gone dotty

I cannot go kayaking, or to a beach, without coming back with a hold full of sand, wave washed rocks, and seashells.

I have put them in bowls (there are only so many bowls and baskets of rocks and shells you can put around the house)… made faerie houses (want one?)… and created all kinds of mini beaches around the place.

Then I saw this craft…

Image result for rock mandalas


So, yeah, I paint, I can do that…


OK, uh, well, let’s google that…


I’m clearly a little more freeform than the Canadian artist above. Some artists are using various tools, like dowel rods and special things made from sticks and bolts to create perfect sized dots.

I like brushes (some rock mandala artists do use brushes) and figured I could make the dots any size that way…

uh huh.


The point is to have a sort of meditative space while you’re doing this, to be creative, to let the shape of the rock suggest something, and to commit art. Doesn’t matter if you went to art school, you can be creative, you can be an artist.

A coating of ModPodge brings out the deep colors of the rocks, the ones you saw when you picked it up off a wet beach. It also intensifies the colors of the craft paint and protects the paint from chipping off.

Most beaches allow a certain amount of beachcombing. Even Calvert Cliffs MD lets you carry out a double handful of fossils on a visit (they just don’t want you coming in with a dumptruck and carrying out the whole beach and selling stuff for commercial purposes). Some parks though do not allow carry out, so check the rules, (live plants and animals are never allowed to be carried out, or brought in!). If you don’t live near a beach, lake or river with the appropriate water worn rocks, check your local nursery, landscaping store or hardware store (any place with a garden center). They probably have river rock for landscaping. Arts and crafts stores have river rocks too.

A set of irregularly shaped flat “skipping stones” from a New York lake (so your friends go on vacation and you go “bring me back a bucket of rocks…”) suggested random designs. Some I painted black first, some I just left the dark grey of the rock.


…and a stacking game. Also a meditation.

I stacked them before and after painting and applying ModPodge to the painted side. Equally hard both ways. (the ModPodge tends to be slightly tacky even after dry).

I used both Folk Art Multisurface paint (thicker) and Americana regular craft paint (has more flow). I liked the Americana better here, I didn’t have to thin it with water, it came off the brush nicely, with good flow and plenty of intense pigment. Folk Art also has a great reputation but here the Americana worked best.

I immediately put a bunch of them in the faerie garden…

It also works on shells, below, a quahog (hard shell) clam and an Atlantic surf clam. These could be added to…


If you want to try this craft, google tutorials and youtube videos for rock mandalas, there are shiploads out there!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s