Top 5 Ways to Display Rock Collections

Now that we are all in the midst of collecting rocks for our rock collections, I want to share my Top 5 Ways to Display Rock Collections. There are ways of attractively displaying your rocks and still leave them available for inspection and closer observation. Most of the methods do not require big investments of money since you can recycle containers and other materials needed. I like keeping our rocks out in the open because it does encourage our children to look at them and I have found visitors to our how stop to take a look and ask about them as well. This gives us a chance to share what we know about our rocks…love that kind of learning and sharing.

Jar – We love this simple way of collecting rocks when we are traveling. I simply bring along a container or two with lids (look for them at your local dollar store). I prefer plastic to glass for obvious reasons. If you wanted to you would collect the rocks in the plastic jars and then when you got home you could transfer them to pretty glass containers. I use a Sharpie marker to label the top for future reference.

Tray – Placing rocks on a tray on our nature table makes it super easy to view them, study them, and keep them organized. I have found that using a tray is much easier if you place a cloth or placemat on top before adding your rocks. This keeps the rocks from rattling around and sliding onto the floor. You can rotate the rocks on the tray to spark interest. I also add a magnifying lens or loupe to the tray so we can take a closer look at our rocks.

Window Sill – This was our method of displaying rocks when we wanted them handy for study. My sons would gather the rocks from our collections and then place them all in a line on the windowsill. The secret advantage to this method of displaying rocks is that you are limited to the space on the window sill. If you want to add a rock and the sill is full, you must remove a rock.

Vase – Many of the rocks we collect are found at the river’s edge or at the seashore. They look so very pretty when they are wet, showing the variations in color and composition. By the time we get them home, they are dry and dull and sometimes I even wonder what attracted us to a certain rock. But, I have found that if you get them wet again your see the beauty shine through. Using the rocks in the bottom of a clear glass vase, filling it with water, and then adding a splash of flowers is one of my favorite ways to bring those rocks alive again.

Shelf – In the past we have dedicated a shelf to our rock collections. The collections were either contained in nice specimen boxes or in other recycled boxes with labels. I found this the least attractive of the methods of displaying rocks because it does not really let you see the rocks easily. But, if you have younger ones who collect lots of rocks, you may for a time, need to display your rock collections in this way. I also have a shelf that has a collection of very unattractive shoe boxes with rocks stacked inside….not shown in the images above…not a preferred method.

This month’s nature study theme continues to be rocks and minerals. You can subscribe to this blog and receive your Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter with suggested rock activities, printables, and articles in your email inbox or in your Google Reader. The link to download the newsletter is in every entry for the whole month. You also may wish to read this week’s challenge: Start a Rock Collection with a free printable to make your own rock treasure box. Widgets


  1. We filled a tray and left it in the middle of our dining room table. It started some fun conversations!

    I love the labelled-jar idea. I’ll have to keep that in mind when we travel.

  2. Really like your idea with the rocks in jars from your trips.

  3. Thanks for the ideas. We have so many rocks. Sometimes it’s overwhelming to try and figure out how to keep them organized. My son ended up getting a display case for things like this, but there are just too many specimens. Thanks again!

  4. Love these ideas! We are in the process of setting up a nature shelf and I was searching for ideas for rocks and found yours. Where did you find your trays? Thanks so much!

  5. The trays are from our Dollar Store…probably a few summers ago.

  6. How do you keep rocks from turning green when placed in water?
    I like the look of wet rocks but will they turn green?

  7. I like your ideas! My favorites are the vase and tray, although the jars are probably the most practical! Nice!

  8. I like your ideas! My favorites are the vase and tray, although the jars are probably the most practical! Nice post!


  1. […] place, or alternatively, use plastic jars. These are perfect for displaying large collections of rocks and shells. And don’t forget about lids! Jar lids and milk jug lids make great containers for […]

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