Crafting

Over the Garden Wall “Rock Facts” Painted Garden Stone

Did you know, that if you soak a raisin in grape juice, it turns into a grape? It’s a rock fact!

Greg, “Over the Garden Wall”

I adore “Over the Garden Wall.” It is one of my top favorite things now, though I only discovered it a couple of months ago. And it came out in 2014 – HOW have I missed it all these years?!

If you are so unfortunate to be unfamiliar with it yourself, it is a Cartoon Network miniseries which follows two young brothers attempting to find their way home through a magical and mysterious autumnal forest and their subsequent encounters with strange friends and foes along the way.

As a miniseries, it has only the one season, consisting of ten episodes which are approximately 11 minutes each. It easily watches like a movie, if you want to do it that way. It even stars Elijah Wood and Christopher Lloyd! The first episode is available online on Carton Network’s YouTube page and I have linked it below:

I have really struggled to describe the show here, and I think that is because it subtly touches on so many different things. It is evocative of late 19th and early 20th century Americana in its atmosphere and setting. I can just imagine a fresh cherry pie cooling on a wooden cottage windowsill here. At times, it also reminds me of some of the early cartoons, such as those of Fleischer Studios. Not for any “rubber hose” animation style with the wiggly arms and unrealistic movements, but for the approach of making something both spooky and cute at the same time. The story unfolds itself like an old folk tale, with the motif of babes lost in the woods, danger lurking in the forest, and strange happenings about. But it also has such a wonderful sense of humor. This is no preachy, cautionary tale; it’s simply a lot of fun and I found myself surprised at every turn. I even bought the soundtrack as the show has great music too, a lot of it folk-style, performed by The Blasting Company.

Speaking of The Blasting Company, I couldn’t mention them without adding this adorable, but unrelated, video they put out a few months ago. I just love this style of music!

Lastly, as someone who is obviously a fan of neat things from the past, there are small, fun details to absorb, such as the art style for the intro being influenced by magic lantern slides (an early projector), which you can see around the 0:48 mark in the first video. With this wonderful interplay of old and new, I find the show irresistible and highly recommend it. As we move into fall, now is the perfect time to watch! I hear that Cartoon Network used to show it at Halloween, though I’m not sure if they still do.

“Over the Garden Wall,” Cartoon Network

Now that I have put the WHY in my DiY, I can move on to the actual project: my fan craft of the “Rock Facts” rock which Greg carries around in his bag. If you need one of these for cosplay or a Halloween costume, you are probably better off not painting an actual rock to carry around with you, because to get it the size you would need, it would be pretty heavy to lug around for hours. You could probably carve up a floral foam ball for that purpose. I wanted one to place outside in a flower bed though so this worked for me.

All you really need here is a rock and the right type of paint! I bought outdoor self-sealing paint. I wanted self-sealing because I worried that any clearcoat as a sealer would create an unnecessary sheen. You at least need white and the three primary colors (yellow, red, and blue). You can get black too, or you can simply mix equal parts of the three primary colors to get black, which is what I did. If it looks off, simply add more of a different color. For example, mine was a bit too red at first, so I added more blue.

A close-up of the label.

WHAT I USED:

  • A rock!
  • Outdoor self-sealing acrylic paint
  • Painting supplies (paintbrush, water, paper towels, and palette)
  • Pencil for sketching
  • Scrap paper for creating a stencil
Look at this guy! If ever a rock was meant to have a face painted on it.

Your biggest challenge is going to be finding the right rock! My local yard and garden store was kind enough to let me dig through some of the bulk ones they sell by the pound to pick out the perfect one. You don’t want one that is too sandy and porous. Clean it well in soap and water with a very stiff brush so you aren’t painting on top of sand and grit that will just fall away.

I referenced stills from the show as I painted him, trying to get as close as possible to the original source.

You can use some scrap paper to create stencils for the various shapes (eyes, mouth, and tongue) and trace them onto the surface with a pencil. Then simply fill in with your paint! Perform several coats to ensure you fill in all those little pores in the rock, with a dry time in between coats that is appropriate to your paint. Of course, allow the finished product a proper amount of time to cure indoors before subjecting it to the elements.

And there you have it! An easy way to create your own piece of the “Over the Garden Wall” universe.

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