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Easy Artificial Rock Statue Tutorial

Planters and Moai Statues

This is a wonderful, inexpensive project that everyone should try more than once. Small statues are always a welcome addition of character to any decor. They can be made as purely cosmetic or you can incorporate interesting features into your statue making it functional as well. Garden planters, small water features, door stops or outdoor furniture are only a few examples. completing just one small project is enough to dramatically increase your artificial rock building skill.

Statues can be incredibly inexpensive to build!

Using some very inexpensive items you can build all kinds of different statues. If you are artistic, you can add features like a face to your statue - this is a fantastic opportunity to make money selling artificial rock that you build. People seem to love items like Easter island head (moai) statues or other faces/sculptures. Garden and landscape oriented people often complain of a lack of unique and interesting garden planters.

You will need:

-A five gallon bucket, handle removed
-2 inch reinforcing wire
-Chicken wire
-A regular garden planter, with holes for irrigation

The tools that you need are your basic artificial rock building tools and materials. Pliers, tie wire, trowels, buckets, texture mats and sea sponges. For painting as usual you will use the watered down, water based paints applied via pump up garden sprayer.

Since you will be using such small amounts of wire, foam and concrete, the total cost of this type of project is generally less than twenty dollars.

Consider the following pictorial for building your own statues and garden planters.

Using styrofoam you can easily build your statue as tall as you like. It is important that you cut holes in the foam and drill holes in the bottom of the bucket to allow for drainage of water out of the planter.

Wrap your bucket and planter tightly with the reinforcing wire. Pictured is one inch reinforcing wire, but two layers of two inch reinforcing wire is ideal. Attach the wire to itself by wrapping the cut ends together. You can also use tie wire for additional strength as you want to have the wire wrapped tightly around the bucket and planter.

Trim the top steel at the height that will allow it to sit inside the lip of the planter. After you have cut the wire all the way around you simply lift the planter lid slightly and then let it rest back down covering the sharp edges of the cut wire.

Use styrofoam to create the dramatic features that you want your statue to have. In this case the foam is being used to create a large cartoon like nose. Attach the foam using tie wire. You want the foam to be securely held in place.

Attach multiple layers of foam together using the standard tie wire dowels. Again you want the foam to be held securely in place. It is possible to use a foam adhesive to attach the layers however this requires the additional step of waiting overnight for the adhesive to dry before adding concrete.

Wrap your entire feature with a minimum of two layers of chicken wire. You want to be sure that the wire is wrapped snuggly up against the form. If your wire is too loose or sticking out in any place, the concrete will have a hard time to cover it properly.

As usual apply the concrete from bottom to top. The mix of concrete that you have mustx be mixed correctly. If you are having trouble making the concrete stick to the forms, and you have followed the above steps, your mix is probably too wet or too dry.

The concrete will be most difficult to apply to any overhangs or inverts in your form such as the nose and eyebrows of this statue. In the event that you can not make the concrete sick to the overhangs you can wait two or three days before laying the feature on its back and applying concrete as needed.

Be sure to remember that cold joints are easily visible so always leave your concrete in such a way that the cold joint will be less visible. Both scraping and painting will help to minimize the cold joint.

As fast as you can build these you can find people who want one. It is a great project that is low cost, high reward and can be completed in minimal time. Sculpting faces and interesting details will help you to learn the limitations of concrete, the importance for your mix and your ability to apply the concrete to vertical forms. If you can build a statue, you should now think about building a pond and waterfall.