Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Do You Need a Garden Decor Idea? Paint a Year-Round, Reversible Address Stone

Warm-weather address stone




Flowers painted on a concrete wall block are eye-catching during Spring and Summer.






Problem: this flowery address marker looks very out of place during cold, winter months. 


Solution: a reversible year-round address stone.

Reversible address stone suitable for both warm and cold months


I did not want to limit myself to a Christmas side for Winter. So, I painted one long and short side (and half the top) with green leaves; the other long and short side (and top half) are painted with holly leaves and berries.

For this project I used "yard and garden" acrylic paint specially formulated for outdoors. 

To seal the concrete wall block, I tried Outdoor Mod Podge for the first time. (I found the Mod Podge to be tacky and used a polyurethane sealer over the Mod Podge.)


Tips:
  • Think about where the address marker will be placed. This will help you decide how much of the design should be painted on the short sides and top (see photo below)
  • Be very careful when lifting/moving the concrete block - it will weigh approximately 20 pounds
  • Priming the concrete wall block first with a product like Kilz helps the paint go on smoother 
  • I sat the concrete block on an upended plastic kitty litter container while painting (see photo below)

  
Ideas: 
  • Paint one side with Autumn leaves and the other with poinsettias
  • Paint a holiday theme on one or both sides
  • Instead of painting house numbers, attach some purchased at a home improvement store
  • Instead of a concrete wall block, use a large rock that stands upright

Two concrete address markers - One is reversible

Why not welcome your guests with a personalized address stone suitable for display year round.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Rock Painting Ideas: Cats

I enjoy painting cats on rocks and stones...



...however, I don't enjoy painting the fur - it's very tedious and time consuming.

I'm always looking for different ways to paint cats on rocks and have a new Pinterest board: Ideas for Painted Cats Rocks




The next time I paint a kitty on stones, my Pinterest board will be a reference for a different rock painting technique.


Visit my Pinterest Rock Painting Ideas and Helps board to get inspiration for other painted rocks projects.



Monday, May 13, 2013

How to Paint Fingerprint Stones: No Drawing Skills Required

I came across a fingerprint drawing book and wondered if the clever technique would work with rocks and acrylic paint.

To my delight, the project was very easy and the results made me smile. 

Although you don't see the loops and whorls of a fingerprint, the simply-painted stones are quite charming. This would certainly be a fun, easy project for children.

Supplies you'll need:
  • flat stones
  • your finger (or thumb)
  • paintbrush
  • acrylic paint
  • paint pen or marker
  • sealer (optional)

Fingerprint Stone Painting Process
  • Paint one of your fingers or thumb
  • Press your finger onto the stone
  • Let the paint dry
  • Add some dots and lines
  • Seal the stone to protect it (optional)



Tips
  • It's better to use light-colored stones
  • Bright, saturated paint colors show up better
  • Paint your finger or thumb, don't dip it into a puddle of paint. (You don't want a glob of paint on the rock.)
  • Practice on paper first to test the amount of paint required for good coverage 
  • Apply more paint before each finger press onto the stone
  • If using more than one color, allow the first color to dry first 
  • Use a small brush and touch up (by dabbing) any areas where the fingerprint is light or uneven
  • I like to use acrylic-paint-filled pens, however, magic markers could work
  • Ed Emberley's Complete Funprint Drawing Book is a wonderful resource for fingerprint and thumbprint ideas for critters, people, and more

Ideas



 * * * * *

No two fingerprints are alike and no two fingerprint-painted stones will look alike - prints will be dark or light, lines will be thick or thin, colors will vary.

Fingerprint painted stones are great personalized gifts to both give and receive. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

How to Make Stones Stand Upright and Expand Your Rock Painting Possibilities - Photo Version




How to Make Stones Stand Upright and
Expand Your Rock Painting Possibilities -
Detailed Version

How to Make Stones Stand Upright and Expand Your Rock Painting Possibilities

 

Problem: Many of my rock painting projects, especially nativity scene figures, require upright stones which are difficult to find. 



 



Solution: Add wood filler to the stone's bottom to make a base.



How I Make Unpainted Rocks Stand Upright

Supplies Needed:
  • rocks (clean and dry)
  • newspaper to protect your work surface
  • stainable/paintable wood filler (found at hardware stores, Walmart)
  • disposable rubber gloves
  • wax paper for testing wood filler base 
  • egg carton (or something similar for drying the wood filler)
  • medium sand paper
  • white acrylic paint

Wood filler is a putty-like product available in tubes or tubs. Having worked with both, I like the tub better. It is important you use the paintable version. (If you want to experiment first, go ahead and get the tube which will be cheaper.)


Be sure to protect your work surface with newspaper. I also use wax paper to minimize the wood filler sticking to the newspaper. This is a messy project. Disposable gloves are very useful when working with wood filler.


Step 1


Choose a stone you'd like to stand upright and look at it from all angles to see if there is a semi-flat area you can mold wood filler onto so it will form a flat base.

You can add just a bit of wood filler or pile it on - whichever achieves the most stable base for the rock.

Alternatively, if you have a rounded stone, choose which side you'd like to use for a stable base.


Step 2


Wearing disposable gloves, start applying wood filler to the bottom of your stone, smoothing with your finger as you go.

You want to build up the bottom and smooth the edges so they blend nicely into the stone. (Slightly wetting your finger helps the final smoothing and blending process.)

To test the stone's ability to stand upright, I sit it on wax paper for just a second. Because the stone is heavier than the wet wood filler, if left standing too long the wood filler loses its shape and starts spreading.


Step 3


Place the stone(s) with the wet, wood filler base upside down in an egg carton or something similar so the shape is retained while drying. It will take 2-8 hours for the wood filler to dry.

 

Step 4


Once the wood filler has dried, use medium sandpaper to lightly sand where the wood filler meets the stone to get as smooth a surface as possible. The goal is for the wood filler to be a part of the stone. Now is the time to also sand off any wood filler accidentally applied to other areas of the stone.



Step 5


Apply white or other acrylic paint color of your choosing to the stones to cover the wood filler and prepare the surface for painting.  Note how some of my stones are smoother than others where the wood filler has been applied.
 


Tips
  • A Popsicle stick works well for spreading the wood filler onto the rock.
  • So upright rocks are available when I need them, I like to add a wood filler base to many stones at one time rather than one here and there.
  • You can use wood filler to repair chipped or dented stones
  • If you plan to paint a bird on your upright stone, create a nest with the wood filler (since you're adding it anyway) and use a sharp tool to etch the twigs, leaves, etc.
  • If you want the rock to stand without using wood filler, grind the base just a little with an electrical grinder. (Thanks Suzi Chua for these last three tips.)

* * *

I painted these nativity scene figures using stones which were stabilized on the bottom with wood filler.