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Chalk Painted Steps, Sponge & Spatter Paint

© Stephie McCarthy

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Our Victorian house steps got an easy-to-maintain paint job, made with a sponge.

Wear spots or stains will be easy to match and repair. So far, after 18 months, the finish has held up very well.

White risers lend height and show up well as the sun goes down.
But, our steps didn't start out this pretty.

These steps catch a lot of wind-blown dirt and leaves, but this finish is durable, well-bonded to the concrete, and were finished in just one coat.

A sealer on top is also a good idea if you have a high traffic area. Test your products in a small spot to make sure it won't get slippery when wet.

Here's a sealer we most often use …


You can paint sealer on top, but you can also mix it into paint to make it more waterproof.

The textured paint is wearing very well. After two years, there is a small wear spot where rain tends to drip. Because of the colors are neutral, the spot doesn't show unless you are looking for it.

This effect was created with Waverly™ Chalk Paint in these shades of brown, 'Truffle' and 'Hazelnut'.

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Waverly Chalk Paint Truffle.Waverly Chalk Paint Hazelnut.

'Plaster' color was used for the risers. It looks very white in the daylight.

Waverly Chalk Paint Plaster.

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The steps may look nondescript with these neutral colors, but they remind us of chocolate-iced sponge cake, plain but sweet!

Take a look at the steps before!

The top step was crumbling. We knocked loose pieces off before making repairs. You can see the rough aggregate beneath.

Several of the steps had cracks running through them.
The three bottom steps were cracked the most.

We mixed small batches of Quikrete™ to the consistency of peanut butter.

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crumbling steps repaired with Quikcrete

We also pre-wet our steps where we wanted to patch.

We applied the Quikrete with an ordinary plastic putty knife.

As the Quikrete set, we smoothed it with a damp paint brush for a smooth "broomed" finish. We dipped the brush in water now and then. It's great for smoothing patches.

quikcrete work

The drying steps look horrible don't they? They looked much better the next day.

Once the Quikrete dries a few days, fresh chalk paint will make them beautiful.

crumbling steps repaired with Quikcrete

This Quikrete has vinyl as a component. The vinyl will help the steps withstand harsh weather and general wear and tear. Our video will show you how to work with Quikrete if you've never patched concrete before.

The paint effects

On the second day of the makeover, we painted the risers.

We'll use masking tape for a straight edge once the brown sponge painting is dried and cured for a day.

Garden and Porch Decor


NEW Garden Flags!

You could paint the risers last, if you like.

The steps got one coat of "Truffle" which dried to a chocolate brown. You can see white lime already staining the flat brown in a process called 'efflorescence'. Also, dirt was accumulating by the minute!

Sponge painting to the rescue (shown on the top step above.) By deliberately creating a mottled surface, stains, wear, lime stains, and dirt that will inevitably appear, are lessened.

Here's a closeup.


The dirt is camouflaged very well.


These were the synthetic sponges used for the steps. They were destroyed by the rough concrete work so we did not want to use expensive, real sponges. You can buy a good set of real sponges from HobbyLobby™ for around $4.99. Synthetic sponges work fine too.

sponge painting steps with chalk paint

We poured the chalk paint colors onto a plastic lid.

Wearing gloves was a must. Sponge painting is very messy. We lightly sponged Hazelnut onto the flat Truffle …

… then blended both with more sponged Truffle on top. We scrubbed the paints together to blur the two browns. We did zig-zags and 'clouds,' scrubbing with a bit of pressure.

We spattered Hazelnut on top to add contrast to the soft sponging. After letting the spatters sit for 5 minutes, we lightly sponge-blurred half of them with Truffle to soften the look where needed.

The galaxy of dots formed by the spattering is our favorite part of the texture. Leave as many spatters as you can, and blur any that are overwhelming.

The hard edges of the spatters compliment the blurry sponge painting. The grit and dirt accumulating on these steps is well camouflaged.


When all the sponge painting was complete, we touched up the white edges with the help of masking tape.

We were surprised at how easy it was to make crisp edges using the tape. We touched up any rough areas with a small artist brush.


The white risers help demarcate the edge of each step, making them safer especially when the sun goes down.


This project really made these steps a welcome sight and made us love chalk paint all over again .


After eighteen months, we've had one small spot of brown that needs a touch up … caused by dripping rain, we think. The lower risers could also use a refresh with white and sealer, as those are the steps most exposed to splashing rain. Over 90% of the paint finish still looks great, and will be easy to touch up.


… and more

See how we painted our green marble floor

These are not tiles. The whole effect was made with paint and it is super durable!

See how we painted our brick walls

Three unexpected colors make realistic antique bricks, one of our most popular tutorials.

Our Newest Free Printables are here …

Free Printables by Stephie McCarthy

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