Today I’m sharing some folk art-inspired garden rocks kids will love. Rock painting is a current trend in the crafting world and there is a reason why – it’s fun, easy and and suited to all age groups (including grown-ups). These garden rocks make a great DIY toy which kids can incorporate into games and imaginative play, and the drawstring bag is an easy way to store them and keep them all together.
Did you know that July is Sew a Softie month? The flower drawstring bag of garden rocks is my contribution to Sew a Softie, an initiative set up by Trixi of the gorgeous Coloured Buttons Blog aimed at inspiring kids around the world to get sewing. You will find lots of bloggers and crafters sharing simple sewing tutorials for kids in the Sew a Softie facebook group – why not join in?
I’ve never been that interested in folk art before but when I discovered this book in a local bookstore I changed my mind (note: this one was not a freebie). When I first flipped through Imagine a Forest by Dinara Mirtalipova I knew I wanted to try my hand at some of the whimsical designs inside. I’ve also been planning to do more rock painting, so I decided to use some of Dinara’s folk art designs to create a set of garden-themed rocks for play. They did not turn out nearly as beautiful as the originals but we still like them!
How to create a set of garden rocks
You will need:
• Smooth river rocks – if you cannot find any near you the hardware store or nursery is a good place to buy them
• Acrylic paints
• Lead pencil
- sketch your design outlines onto your rocks
- use the sketched outlines as a guide for where to paint your base colours – allow the base colours to dry
- once your base colours have dried they MAY need an additional coat of paint to get them looking more opaque
- add details and outlines in other colours using a fine brush
My daughters have been inspired by Imagine A Forest too. No sooner had I set up my art workspace than they came and took over, creating their own drawings and rock art from the designs in the book.
Below are some bird rocks painted by my 9 year old. Aren’t they cute?
How to make the drawstring bag
The drawstring bag is easy to make once you know the basic hand stitches running stitch and backstitch. I learned how to do these from Trixi’s Sew Together Grow Together book which is filled with cute and easy patterns suitable for kids to make. If you’re a beginner when it comes to sewing (I still consider myself a beginner) this is a great place to start, and also if you want to find sewing projects which will appeal to your kids and be simple enough for them to sew by hand.
You will need:
• good quality soft felt in your choice of colours
• embroidery thread
• sewing needle and needle-threader
• sharp scissors
• sewing pins
• a length of ribbon or a shoelace
• a large bead with a large hole in the centre
• this drawstring bag pattern
- cut the rectangular shape out and pin it to two squares of felt – I’ve used two different shades of green
- cut around the outside rectangle shape, which will leave you with two pieces to use as the base of your bag
- roughly cut around the separate flower shapes on page two and pin them to smaller scraps of felt. Cut around the outlines whilst they are pinned to the felt
- sew the smaller flower shape and centre dot to the middle of the circle shape using just a few stitches in the centre of the circle
- place the larger flower shape in the centre of one of the rectangular pieces, and then place the circular piece with the flower details sewn onto it on top. Sew around the outer edge of the circular piece to attach the flower to the bag base.
- sew the stem and leaves into place
- turn the flower face down and sew the two bag pieces together around the sides and along the bottom using back stitch. Leave about 2.5cm space at the top of each side without stitches so you can create the part for the drawstring.
- fold the top of each piece down and sew into place using running stitch.
- turn bag inside out
- pin a safety pin to the end of your piece of ribbon or shoelace and thread through the track you have made for the drawstring.
- thread a large bead onto the end of one piece of ribbon, then poke the other end through the same hole in the bead.
- tie a secure knot on the end to keep the bead in place
Hooray – you’re done!
This garden rock set would make a nice handmade gift for a preschooler, but my bigger girls love them too!
I’m planning on trying a few more illustrations from Imagine a Forest, maybe to create some wall art for the girls’ bedrooms.
What’s been inspiring you lately?
More Rock Craft Ideas
• Make some easy rock cakes for pretend play
• These fluffy pet rocks are so cute and easy to make!
• Make some adorable pebble love bugs
• The kids loved these weather stones
• Have you ever tried making ochre paint from rocks?