I used Realistic Brick Compound in a stone grey, which is available from www.craft-products.com and their rough stone stencil. Then I used what is supposed to be a quoins stencil (quoins stencil C) to add detail under the windows. The product is really easy to use and their website has a very good 'how to' video on their website. I guess it takes a fair bit of practise to get the finish as precise and perfect as it is in their photographs - but as I knew I was painting it and wanted an old look I didn't worry too much. Here is some photos to show you the whole process from start to finish. Please bear in mind that they do recommend that you do this effect before constructing the house, but obviously as always I have done everything in the wrong order, but it really doesn't seem to have mattered. They also recommend that you paint the house first with a matt paint in the colour of the cement that you want to show through between the stone or brick that you have chosen. This didn't matter for me as I knew I was painting the whole thing afterwards.
Here is the French House with just plain painted wood. I then mixed up the compound. This is very straight forward and is just a case of adding water to the powder. Give it a good stir until you have got a paste like thickness. The smell was very reminiscent of my many childhood 'Plaster of Paris' models.
You then spray the back of the stencil with re-positionable adhesive, which is also available from www.craft-products.com . This was actually the trickiest bit in my opinion, too little adhesive and it didn't stick well enough and the compound would leak under the stencil, too much and the adhesive came off and stuck to the house. It was a matter of trial and error until I got the amount just right. Even still I kept washing the stencil and reapplying the adhesive every so often. The stencil was then stuck to the house in the top left hand corner, making sure that every line of it was properly stuck to the house. I then applied the compound to the stencil with a cake spatula spread it firmly across the stencil but making sure that I didn't go over the edges.
Then using the back of the spatula I scraped off the extra and levelled it out. The stencil is then peeled off. Now the tricky part! The stencil has to be reapplied onto the house but so that one layer of the stones is overlapping the stones that you have already applied so that it all lines up properly. Again this is something that gets easier as believe me you know the shape and size of the stones and where they lie by heart by the time you have finished!
You can see on the photo above that the stencil is overlapping one layer of stone. The stencil is then just moved and the compound applied until the whole of the house is covered. You do not need to wait for each section to dry before moving onto the next section, it is actually very forgiving - thank goodness!
In the photo above I have moved onto the right hand side door of the house. The compound dries very quickly. You can see the left hand side is already drying.
I then used one of their quoins stencils to add some detail under the windows - just for a bit of extra interest. I was really pleased how this turned out. Their quoins stencil are designed to fit their other stencils perfectly if you decide to use them as actual quoins.
This is the stonework finished. As you can see it lightens considerably as it dries.
Above you can see where I have painted the first coat of white on the left but the stone on the right is still bare. I used a dabbing motion to paint over the stone as it is quite gritty and I think will crumble with a bit of pressure - presumably that is why they recommend that you seal the stone with a varnish afterwards. I didn't use anything fancy just a sample pot of household matt antique white paint from B&Q.
It took several coats before the grey seemed to be peeking through. I may even still add another coat later - I need to wait and see how it looks in daylight.
Here is a close up of the window detail now that it is painted.
And another photo of it after several coats of paint. Please feel free to click on any of the photos to get a more detailed image.
Now I just need to think about window style, shutters and maybe even a front door!! Although I am rather keen to get on with the entrance hall as I have a very clear idea what I would like to do with that room. Like I said - I never seem to do things in the right order!!!