How to Make a Fake Waterfall With No Water

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Things You'll Need

  • Modeling Clay

  • Paper mache glue

  • Wire mesh

  • Cardboard (for base)

  • Scissors

  • Small craft knife

  • Acrylic Paint

  • Paint brushes

  • Paint palate

  • Large bowl

  • Drop cloth

Making a fake waterfall can remind you of those grade school volcano projects. Basic craft supplies, such as paper mache, allow you to create a detailed structure. You can make a traditional waterfall with greens and blues based on a real life waterfall or push the envelope using acrylic paint mixes and extras to create your own unique waterfall design that may be inspired by imagined place no one has ever seen.


Step 1

Purchase the craft supplies that you will need for your project. Visit a local park and collect natural things like rocks, pebbles or tree branches.

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Step 2

Research different types of waterfalls and pick a type to base your design on. Sketch an outline of the waterfall you want to create. Embellish the design as you see fit, or model it after a real or fictitious waterfall or mountain you have seen. Shape the wire into the basic shape of the mountain and secure it to the base.


Step 3

Prepare the clay for your structure. Press the clay onto the wire structure and move from the top of the structure to the base creating a thin base layer. Spread the clay to extend outward from the base of the structure.

Step 4

Add more clay to the structure and shape it using your hands only from top to bottom. Pinch and mold the clay as you move over the structure until you reach the bottom. Clean your hands of any clay residue and gather the supplies you need to add texture to the structure.


Step 5

Use a sharp knife and textured items like leaves or gravel chunks to create a rougher exterior surface to the waterfall. Create the water flow section of the waterfall using your knife and smoothing from the top of the waterfall downward in a winding path. Paint a base coat of acrylic paint to your waterfall and allow it to dry for about an hour.


Step 6

Mix your paper mache paste in the amount you need and use it to create rocks, trees and many other aesthetic elements. Once dry, place the paper mache pieces where you want them on the structure and secure them. Paint these pieces individually.

Step 7

Continue painting the entire waterfall structure blending into the painted paper mache pieces. Paint the falls using a swirling pattern flowing up and down the structure. Use a glossy finishing coat to give the water a different look than the other paint on the waterfall.

Step 8

Allow the waterfall to dry fully before moving. This could take two to five hours to fully dry.


Sort through your gathered natural elements and find tree branch pieces that look similar to trees and shrubbery and use them to accent the waterfall plant life. Secure larger stones jagged stones to create cliffs or create miniature cliff facades and attach them to the waterfall. Use a spray adhesive to lightly dust the structure with dirt. Shake off any excess.


Be careful using small objects like pebbles in a structure that is accessible to small children as they can be a choking hazard. Check that the natural elements you use in your structure are not allergens to you or those who will be using it.



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