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How to Make River Rock Look Wet

Updated February 21, 2017

You may know what it's like to pick up a beautiful stone from a river bed, only to discover that it looks quite dull and ordinary once it's dry. If you want to reproduce the shiny, wet look of stones in decorations or scenic crafts, use craft supplies to recreate the effect in a permanent, dry form. Give a permanent "wet look" to individual rocks on a temporary or permanent basis or create a permanent fake water display to imitate the look of fully submerged river rocks.

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  1. Wash the rocks.

  2. Rub each rock with baby oil.

  3. Use a paper towel to remove excess oil from each rock.

  4. Reapply the oil as needed; this "wet look" will be temporary and the rocks will remain oily to the touch.

  5. Wash the rocks thoroughly to remove any dirt and sediment clinging to them. Towel dry. If they are porous, let them air dry until no longer wet.

  6. Place the rocks on waxed paper in a well-ventilated area. Space them so that they're at least 1/2 inch apart from one another.

  7. Spray the rocks with varnish from at least 6 inches away. Move the bottle around as you spray to get as much of the sides and undersides as you can. Try to spray from all sides, but avoid jostling the waxed paper.

  8. Let the varnish dry and cure according to the manufacturer's instructions. Do not touch the rocks too soon, as this will leave fingertips.

  9. Turn the rocks over and spray the reverse sides. Let dry. The rocks will have a permanent wet look to them.

  10. Arrange the rocks as you want them in your display; you will not be able to move them after you apply the fake water.

  11. Mix the casting resin in a disposable bowl according to the manufacturer's instructions. Stir with a craft stick until the mixture becomes slightly cloudy.

  12. Pour the resin over the rocks. Do not try to spread it; it will spread out on its own.

  13. Spray the top of the resin with rubbing alcohol if bubbles form (unless you like the way they look).

  14. Position an area fan near the rocks while they cure; this will keep dust and other particles in the air from settling on the top of the resin. Let the resin dry and cure according to manufacturer's instructions.

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Things You'll Need

  • Baby oil
  • Paper towels
  • Waxed paper
  • Spray varnish
  • Casting resin
  • Disposable mixing bowl
  • Craft stick or paint stirring stick

About the Author

Lauren Vork has been a writer for 20 years, writing both fiction and nonfiction. Her work has appeared in "The Lovelorn" online magazine and Vork holds a bachelor's degree in music performance from St. Olaf College.

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