Most of us pay little attention to rocks. But for crafters, they present all kinds of possibilities. An attractive rock makes a splendid adornment for the right project. Rocks are also great for kids' crafts, because just painting and decorating them can be lots of fun.
With a little imagination, a rock can be turned into any number of things. You can paint it up and add googly eyes to create a pet rock. You can decorate a large rock and use it as a paperweight. You can even make little people and animals out of them. Who knew rocks could be so versatile?
Choosing a Rock for Your Project
For most projects, smooth rocks are the best. These can be difficult to find, but a good place to look is in a creek or river if there is one nearby. The flowing water smoothes stones naturally over time. You can find both large and small rocks in bodies of water.
Rough, jagged rocks can also work for some projects. They are more difficult to paint evenly than smooth rocks, but this adds to their charm. Small jagged rocks may also be glued onto smooth ones as "body parts" or accents for some projects.
If you plan to paint the entire rock, color won't be an issue. But some rocks come in beautiful colors that do not require painting. These are much rarer than your usual gray or brown rocks, so finding one is a real treat.
Working with Rocks
The first thing to do when crafting with rocks is to clean them thoroughly. Take care to remove all dirt so that paint and glue will stay put. For jagged or unusually shaped rocks, you might need to use a small, stiff brush to make sure it's nice and clean.
When painting rocks, acrylics work the best. It sticks to rocks very well and has a glossy sheen. Tempera also holds well, but it has a chalkier finish. It may be a better choice for particularly messy kids, however, because it washes off much easier than acrylic.
If you're gluing rocks together or gluing on embellishments, cement glue provides the best hold. But it also has very strong fumes, so it should only be used in a well-ventilated area by an adult. There are other types of glue that are safe for kids that will work, but the finished product will not be as durable.
Rock crafts are very inexpensive and lots of fun for kids. They're also educational, because they challenge the mind to take abstract objects and turn them into something recognizable. So the next time your child wants to make something, sit down with a pile of rocks together and let your imaginations run free.