As a child, I had a small accumulation of stones, fossils, and shells. When I became a father, I shared my interest in nature by tumbling stones with my children. Tumbling stones is the craft of taking rough stones and tumbling them in abrasive media multiple times until they are polished. The process is a journey that includes science, beauty, and surprise. Tumbling stones can be enjoyable for people of all ages. Here are some tips and resources to get started.
This is LOUD. Make sure you have a semi-remote area where you can work without irritating certain folks (you know the ones). Basements and garages work well for this craft.
I like to tumble a couple of days longer than most instruction manuals suggest.
Always combine stones of like hardness. You can look up their hardness online.
Explain to your young associates that this takes a long time and to be patient.
Keep one rough stone and one from each step of the tumbling process to see the progress during the process. When the tumbling cycle it is complete, you will have the progression to show to your friends.
Rock tumbling is fun but you may tire of it. If this happens, pass your equipment, supplies, and rough stones on to a friend.
Finding Stones to Tumble
You can find your own, but most common stones are somewhat void of color.
This is my favorite place to buy stones for cabochons, carving, and tumbling: https://thegemshop.com/collections/rough-rock-1/tumbling-materials
Tumblers and Medium
If you want to get everything at one place, I recommend this site: https://thegemshop.com/collections/lapidary-equipment-1
Also great: Minnesota Lapidary Supply
You can find a larger selection here: Kingsley North
Tumbling: Kingsley North
My favorite rock book: Everybody Needs a Rock (An Aladdin Book)