How to make artificial rocks and boulders

Written by keith dooley
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How to make artificial rocks and boulders
Make realistic artificial rocks and boulders. (rock image by Henryk Olszewski from Fotolia.com)

Artificial rocks and boulders are used as props in theatrical productions including school plays and dance recitals. Made to resemble natural formations, artificial rocks and boulders may be constructed from different materials that are formed and sculpted in various sizes to imitate their natural counterparts. Making artificial rocks and boulders is a fun project requiring only a few basic items that may also be used as a tool for teaching geology units in science.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Papier mâché paste
  • Chicken wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Newspaper
  • Texture spray finish
  • Gloves

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Determine the size of the artificial rock or boulder you will be making. A basic idea of size will be necessary so that the correct amount of chicken wire can be bought. Buy the chicken wire at a local feed and seed ssop, farm supplier or DIY centre.

  2. 2

    Form the chicken wire into a shape that resembles a rock or boulder. Wear protective gloves when working with chicken wire to avoid scrapes or cuts to your hands. Bend and cut the chicken wire as needed with a pair of wire cutters.

  3. 3

    Tear newspaper into long thin strips and prepare a mixture of papier mâché paste.

  4. 4

    Dip the strips of newspaper into the papier mâché mixture. Coat the paper thoroughly but do not allow it to become soggy as it may easily tear. Place the strips on the chicken wire. Overlap each successive strip so that the chicken wire form is completely covered. Apply a layer of papier mâché and allow to dry.

  5. 5

    Apply a second and third layer of papier mâché if desired as this will only add to the strength and realism of the artificial rock. Allow each layer of papier mâché to thoroughly dry before proceeding with the next layer.

  6. 6

    Select a textured spray finish that matches the type of rock or boulder you are imitating. Textured rock finishes are available in aerosol spray cans from big box, hobby, home improvement and paint shops. Spray the artificial rock, following the manufacturer's directions, allowing the spray texture to develop and set before applying a second coat.

Tips and warnings

  • Apply the spray texture to the papier mâché in light coats allowing each coat to dry thoroughly before applying a second coat.
  • Use spray textures only in a well-ventilated area away from open flames.

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