When reality isn't real enough it becomes aesthetically necessary to make it more real through artificial means.

In film making, there are times when real rocks are removed from the set and replaced with styrofoam replicas because the real rocks just didn't look right. The color was all wrong. The shape was inconsistent with the crew's expectations for rocks. Reality simply is not dependable enough.

After all, they do paint oranges orange because people want their oranges to be orange.

So, you've just purchased a rock and you want to show it to your friends. Be wary. If your rock does not look like what they think a rock should look like they will not be impressed. Going to use the rock as a centerpiece during dinner? Splurge and buy some rock colored paint and paint that baby the right colors. No use risking dinner conversation taking terrible tangents when your guests question the veracity of your rock.

Quiet on the set. Makeup! Your complexion is too pale. We need to paint it to make it look like real skin.

Building a model? Designing a set? Selling food products to the general population? Serving a refreshing beverage to a distinguished clientele? You might wish to consider stocking up on paints, dyes and colorings. People don't care for dull, murky liquids and foods that lack a jazzy, glowing color. In an advanced civilization there is no room for error. If the real thing just doesn't look real enough you'll need to paint that rock to make it look more like a rock. Reality has never been so tenuous.

How to paint a rock so it looks more like a real rock:

You will need:
- A rock (or two)
- Gravel
- PVA Glue
- Cardboard
- Green Paint
- Black through to light gray paint
- Flock
- a large, crappy brush
- a small, crappy brush
- Polyfilla
- a Hot Glue Gun
- Black spray paint

Base it
Corrugated cardboard is a good choice for a base1, as expanded polystyrene may snap under the weight of the rock. Stick your rock on with either pva glue or a hot glue gun, building up gravel and polyfilla where the rock meets the base, so as it looks natural. If you like textured (as opposed to flocked) bases, now's the time to stick sand to it.

Spray it
Depending on your taste, you can cover the rock with polyfilla first, to make it look more 'rocky'. Spray your rock either black, or dark gray, making sure to get inside any gaps between the rock and the base. Leave to dry.

Paint it
The base needs to be painted green (or brown if it's going to be sandy). Use a large, crappy brush.

Drybrush it
Pick a pretty dark gray colour, and pick out a largeish, crappy brush, with pretty stiff bristles. Children's art brushes are great. Dip it in the paint, and then wipe off almost all of it on a bit of kitchen roll. Lightly brush the rock (and its base) with the brush. The paint that's left should appear on the raised surfaces of the rock. (You can practice on the kitchen roll if you're not sure how much paint should be left on the brush.). Give it some more coats, with lighter shades of gray, and less paint on the brush, until it looks the way you want. If you're texturing your base, do the same to the sand (but with green, obviously)

Flock it
Cover the base, and any hollows in the rock with PVA glue. Dunk it in the flock, and tap off the excess. For bases this big, it looks more convincing (less furry) if you take a crappy brush, and, when the glue's half dry, paint on more PVA in a poking motion, and flock it again. It should go realisticly clumpy.

Enjoy your better than life rock!

1 - Cardboard isn't very thick, so you might try glueing two or more sheets together, alternating the grains, and then cutting the edge at an angle. The edges can be filled in with polyfilla, and then no-one can tell it's cardboard. If you're feeling really keen, you can use MDF, but it needs to be cut using a saw.

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