How to Polish Stones by Hand

Updated April 17, 2017

Collecting rocks is a great hobby for kids and adults. But what do you do with the rocks once you've got them? Some harder rocks can be polished in a rock tumbler, but you may want to polish your softer rocks by hand. It takes no special skill, just time and patience.

Wet the rock and start sanding with the lowest grit (80-grit) sandpaper. Keep a bowl or bucket of water handy, as you will need to keep the rock wet throughout the process. Sand the rock down to the desired shape and smoothness. This process may take a while.

Wet the rock again and start sanding with the 180-grit sandpaper to remove some of the deeper surface scratches.

Wet the rock once more and use the 600-grit sandpaper to smooth the rock further and remove lighter scratches. Rinse off the rock often during this part to remove dust.

Wet a denim cloth and squeeze out excess water. Put a small bit of powdered polish on the damp cloth and polish the rock with the cloth.

Replenish the polish on the cloth as you continuing to polish.

Things You'll Need

  • Powdered polish
  • Wet & dry sandpaper: 80, 180 and 600-grit
  • Scrap denim cloth
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About the Author

Deborah has been creating and managing web content for over ten years. She has a BA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College and an MFA in screenwriting from The American Film Institute. Her writing has appeared in the Netbook web guides, and she has created and managed content for Yahoo,, and dozens of websites ranging from web comics to IBM and GE.