We’re staying on track with more Train-Themed Murals, and I mean that quite literally. In this blog, I’ll show you how to Paint Concrete Floors. I wish I could take credit for the idea, but it was already done elsewhere. Once I was shown a picture, I couldn’t wait to paint the concrete floors in my church’s Kids’ Ministry area and see if I could improve on the idea! The concrete floors were already stained when I got ready to tackle them. They were a blotchy, sort of a transparent brown, that was the perfect backdrop for train tracks. The challenge for me was keeping people off the floors, so they would stay clean and dry while I worked on them. That meant painting after hours, when everyone went home.
With the coast clear, I first decided how big I wanted the railroad ties to be. I then cut out a pattern on a piece of cardboard and used it to trace my pattern onto the floor in pencil. Starting from the front door, I spaced each beam exactly six inches apart.With my pattern traced onto the floor, I was ready to paint. I used Behr concrete paint in three basic colors: dark brown, white and black. It’s more expensive than regular wall paint, but it’s a must when you consider how much more abuse our floors take.
I started with the brown paint, filling in the rectangular pattern of the railroad tie. While the brown paint was still wet, I took another brush and dipped just the tip in a little bit of white paint, then lightly brushed it over the brown. This allowed the two colors to blend in different areas, helping it look more like wood. (To save time, I had a friend with a steady hand help paint the brown portion of the ties, and as soon as she was done with one and started on the next, I’d follow behind with the white and black detail. We eventually got it down to a science.)
I then took a small artist brush and used that to add detail in black paint. I outlined each railroad tie, then added wood grain throughout, being careful to make every tie look different than the next.
I purposely wanted the railroad tracks to swerve back and forth, so the children would have more fun following the tracks as they walked down the hallways and into the classrooms. To do that, I kept the outer portion of the tie six inches apart, and brought the inside much closer.
Once all the ties were painted, it was time for the rails. Here again, it’s a lot of measuring and penciling in your pattern. Once I was happy with the pattern, I started by outlining the outer edges of the rails in black. Then, while the paint was still wet, I brushed in white along the middle, allowing the two colors to blend and look more gray, like steel.
Because I had so much ground to cover, and I could only work on these railroad tracks after hours, I had another friend help me with the rails. Still, this whole project took SIX days. When the painting was all done, it was sealed with a clear acrylic epoxy to protect it.
These tracks were the perfect finishing touch for the train-themed murals painted throughout the Kid’s Ministry area of the church. I may have felt like I was workin’ on the railroad all the live-long day, but painting these concrete floors sure was rewarding once I saw the children’s faces light up when they walked through.