River Rock Mosaic Garden Rock Art

2 Materials
1 Week

With the heat and humidity keeping us indoors a lot lately, I thought it would be a great time to clean up a large catc-all area in our basement. It turned out to be a fun task actually. I found things I had been looking for, and things I forgot I had. I was pleased when I pulled a container of rocks out from under a table. Here was a garden project I'd been wanting to do for a long time.
A couple
river rock
I picked out three smaller rocks I liked the shape of and washed them with hot soapy water. Then gathered my rocks, painters/masking tape, bowl of rubbing alcohol, a work rag, and some E6000, clear or white. I found my bags of rock in the floral department at Hobby Lobby. I think they were about $3 each. They weren’t as shiny as my original ones, but would do.
After washing the rocks, they were sorted by the colors and sizes I wanted to use, swished in a bowl of rubbing alcohol to remove any oils on them, and laid out to dry.
river rock
river rock
river rock
Using a liberal amount of glue, begin gluing on the rocks you like, leaving a small space between them, 1/16″th to 1/8th”. Use a piece of tape to hold them into place until they dry. This takes some time. You may even have to use tape and a rock as a prop while drying. If you don’t wait for the rocks to dry firmly enough, they may shift as you move the rock around.
river rock
river rock
river rock
As I glued, I realized I was going to need tiny rocks for a few small spaces around the rounded tops and bottom edges. I picked out a big handful from a pea rock pile behind my house, and gave them a wash, so I’d have something to choose from.
river rock
Once the rock is completely covered, let it dry 24 hours.
I used gray sanded grout left over from a bathroom tile project. Grout powder settles and should be re-stirred before mixing with water. ALWAYS WEAR A MASK AND GLASSES when stirring or mixing grout powder. You do not want it to get into your eyes, lungs or nasal passages.
Grouts may differ, follow the directions on the grout package for mixing. I started with 1/2 cup of water, and stirred in about 1 1/4 cup to 1 1/2 cup grout powder. Stir until lumps are gone and it has a consistency of thick oatmeal. Cover in an airtight container and let set for 15 to 20 minutes, before grouting.
I used an old shower curtain to provide a waterproof surface to work on. You’ll also need a pair of rubber or disposable gloves, a bucket of water, old rag, and maybe a putty knife.
river rock
river rock
river rock
Re-stir the mixed grout. Spread the grout across the rocks, pressing it into all the crevices. You can spread the grout on neatly with a putty knife, or just lay it on with your gloved fingertips, which is the method I prefer. Make sure you cover the edges of the rocks on the bottom as well.
river rock
river rock
river rock
river rock
Once the rocks are covered with grout, let them set 30 to 40 minutes. Squeeze out a wet rag and wipe them down to expose the rocks you glued on. Let set another 10 to 15 minutes, or sooner, depending on how fast your grout is drying, then rub firmly around the rocks to remove any excess grout, and smooth the grout lines. Wipe lightly with a rinsed dampened rag. Rinse rag with clean water and wipe lightly again. The rocks should be pretty clean but still have a slight hazy look. Let dry 12 hours. ALWAYS DISPOSE OF DIRTY GROUT WATER OUTSIDE – NEVER POUR IT DOWN YOUR DRAIN! Using an outdoor faucet works best for rinsing and washing grout buckets, rags, and tools.

See how I finished this project and other DIY projects by clicking on my blog link below.

Suggested materials:

  • River rocks  (Hobby Lobby)
  • E6000  (Walmart or craft store)
Vicky Kloppenborg

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • Gra11196640
    on Aug 2, 2017

    Why not put the rocks in cement or the grout...Save time gluing and taping them on a rock??

    • Vicky Kloppenborg
      on Aug 9, 2017

      Thank You Jewell Martin! Yes, our winters do get a little colder. Seems like we get a lot more ice, than snow, anymore. Prompts me to bring a lot of things in for the winter, rather I really need to or not.

  • Cheryl Swan Podesta
    on Jun 19, 2018

    Can I use that grout to make stepping stones?

    • Vicky Kloppenborg
      on Jun 20, 2018

      Hi Cheryl, Yes, this grout can be used on a stepping stone, just make sure you seal it. However, depending on the surface of your base, you may not want to use E6000, a layer of thin set mortar would be better. I usually do a little snooping on Hometalk , or Pinterest, to see what others have used on similar projects.

Join the conversation

3 of 19 comments
  • Tiena Nobles
    on Aug 3, 2017

    What a great way to display your favorite rocks!! I have always collected rocks and try to keep them together in the garden. This idea is perfect!!

    • Vicky Kloppenborg
      on Aug 4, 2017

      Thank You Tiena Nobles! We are rock lovers too. The grand kids and I have little piles of rocks all over the garden. :)

  • Margaret
    on Sep 2, 2017

    I was a back packer and have carried hundreds of pounds of rocks home. I put some in a little pile by a plant but rescued them for an indoor fountain. Now I think I will make some paperweights with them. I like natural elements in my décor and have several rocks engraved with inspirational words. Thank you Vicky.

Your comment...