Introduction: How to Polish Rocks (Quickly and Easily!)

Picture of How to Polish Rocks (Quickly and Easily!)

Hello everyone! This is my first Instructable so I hope it goes well! So this Instructable started a few weeks ago when my family and I were visiting Ireland. On the way to the Cliffs of Moher we stopped in a rock shop which was really neat. What wasn't neat was the prices. As we were there I thought to myself, "I bet I could polish up rocks like this!" So at the Cliffs of Moher I picked up some cool looking rocks (Which I later found out to be Kilkenny Black Marble) and brought them home. When I looked up ways to polish these stones I found to my disgust that the process would take a minimum of two weeks! Being as impatient as I am, I set out to polish these rocks in the time span of one morning and I think they turned out looking about the same if not better than the two week process.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

For this you will need a wide range of sandpaper. I used different grit sandpapers ranging from 60 grit to 1200 grit. Keep in mind that the higher the grit of sandpaper you end with, the shinier the rock will be.

You will also need car wax and a rag to rub it in. I tried this granite polish stuff, but it didn't seem to work as well as the car wax.

And finally you will need...ROCKS! The type of rock you choose should obviously be able to be made shiny. You won't be able to do this sandstone or anything like that. As you can see I did cut one of the rocks in half. I did this with a diamond blade on the chop saw.

Step 2: Sanding

This part is pretty simple. Start with your lowest grit sandpaper to get the general shape of the rock that you want. This could take some time. Once you have the general shape, cycle through all the sandpapers. I found counting to ten Mississippi on each side of the rock with each sandpaper gave it a good enough sanding. You might want to spend a little more time with the highest grit sandpaper just to give it that extra shine. What I would recommend rather than sanding the rock with the sandpaper in your hand is find a flat piece of wood to put the sandpaper on. I found this method much more efficient.

Step 3: Polishing

Picture of Polishing

You should now have a very dusty, but smooth rock. Therefore, you should thoroughly wash all the dust off the rock water and then dry it before you put polish on. When you're ready to polish the rock, get your rag and put a small dot of car wax on it and rub it in to the rock. You may need to add more wax depending on the size of the rock, but make sure to only add it in little amounts at a time. After the wax dried, I added another layer of wax, and I don't know if it is my imagination or not, but I'm pretty sure it got shinier.

Step 4: Final Results

Picture of Final Results

In all, shining up these five rocks probably took me about an hour and a half. These may not be store quality shiny, but I'm still really happy with the way they turned out. Good luck to everyone out there and if you have any comments, suggestions, or questions feel free to ask!

Comments

DonK59 (author)2017-02-02

hey, would coconut oil work for a poor guy lol jk, its something similar to whats in turtle wax, maybe ill see what the oil does, also might go alot further than soaking a rag and using it that way idk lol just an idea

ZanneB made it! (author)2017-01-19

Hi! That sounds like a good way to do it! I have been trying different things on rocks to get different looks as i make pictures out of them. Sitting here in Wi. on cold winter days and nites, with warm memories of sunny, wind swept days by Lake Michigan finding these rocks, one by one, keeps me smiling. One trick i found is, lets say you have a promising looking rock but it looks rather dull. Try applying a coat of clear nail polish. It brings out the "wet" look color you may have fallen in love with when you found it! Beautifully! Also, i find if i paint a little rock, or choose to draw on it with marker or whatever, the nail polish will coat it nicely, keeping the colors from running. And you can get it for a $ @ the $store! I looked @ different types of polyurethane, and similiar products, they were alot more expensive! So, carry on rockies!

sincityangel (author)2017-01-08

I have several pieces of agate I want to polish...do you think this would work?

Henrybjay (author)2016-10-01

Thank you for sharing. Will try out your method and let you know how it works for me.

Henry Jay

leroywolfgang (author)2016-05-11

i have also experimented with rock polishing, and i have found that if you get a rock wet, that it will show you if it will polish or not!

BryanB7 (author)2016-03-12

Thank you so much no more rock polishers for me they take way to long and coat to much. Very god post saves me time and money. Thank you Thank you Thank you .

skywalker214 (author)2015-07-02

More rocks and mineral instructables and does it work on all rocks?

It does not work on all rocks. It will not work on rocks such as sandstone that will break off in sandy particles. The most common rocks that can easily be polished are granite and quartz.

Edbed (author)2015-06-26

Great instructable, with plenty of detail. Tho it would be good if you could retake some of the pictures as they are rather blurry.

tomatoskins (author)2015-06-25

Cool! Thanks for sharing!

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