to get that precise. It would be a little annoying to peel off but I think you'll still save time because then you can just roller the whole thing.
posted by yeahlikethat at 6:22 PM on February 15, 2019 [2 favorites]

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