Ever since Peter Rabbit from the children's story The Tale of Peter Rabbit snuck into Mr. McGregor's garden in the classic children's nursery story, people have been putting rabbit statues into gardens. Rabbits create a sense of whimsy and a further tie to nature. But when a statue is brand new, it may seem obvious. You can make a statue seem older or simply dress one up by painting it.
When you think of antique statues, you may think of white stone or carved marble. But archeologists believe that classic statues in both Greek and Roman times were painted bright colours. Today, you can give statues a coloured appearance by painting them bright colours as well. Painting will help prevent corrosion on metal statues and will transform the look of a cement statue. Since cement is a porous material, statues made of the substance should be sealed prior to painting to prevent the statue from absorbing the paint.
New statues can also stand out in a garden when a landscaper may want them to blend in. Over time new statues will take on an aged look that seems natural in a garden. You can speed this process along with a faux finish of paint. For cement statues, place diluted water-based paints into a spray bottle. Good choices are light green, black and white. Stand up to two feet away from your statuary and mist the paint over the statues. Another technique you can use is to daub or pour paint directly over the top of the statue in a way that simulates rainwater running over the statue. Cement statues will absorb the paint and will appear to age. Copper statues will take on an aged patina if you mist them with a vinegar solution.
Moss grows over stone in damp, shady locations such as stones on a forest floor or on older garden features. Getting moss to grow on a surface gives it an aged quality that makes it feel weathered. You can establish moss on new statues by taking moss and shredding it into tiny pieces. Mix this moss with 1 cup of buttermilk and 1 egg in a blender. Use a paint brush to paint moss on your statues. Pay attention to the way moss grows in nature and try to re-create this by painting the statues in similar ways with the mixture. Moss typically grows on the shady north side of rocks or trees. Once you have painted the statue with the substance, mist it several times daily for 5 weeks until the plant becomes established.
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- Oregon State University: Establishing Mosses in Gardens
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- Harvard University: Colorizing classic statues returns them to antiquity
- "The Tale of Peter Rabbit;" Beatrix Potter; 2002
- Washington State University: How do I get that moss-covered look on my terra cotta pots?