DIY Mariner's Compass Rose Medallion on Concrete Floor

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Example of a simple eight-pointed compass rose medallion

The mariner's compass rose is a design commonly found in nautical themed décor. While concrete by itself tends to be plain and unattractive, advancements in paints and stains make embellishing the nondescript with your own DIY mariner's compass medallion an easy task. Using a variety of materials like stencils in coordination with concrete paints and stains will create a visually stunning centerpiece for your concrete floor.

Surface Prep

As with any paint project, surface preparation is crucial for a professional and lasting finish. Chips, stains and holes in the floor will show through your decorative finish, so work thoroughly to clean and repair the floor on which you will be creating the compass rose. Use a stiff scraper to remove chipped paint and flaking concrete from the floor. Sweep the concrete floor with a broom to remove the debris from the floor. Repair any cracks and crevices before painting or staining.

To keep stains from soiling the paint finish, apply a commercial cleanser or TriSodium Phosphate and water mixture to the surface of the concrete. Work the cleanser into the soiled spots of the concrete with a stiff brush. Rinse with clean water and repeat if necessary. Allow the concrete to dry completely before proceeding.

Tips for Using Paint

You may want to etch the concrete using a muriatic acid wash to create a bonding surface for paint. You must rinse the floor repeatedly with clean water and baking soda to remove all the acid from the concrete. Before painting, apply a sealant to prevent moisture from condensing on the surface of the concrete, which will ruin the paint finish. You will also need to apply a coat or two of concrete floor primer.

When painting concrete, be sure to use a durable epoxy-based concrete paint that will provide a lasting finish. You may wish to tape off areas of the design to maintain consistent patterns and shapes. You can apply paints with brushes, rollers or sprayers. Allow the design to dry completely before adding additional coats. Once the medallion is finished, protect the project with a concrete sealant.

Tips for Using Concrete Stains or Dyes

Do not use muriatic acid if you intend to use acid-based stains or concrete dyes since the acid will react with the dyes and stains and ruin the finish. If the concrete floor has been sealed, stains and dyes will not adhere properly to the concrete and the floor will look blotched.

Cover nearby areas with plastic to prevent stain transfer since the stains and dyes are diluted with water. Always use plastic sprayers with acid based stains. Acrylic concrete stains and dyes are easier to use, have more color options and provide a consistent finish.

Work in small areas or with a partner to obtain a professional finish. After spraying the stain onto the concrete, work the stain into the concrete with a stiff brush. Before the first coat dries, apply a second coat to conceal brush strokes.

Allow the stains to dry and follow up with a gentle cleansing of baking soda and water to neutralize the acid stain. Rinse with clean water several times to remove the stain and allow the concrete to dry. Apply two coats of sealant to protect the finish and follow up with a concrete floor wax for added shine.

Drawing the Compass Rose

Designing a compass rose medallion is simple, however you may want to practice a few sketches before transferring the image onto the concrete. Begin by drawing a circle, you can use stencils or large circular objects like paint buckets to maintain the proper shape. Locate the center of the circle and draw four lines from the center of the circle toward the main directions: north, east, west and south. Draw a small X over the center dot in the circle. Draw a line from the tip of each directional point to the ends of the X. This will create directional arrows. Now that the basic four point compass rose has been formed, you can embellish the design with extra circles, additional directional points, decorative letters and other various designs. If this is your first time painting concrete, you may want to keep the design simple with a limited color palette until you become familiar with the materials.


Tuesday Fuller

Tuesday Fuller began freelance writing in 2007. Her work can be found on various websites. She received an Honorable Mention Award for works submitted to the Iliad Literary Awards Program in 1999. Fuller gained on-the-job home-improvement experience, including in interior design and maintenance, by assisting independent contractors with many projects.