Wednesday, April 8, 2015

How to Make Faux Rock Walls

If you need a "rock wall" for theatrical performances, Vacation Bible School, a parade float, Easter pageant, school play, etc, there are many options for you to choose from. "Rock" can be made from a variety of materials, and it's amazing how realistic of a stone wall you can make without an ounce of real stone. Below you will find methods for making faux rock wall at various levels of realism, cost, and sturdiness.

(The Rock wall photo in this post is from a VBS set of First Baptist Church in Tuscola, TX. It's made by the Crumpled Paper Rock Wall method you'll find in the posts below.)

Rock Wall: Foam Board

Foam Board Rock Wall by Brian McGuire from Parkview Baptist Church in Monroe, LA.

To make a rock wall like the one pictured you cut "rocks" out of foam board and attach them to a larger sheet of foam board or wood (possibly even sturdy cardboard), and then paint them in shades of gray or brown.

Some paints, especially spray paints, will eat away at foam, so you will want to test your paint out before applying to a large area. However, you can also use this property to make foam board rock without having to do any cutting or gluing  You can paint around where you want rocks to be, which creates a grout like indentation when the paint eats away at the rock. Then you can paint the rocks that are left with non-eroding paint. There are some significant safety and environmental concerns to using this method though. Make sure to be in a well ventilated place when you do this, as the fumes can be harmful. Wearing a mask is suggested.

Foam board too expensive? You can use packaging foam, old or broken foam coolers, etc. Broken up, painted, and attached to a backing they can look great!

While the example above is fairly simple, you can get incredibly detailed with foam board rock by carving the foam...just check out the example below.

Picture provided by Hugs, Kisses, and Snot

You can find some more excellent pictures, as well as more detail on painting and carving techniques for this type of "stone" wall here. There's also step by step pictures of an amazing wall built for an Easter set here.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Making a Rock Wall With Crumpled Paper

The rock wall above was created for Nazareth VBS at the First Baptist Church in Tuscola, TX.

It's amazing to think that the wall above was made with just paper, paint, and cardboard. The stones were made by cutting out different rounded shapes from scrap paper, crumpling them up, unfolding them, and spraying them with stone paint, gray paint and black paint. These were then stapled into the cardboard structure (made from refrigerator boxes!)

Photo by Kelly Moreland

Another church, for Rome VBS, made this stone wall with rectangular crumpled paper "bricks" with painted foam board stones for accents.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Make a Rock Wall With Printed Paper or Plastic Party Rolls

This rock wall was created for Nazareth VBS at Dayspring Baptist Church in Waco, TX.

You can make a rock wall using commercial party paper, corrugated paper, or plastic party sheets. The house above is made this with party paper (though the rock around the door is foam board, made with the spray paint grout method described in a previous Rock Wall post). This is probably the quickest and easiest way to make a wall, though less three dimensional than some other methods. You can see some more pictures of party paper wall in use here.

Below are some examples of rock wall papers you can purchase (click on the image to see them on Amazon).  The first one listed is the one we used to make the house pictured above.

Basic Party Papers


Corrugated Party Papers
Corrugated papers are sturdier, similar to cardboard.  These need less support than the regular party papers pictured above.

Plastic Party Rolls
These plastic sheets are especially useful if you need a rock wall that can get wet.  The ones below even have a turret border you can add, and a ground floor (though unfortunately they don't sell the dirt by itself, without the wall, which would be nice for covering a larger area). 

They also have some other matching accessories which could be useful...

Vinyl Peel and Stick Wallpapers
While these are much more expensive than party papers or plastic sheets, they're seem simple to use, and like they would  hold up better to reuse than plastic sheets (though I haven't personally used these, so I can't vouch from experience for that).

Wallpaper Murals
Sometimes you want something more permanent   Wall murals are a bit pricey for something like VBS, but if you want to decorate a room with a rock wall for the long term, not just a short event, the extra cost of buying actual wallpaper might be worth it.  Here are some examples or rock wallpaper murals.

See All Rock Wall Ideas Here

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Friday, April 3, 2015

Make a Foam or Cardboard Block Wall

Photo by Rebecca Johnson

If you are looking for a more stone cut/brick wall, you can make one using painted foam blocks (like above) or cardboard boxes. I've even seen a castle wall using pizza boxes here, and you can see a great method for making an arch with boxes or blocks here.

At our church we also created blocks like this using sandwhich bags for a "God Sightings" wall one year.  You can stuff one bag with paper, then slip that one into another sandwhich bag facing in the opposite direction to make the "brick.". These aren't very sturdy, but could be glued to a cardboard backing for more stability.

One cool feature of this type of wall (not reinforced) is that if you need to have someone break through a wall, you can (and then just put the pieces back for next time).

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Painting/Drawing a Brick or Stone Wall - Various Methods

Below you'll find a variety of methods for painting or drawing brick and stone walls.

Hand painted arch on foam board.
Picture by Kelly Moreland

Hand Painted Wall
Don't be intimidated against painting a wall by hand.    Take the  wall above...a lot of time went into it for sure, and you can tell they were especially careful around the arch.  BUT, take a closer look.  The larger bricks aren't drawn with perfect lines...and they are better for it (because real stonework from that period might often be a little imperfect).  The larger stones are not done with technically challenging shading but with a blotchy loose texture that allows some of the white underneath to show through.  The solid painted stones around the arch pop against the textured larger stones.  

But if hand-painting still makes you nervous, there's some tricks you can employ below....

Sponge Painted Wall

Picture by Becky Burns

A simple way to create a brick rock wall is to paint bricks using sponges and  paint.   The sponge creates the grainy texture of bricks.

One benefit to this is that even children can help with this type of wall (and probably would have fun doing it). Also, sponge painting can be done on nearly any material, including cloth (like the picture at right). And if painted on cloth your "wall" can easily be rolled up and stored for later use.

While it's less three dimensional than some other methods, it's simple and effective.

The picture to the right was graciously provided by The Nelson's Blog.

Stenciled Wall Painting
You can also use stencils and spray paint to help create your brick or stone wall. There are various places which sell stencils (you can see some I found on Amazon below), but since a stone pattern is not very difficult you might consider making your own.

You can use spray paint or sponge paint in several different shades of brown and/or grey to create the stone look. I found a tutorial here on how to paint a brick wall with stencils. You can also use plaster for an even more realistic look. Here's some info on how to do that. The instructions are for more permanent features, but possibly could be done on cardboard to get the same temporary look. Not sure how it would hold up...probably would need some extra support.

Wall Painting Tutorials

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