How to Make a Faux Finish Stone Wall Dungeon Backdrop



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Make a Faux Finish Hanging Dungeon Wall Backdrop Using a Painters Drop Cloth, House Paint, Brushes, Paint Rollers, and Painters Masking Tape…In Just One Day!

In January of 2010, a new client approached me with a nearly impossible task – to completely brand an entire company in time for a trade show in two months. This meant everything, including a website, business cards, product catalog, hand tags, stickers, sell sheets and a trade show booth. Of course, there is printing lead time on almost all of this so the design time was closer to five weeks.

One of the more unusual things required was a custom hanging backdrop. Now, normally you’d just do a slick full color 10 x 10 pop up display. However, this was for a new Halloween mask company and the trade show was exclusively for suppliers to the Halloween and haunted attraction industry. If you showed up with your standard corporate popper you would be ridiculed mercilessly. It’s just not done. You either show up with bare black steel grids or some dungeoeny, haunted housey looking structure.

Money was tight, time was short and it needed to ship easily. So I suggested we paint one, roll it up and ship it.

My client was skeptical but I assured him it would look great, especially at the typical viewing distance of  six to eight feet. Fortunately my client’s wife had the foresight to document the entire day which made this tutorial possible.

Even though this was for a grey stone dungeon wall, the same principle apply for any type of faux finish back drop.

Painting Supplies for Faux Finish Stone Wall hanging backdrop

Most of what I used: Blue painters tape, 9 x 12 foot heavy weight painters drop cloth, a textured pain roller for creating a speckly finish, and three shades of grey, plus a black for the grout and a red for the blood.

Getting set up to paint your faux finish stone wall

First, cover your area with plastic and then pin down the corners of the drop cloth so it’s tight and flat. Making a gesture like you’re holding a magical orb is strictly optional.

How to make A Dungeon Brick Block Wall Faux Finish Hanging Backdrop

Following the creased pattern in the drop cloth, start painting in your grout/mortar lines. Use plenty of paint and dab it in forcefully into the cloth.

How to make A Dungeon Brick Block Wall Faux Finish Hanging Backdrop

The cloth absorbs a lot of paint so be generous. It’s not only OK to overshoot the lines, it’s desirable. The extra paint makes sure you get complete coverage for your mortar lines and provides a subtle undertone shading affect around the edges of the stones when all the coats are done.

How to make A Dungeon Brick Block Wall Faux Finish Hanging Backdrop

Start from the top and work your way down row by row. This makes sure you don’t screw up your pattern.

How to make A Dungeon Brick Block Wall Faux Finish Hanging Backdrop

After it’s dry, it’s time to use painters tape to mask out the mortar lines. You could even use a stickier tape, like masking, because the paint is embedded so deeply into the cloth that there’s no way you can pull it off.

How to Make A Dungeon Brick Block Wall Faux Finish Hanging Backdrop

It goes much quicker with two people. Make sure you rub down the edges of the tape. You don’t want any bleeding. It’s more efficient to spend extra time at this point that to spend the extra time fixing up the areas that bled under the tape.

How to make A Dungeon Brick Block Wall Faux Finish Hanging Backdrop

Now it’s time for your base coat. This will be your lightest color. Get it nice and solid. Expect to use the full gallon.

How to Make A Dungeon Brick Block Wall Faux Finish Hanging Backdrop

After the base coat use a sponge or cloth to add the next coat. This will be your first texture layer, and will be darker than your base coat. I choose to build up around the edges of the stones.

How to Make A Dungeon Brick Block Wall Faux Finish Hanging Backdrop

Finish up with the darkest color using a textured roller. This gives a nice overall stucco like speckle pattern with minimum effort. The reason I wore socks is I wanted a little protection on my feet, but nothing that would damage the canvas. It also had to be disposable as whatever you wear will be ruined.  The bonus is it saves me the trouble of scrubbing my feet clean latter. Just take off the socks and throw them away.

How to Make A Dungeon Brick Block Wall Faux Finish Hanging Backdrop

After it’s completely dry, peel up the tape. This will be your first ah-ha moment where you start to get excited. Up to this point, it just felt like you were psending your day making a big gray wall.

