Concrete doesn't necessarily need to be relegated to the garden. There are decorating processes that can make the concrete ornament just as at home in the lounge as on the patio.
Blackwash the ornament. Paint the ornament with black emulsion paint -- suitable for outdoor use -- which has been diluted with clean cold water to the proportions three parts paint to one part water. The proportions are not critical. The secret is to make the paint just thin enough to partly soak into the surface, thus giving it a firm key on the cement. When the object is painted, it should look like this.
Use a sponge sanding block on the surface. The paint should be dry to the touch within about half an hour and is then ready for phase two. Rub the surface with a sponge sanding block dipped in clean cold water, removing all the paint from the high points. Wash off surplus paint as you go. Once the surface paint has been removed, it should look like this.
Use colored powder paints or the colored powder used to color cement. While the excess water is draining from the ornament, take an old jam jar and pour in about five fluid ounces (150ml) of cold clean water and add about a dessert spoon of PVA glue. Stir thoroughly.
Find something that will take a small amount of each of the powder paints you have available. An egg box or an oven bun tin are particularly suitable as each compartment can house a different color powder, allowing you to dip your paint brush in various colors and mix them on the palette. Use an old plate or paint tin lid as a mixing palette.
Wet the paintbrush with a PVA solution then lightly dip the brush in the powder paint. Mix the paint on the palette adding more water or powder as necessary. Then apply the paint to the cement surface. More water or powder can be added directly to the item you are painting to obtain the required density of color.
Any paint runs can be wiped off with a dry cloth and the smeared area painted again.
As with water coloring, one color can be added and fused with another to obtain the desired effect. The density of the coloring should be such that original blackwash shows through.
Leave the ornament to dry completely. Give the item a coat of matte or gloss polyurethane after it has dried.
Clive is an established part-time writer of illustrated articles for magazines. Clive is also a manufacturer of concrete ornaments -- now retired. There are a number of ways to decorate concrete. (See author's other articles.)