Weathering Project – Soot to Age Your Stone

Tuesday, October 20 , 2020

Weathering Project – Soot to Age Your Stone

Some of customers like our brand, spanking new stone but others like it aged. It takes time for stone to darken to a rich patina and there are many reasons to age your stone. We can colour match with your existing stonework if you are having and extension or want your building projects to blend in. But if you fancy trying your hand at making our stone look like it’s been in your garden for years here is another guide to weathering your cast stone. If you missed our guide to using autumn leaves to speed up the weathering process click here. Since it is the time of year to get your chimney swept it seemed apt to show you how soot can be used to effectively darken and age your stone.

Step 1 – Choose Your Statue

We selected a stone horse finial that was fresh from the warehouse and not weathered at all. This is as shiny and bright as possible so that the soot makes a noticeable difference (on screen vs. real life you can’t be subtle!). This stone would develop a rich patina over time but we wanted to create an instant darkened look.

Brand, spanking new Chilstone horse finial, shiny and clean! Many of our products can be used as finials, just ask.

Step 2- Harvest Your Soot

If you haven’t got a chimney sweep on speed dial then you can use a dustpan brush to sweep some soot from the base of your chimney if you have a working open fireplace. This is pretty messy so make sure you have a grate pan or something to catch the soot in. You don’t need much, around a mugful should be enough for a small garden ornament.

Place the collected soot in an old container, get your clean stone ready outside, grab a paintbrush and gloves.  You need to mix the soot with a little boiling water. Add this in a bit at a time until you get a broth-like consistency.

You will need, an old container with roughly a mugful of soot, an old paintbrush, gloves, hot water and a statue made of porous stone like Chilstone’s fine cast stone.


Soot mixture and statue ready to go!


Step 3 -Add Light and Shade

This horse head finial is small but it has quite a few handcrafted details that stand out with greater impact when the stone is not just one colour. Use the brush to add extra layers of soot to the details you want to darken and accentuate the most. We focused on the nostrils, ears and key sections of the mane. We applied a smaller amount of the mixture across the face and neck. This created a contrast.


Add layers of the soot mixture to accentuate the details on your statue.

Step 4- Let It Soak In

Let the soot mixture soak into the stone for a while. We didn’t want the horse to be too dark so it was left for a couple of hours. If you like the appearance you can just leave the soot covered stone as it is, add extra layers over time, leave the soot mixture on for longer or just experiment until you achieve the desired effect.

Stone well covered with several layers of soot mixture.

Step 5 – Rinse (Or Not)

For our lighter look we poured a two cupfuls of hot water over the statue. You can skip this step if you like your stone darker and want the rain to slowly rinse your statue and allow the soot to really set in. Either way you should have a much darker, instant patina on your statue after the process. Of course your stone will develop a natural patina over time but this should start it off nicely. Remember, you can always add more soot mixture if you feel that your stone is too light after rinsing.

The soot mixture highlighted the handcrafted details on the stonework.

Watch this space for our next project!

We are going to show you how to encourage moss and lichen growth with natural yoghurt! This will take a little time but we have started the process! Watch this space!

Our Mythical Beast statue is smothered in lashings of natural Greek yoghurt ready for the next weathering guide.

Vintage Stone

For the real deal we have a limited number of naturally weathered stone for sale in our vintage range. But these are in short supply and once they are gone they’re gone so be sure to regularly check our vintage page on our website. These pieces have developed patina slowly over time in our show gardens in the Kent countryside.

Our vintage Persephone statue. Also available new if you want to weather it your way, just ask our team.

Paint It!

Weathering isn’t the only way to customise your stone. Sir Roy Strong has painted our garden ornaments to suit his style throughout his famous Laskett Gardens in Herefordshire to make it pop! There are no rules! Who says urns and pedestals have to be used in a traditional form?

Chilstone Pope’s Urn painted in bold blue and yellow with a personalised pedestal.

Of course our stone looks fresh in classic white too, like this portico! The key thing is that our stone is adaptable and can be styled the way you want it to look to make it perfect for your space.


Chilstone handcrafted portico painted in classic white to match the rest if the property.

Open by appointment

However you like your stone our friendly team can advise you. Our show gardens are open by appointment in our rural setting so social distancing is easy to maintain. We also make bespoke items and work on restoration projects for gardens and properties. We have worked on a wide range of projects over the past seven decades in business and all our products are handmade in Kent. Call 01892 740866 or email


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