Photos: Ernestina Gallina

Rock Painting Project Tutorial

Desert Flower Cactus in Planter

Acrylic Painted Southwestern Decor Rocks

By Ernestina Gallina Posted 3/1/08 | Updated 12/4/20

Cactus in planterWhat you'll need:

  • pot or vase
  • moulding powder
  • water
  • rocks
  • acrylic paint colors
  • brushes

You don't need a green thumb to grow this cactus, only rocks and acrylic paint! This everlasting, non-thorny cactus with its bright colors will decorate any corner of your home or office. Just choose an ordinary rock whose shape suggests the plant's shape, pot it, and finally paint it to resemble a real cactus!

Step 1

Step 1

Choose your rock. Shapes may vary but for best results choose narrow, upright rocks that are smooth and tall enough to jut out your pot.

Step 2

Step 2

Pour a small quantity of water in a plastic container and add moulding powder according to the mixture ratio given by the manufacturer.

Stir up well until a creamy flowing mixture is obtained.

Fill your pot with the creamy mixture and dip the "cactus rock" into the mass. Let dry.

Seated rockStep 3Step 3

Step 3

Base coat your "cactus rock" with white acrylic paint.

When dry, paint over with a medium green color, mine is emerald green.

Eventually give two coats for better coverage.

Color the white ground with brown acrylic paint.

Step 4Step 4

Step 4

With a small round brush dipped in dark green (green + black paint) draw lines to divide your cactus into large sections, starting from the top down to the ground. Now mix white paint with a drop of green to get a very light shade of green and paint a highlight line inside each section.

Step 5

Step 5

It's time to give a realistic look to your cactus by adding some shadows.

With a diluted dark green paint, add shadows along the dark lines.

Step 6

Step 6

Paint pale green dots along the lighter lines.

Step 7 Step 7

Step 7

Choose a dark color like brown or burnt sienna and switch to a liner brush, moisten the paint so that it flows smoothly from the brush tip. Paint clusters of thorns on each dot.

Step 7

Rinse your liner brush, loosen the white paint with a bit of water to help your lines go on smoothly, and add the white thorns.

Finished cactus.

Your cactus is finished! You can fill the pot as I did with some colored sand and paint on a bright flower to give a fresh colored look to the composition. •

©2008 Ernestina Gallina. All rights reserved.

About Ernestina Gallina

Ernestina GallinaErnestina Gallina is a self-taught artist living in Italy. Her artwork has been exhibited within Italy and is currently in various private collections. ...