I LOVE a good tag sale! There's nothing I like more than going "treasure hunting" at garage sales on the weekend. Recently, Sexyhusbandomine and I found a pair of concrete and rebar deer statues at a sale for a whole TEN DOLLARS. We purchased them and one of the hardest parts of the whole thing was getting them into the car! They were vintage statuary, with a lot of enamel paint damage.
Bringing them back to life was fairly easy. I started by using a power sander to remove the flaking enamel paint. Make sure to use eye protection, gloves and a respirator while getting off the flaking bits. This process did not take too long-- I left paint that was still securely attached to places on the deer intact. In other words, I did not try to return the statues to their original surfaces--I just got the worst of the flaking paint bits off. Then I gave them a good wash and scrub with a wire brush. Then it was time to apply a paint formulated for concrete. I used a large brush and broad sweeping strokes
I waited a day for my concrete paint to dry all the way. The paint surface did not look very stone-like, so I weathered the surface using black acrylic paint that I watered down. I applied it with a big brush, then wiped the surface with a rag until I got the desired contrast in the texture on top of the statue. This process distresses the finish a bit and makes it look more like concrete or stone.
I did this more than once, until I got to slightly darker version than I ultimately wanted. I knew with time the contrast areas would lighten up.
Sunday afternoon we moved them into the yard and there they stand. A later GOOGLE search showed that the average price for a pair of statues like this was $400--so we feel we did a good job of saving a buck...and a doe.