Carving Rocks with a Dremel

How to carve and drill holes through rocks with a Dremel via

There is something very gratifying about carving into a rock.  This project was kind of therapeutic. I was thinking I’d carve some words into rocks and maybe start leaving them around Palm Desert to see if people find them….

I love large river rocks:


Carving River Rocks with a Dremel via

All you really need for this project is a Dremel (I used the new cordless Dremel 8220), a few different attachments, a bowl of water and rocks:

Materials needed to carve rocks with a Dremel via

For softer rocks a silicon carbide grinding stone is all you need. (it’s the same attachment that I used for the broken china accessories here)

Carbide Dremel Attachment via

I drew a sketch onto my rock first:

Carving River Rocks with a Dremel (Step 1) via

Then, at a low speed, I slowly etched my design into the rock:

(Note: Make sure to wear protective eye wear!)

Carving River Rocks with a Dremel (Step 2) via

I carefully went over my design, etching a little deeper each time. Every few seconds, I dipped it in water which cools the rock off and makes it easier to see what I’m doing:

Engraving River Rocks with a Dremel (Step 3) via

The finished carving:

DIY Carved Rock / Pebble via

I took a rag and applied a little beeswax and buffed the rock to a shine which makes the design stand out a little more:

Use Beeswax to polish rock via

Polished and ready for a gift or decor:

Use Beeswax to polish carved rock via

Some rocks are a little harder than others. I’m not a geologist so I can’t help you out here….you’ll have to experiment a little. Harder rocks will require a diamond bit for carving….or you’ll wear out the carbide bit too quickly:

Dremel Diamond Bit Attachment via

You can also use a polishing wheel for adding beeswax:

Dremel Polishing Wheel Attachment via


Finished Etched Rock via

To make jewelry and accessories with rocks all you have to do is drill a hole. You can use a diamond bit on a drill or use your Dremel for this as well:

How To Drill a Hole in a Rock via

I found a rock with a thinner end:

How To Drill a Hole in a Rock (Rock for Jewelry) via

And used the Dremel to drill through the end. It takes a little patience, and lots of water, but eventually I got through… took about 8 minutes of on and off drilling:

How To Drill a Hole in a Rock with a Dremel via


A fun necklace with a suede lace added:

DIY Rock Accessories via

Another idea….add a few words or a short quote to a rock:

How to Carve Words in Rocks using a Dremel via

Make a collection for the coffee table:

Tutorial for Carving and Etching Rocks via

…..or make one for a gift:

Tutorial for Carving and Etching Rocks with a Dremel via


Make sure to check out this tutorial on recycling broken china too!


How to make upcycled accessories from broken china via


Disclaimer: A big thanks to Dremel for sponsoring this post!


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    • Irv says

      Close, but Crystalline silica DOES NOT cause cancer. It causes SILICOSIS. If you’re not also wearing protection for your lungs, you’re an idiot.

  1. Madi W. says

    That is awesome 😀 Those rocks are so cute and I think you should totally leave them around town! I used to leave random notes around the school to see if people would pick them up 😉


  2. Sharon says

    I have used the dremel on my fused glass. I put the piece I needed to drill a hole into directly in the bowl with water and started drilling. That way didn’t have to stop to let it cool off. I guess you could use it the same way with the rocks.

  3. says

    Nice post! Love the little sunshine carving :)

    Another good drill bit for making holes is a diamond-tipped, hollow coring bit (I get mine from RioGrande) The drilling goes faster because your cutting out a tube instead of grinding away a ton of rock :)

    • Dory says

      Please don’t let your 4 year old use the dremel. While it does have adjustable speeds, it changes speed with the roll of a little wheel that would be all too easy to accidentally speed up. This is one of those mighty might tools :) It has a lot of power and would be very easy to loose control of, especially when pressure is applied such as carving in to a stone….better safe then sorry.

    • Dan says

      Surely you can’t be serious? A 4 year old with a dremel? How about a scalpel, chainsaw, or a shotgun?

      My 4 year old loves fireworks and sparklers, should I give him a box of matches and some rockets?

  4. Sharon says

    Thank You so much.. I am experienced in using the dremel tool, but I have been carving on Deer Antlers. Wahoo.. I have a lovely creek running through my land and will be out there looking at the rocks.. and can’t wait to try my hand at rock carving…Great idea, thanks for sharing…..