How to Make a Personalized Paperweight

Photography by Thomas J. Story
An etched river rock becomes a thoughtful handmade holiday gift

For this project, crafter Kelly Wilkinson used beach rocks from her own collection; before collecting rocks from beaches, be sure to check for any local restrictions. Or buy rocks online at Rock Tumbling Supplies.


  • Rock or rocks (see note above)
  • Scissors
  • Rub-on transfers (from Hambly Screen Prints)
  • Coin (a nickel or a quarter works best)

To create magnet versions, you’ll also need:

  • J-B Weld Epoxy (available at hardware stores)
  • 1/2-inch round ceramic magnets (available at craft stores, such as Michaels)


1. Make sure rocks are clean and dry.

2. Using scissors, cut out rub-on transfer.

3. Place transfer on rock, tacky side down. Rub coin back and forth over the transfer, making sure to rub over the entire design.

4. Peel backing off slowly, checking to make sure the design transferred. If it sticks to the backing at any point, replace backing and continue to rub transfer.

5. If using as a magnet, place small amount (pencil eraser size) of epoxy on underside of rock. Adhere magnet and press firmly onto rock. Allow epoxy to dry.

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