When Staining Goes Wrong, Creative Fixing

I just love to laugh when things go sideways. Acid Staining sideways is not the same sideways as painting.


Just as I thought I had a handle on things, I find out NOPE, more to learn.

Like in the case when one attempts to touch up staining and realizes too late “hey, that wasn’t the color I used”. That was the case with my driveway (aka testing grounds). Once we realized we added the wrong brown and it was completely noticeable, I started reaching out to friends in the industry how to un-do this. Part of the challenge is, unlike paint that sits on a surface, acid stain penetrates into the surface. YIKES. So do I grind? If I do there will be a polished look to the surface that makes it really hard to uniform the canvas (yes I like my art terms). So do I grind the whole driveway.

BTW: acid staining concrete is a skill that needs practice. Colors will change from concrete to concrete. Always good to check with manufactures and professionals before attempting these projects.

Lucky for me, I was handed me a bottle of yellow gel stuff that saved the project with no guarantee, just a lot of hope. Thank you Tek Gel! Please use this link to see steps: https://www.concretedecor.net/decorativeconcretearticles/vol-3-no-5-october-november-2003/tek-gel-for-profiling-from-surface-gel-tek/


It basically removed the dark stain by eating the concrete. It was a time saving creative solution that worked.


I now can finish staining and remember to pay attention to the colors I am grabbing.

Color is better and someday I will complete the project and share.


Afraid to try…. Creativity in Concrete

I read an article today about people afraid to make art. Lot’s interesting reasons but most anchor on self doubt. I realized that can be applied to many industries and areas. Here in the decorative concrete community, I am sure plenty were afraid to start. Many people who do new pour concrete know there is a demand for decorative finishes that think “I don’t have that skill” and don’t move past that.

I am here to say, do it.

In my limited experience I have found artisans that have told me their journey has been full of blunders and they pushed on. Some of these people are such master you would think they are natural. Some people I know were kind of born into this, and yet they still had plenty of trials as they worked against that “assumed talent” to find their own creative voice.

So if I may, Jeze. Wow, crazy talent female that was raised in this industry and took what she knows to make it her own. Butterfly Effect Custom Jewelry (see her Instagram):

She uses Epoxy to make these. Don’t even get me started on what she can do with a floor! However she inspires me as she is talented.

There is a big world out there for decorative concrete products. Concrete is a canvas!

I have posted in the past about other people with artistic abilities that inspire me. Many are amazing for sharing their challenges with learning. Something I am going through right now. They help me overcome fears.

I know I don’t have the biggest following just yet, but I would love to hear from anyone out there about their learning curve and getting over the fear to try.

Abstract River Table Top


I am thrilled to report I have completed my first “concrete painting” . Yes, it felt good to use my concrete table top we made like a canvas,  an abstract river flowing through the table. It really shows you can be an artist and use concrete as a medium meant for artistic expression.

Design: After many hand drawings on paper I drew on the concrete table top.

Carving:  I used a Dremel with a diamond tip to carve in the design.

Paint: I asked advise from a few people as I know many use different products to create color (epoxy, stain, dye). I decided to mix my own paint and dye combo to create different effects. I wanted the center to have a painting feel. This process took the longest time as there is a layered approach from watered dye/stain and paint.

Seal: After everything is dry, it is very important to do several layers of sealer to make sure it doesn’t fade or damage. Once thing I learned is I didn’t need anything to protect against UV as it is an indoor piece. Simple clear sealer designed for concrete is all I used.


So there you have it, my first completed concrete table top.

Concrete Mentors that Care

One thing I have come to love about this industry is the feeling of supportive community I have found. It’s been since the 90’s since I considered myself an artist. Yet, I fall into a job where I meet artists that encourage and embrace everyone interested in decorative concrete. Two I want to mention is Cindee Lundin and Rick Lobdell.

