Rocks are great canvases for crafts. They’re hard to destroy, easy to find and even easier to leave behind without worrying about your impact on the environment. After painting rocks, I knew it was time to finally figure out how to carve rocks using a Dremel tool.
Several weeks ago we made Love Rocks. They were handpainted rocks that we decorated with messages that encouraged others or a simple heart design. Then we left them all around our favorite park for people to discover. The kids went nuts for this project. It was a great way to open up a conversation with them about how the little things we do for others truly does matter.
About a week later we went back to that same park and all of the Love Rocks were gone. Our mission had been accomplished.
But we can’t stop there. We all loved it so much that we’re going to keep going with our Love Rocks campaign.
That’s why we picked up a new bag of river rocks from the craft store. A few dark rocks have been set aside to try painting with white intricate designs but the other ones I knew I wanted to try rock carving with.
Paint might eventually chip or wear off of a rock but a carving is there until the rock breaks apart. It’s a lasting impression that I wanted to make.
I tried several different methods of rock carving from tutorials I found online and have used them to make my own system that worked well.
First you’re going to need to gather your rocks and a Dremel with a diamond carving tip and several different sizes of a grinding tip. All of these tips were included with my Dremel so check your drill bits before you purchase any. You’ll also need a cup of water and a towel.
Start with the diamond carving tip set on a slower speed. The slower speeds will give you a lot more control. Outline the shape of your design using light strokes. If you press down hard you will wear out your bit and it the carving will be more uneven.
I found that the smoothest carvings were from using the dremel tool at a 45 degree angle rather than using the tip straight up and down.
You want to make a rough outline of your shape and any shading you want done with this tip. It cuts deeper and better than just using a grinding tip.
Once you have your rough outline done, switch your drill bit to a grinding tip. You want to use the grinding tip to even out all the carvings. Simply go over the carving with the grinding tip a few times until you’re happy with how it looks.
A lot of tutorials online suggest pouring water over the rock while you’re using the Dremel to keep the bit cool and help it last longer.
I tried this and honestly it made the carving really hard to see. I found that taking a break every minute or so to dunk the rock in water and then dry it with a towel worked the best. It gives your eyes a break from doing small work and helped give the tip and the rock a time to briefly cool down.
How to write on the rocks – All of the lettering was done using the diamond drill bit. Honestly it’s easy to make mistakes. I recommend going very slow when writing and only make one pass. If you want to go over it again you can but I found that most of the mistakes were done when I tried to go over the writing several times.
You can also use the diamond bit to drill a hole straight through any of the flat rocks. Just be warned! It’s a messy job.
To drill a hole in a rock you do have to keep it very wet and use constant pressure on the Dremel. It will be messy and dust from the rock will go everywhere.
But I was able to make a cute carved pendant for my daughter’s birthday gift so in the end it was worth it.
These rocks are special. Later this week they’re going to join some other rocks and be scattered around our town. Hopefully the people that find them know that we spent time making them because they are worth the time we spent to make their day better.
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