Painting a Faux Stone Wall Effect: A Step-by-Step Guide

Use a chalk line to layout stone tile.

Faux painting stone wall, if executed correctly can give your room a unique feature. The key to a successful faux stone wall is not to over-paint it with too much detail.

Know How Much Detail Is Enough

Knowing which details to paint and what to omit can mean the difference between a stone wall finish that appears real and one that appears to be a painting.

Decide on Stone And Style

The first thing you need to do is decide on the stone and style of your wall. There are many choices available. Visit a local store so you can see the actual stone or browse the internet to get an idea of the various kinds of stones used in walls.

Selecting Kind of Stone

Once you've selected the stone, be sure to create highlights and contrasts with varying hues of color to give it a realistic look.

Some Stone Choices:

  • Marble
  • Limestone
  • Travertine
  • Slate
  • Granite
  • Quartz
  • Brownstone
  • Fieldstone
  • Sandstone
  • Soapstone
  • Flagstone

Styles and Shapes

You can get as creative as you like with this project. You can paint a faux stone wall to appear like a stone tile wall or a stacked stone wall. Decide on the shape of the stone you wish to use.

Popular Stone Shapes:

  • Square
  • Rectangular
  • Irregular
  • Round or Oval

Examples of stone walls:

List of Tools You'll Need

Now that you've decided which stone and wall design you want, you'll need to organize your supplies and materials.

List of Supplies:

  • Base Paint - Choose a color that matches the main color of your stone. If using gray stones select a light gray. For browns opt for a light tan.
  • Pencil
  • Graph paper
  • Paint Pan and Roller
  • Chalk Line
  • Various Rags For Spills and Drips
  • 2 Buckets of Clean Water (one for rinsing brushes and one for rinsing rags)
  • Utility Knife or Scissors to cut masking tape
  • Tape Measure or Ruler
  • Masking Tape
  • Acrylic Paints in varying hues of stone color


  • Three-inch and one-inch wide craft brushes
  • One-inch round craft brush
  • Various sizes of craft brushes

How To: Faux Painting Stone Wall

The best way to approach this project is to draw out the design onto the graph paper so you have a guideline for your design.

Step By Step Instructions For Tile Stone Wall:

  • The first thing to do is measure your wall by height and width. Assign each graph block a width and height in inches. A good rule of thumb is one foot long and six inches wide.
  • Next draw your design onto the graph paper. Use the style of wall design you pre-selected. If using a tiled effect, stagger the mortar lines on the second row so you have a brick layout effect.
  • Prime your wall with the base paint you selected.
  • Once the wall dries, use a straight-edge ruler or measuring tape to measure out the first stone based on your graph layout. Begin in the upper left-hand corner of the wall to assure alignment. Measure the width of the stone, starting where the wall meets the ceiling. Now measure the opposite corner in the same way.
  • Use the chalk line to create a line across the width of the wall. Continue to measure the stone width for the rest of the wall. If using irregular stones instead of tiled stone, you'll want to vary the width and height.
  • Next measure the length of the first stone and use the ruler to pencil in the dividing line. *Proceed until you have all of the stones measure and penciled in.
Irregular stone wall effect.
  • Create lines for mortar by using the masking tape (1/4" is best width for this). Tape over the vertical and horizontal lines you've dawn on the wall. You may prefer to use scissors instead of the utility knife to pre-cut these.
  • Once all of the tape is in place, you can begin painting the stones. Pour paint into the painter's tray and add a darker hue until you have the shade you want. Use 3" brush to apply to the wall. You can use up to three different hues for a variegated effect. For highly contrasting stone walls, you'll want to use acrylic paints to highlight and shade once the main coloring is completed. Add water to remove any mistakes. You can make the stone as textured as you like by using a dry brush effect with darker and lighter colors. You can't make a mistake with this method, so don't worry about your stones being perfect.
  • Once you've painted all of the stones on the wall, take a step back and examine your work. Do touch up where necessary.
  • You're almost finished. Next while you still have the masking tape in place, mix a darker hue to create a wash effect for shadows. Since you're using an acrylic paint for this, add water to make it the consistency of watercolor. You can always add more paint if it's too thin.
  • Notice where the windows are and how the natural light filters into the room. You especially want shadows along the corners and edges where stone and mortar meet.
  • Allow the paint to dry thoroughly.
  • Remove the masking tape.
  • Touch up where needed.
  • Add texture to the mortar with a darker hue. Use a round craft brush to dab watered-down or thinned paint along the mortar lines to create shadows and a cement effect.
  • Clean all tools and enjoy your new stone wall.

Irregular Stone Wall:

This kind of wall will be easier to paint because of the free form design. You'll want to use a variation of hues mixed within each stone to give an authentic look.

Taking Advantage of Your Stone Wall

Once you're finished with the Faux painting stone wall, you can add furniture, accessories and lighting to accent this part of your room.

Painting a Faux Stone Wall Effect: A Step-by-Step Guide