Collage Garden Stones


Delightful garden stones will liven up any pathway! Use collage materials such as letters, beads or natural foliage to decorate these garden stones. Our special Salt-Clay recipe is perfect for this activity!

Age: 4-10+

Duration: 30 minutes for mixing/decorating. Leave overnight to dry.

You’ll Need:

• Potato starch

• Water

• Salt

• Mixing bowl

R2143/R2145/R2153 Really Big Buttons

R20100 Collage Buttons

R2040/R20203 Animal Face Buttons

R2183/R20202 Fancy Stringing Rings

R2170 Brilliant Beads

R2184/R2185/R2186 Letter & Number Beads

• Shallow pan or tray

• Gloves

• Popsicle stick for mixing

Line-15Our Salt-Clay recipe was crafted from a few experimental attempts to make fridge magnets! We ended up with a great recipe for moldable clay that could be used for tons of projects. We decided to use the clay to make the garden stones, but you are welcome to use your own recipes if they are better suited. We tried to use ingredients that are easily found in your nearby stores and pantry closets!


2 Cups Potato Starch

1 Cup  Salt

1 Cup  Water

Always follow this ratio of 2:1:1 to get the same consistency of clay!

Blend materials together with your students to introduce science concepts. You can talk about how starches are used as thickening ingredients because they bond to warm water and this causes the cells in the starch to grow bigger. Once the mixture is made and you leave it to dry, you allow all the water to evaporate from the material. Explain what evaporating is and how this helps to create a solid from what was once a very pliable material.

Before you start, WEAR GLOVES! You must wear gloves to help minimize mess and prevent hands from drying out when working with the starch and salt.

_5221772Arrange all your materials into organized piles. I placed all the collage beads and buttons into small bowls. The mixing supplies are kept separate in baggies. Use a large bowl for mixing the clay.

_5221774_5221775_5221777Mix all the dry ingredients together and sift with your hands. This helps diffuse the starches and salt throughout each other so that you don’t have visible clumps when mixing in the water.


Drop all the water in the center of the starch mixture.

_5221784Mix the water fully into the starch mixture with your gloved hands. Give the batter a good massage so that all the water is fully saturated into the mixture.

_5221787The clay should appear soft and pliable but not overly wet or flaky. It should look just like regular playdough! At this stage, you could color the clay or leave the color as is.

_5221813Release a few drops of food coloring onto the dough.

_5221815Mix the color fully into the clay. You can even split the clay in half and color each section with a different color, then merge the two to get a marbled effect.

_5221788Break off bits of the clay and press into the shallow tray. Make sure to fill in all the corners with the clay. Smooth out the top of the clay shape with your knuckles and palms. Press lightly to spread the clay over any rough edges, and keep working away until the tray is filled completely.

WelcomeNow’s the time to decorate! Take your assortment of letter beads and decorative collage buttons and press into the clay shape. Write special words or names to make plaques!

AndrewFor the colored plaque, we wrote a name into the clay using the Letter Beads. Press the beads partway into the clay, then lift them out to make an imprint! Repeat this step with your favorite beads or buttons to decorate the clay.


Fill in the imprints with paint. Use a fine-point paintbrush to keep the paint within the lines. Leave the paint to dry overnight.


Finalize your garden stone with a layer of heavy-duty spray sealant to preserve the look away from rain and other natural elements. It’s best to do this outside so that there’s less chance of inhaling any of the spray. Alternatively, you could use Mod Podge® to seal in the garden stone and add a nice finish.

_5272107Place garden stones outside in the garden or to make a pathway through a backyard! NOTE: Dig out a small layer of soil, about the size of your garden stone and about 1/2″ deep. Press the garden stone into the soil as far as it will go. If it sticks a bit out from the top of the soil, press all sides gently with your foot to settle the stone into the ground.


What kind of personalized salt clay garden stones did your students make? Send us photos of what they’ve made! Contact us through the contact form. 

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About roylcoblog

We love art! After 40 years, we continue to be a leader in innovative and unique art materials. Our mission is to help teachers make educating children exciting, engaging and creative. We demonstrate our commitment to teachers through the quality and affordability of our products. We lead the industry in innovation and design. Our belief is that healthy learning comes from healthy minds and bodies. For over 40 years, Roylco has been creating unique and innovative hands-on products in art, science, math, special needs, literacy, socials studies and early childhood that will engage children as well as empower teachers and parents. Our product line consists of over 400 products in a variety of educational subjects that meet the National Standards.

6 thoughts on “Collage Garden Stones

  1. Hi! I just tired making a test batch of this dough, and though I followed the ratio 2:1:1 it didn’t come out right. It was very runny. I ended up adding some more starch and a little salt, but it wasn’t very pliable. I am willing to try a second trial, but I don’t want to spend any more money on potato starch if I’m not absolutely thrilled!

    • Hi Franciful! I’m trying to figure out why it would turn out so runny. There is only one cup of water to about 3 cups of dry ingredients, but I will try to offer some suggestions for your second test batch! We bought potato starch from the bulk store and used regular table salt with a cup of cold water. I kneaded it for about 2 minutes until it was soft and pliable. One suggestion I have is to first mix your dry ingredients thoroughly, and then divide the cup of water into three parts separately. Put one third of the water in, knead that all together. It will be very dry at first because the water ratio is so low. Put another 1/3 of the water in and knead again. If you feel that the last 1/3 of that cup of water is needed, add it in and see what happens! I hope that works out for you; I’ve made several batches in the past and two batches for this photo-shoot, and it turned out just fine. Thank you for trying, however, and please let me know how it turned out! 🙂

  2. I am teaching a class where we make our own art supplies. Have gotten the recipes off Pinterest. A couple of recipes have been less than stellar. Can’t wait to try your recipe! This particular group really enjoys any dough/clay materials.

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