After you collect and clean your stones, decorate them however you wish. You can use acrylic paint and regular permanent markers, but my favorite technique is to draw with a Montana white acrylic paint pen. They are a bit pricey, but I spent way more than its cost on the several other markers that weren't as opaque, or the paint didn't run as smoothly. My marker is also refillable, which will potentially save me money, if I go nuts and paint a hundred rocks or something. I got mine at Michael's, and note that the Montana markers are kept in a separate case, usually near the check-out lines. I assume this is because the markers are designed for grafitti artists, and the store wants to keep an eye on potential law-breakers. Note: I do not endorse using these markers for tagging other people's property. But, the fact that the markers CAN be used to do so, means that they are really good at what they do.
So anyway. You can stick with a plain white design, like these geometric shapes:
If you want a pendant with color, it's a good idea to paint your design with white first, letting it dry, and then going over it with colored markers or paint. The two below were made using acrylic craft paint; the one on the left has a white undercoat, and the one on the right is two coats of acrylic paint:
I've found that I can use regular fine-point Sharpies over the dried Montana white — there's no need to buy a rainbow of expensive paint markers. Once I discovered the level of detail I could get, it opened up my design options. I ended up creating a couple of simple animal cameos. Here's a series of photos to show you the order in which I added the elements and layers.
Next, make your bail. A bail is a metal thingy with a loop and a flat part you glue to the back of something to turn it into a pendant. You can buy bails, if you'd prefer, but I am a "make-do" sort of a person, so I made one out of wire. To do so, cut a couple of inches of wire. I used 22 gauge copper wire from the hardware store.
Twist one end into a loop for hanging, and the other end into a rough spiral.
Bend the middle of the wire doohickey you made so it follows the curve of the stone somewhat. You just want the hanging loop part to end up sticking fairly straight out from the top of the stone. No need to be terribly fussy with this.
And now, you glue. For something like this, you want a strong glue. And that means you want a glue you don't want little kids using. This is a teens-and-up glue. That glue's name is E6000. It does not seem terribly fume-y to me, but there are warnings on the label, so I report what I see. It is a very strong glue. I once used it to make a tiered cookie display out of plates and candlesticks, and it survived several years until I dropped it -- and the bottom plate broke, not the glue. Strong. Squeeze a drop of E6000 onto the back of the stone, then swirl the spiral part of the wire around in the glue so it is enveloped by it. Then, let it dry for a few hours.
Cameo necklaces look best on a cord that's too short in length to fit over your head, so you'll need to either use an existing necklace, or make one with a clasp. I have a bag of jump rings and jewelry clasps (the link goes to something similar), so I tied the ends of a length of thin black cord to one of each. I just used a single knot for each end, and then I placed a drop of crazy glue (another adults-only material) onto each knot so they won't ever come undone.
When all the glue has dried, you're set! Here's the necklace, using a cat cameo I made a couple of weeks ago.
With a bit of adult help, this craft is truly all-ages. Get out there and find some stones!
I'm Debbie Way, an artist and writer who enjoys making things.