I was recently inspired to make a set of Story Stones after I had spent an afternoon doing some arts and crafts with my 4 year old niece. Whenever she comes over to see us, she will always make a beeline for the box of craft supplies that I have for her. On this occasion I had something different for us both to try out – uni-ball POSCA Pens. These pens can write on virtually any surface, making them an ideal choice for all types of artwork!
POSCA pens can write on fabric, glass, terracotta, wood, ceramic, clay, plastic, and metal, and won’t bleed through paper. The markers use water-based pigment ink to produce poster-paint-like vibrant colours, that are both lightfast and water-resistant. POSCA Pens are available in pin, chisel, bullet and brush tips and a huge range of colours. POSCA is easily removed from glass, making it ideal for temporary signs and window art.
For the full range of how the pens work on various materials, as well as tips on how to make them permanent on surfaces like ceramics or fabric, check out the POSCA website here. There is also a handy chart that you can download and print. I keep it handy with my pens, so I always have it for reference.
With a variety of colours and tip shapes and sizes, as well as their versatility to work on nearly all surfaces, these pens have quickly become favourites of mine! Uni-ball kindly sent me a selection of their pens to try out, and use in arts and crafts at home.
What are Story Stones?
Simply put, they are decorated stones that you use to tell a story – it could be classic fairy tales like The Three Little Pigs or Snow White; or modern classics like The Gruffalo or The Very Hungry Caterpillar; or decorate the stones with random objects and characters and make up your own story!
Story Stones spark the imagination, and can help [you and] your child be creative and learn the art of story telling. Using paint pens like Posca Pens makes things a lot easier (and less messy!) than regular paint. If you feel you’re not to skilled at drawing, you could use stickers or printed images instead and mod podge them to the stones so that they have longevity.
You could store the stones in individual tote bags for each set of story stones you make – or have them all in one big bag/box and pull out random stones to make up different stories. Whichever way you choose to use make and use story stones, you and your child(ren) will have a lot of fun! I know we did!
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Using POSCA Pens to paint on stones
I mentioned at the top of the post that I spent some time with my niece, Sephy using these pens. In fact, even the adults – her parents, and my husband also had a go! I’d bought a huge bag of stones from our local DIY shop – £6 ish for 22kgs! It is a mixed bag of shapes and sizes, so if you’re after very flat stones, they are available at craft shops and online, but are more expensive. I used the cheap stones simply because I couldn’t wait for an online delivery to arrive – I’m too impatient and wanted to get started on this project!
We drew lots of different things onto the stones – bugs, sea creatures, flowers, fruits, vegetables, trees and patterns. As we were decorating, Sephy asked me what we could do with the stones when we were finished – I suggested we could use them to decorate the garden – it wasn’t until later that evening that I came up with the story stones idea!
- You have to shake the pens to get the ink flowing when you first use them. I found you have to shake REALLY well! Do this before the kids use the pens so that they’re ready to go.
- Colours can be layered on top of each other, but you must wait for the layer to dry otherwise they become smudged – unless that’s the style you’re going for!
- If you do mix colours, make sure you remove the different colour from the pen nib by scribbling on a scrap piece of paper.
- Push the pen nib down a few tips to allow the ink to flow out more – handy for covering larger areas (although takes a bit longer to dry)
- If you make a mistake, wait for it to dry and draw over it it!
- Use light and dark of the same colour to add outlines or create depth.
- Use pictures from books, magazines, comics, and online for drawing inspiration.
- Story stones can be as simple or as intricate as your skills allow!
- If you’ve bought stones from a DIY shop, they will probably be a bit grubby or covered in sand. Wash them off and allow to dry before painting.
- To remove the ink/paint from skin, use warm soapy water. I also found that hand gel works too.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Story Stones
It was only later in the day, after she had gone home that the idea of story stones came to me! I had drawn a caterpillar onto a stone on Sephy’s request, and I knew that The Very Hungry Caterpillar was one of her favourites – it was also one of mine when I was a child! Instead of having the caterpillar on a single stone, I decided to colour lots of stones green, and use them to make a long caterpillar. I would then draw all the different foods that he eats onto individual stones.
In all you need 17 stones for the caterpillar: 1 for his head, and the rest for the body coloured in shades of green. You will need 25 more stones for all the different food that he ate: 1 apple, 2 pears, 3 plums, 4 strawberries, 5 oranges, 1 piece of chocolate cake, 1 ice-cream cone, 1 pickle, 1 slice of Swiss cheese, 1 slice of salami, 1 lollipop, 1 piece of cherry pie, 1 sausage, 1 cupcake, and 1 slice of watermelon!
I used online pictures as reference, and did have to get a bit creative with colours as I didn’t have all that matched exactly. But I think the finished story stones look awesome!
I found tiny pieces of slate in the gravel of our driveway to use as antennae for the caterpillar, but couldn’t find enough for the legs – so he is a legless caterpillar!
Since I have got several kilos of stones still to use, I can’t wait to make more story stones with my niece! She loves to tell stories, so I’m going to draw a bunch of random images so that she can pull them out of a bag and make them up as she goes along. I am also going to turn my hand to turning some favourite stories into story stones too! One of my favourite childhood stories is Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl – that’s certainly going to be a challenge as I’m not that good at drawing, but I’ll certainly give it a try!
I hope this has inspired you to make your own story stones! If you make some, I would love to see them! Share your creations on my Facebook page or on Instagram with the hashtag #thepurplepumpkinblog so I can find you!
Win uni-ball Pastel Ink Pens + POSCA Pastel Pens ENDED
About the prize…
- A pack of uni-ball Pastel Ink Pens and a pack of POSCA pastel Pens (1 prize total)
How to enter…
- Leave a comment on this blog post answering the following: What is your favourite childhood story?
- Leaving the above blog comment is mandatory. All other entry methods are optional.
- This giveaway uses Rafflecopter – follow the prompts in the widget below; you may have to refresh for it to appear. Check out this handy guide on how to use Rafflecopter if you’ve never used it before.
- Terms & Conditions for this giveaway can be found at the end of this post, as well as on the Rafflecopter widget.
- A UK only giveaway
Terms & Conditions
- By taking part in this giveaway all participants will be deemed to have accepted and be bound by these terms and conditions.
- This giveaway starts on 20th July 2017 and ends at midnight on 3rd August 2017 (BST).
- The prize is a pack of uni-ball Pastel Ink Pens and a pack of POSCA pastel Pens (1 prize total)
- Open to UK residents only.
- Winner will be drawn at random at the end of the promotion.
- The prize is non-exchangeable, non-transferable, and is not redeemable for cash or other prizes.
- Entry is via a mandatory comment on this blog post answering the following: What is your favourite childhood story?
- Other entry methods are optional.
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- The winner will be drawn and notified by email within 28 days of the closing date. Winners are generated randomly via Rafflecopter using Random.org. Please ensure that you type your email correctly when entering and add email@example.com to your safe sender list.
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- You will have to provide your name, address, phone number and email address which will be passed to the prize sponsors (uni-ball) for delivery of the prize.
- Please allow up to 28 [working] days for delivery.
- Please contact Michelle at The Purple Pumpkin Blog if you have any questions about this giveaway or these Terms & Conditions.
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