Stacking Stones

Humans have been stacking stones for an awfully long time. England’s Stonehenge was thought to be used as a burial site, and created as early as 2500BC. Inuksuks, made by the inhabitants of the Arctic region, were used as markers for travel routes and hunting grounds. Cairns have been found in Scandinavia as trail and sea marks, and in Somalia, to indicate tombs of former kings. Modern cairns are commonly used to indicate hiking trails, biking trails, or areas of possible danger. And some very patient people have even transformed rock balancing into performance art. These man-made stacks of stones and delicately balanced sculptures are truly fascinating things of beauty.


  • stones
  • acrylic paint
  • googly eyes
  • white glue

1. It’s pretty easy to find stones outside, and if you’re looking for smooth ones, head to the beach. Make sure they are clean and dry before painting. If they are wet and you need them in a hurry, you can dry them in the oven.

2. Before painting, decide on the stones you’ll be using for each tower by stacking them, and making sure they balance well. Lay them out in order so you remember what goes where.

3. Decide on the combination of colours you would like to use for each tower, and begin painting. Acrylic paint is best because gouache or tempera will peel off once dry. Allow paint to dry, then add a small amount of white glue in between each stone when stacking them. If you want them to be more permanent, you can track down a stronger glue. Add the googly eyes and set the towers aside to dry. Finally, add them to your garden where you’ll be able to enjoy them year round, basking in the sun or peaking out through the snow.

Worth Checking Out:

The fine art of balancing rocks on top of each other is truly impressive to watch. Have a look at some of these sites:


Filed under Art and Nature, rock painting, sculpture

4 responses to “Stacking Stones

  1. I love this idea, and the colors on your rocks are fantastic!! I’m thinking about doing some sort of rock painting with my little guy this weekend…Have you had any problems with the acrylic paint washing off? I’m trying to decide if I need to seal the paint somehow…

    • Thanks Kristin. One of my son’s pet rocks has been “living” in the garden for about 10 years. The acrylic paint is still on, but the colours have faded. Sealing it might help preserve the intensity of the colours. I’ve never tried it, but it does make sense. Good luck!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s