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How to Make a River Rock Shiny With a Water Seal

Many children enjoy collecting river rocks.
Darrin Klimek/Lifesize/Getty Images

River rocks can make an attractive display in your home or yard. Their variations in color and texture add aesthetic appeal wherever you place them. The rocks show off their colors best when they are wet and shiny. Whether you venture to the river bed or find river rocks at home improvement stores or garden centers, it's easy to give them a wet look. All you need to do is coat them with water sealer.

Scrub the rocks with a stiff brush to remove any mud or sand sediments. If the rocks have moss on them, mix a 50 percent bleach solution with water. Either spray or pour it on the rocks and brush the moss off. Rinse with water and let the rocks dry.

Pour some water sealer into the can or jar.

Put the newspapers or tarp on a solid surface and place the clean, dry rocks on it.

Dip the brush into the water sealer and coat the rocks. You may need to do this several times to create the shine that you want, especially if the rocks are slightly porous. When the tops and sides of the rocks are dry, turn them over to seal the bottoms. Let them dry thoroughly before displaying on a shelf or using in the landscape.

Things You'll Need:

  • Stiff brush (optional)
  • Bleach (optional)
  • Spray bottle (optional)
  • Newspapers or tarp
  • Water sealer
  • Clean can or jar
  • Paint brush


Apply the water sealer outdoors or in a well-ventilated room. Over time you may have to reapply the water sealer, especially if the river rocks are outdoors and exposed to rain, wind or snow.

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