Making my own runes

I’ve had a passing interest in Runes for a number of years, even going so far as to obtain my own set about 20 years ago. I didn’t feel fully drawn to them though and eventually gave them away. While on holiday a few years back I found so many flat round stones along the beach that I decided to each try my hands at making my own Rune set. This is how I created my own Rune set, using the rocks I found, some water-colour paints, and a bottle of nail varnish.

“I Googled ‘Discovering Runes’ and your article came up. I just wanted to say thank you very much for your extensive (and accurate!) coverage of the subject, for your kindness in crediting me and my book for some of the content, and for actually plugging the book via the Amazon page – all much appreciated. Well done you and I shall make a point of visiting regularly to see what other subjects you address in the future.”

-bob oswald
Discovering Runes (Flexi cover series)

A Brief History of Runes

It is not known how old Runes are, but rune-like markings appear on cave paintings dated from about 1330BC. They are symbols from an earlier age that still have meaning for people today.

The word Rune comes from the Old Norse wordFranks_Casket_vorne_links Runa meaning a secret or mystery and the Runic alphabet first emerged around 200AD. It was known as the Futhark after the first six runes – Fehu, Uruz, THurisaz, Ansuz, Raido, and Kauno.

Runes have been used for thousands of years. They were more than likely originally used as a means of divination and as a part of religious rituals and over time evolved into written letters, words, and sentences.

Each mark is in a straight line from a central point, making them more easily carved using a knife or other tool into wood and stone. Runes found today can be made of stone or wood or even hard plastic.

One can “cast the runes” using small sticks which are drawn from a bag and cast upon the ground. The resultant patterns and shapes formed from the thrown sticks are then interpreted based upon what rune character has been made.

Anglo-Saxon Runes

The Anglo-Saxon Runes are descended from the Elder Futhark which originated in Scandanavia.

Another name for the Anglo-Saxon Runes is Anglo-Friesian, referring to the region in Europe where these Runes were also used. What is not known is if they originated in Friesia and spread to England, or vice versa. However, they were in use in England from about the 5th Century onwards.

Anglo-Saxon Runes consist of the original 24 Elder Futhark Runes plus 5 – 9 additional runes. The meanings of these added Runes have never been fully determined.

After looking at both the Elder and the Anglo-Saxon Runes I felt myself being most drawn to the Anglo-Saxon. And so opted to make those for my own use.

How I Made Each Rune

more runes black frame 1. I selected 24 smooth, flat stones of similar size. These were washed to remove any residual salt water, sand, and dirt.

2. Using black water-colour paints, a Runic symbol was painted on each stone. Each was allowed to dry thoroughly.

3. Each stone was painted with two layers of clear nail varnish to protect the Rune symbol and bring out the natural colours of each stone.

After they all had ample time to dry, I did a simple blessing over the Runes as a set and asked that they guide me.


Rune Stone Outside Gripsholm CastleRune Stone Outside Gripsholm Castle Giclee Print
18 in. x 24 in.
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Framed   Mounted


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