Cindee Lundin. I first got to meet her in San Diego when she was working on the Bas Relief in regards to the Bannister House. My first meeting with her and she puts a tool in my hand and welcomes me to work on the project with her. Amazing. She told me she wants others to be involved and make a mark. Best part is her heart she pours into everything she touches. There was an emotional connection to the wall art she created as well as an emotional connection she made with her students she was encouraging. Honestly there isn’t enough great things to say about this person.

Which leads to me to talk about her work at World of Concrete in Las Vegas at our event, Decorative Live (Concrete Decor). The unfortunate thing about trade shows is some things are created just to be torn down. This was what Cindee and crew knew when they agreed to demonstrate their craft and create a message for a great cause, Concrete Cares. Cindee brought family and other artisans with her to create a 3D Bas Relief wall. They worked all day and into the night using concrete, mixing stains and overlays to create a lasting message of LIFE. What you can not see is the LIFE ribbons stands out from the wall. Everyone one of them worked through rain and cold until dark. I felt the only thing i could do was to honor them by sharing what they did so in this world of internet their project can live on.

The other artist Rick Lobdell is another one I want to mention. I have enjoyed his work on staining floors and think he is a great instructor if you ever get a chance to take one of his classes. He also gave his time and talent to create a really interesting 3D design for Concrete Cares with the happy flowers. What was really interesting about his project is you could put in 3D glasses and watch the image stand. Another unfortunate things with a photo verse seeing this in person. Something new for me and a lot of the people walking around event loved it. Rick is really talented and always seems to make time to show he cares about these causes.

Both of them are very talented. They hand mix their own combinations to create their own look to their work. I hope to be in their league at some point with my own style. For now I want to say thank you for what they represent and being amazing role models.

Learn more about them and Concrete Cares:

Link to Cindee Facebook business page: https://www.facebook.com/thestudiobycindeelundin/

Link to Rick’s company, Concrete Mystique:  http://www.concretemystique.com/

Link to Concrete Cares (please read their story and donate): http://www.concretecares.com/




Learning Bas Relief Mural

Lucky Me!

Last week I went to the Concrete Decor Show in San Diego (as I work for the magazine ) and got to get a little instruction from the super talented Cindee Lundin. She is amazing as she works really hard with a smile on her face.

I explained my back ground with fine arts (which died in college) and how I missed it. Once I started learning about decorative concrete, I started to wake up again. She completely embraced me and encouraged me.

So there I was in “work” clothes and the wrong shoes jumping in getting my hands dirty. In fact an hour in I remembered I had just painted my nails the night before. LOL. Oh well, I was enjoying it.

My first bit was learning to create a scratch coat. She was creating a mural on a stair case. What I learned was applying polymer to the wall, then some concrete, finally taking a stiff brush and create a one direction side to side texture. Next day they started applying the concrete to the wall and sculpt or use stamps to create the design. Next day I helped with the smoothing of it (soft sanding).

That was as far as I went as I had to perform my actual job. After that they painted/stained and coated it. It came out beautiful. Lots of work but lots of love went into it.

Picture is me in the beginning and the other picture is the end after Cindee and her students completed it.


It’s a Blog


First, I am not a true writer but a talker. This idea is from a passionate place as I want to document a journey learning about decorative concrete. Just so happens I have found an angle where my passion has taken me, finding female role models.

Recently I have discovered A LOT of extremely respected and talented females in this industry. They are respected greatly by their male counterparts. However, it seems they do not always get the same “spot light”that maybe they should have or what is needed. There are a lot of growing interest in women wanting to come into this and they still feel they have to work harder to gain that respect. Once they earn it great however is that keeping some women hesitant from jumping in?

Before I ramble too much and start to appear as a warrior for women, this is NOT the point of the blog. I’m not a feminist agenda person. In fact I will make a point to mention some great guys that work with women as well as its a mutual support that is needed. This is about building a community of support. I want to feature strong women that empower other women to be decorative concrete bass asses.

This is not be perfect. Learning is about taking steps and making mistakes. I just hope I get support as I grow and learn. I hop I can successfully help build a network of women supporting each other in their journey. I look forward to the men that want to encourage women as well.

Right now, just starting with this blog.

Much Appreciated.