The Zen Art of Rock Wrapping

During these hectic, stressful times, it’s nice to be able to sit quietly and make a calming project like these beautiful wrapped rocks. Surprisingly soothing to hold, and calming to look at, these embellished stones can be used as gifts, decorations, as “abandoned art” left for others to discover, or as an aid in meditation. People who collect rocks while on vacations or hikes can find a new way to commemorate that special event by adding a bit more beauty to their pocket-sized souvenir. Rock wrapping is an inexpensive yet lovely hobby with almost instant gratification.

Choosing your rock

Rocks should be smooth, but don’t pick a polished rock for your first project. Polished rocks can be used but they are more slippery than a natural rock, and could be hard to hold your wrapping material against while you’re trying to learn. Rocks that have somewhat straight parallel sides are also good choices to start with, as more rounded rocks allow the wrapping material to slide off too easily. A flat-ish front (or back) is nice, but a flat front and back is even better. Find a rock that fills the palm of your hand – not too big and not too small.

Choosing your wrapping material

There are lots of options for wrapping your rock. Twine, yarn, cord, leather lacing, waxed threads, and narrow chair caning are all good choices. Keep in mind the size and shape of your rock when you make your choice. For some rocks, I like artificial sinew, as it doesn’t slip easily while I’m working with it, but the knotted design can be less distinct when working with sinew.

Other supplies you’ll need

You probably have everything else already in your craft stash. Scissors capable of cutting your wrapping material (or a pair of small side cutters); a large-eyed needle (if your wrapping material will fit through the eye); and an awl, small flat screwdriver or a lacing fid. For your first project, you may want a small piece of double-sided tape or a glue dot to help you hold the wrapping material in place on the back of the rock while you learn your knots. Depending on the design you choose to make, you may need a small stick, jewelry charm, or metal finding to incorporate in the design.

Let’s get started on rock wrapping!

I could show you how I made the rocks pictured on this page, but I have to be honest here: I could not show you any better than the acclaimed knot-tying master, JD Lenzen. His books on knot-tying can be purchased here, and if you’re interested in knot tying, I highly recommend you have a look at them. Meanwhile, his YouTube videos are wonderfully clear and easy to understand, so I’ll let him explain how to make these gorgeous stones.

The rock my daughter is holding in the photo at the top of this page incorporates a heart-shaped charm and is worked in paper twine.

These rocks below are all variations on the “Hooked Bight”. They are worked in leather lacing, paper twine, and waxed leatherworking thread.

Here’s one I made with cotton twine, holding a small stick gathered from our back yard after a spring wind storm.

I think this one is my favorite. I made it by weaving flat leather lacing around a palm-sized rock.

I’ve got a bowl full of nice, smooth rocks waiting for me to wrap. I have favorites that I’ll keep, but some of them will be small gifts for friends. Some of them will be “abandoned art” to bring smiles to the faces of strangers who discover them, who can then keep or re-abandon them for yet another person to smile over. Have you wrapped some rocks yet? If you have, I’d love to see them!