Introduction: Inspirational Rocks

Ever have something that you wanted etched in stone?

When the kid was a kid, we use to make a trek to this "farmer's market" store just so she could press the button to make the animatronic cow there go "Moo."

It was a pretty unique place to go food shopping and in the lobby was their monument to customer service.

So in a similar thought, make your own personal inspirational rock, but small enough that you don't need a 90 ton crane or forklift to put it in place and be able to display it on your desk or table. Make it from only paper and cardboard.

Sure, you could just go find a rock and use a marker or paint to write on it, but much cooler if you make everything yourself.

edit: Rock repainted in faux grey granite, more local to area.

Step 1: Words to Live By...

Choose your words wisely, or not.

Use any graphics editor to come up with the panel that you want "etched" into the rock.

Pick a nice bold font to use.

You can also add a graphic to your inscription. Simple line art is best.

Print it out and glue to a piece of cardstock.

To simulate the engraving, use a ball point pen to go over all the lines and dark areas. Press hard and make several passes to imprint it into the cardstock.

Trim the excess around the inscription to start defining the shape of the faux rock.

Step 2: Get Ready to Rock...

We are going to make a faux rock to fit the size of the inscription.

It's pretty simple to do, unless you want things to be perfectly geologically correct. We are going to make something that kinda mostly looks like a rock.

Glue on pieces of cardboard to bulk up the faux rock.

I glued on a few layers of cardboard to be the base of the rock.

The trick to is be a little random and trim each piece of cardboard roughly to size. The unevenness will help give it the natural variation of how a rock is formed or broken from a bigger rock.

When the cardboard form is dry, paper mache with paper towels instead of torn newspaper or other sheet paper. Using paper towels allows us to give the final product the extra surface texture of a real rock. You could add fine sand to the paint to give it a texture too.

Tear the paper towel into pieces to give it a rough edge that is better for blending. When the paper towel material is saturated with glue, it is easier to bunch up or formed to fit any curves or irregularities of the cardboard form. I used glue straight from the bottle to do the paper mache. The undiluted glue will give it some extra strength when dry so all I needed was only one or two layers of the paper towels. Randomly press or bunch up the paper mache to make all those cracks and crevices that may be present in a large rock or boulder.

Set aside until completely dry.

Go over the inscription with a ball point pen one more time to make sure that the impression has depth.

Step 3: Leave No Stone Unturned...

Since real rocks are naturally composed of different elements that may remain distinct, we can duplicate that look by painting the faux rock with the same multiple colors that appear in real life. Although, if you want a radioactive glow-in-the-dark moon rock with purple alien planet particles, go for it...

The faux rock is first painted or primed with a coat of reddish brown earth tone colors. You could go with bluish-grays for more granite or go wild with marble combinations.

It is then layered and layered with accent and highlight colors. I just used the color paints I had on hand.

Stippling with a mostly dry brush(just a dab of paint on the brush) will give us that grainy look. Applying one color of the paint more in some areas will look like the natural formation of that mineral in the rock. Dip into varying amounts of black/white added alongside the base color and mix with brush strokes to simulate the varying hues on a real rock. Make a happy little rock.

Flicking the paintbrush to spatter random sized dots of paint will also add to the illusion of different minerals mixed into the rock. You can also paint on some lines for cracks or fissures in the rock.

You can also "weather" or "age" the faux rock by applying some black or grey highlights. You can also add specks of white to simulate bird droppings or show staining from rain which leaches out the minerals.

I wiped the inscription with black to highlight the engraving, it didn't work out to be deep enough for effect.

So go find a quote, saying or line that's fit to print on a rock.

Make your own personal inspiration rock to display it.


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