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Faux Stone Engraving

I just love stone! And the artist in me is always seeing ‘new canvasses’ to paint on! During some recent gardening I was looking at a pile of flagstone… What to do?! This Simple Faux Stone Engraving technique combines a bit of imagination (technology) and paint to imitate stone chiseling. It looks amazingly real but is very easy to do. Step by step instructions with pictures:


Step 1:

Find yourself a stone of shape and size you like. The flatter smooth stones are better, but it’s not that crucial. Use some digital software to pick a font and size. Even Microsoft Word can work as long as you enlarge enough. Do try to keep it simple and traditional, but that’s just the typographer in me talking. Most home printers handle a letter size paper, but if you need larger you can print in pieces and tape them together. If you measure first it’s easier to plan. Size and place as you like, and tape into place with masking tape.


Step 2:

You will now need to TRANSFER the image to the surface. I have much experience of this from my illustration world. You can use a sheet of old-fashioned carbon paper, or sewing transfer paper, or a sheet of paper that you rubbed with pencil. Place that sheet under your printed letters and easily trace the outlines with a pen to force the drawing onto the stone. I use a ballpoint pen.

Have a peek to see if it is coming through, since it is taped down you can continue until you have all the outlines. I used the red fabric transfer paper so I could see the lines well.


Step 3:

Time to paint! I used some basic black acrylic paint. I had marvelled how some rocks my kids painted eons ago held the paint, so I knew it has staying power. There is also great outdoor paint like this. It doesn’t take that much artistic skill to fill in all the shapes with a fine brush. It is forgiving since it is stone.


Step 4:

Now you become an artist! To make it look engraved you will need to add the ‘faux’ shadows and highlights. Imagine light hitting the indented letters from the top. The upper part of all the letter forms needs a bit of a lighter gray to show light. It is very systematic.


Step 5:

You can now add the midtone gray to the middle so that it looks as if there is a shadow under the top of each part of the letter. Simple isn’t it? Stand back and you will be amazed. If preferred you could just leave it solid black as well.


Since the stone is rough, the paint sticks and stays well, but you could add a layer of clear acrylic to protect even more. Maybe you want to add a logo etc, just apply the same principle.


Step 6:

Smile and pat yourself on the back after you placed it in the garden. Perhaps add a light and have a great house number! Awesome! Let me know how your’s turned out.


I'm an artist & I make things... all kinds of things.

This Post Has 39 Comments

  1. I never comment, but couldn’t restrain myself. Keep your style exactly like it is. Not everyone has the patience to listen/watch someone droning on and on while showing a project. Your pictures & text are simple & precise. Beautiful project! I’m looking forward to checking out the rest of your blog.

    1. Thanks, that’s very interesting. When I research I hate long slow videos and I would rather read at my own speed. That is part of my reason for not making videos. I do have an abundance of pictures though.

  2. I love your blog just the way it is! Your title caught my attention. Now that Spring might be on the way after a longgg prairie winter I’m anxious to redo our front yard. Your tutorials have given me the courage to forge ahead. The huge stone is waiting in the garage as we speak!

    1. Ah yes! I have one waiting for me too! I have always made them for someone else… So now it’s my turn! My list of ‘gotta-do’ projects is never ending. Best of luck! As I see we just we got a bit of snow again!

  3. Thank you for the visual – lovely work. You clearly have done this a time or two’ given your steady paint hand. The street name characters are perfectly spaced out and rendered.. After years of graphic design, my helpful “picky” suggestion would be to kern the “minimal” extra space between the 5 – on the right side.

    1. Oh I understand. I actually did a bit of PS rearranging to keep the address private. The ‘true’ one is nicely kerned. I do well remember my exercises of kerning in Art college! Good eye!

  4. This is lovely and as I was looking for ‘painted numbers on rocks’ this came up and is exactly what i want to do on a stone for outside my house…only i want it crisp looking so free hand just will not do this time so this is a great alternative idea, thank you!

    PS what FONT is it please i cant find anything close enough on word 🙁

    1. I’m thinking it was Baskerville in bold or semi-bold. It is a very standard font from my days in art college. But there are a lot of versions that may be free and look for ones with a ‘serif’. Happy making!

      1. Awesome thanks for your reply and confirmation as that’s the one I thought it most looked like on Microsoft word 😊. Once I’m done I’ll post a picture…it’s on a smaller scale than yours but just testing the technique out to see how it looks on a stone too big for anything else 😁…..I’m holding I don’t mess the shading up 😬

        Kelly x

  5. I came across your article on the simple faux stone engraving technique and I loved it. It’s absolutely amazing and would be a great addition to my design portfolio. I can use it in my upcoming presentations that talk about new trends in home decorating!

    Thanks again for all your hard work,

  6. Thank you for such a detailed post on diy stone painting. I was looking for a way to add our address numbers to a Boulder at our driveway & this helped tremendously. I actually found a 9×12 ceramic tile at Home Depot in a neutral shade that matched the grain in our granite boulder & painted our address numbers on. It turned out great with your tips for shading too. Can’t wait to install it on our boulder.

  7. Thanks for the post on simple faux stone engraving – I found it really helpful!

    I’m an illustrator myself, and I know how difficult it can be to transfer a drawing onto a surface. I’m glad you found a way that works well for you.

    Thanks again for the great tips!

    1. Oh, it’s always been a challenge to transfer. I remember at the art college we had a machine that would project the image onto your surface and you would spend hours in the dark booth following the lines. It was called a ‘Lucy’ – I liked it… There is also something called a Lucida. Where there’s a will there’s a way!

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