I am always stunned when finding twig and rock style items for sale at craft and decorating stores. Clearly, the types of rock and twig products that can be purchased at craft stores and other venues are good enough–why not purchase these?
First of all, rocks and twigs are free, and can obviously be found easily by anyone, just about anywhere. Choosing not to purchase such indulgent and unnecessary commodities may be wise in a “going green” mindset. Besides, why use artifice, when you can have the real thing?
There are all types of ways to incorporate rocks, twigs, and other free, natural elements into your home decorating plans and ideas. Flowers are not the only things that look pretty when brought inside. I’ve been using rocks for years for many purposes: crafts, supplementation in flower arrangements, bookends, and even incorporating found rocks into my massage practice, as hotstones, and tools for reflexology.
Even when my son was very young, he learned to be in the habit of scouting for nice, found natural things. So many times, he would spy a rock, pick it up, and say, “Here’s a good rock, mom.” Looking for nice natural items is a fun family activity.
Below are some notes on cleaning, displaying, using, and finally, scouting for rocks and twigs.
Cleaning rocks and twigs is simple. For rocks, simply designate a scrub brush as a tool to clean natural items you will be using inside. These can be found very inexpensively at Dollar Tree. Allow rocks to sit in a utility bowl (non-food) bucket, or container, with water, a small squirt of dish soap, and a small amount of bleach (a capful or two) if extra sanitation is desired.
After soaking for an hour, remove the rocks and scrub with the brush and dish soap, rinse, and allow to dry. Although a simple rinse or scrub gives the rock the appearance of cleanliness, I recommend the method above, to ensure all bacteria and microbes are killed.
Cleaning twigs is simple as well. Simply rinse in the shower or sink, and let dry. Although the scrubbing and dish soap method above can be used for an extra measure of cleaning, bleach should not, as the porous nature of the twig and branch absorbs it.
Ideas for display and usage
The ideas here are only a starting point-there are endless ways to incorporate rocks and twigs into your home and craft projects. Below is are a couple lists, followed by some notes.
Twigs and small branches
Flower arrangement supplementation, many various size twigs with different textures and shapes as a vase arrangement, branches used as curtain rods, picture frames, faux candles in candle holders or candelabras; walking stick, decorated magic wands, or toy sword crafts, artfully arranged as seasonal centerpieces; cold weather forging projects…
Rocks and pebbles
Bookends; flower and bamboo holders in clear vases with water; homemade runes; paint and stamp crafts (rocks look very cool as rubber stamp mediums;) tiny pebbles painted and incorporated as embellishments in jewelry, scrapbooking, and other crafts, door stops, garden stepping stones, labyrinth materials…
Notes on usage
Rocks can be painted with any kind of craft paint, and look especially nifty with metallic paint. As mentioned, they also look very cool embellished with intricate rubber stamps-almost magical. -Certainly, you’ve come across rocks for sale that have feel-good words engraved or printed on them, like “believe,” “dream,” “breathe,” and that sort.
Alphabet stencils and rubber stamps are available at craft stores, and make rock decorating an easy, fun project that even the youngest children can help out with. Obviously, it’s a craft that can be very personalized and unique. Even larger rocks could be used with this method, with full quotations.
Likewise, twigs and branches can be painted-spray paint perhaps being the easiest method. The addition of glitter makes for a bunch of very lovely twigs that can be used alone or within paper or dried flower arrangements. An appropriate size twig with various branches and offshoots painted (or even plain) can make a nice base to hang Easter or other holiday decorations, or received greeting cards.
Finding & collecting rocks and twigs
Rocks and twigs can be found anywhere-all you have to do is start keeping in mind, and being aware of the type of rocks and twigs you’re looking for. Or, you could start choosing rocks and twigs that appeal to you, and dream up projects based on your findings.
Just remember that removing things from National Forest land is against policy, and anything on private property might be questionable. No matter-rocks and twigs are everywhere!