Faux Engraved Stone

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About: Welcome! Pleased to meet you, I am Barb; a Maker. I have been making things AND explaining how to make things for as long as I can remember. I was all about DIY before it was a popular term. I absolutely lov...

I just love stone! And the artist in me is always seeing ‘new canvasses’ to paint on! During some recent gardening I was looking at a pile of flagstone… What to do?!

This Simple Faux Stone Engraving technique combines a bit of imagination (technology) and paint to imitate stone chiseling. It looks amazingly real but is very easy to do.

Everyone keeps asking how did I engrave that stone?!

Supplies:

  • A large stone (flat is best for ease of work)
  • Brushes (fine and medium)
  • Acrylic Paint (exterior is best)
  • Ability to create & print Digital Fonts
  • Carbon Paper or Sewing Transfer paper
  • Pen
  • masking tape

Teacher Notes

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Step 1: ​Step 1: the Letters

Find yourself a stone of shape and size you like. The flatter smooth stones are better, but it’s not that crucial. Use some digital software to pick a font and size. Even Microsoft Word can work as long as you enlarge enough. Do try to keep it simple and traditional, but that’s just the typographer in me talking.

Most home printers handle a letter size paper, but if you need larger you can print in pieces and tape them together. If you measure first it’s easier to plan. Size and place as you like, and tape into place with masking tape.

Step 2: Transfer the Letters

You will now need to TRANSFER the image to the surface. I have much experience of this from my illustration world. You can use a sheet of old-fashioned carbon paper, or sewing transfer paper, or a sheet of paper that you rubbed with pencil. Place that sheet under your printed letters and easily trace the outlines with a pen to force the drawing onto the stone. I use a ballpoint pen.

Have a peek to see if it is coming through, since it is taped down you can continue until you have all the outlines. I used the red fabric transfer paper so I could see the lines well.

Step 3: Time to Paint!

Time to paint! I used some basic black acrylic paint for outdoors. I had marvelled how some rocks my kids painted eons ago held the paint, so I knew it has staying power.

It doesn’t take that much artistic skill to fill in all the shapes with a fine brush. It is forgiving since it is stone.

Step 4: Adding the Highlights

Now you become an artist! To make it look engraved you will need to add the ‘faux’ shadows and highlights. Imagine light hitting the indented letters from the top.

The upper part of all the letter forms needs a bit of a lighter gray to show light. It is very systematic.

Step 5: Adding the Mid-tones

You can now add the mid-tone grey to the middle so that it looks as if there is a shadow under the top of each part of the letter. Simple isn’t it? Stand back and you will be amazed. If preferred you could just leave it solid black as well.

Step 6: Stand Back and Look!

Since the stone is rough, the paint sticks and stays well, but you could add a layer of clear acrylic to protect even more. Maybe you want to add a logo etc, just apply the same principle.

Step 7:

Smile and pat yourself on the back after you placed it in the garden. Perhaps add a light and have a great house number! Awesome! Let me know how your’s turned out.

See the full garden make-over here

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    18 Discussions

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    mcorbin

    Question 12 days ago on Step 7

    I really like this. I have a large stone that I was going to try engraving numbers into with my dremel tool, but this is a much better idea.
    What suggestions do you have for color if my stone is darker?

    image.jpg
    1 answer
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    MadeByBarbmcorbin

    Reply 12 days ago

    Nice Rock! I love the greenish hues. It will just be less contrasty. The mid-tones should be about the same colour as the rock and then the high-lights and shadows different. Don't be afraid to use some colour in the mix as just adding black is a bit of a 'colour deadener'. Stand back and see how it looks or an artist's trick; squint your eyes and it will give you the basic idea. Hope that helps!

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    McBaza

    18 days ago

    Great idea and the outcome looks amazing!

    Question - what did you use to seal it afterwards so that you don't have to repaint it every year?

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    MadeByBarbMcBaza

    Reply 17 days ago

    So far it's held good! (over 3 years) I find if it's on a vertical surface that does not stay wet it lasts well. The rougher texture also holds paint well. I have rocks that the kids painted about 15 years ago. I find the more layers the more chance to peel.

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    PatL38

    18 days ago

    Find a friend with a Cricut or Brother cutting machine and make a stencil.

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    MadeByBarbPatL38

    Reply 17 days ago

    Ah yes! I actually have a machine but I have not found the time to learn all it's abilities! I'm pretty quick with my hands...

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    rozzieozzie

    17 days ago

    Very cool! My sister in law taught tole painting, and this reminds me of some of her projects. In my spare time, I'll have to try this!

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    MadeByBarbrozzieozzie

    Reply 17 days ago

    I've done much but I don't think I've done tole! Hmmm, something to checkout!

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    fdc313

    17 days ago

    Really nice post, I like the results

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    chefspenser

    18 days ago

    BRAVO! Got my vote due to the pinging technique. Thanks for sharing!

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    Gusgonnet

    18 days ago on Step 6

    lovely work, I didn't even recognize the original tree. Super beautiful after the work you did.
    I have learned so many tricks with this instructable and your full garden make.
    Well done and thank you for letting us see it (and enjoy it) in pictures!

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    shylynchair

    18 days ago

    Barb, another fantastic instructable! Consider my vote cast in your direction!
    It's amazing what the human eye thinks it sees, especially from a distance.../nate

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    MadeByBarbBrittLiv

    Reply 19 days ago

    That's just the start, there are so many possibilities!

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    Dumbphone

    20 days ago

    This is brilliant! Your letter painting is awesome, and looks like engravings. Wow.