How to Polish Rocks with a Tumbler? ( 8 Easy Steps)

How to Polish rocks with a Tumbler

The first question that might arise in your mind is what is rock tumbling? It is the art of smoothing, mellowing, and polishing your stones. This allows the stones the creation of jewelry and estimation and affection of the minerals. We will tell you a complete guide on how to polish rocks with a tumbler.

For tumbling your rocks, firstly, the important product is the Rock tumbler of course. However, different rock tumblers are available in the market and online. You can buy one according to your preferences.

Secondly, there are few other items required for tumbling your rocks that are:

  • Coarse grit
  • Fine girt
  • Prepolish
  • Polish
  • Plastic pallets (for softish filler material)
  • Last but not least, you need some stones.

You can use any rocks and stones for tumbling. Make sure they aren’t fragile. So go and check out some colorful rocks and the ones that have designs will look nicer after tumbling. By the way, if you don’t find rocks, you can also use ceramic fillers for tumbling.

Once you have got all your materials, now move on to the steps given down below.

How to Polish Rocks with a Tumbler

Step 1:

Grab your tumbler chamber. It’s the part of the rock tumbler where the magic starts up. Choose some of the rocks that you have found and fill half in your tumbler chamber.

Step 2:

Now you have to add 2 to 3 tablespoons of coarse grit in the chamber and add the water up to the level of rocks and close the chamber of the tumbler. Make sure the lid is not over tighten because this can cause leaks

Step 3:

Now plug in and turn on the tumbler and allow it to run for at least 1 day. After one day, open the chamber. So that the gases may be released. Close the chamber once again and repeat this process for seven to ten days until the rocks are smooth and rounded. Also, keep checking the status and leaks.

Step 4:

After completing the first stage, wash your chamber and rocks thoroughly to remove all the traces of abrasion.

Now it’s time for smoothing. So you gotta put the washed rocks in the chamber and add two to three tablespoons of fine grit and fill water again to the level of rocks.

Step 5:

Now you gotta run your tumbler for another 7 to 10 days until your rocks have a dull glow when they are dry.

Then as in the above step, you have to clean and wash your chamber and rocks properly. Then add your cleaned rocks to the chamber and add ⅔ tablespoons of pre-polish and water.

Step 6:

You can also add three spoons extra to protect your rocks from chipping. Then repeat the same process for about 3 to 4 days.

Check the status, and remove any broken or chipped rocked inside the chamber to avoid scratching.

You’ll notice after 7 days the surface of the rocks will be quite smooth and have a slight shine. If not, then tumble for another two to three days until the goal is achieved. Check your rocks if they are properly being polished.

Step 7:

Repeat Cleaning and washing the stones from the above steps. Now it’s time for polish. Make sure the chamber and stones are properly cleaned.

Put the cleaned rocks back in the chamber. Then add some water and polish in the appropriate amount.

To increase the volume of your rocks and soften the tumbling process. Then you have to repeat the process from the previous steps. Allow it to run for 7 days.

Step 8:

Inspect your stones and look for a shiny, smooth, and glowing finish. Ensure the surface of the rocks has a bright shine.

Repeat cleaning the chamber and rocks using the same process of water. You’ll see your stones and rocks are ready for observation and discovery. Now, you can even decorate these pieces of rocks in your homes.


Q1. How Long does it take to polish rocks in a tumbler?

Ans. Rock tumbling is the modern way of polishing and smoothing your rocks. However, it can take up to 2 to 3 weeks in tumbling your rough and dull rocks into shiny and smooth finish. Most of the time, the duration it takes depends on the quality and type of your rock tumbler. And also if you take nice rounded and small rocks and stones, it will take less time in tumbling.

 Q2. How do I get my tumbled rocks to shine?

Ans. There are much easier and quickest ways to shine and smoother your rocks. You can also use polyurethane to shine your rocks. But the most recommended and fun way to shine and glow your rocks is by using a rock tumbler. It gives them the ultimate shine.

Q3. How do you polish agates in a rock tumbler?

Ans. Place the rough rocks in the chamber, add some water according to your rocks and add ⅔ tablespoons of pre polish. Tumble it for 7 days and then wash your chamber and rocks thoroughly to remove all the traces of abrasion. Then you need to have polished your rocks for a better and shiny look. You can also add some burnish with your preference.

Q4. Can you tumble river rocks?

Ans. By choosing the right and perfect rocks, not so huge, you can easily tumble your rocks. However, hard rocks take much time to sand and are not easy to shine. But You can mix river rocks with water by adding the coarse grit and tumble it for one week. Then they will give a shine and smooth look.


This article is an easy and simple guide to how to polish rocks with a tumbler. We have provided a simple method for you in steps. Basically, Rock Tumbling is the art of smoothing and polishing your stones. This allows the stones the creation of jewelry and affectionate of the minerals.

You can use any rocks and stones for tumbling. Make sure they aren’t fragile and too large. However, there are few other items required for tumbling your rocks do check them out in the article. If you have any queries, feel free to ask. I hope this article will be helpful for you to polish your rocks.

Thank you.


Stafford, Melvin. The Design, Construction, Testing and Evaluation of a Multiple Cylinder Tumbler. Diss. Fresno State College, 1963.

Crossley, W. “Rock Tumblers.” Blue Jay 20.4 (1962).

Bańkowski, D., and S. Spadło. “Research on the use of zeolite for smoothing surfaces in tumbler machining.” IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering. Vol. 461. No. 1. IOP Publishing, 2018.

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