How to Make Artificial River Rock
Artificial river rock is used as a decorative addition to many rock gardens, flower gardens and ponds. The size and shape of the rock depends on the intended purpose and individual creativity. The material used to make the artificial river rock is weather proof, light to medium weight and sturdy. The rock can be strengthened by adding chopped fiberglass strands to either the concrete patch or a concrete mix. The addition of the fiberglass strands plays a key role in making any rock that is more than a foot in height, width or length.
Cut a 2-by-2-foot square of chicken wire from the roll.
Crumple several sheets of newspaper together until they equal the size of a football. Place the newspaper football in the center of the chicken-wire square.
Bend the outside edges of the chicken wire up and over the newspaper football and secure half of the edges of the chicken wire together by bending a cut wire, using the needle-nose pliers, through loops on the opposite pieces of chicken wire. Don't fully close the opening with wire: You want to leave enough access for you to be able to continue stuffing newspaper inside the chicken wire.
Stuff the remainder of the desired rock shape with newspaper. The rock can be shaped by pushing creases into the chicken wire or pulling on other parts of the wire to create indentations or protrusions. The paper is used as the backing for the concrete patch mixture used to create the surface of the rock. Do not leave any large voids under the rock surface. Once the chicken wire is stuffed to your satisfaction, secure the remaining edges of the chicken wire.
Secure or trim any excess chicken wire to create a relatively smooth surface on the outside shape of the artificial rock.
Mix the concrete patch in the bucket and add two to three handfuls of chopped fiberglass strands while stirring the mixture. Stir until well mixed.
Place the wire rock frame on a flat surface. Make sure to place the rock so it is sitting in the desired direction.
Put on the rubber gloves. Grab a handful of concrete patch mixture and place it on the chicken wire rock form. Spread the mixture into the top and sides of the mesh. Repeat this process until the visible chicken wire frame is covered. Do not cover the bottom of the rock with the concrete patch mixture at this time.
Smooth the surface of the rock with a cement trowel. Add texture to the surface by bouncing a hard-bristle brush along the surface. This action creates small indentations.
Dry the artificial rock for 12 hours prior to moving, turning it over to surface the bottom or adding optional paint or sealer.
Kim Blakesley is a home remodeling business owner, former art/business teacher and school principal. She began her writing and photography career in 2008. Blakesley's education, fine arts, remodeling, green living, and arts and crafts articles have appeared on numerous websites, including DeWalt Tools, as well as in "Farm Journal" and "Pro Farmer."