Homeowner transforms concrete patio for £60 using paint and a stencil

A savvy homeowner transformed her dull concrete patio for just £60 using a tub of paint and a handmade stencil - and it's inspired her to start up a new business.

Creative Lauren Smith, 31, from Surrey, was inspired after seeing the idea on Pinterest.

The freelance make-up, hair and wig artist, whose contract at the National Theatre came to an end during lockdown, is currently on furlough and was finding having nothing to do 'frustrating' - so decided to get creative in her garden.

Having already made a raised flower bed out of railway sleepers, she decided to tackle her 'Battenburg' patio - and is thrilled with the results.

‹ Slide me › A savvy homeowner transformed her dull concrete patio for just £60 using a tub of paint and a handmade stencil - and it's inspired her to start up a new business. Pictured before and after Speaking to FEMAIL, Lauren told how she initially planned to lift the patio and replace it with gravel - but found it was going to be quite costly and difficult while suppliers were shut due to Covid-19.'Then I came across pictures of stencilled tiles and flooring outside,' she explained. 'I'm quite creative so I knew I'd be able to create this myself.' RELATED ARTICLES

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Lauren began by filling in her benign flowerbed with some free patio slabs she found on the neighbourhood hub Nextdoor.She then jet-washed and de-weeded it before filling in the gaps with a sand and cement mix.   Creative Lauren Smith, 31, from Surrey, was inspired to use the technique after seeing the idea on Pinterest

'I then queued up for an hour at my local B&Q and bought some Zinsser primer to spray between the slabs to act as another barrier on top of my sand and cement mix,' Lauren went on.

'Then I used Sandtex 'pure brilliant white' paint all over. It took three coats in total with a roller and paint brush. I bought 10 litres for £30.'

For her stencil, Lauren ordered Mylar sheet stencil rolls from eBay (click this link here now), costing around £8 and printed off the pattern she'd found on Pinterest.

'I then had to resize it to fit the 45cm square slab,' she explained. 'This took a lot of working out with my small Epsom printer! Once I had the correct size I drew on the stencil roll and cut it out with a Stanley knife.'

Lauren began by filling in her benign flowerbed at the end of her patio with some free slabs she found on the neighbourhood hub Nextdoor. She then jet-washed and de-weeded it before filling in the gaps with a sand and cement mix

Lauren used Sandtex 'pure brilliant white' paint all over. It took three coats in total with a roller and paint brush, with a 10 litre tub costing £30

For the stencil pattern, Lauren used Sandtex black paint - costing £24 for five litres - and applied two coats per square.

'I began doing it as a checkerboard before filling in the gaps,' she said. 'I still have loads of paint left over and intend to use the white to paint the exterior of my flat. 

'For the stencil I used an old artists paintbrush I had that was quite stiff and bristly. I used to paint the waxworks for Madame Tussaud's so I keep a set of paint brushes from that.

'The whole project took about two week's of pottering and doing a few hours every day. I think the stencilling alone took seven hours on my 2m x 3m space.'

For the stencil pattern, Lauren used Sandtex black paint - costing £24 for five litres - and applied two coats per square

Lauren began doing it as a checkerboard before filling in the gaps. For the stencil she used an old artists paintbrush that was quite stiff and bristly

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p class="mol-para-with-font">Once the patio was dry, Lauren dressed it with her table, chairs and candles and shared photos of her handiwork on her Instagram page

'All of my friends and family thought it looked amazing and such a transformation,' she said.

'That's when I thought, I could do this for a living! So I came up with Pretty My Patio and I've just started a friend of a friend's outdoor space.'

When lockdown was enforced in March, Lauren told how she was no longer able to do her normal job. 

'It was and still is illegal,' she said. 'I found not being able to do anything so frustrating and bad for my mental health. 

Once the patio was dry, Lauren dressed it with her table, chairs and candles and shared photos of her handiwork on her Instagram page @oursharedcorner - where many applauded her efforts

'I'm used to being very busy and working 50 hour weeks. I applied for loads of supermarket jobs, just to do something, but I had no luck. 

'So then I started uploading tutorials to my makeup page @Laurensmithartist to fill the time whilst doing my garden. 

'My flat has also never looked so clean! And my boyfriend is super happy I've been able to produce dinner every night while he's at work as a plumber.'

Lauren added that being on furlough means she can just about pay her bills, but many of her colleagues haven't been so fortunate. 

'People I worked with in the West End in London aren't so lucky. A lot of the highest profile shows have made their whole backstage crew redundant with no date of return,' she said.

'The Government really needs to step in and save all the London theatres. I'm sure a few won't be able to reopen so many people will be out of work. It contributes to such a large proportion of the economy too, but they just can't open with the social distancing rules. It's just so sad if this is lost.' 

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