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Rock painting and other earth-friendly crafts

Updated on September 28, 2015
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Nature Provides Us With Gifts. Let's Use Them.

Some of life’s most simple pleasures are right before our eyes. We walk on them, kick them around, throw them, build with them, decorate walkways with them, collect them, and use them to make hairpieces. What else could this be but rocks?

No, you didn't misread it. Yes, I did say hairpieces. Whoever heard of using rocks for hairpieces? I’m not sure, except I thought, why not?

I gathered rocks from my front yard and along the paths where I run (if you are anywhere near a stream or where water, you are likely to find smooth stones). I go for rocks of different shapes as well as smooth ones. They need TLC (tender, loving, care), too.

Now, I mused, let me see what I can do to appreciate these wonders of nature. Here are some simple projects I came up with:

Paper Wrap:

  • Rocks.
  • Decorative scrapbook paper, cut in strips.
  • Paint Brush or Sponge brush.
  • Americana Decou-Page gloss.
  • Optional - embellishments of your choosing.

*Note: Do you have costume jewelry that you no longer wear, or like me, pieces that fell apart and just sit there? I have started taking them and using them for embellishment in my crafts. This way, they become useful once more.

  • Cut your paper into strips the same length as your rock. I find it helps to cut small diagonal slits in the corners. It makes it easier to wrap paper around the rock. You may choose to brush your paper with your gloss before laying it on the rock, or lay it on the rock first and then brush with the gloss. It’s a matter of preference.
  • Wrap the rock completely in paper. It doesn’t matter if you need to criss cross the paper. I like the finished criss-cross effect. To me, it has a little more of the home-made touch. But if you prefer to have an even look, just place the strips side by side, not overlapping.
  • It helps to do one side, let it dry, then do another side. This way, you can wash your hands in between so they aren’t so sticky.
  • Let rock dry. Give one last brush with clear glaze.
  • Let rock dry completely, then embellish with decorations of your choice. You may consider: ribbon, shiny decals, stickers, scrapbook embellishments and holiday/special occasion decorations.

Now that you have finished your rock/rocks, what do you do with them?

  • Find a small to medium size glass dish, set some colored tissue (or cut strips of tissue to make confetti) and set inside dish. Gently arrange rocks on top and top off with a small silk flower if desired. Stick a tea-light battery operated candle behind it in the evening to give off a little glow. Perfect for outside dinners on the patio or morning brunches.
  • From thrift shop, look for small containers with unique design. Use as centerpieces at parties, or just simply set container of rocks on small table around house.
  • Use small pails or baskets and put rocks inside with moss or confetti or potpourri.

Paper wrapped rocks, with decorative scrapbook paper.
Paper wrapped rocks, with decorative scrapbook paper.
http://Set in a pretty glass dish, and put on hall table or counters. Here, I cut strips of tissue paper to make confetti, then placed two small paper flowers inside. Decorated rocks will be placed on top.
http://Set in a pretty glass dish, and put on hall table or counters. Here, I cut strips of tissue paper to make confetti, then placed two small paper flowers inside. Decorated rocks will be placed on top.
Give off a soft, evening glow, with battery operated tea-light placed behind it.  For weddings, showers, birthdays, celebrations.
Give off a soft, evening glow, with battery operated tea-light placed behind it. For weddings, showers, birthdays, celebrations.
Use for centerpieces or table place settings at parties. Set on bedroom dressers, hall tables.
Use for centerpieces or table place settings at parties. Set on bedroom dressers, hall tables.

Rocks in Mason-Style Jar With Candle

Another easy way to use rocks.....place them inside a jar and add a candle. I added a ribbon for for small embellishment. Please do not leave it unattended if using real candle.

Sea shore theme
Sea shore theme

Barrette

  • Use small pebbles for these so your hairpiece won’t be heavy.
  • Plain barrette (six pack plain barrettes available at Michael’s).
  • Americana Triple Thick Brilliant Brush-on Gloss Glaze or choice color acrylic paint if you want to add hues to the rocks to match a theme (red, white and blue for patriotic theme).Use spray paint instead of paint brushing small pebbles.
  • Hot glue gun/glue sticks.

Decorate:

  • To stay with the all-natural look, brush clear gloss on pebbles and allow pebbles to dry. The pebbles will be shiny, allowing the natural colors to shine through.
  • Adhere pebbles to top of barrette with hot glue.
  • Allow to dry.
  • For coloring pebbles, lay out pebbles on top of large cardboard or other surface that you don’t mind getting spray paint on. Spray paint all pebbles separately by colors.
  • Follow same procedures 2 and 3 above.

Paint Rocks and Embellish

  • Small to medium or large rocks.
  • Acrylic paint or whatever paint suits you.
  • Paint brushes, one for each color of paint, one for gloss.
  • Americana Triple Thick Brilliant Glaze.
  • If you are the artistic painter, you can paint ladybugs, turtles, cats, dogs, or their faces on rocks.

Decorate:

After painting, allow to dry, then brush on gloss. Allow to dry before adding embellishments.

  • Paint intricate designs and/or lines, shapes.
  • Paint flower petals.
  • Paint rock one or two colors and embellish with hot glue and small bows or ribbons, charms, or any decorations of your choosing.
  • Theme your rocks for holidays or special occasions.

