Children always seem to love to play with rocks, so this can be the perfect craft project. Rocks are also free, since they can be found almost anywhere outdoors. By adding a few art accessories such as buttons, “google eyes,” felt, or wood scraps, it is possible to make an almost endless variety of little rock critters. You can use craft glue to connect rocks, and acrylic craft paints to add color and design.

Time: 1 hour

Suitable for: Adults and children (even small children can make these with some help)


At least one rock, preferably more

Other common craft materials, such as pipe cleaners, buttons, “google eyes,” wood scraps, Popsicle sticks, or felt

Craft glue or other adhesive for connecting rocks and adding other craft materials

Acrylic craft paints in a variety of colors

Small paintbrush

To Make:

Step 1: Select the rocks and wash them carefully. If washing rocks in the sink, be sure to cover the bottom of the sink with a protective material such as a paper towel or cloth to prevent scratches. Once the rocks are clean, lay them out on the countertop on paper towels so that they can dry completely. If the rocks are not completely dry, you may have problems with adhesives not working correctly, or paint not adhering properly. Smooth rocks are easier to work with and paint, but jagged or rough rocks can also be used to create interesting rock critters. If you don’t have any rocks that you can gather on your own, smooth river rocks can usually be purchased at a craft store.

Step 2: Decide on the type of rock critter you want to create. This is often influenced by the kind of rocks that were collected. Fit the rocks together in various ways until you find a critter style that you like, or decorate a single rock.

Step 3: Use craft glue or other adhesive to connect the rocks if using more than one. You will probably have to use supports or tape to hold the rocks in place until the adhesive has a chance to dry. Follow the instructions for the adhesive carefully in regards to drying time and proper work space ventilation.

Step 4: Once the adhesive has dried, use craft paints to bring the rock critter to life, using whatever colors or patterns are appropriate. You can try to make the rock critter realistic based on an existing animal, or have fun creating your own imaginary rock critter, such as a space rock critter or rock critter monster. It’s usually best to let one color of paint dry before adding other colors, to prevent smearing and blending. When finished, let the paint dry completely.

Step 5: Once the paint is dry, use the other decorating accessories and craft glue to add interesting details to your rock critter. Add a couple of plastic “google eyes”, buttons for ears, wire pipe cleaners for antennae, pieces of cut felt for feet, or any other accessories that work to achieve the look you desire. When finished, allow the glue to dry and display your new rock “pet” with pride.