How to Make A Dungeon Brick Block Wall Faux Finish Hanging Backdrop

No matter how diligent you were in applying the tape, there will be some bleed. Go in with a small brush and touch those up.

How to Make A Dungeon Brick Block Wall Faux Finish Hanging Backdrop

This will take awhile as there always seems to be another one you missed.

How to Make A Dungeon Brick Block Wall Faux Finish Hanging Backdrop

Now, what’s a dungeon wall without some blood splatter? This is where the nerves will kick in. After six hours of back breaking work it’s hard to throw blood on it knowing there’s no way to take it back if you were to mess up or change your mind.

How to Make A Dungeon Brick Block Wall Faux Finish Hanging Backdrop

Start slow with your splatters. You can always add more but you can’t take away.

How to Make A Dungeon Brick Block Wall Faux Finish Hanging Backdrop

Throwing the paint with your hands, or flicking with a brush – it’s all good.

How to Make A Dungeon Brick Block Wall Faux Finish Hanging Backdrop

Oh yeah!

How to Make A Dungeon Brick Block Wall Faux Finish Hanging Backdrop

Nice blood splatter.

How to Make A Dungeon Brick Block Wall Faux Finish Hanging Backdrop

Now it’s time to sit back and admire your work.

How to Make A Dungeon Brick Block Wall Faux Finish Hanging Backdrop

At this point the euphoria of finally being done will overwhelm your fatigue and aches and pains.

How to Make A Dungeon Brick Block Wall Faux Finish Hanging Backdrop

Time to hang it up.

How to Make A Dungeon Brick Block Wall Faux Finish Hanging Backdrop

My client holds some of his personal mask collection to test how it will look.

How to Make A Dungeon Brick Block Wall Faux Finish Hanging Backdrop

Debut at the trade show.

How to Make A Dungeon Brick Block Wall Faux Finish Hanging Backdrop

Most of the biggest players in the industry just display their masks on bare steel grids. It’s sad how neglectful their presentation is. However, being a new comer to the market, Trick or Treat Studios didn’t have the luxury of either market dominance or riding on their past glory to afford to be so cheap and half-assed. So a nice original handmade backdrop not only displayed the masks well, it also made an impression among the buyers that this new  company was to be taken seriously.

How to Make A Dungeon Brick Block Wall Faux Finish Hanging Backdrop

The next year the booth size doubled so we painted up two darker column to cap off the ends.

Kingdom Kidz a children's ministry in Hawaii with castle wall faux finish

And this just in. Mellisa at “Kingdom Kidz” a children’s ministry in Hawaii followed my tutorial and made a cool castle wall. They used black and one gray and it came out great.

Share and Enjoy

7 comments


  • Latoya Hackett

    Nice! That looks great! This gave me a few ideas for next Halloween.

    April 6, 2012
  • Melissa L. Frazier

    Much Aloha from the Big Island of Hawaii. Your tutorial was easy to follow and my wall came out fantastic. It will be used to decorate a classroom for a children’s ministry called “Kingdom Kidz”. Once again Mahalo nui loa(Thank you forever)!

    August 25, 2012
    • Clay Butler

      Cool! I didn’t think anyone would actually try it out themselves as not that many people need to make a dungeon wall. Glad it worked out.

      August 25, 2012
  • Christi Waterman

    I was googling “brick cloth” for my homeschool room, and this came up. Seems brick cloth is hard to come by, especially the gray sort for castle-making. I can’t wait until it warms up outside so I can try this out on a variety of cloth (I’m thinking of stackable brick-shaped pillows, a curtain to cover our shelving, and a backdrop for the wall, in smaller bricks). Thank you for this brilliant tutorial!

    January 14, 2013
  • Great directions at the beginning for creating a castle set piece. This shortened the time it took for our drama department to get rolling. Thank you!

    March 10, 2013
  • Douglas Macfie

    Thank for this information, I am going to try making the castle wall for our exhibt at the Calgary Highland Games 2014 we need a back drop so kids can have thier pictures taken dress up like Scotsmen …. will get back to you if it works will be too embrassed if it does not

    September 14, 2013
    • Clay Butler

      Please do, I’d love to see the results.

      December 15, 2013

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