I use a wire strainer on a small stand and place rocks and pebbles inside to dry next to a fan.
I use a wire strainer on a small stand and place rocks and pebbles inside to dry next to a fan.
Roll pebbles in paint and place in mesh strainer which allows even drying of small pebbles on all sides.
Roll pebbles in paint and place in mesh strainer which allows even drying of small pebbles on all sides.

Sunflower

Paint each rock as a separate petal, then arrange into a flower. Use small pebbles and arrange into a stem. Use a small, round rock and paint it to match center sections of petals. Place in middle of flower. If you do not have spray paint, put pebbles in a plastic container with paint and roll around with a plastic spoon until pebbles are completely coated. I use a wire strainer to place my rocks and pebbles in and place in front of a fan for even drying.

After decorating/embellishing rock, using smaller rocks, paint a "background" and arrange them around main rock.

Wreath and ribbon
Wreath and ribbon

Wreaths

Make wreaths out of your painted stones. Wreaths may also be customized for holidays!

  • Paint your stones, and varnish.
  • Apply adhesive to stones to form a wreath. Small stones, high heat glue gun. For extra bonding, even for small stones, after stones are adhered once, add another round of glue. Medium or larger will require stronger adhesive such as Gorilla Glue or Liquid Fusion Glue.Let set for at least 2 to 3 hours.
  • Cut snips of ribbon enough to tie around spaces between stones where glue is, and tie a bow.
  • Add other embellishments if preferred. I enjoy using my collection of scrapbook embellishments. Other ideas may be small trinkets, charms, or holiday decorations.
  • No need to add anything on back. Wreath will hang as is.

Create your own designs in your own style.
Create your own designs in your own style.
Make A Statement: "Love Is The Sun Under Which Everything Thrives"
Make A Statement: "Love Is The Sun Under Which Everything Thrives"
"The Lighthouse"  Rock #1-cliff Rock #2-lighthouse
"The Lighthouse" Rock #1-cliff Rock #2-lighthouse

Plaques

  • Paint rocks.
  • Use desired size wooden board - sand, stain or paint. Add a hanging clip onto back.
  • Using hot glue (high heat only) or glue specified for stone, adhere your stones to form shapes or designs as you desire.
  • Adhere completed stones onto your prepared wooden board.
  • Varnish as desired.
  • Hang or set onto standing photo easel.

Make A Statement

ADD EMBELLISHMENTS

After making lighthouse, I adhered it to another rock and painted to appear like a cliff. High heat glue gun worked fine. Use heavy glue. Adhered sprigs of silk flowers. Took another rock and adhered it to bottom and painted it to look like water.
After making lighthouse, I adhered it to another rock and painted to appear like a cliff. High heat glue gun worked fine. Use heavy glue. Adhered sprigs of silk flowers. Took another rock and adhered it to bottom and painted it to look like water.
I adhered pebbles to bottom of lighthouse and sprigs of silk flowers. Adhered another rock on bottom and painted to look like dirt. After light coating of glue, added sand and sea shells.
I adhered pebbles to bottom of lighthouse and sprigs of silk flowers. Adhered another rock on bottom and painted to look like dirt. After light coating of glue, added sand and sea shells.
Some rocks need to be enjoyed with their natural beauty.Here, I applied two coats of clear varnish to bring out the colors. Look for rocks with various hues, shine them, leave as is, or add simple embellishment.
Some rocks need to be enjoyed with their natural beauty.Here, I applied two coats of clear varnish to bring out the colors. Look for rocks with various hues, shine them, leave as is, or add simple embellishment.

Holiday Themes

Rock, painted red. Embellished with a broken Christmas pin. It sat in jewelry box for years. I gave it new purpose.
Rock, painted red. Embellished with a broken Christmas pin. It sat in jewelry box for years. I gave it new purpose.
"Harm Not, The Earth": Old tin can, glossed; a screw; a cd disk, cut around the edges; a piece of reflected rubber; a combination lock facing; a painted pebble, and other miscellaneous.
"Harm Not, The Earth": Old tin can, glossed; a screw; a cd disk, cut around the edges; a piece of reflected rubber; a combination lock facing; a painted pebble, and other miscellaneous.

Using objects that have been discarded on the ground...

I pick up objects laying on the ground on my walks and bring them home, wash them, and use them for crafts. This is a good way to help the environment, and make something unique. You may want to to consider using vinyl gloves as you pick up objects laying around outside.

Simple instructions:

  • At thrift store, search for a "shadow box" style frame in case you have anything that may require extra space within a frame. If not, any style frame will do - or use any frames you may have at home that you are not using.
  • Scrapbook paper, one sheet
  • High heat glue gun - or adhesive of your choice
  • Articles picked up from the ground (old tin cans, otd bottle caps, paper, pieces of glass - basically just about anything: wash thoroughly, using vinyl gloves, if necessary.
  • Acrylic paint (optional) and a gloss (optional)

Assembling:

  • Glue scrapbook paper onto the front side of the frame backing.
  • Assemble your objects without adhesive, move them around to determine how you want your final display to look.
  • Decide if you want to keep the rustic look or if you want to use a gloss to give your objects to shine.
  • Decide if you would like to paint certain objects or parts of them. Do the painting.
  • While waiting for the paint and/or gloss to dry, begin with adhesive of your choice, to adhere your objects to the backing. When paint/gloss is dry, add remaining objects.
  • Put frame back together.
  • Decide if you want to embellish or paint your frame, or leave as is.




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