Painting rocks is a fun activity that can bring joy to both the painter and everyone who sees and enjoys their art. Some people paint rocks to keep at home and others share their artwork with people all over the world.
In this article, you’ll find easy rock painting ideas, details on how to paint rocks, as well as all the rock painting supplies you’ll need to create small masterpieces of your own.
Be sure to check out our Rock Painting Tips, including a few from our friends at Northeast Ohio Rocks, a local rock painting group that happens to be the largest community based rock painting group in the world!
Painting rocks can be an easy, relaxing activity the whole family can do together using a few easy to find supplies depending on the type of painting you choose. But no matter how you decorate the rocks, the basic steps are the same for most types of rock painting.
Find or purchase flat, unpolished, smooth rocks to paint
You can find them at garden/landscape centers, craft, and home improvement stores. Tip: avoid polished and pre sealed rocks, however, you can try to sand off the finish a fine grit sandpaper before washing.
Clean your rocks well
Using warm soapy water, wash your rocks to remove any dirt or other debris. Allow them to dry well in the sun before painting.
Prepare your rocks with a base coat of paint
This step is optional, but a base coat of black or white paint helps make your artwork pop and use fewer coats of paint. Depending on the type of paint you use, it can also help seal the rock, making it less porous and easier to paint.
There are many ways to paint your rocks using easy to find materials. We have some easy rock painting ideas for you in this article.
Protect your artwork
Seal your artwork with a clear sealer to protect it from rubbing or washing off the rocks.
Most rock paintings need a few simple supplies. Rocks, paintbrushes, dotting tools, paint, and sealer. Although you can paint rocks with a variety of paints, the most common types of rock paint are acrylic craft paint, paint markers, or watercolors.
Freehand painting is fun, but if your family includes new artists there are a lot of easy rock painting ideas that can be fun and easy no matter the skill level.
Using a thicker paint (about the consistency of yogurt) use a variety of tools like new and shaped pencil erasers, pencil tips, different sized paint markers or special art dotting tools to paint color and dot patterns to create simple designs. This is a good technique for all ages to make the patterns as detailed as their ability and imagination allow!
Pouring is a popular and easy way to make fun art. After prepping your rocks with a basecoat, pour or drizzle several colors of acrylic paint onto the rocks. Untouched you will get a marbled effect or you can drag toothpicks through the wet paint to create patterns or a swirled effect. Tip: Use an old cooling rack under your rocks while you pour to allow the excess paint to collect under your project.
Say It So It Rocks!
After base coating your rocks with one or more colors, add your favorite quote, funny saying, inspirational word or message. Paint pens work great for this!
This method is one of the easiest. After cleaning your rocks, heat them in the oven for 15 minutes at 350 degrees on a foil lined cookie sheet. Once the rocks are warmed, you can paint on them using crayons for up to an hour. The crayon will quickly melt allowing you to paint with the crayons alone or use disposable brushes like cotton swabs to make designs.
- Avoid buying rocks that have a wax film over them to make them shiny. This makes it difficult for paint or markers to adhere to the rock.
- Clean your rocks and dry them well before painting (the longer the better). Washing is important so the paint will adhere and drying is important so the water inside them won’t ruin your artwork when it tries to escape if painted before they are completely dry.
- Use a base coat to seal the rocks before painting
- Allow your artwork to dry for 48 hours before sealing
- If freehand painting, draw your basic design in pencil first and erase it just enough that you can still see your design when painting.
- Seal your rocks with a few light layers. Heavy coats of sealer can ruin your artwork.
- Strawberry boxes are a great way to store and stack your rocks between processes.
- Be creative and use your imagination! Painting rocks is fun, but it also can make others smile!
- Gift them. Painted rocks make nice personalized gifts
- Enjoy them. Decorate your bedroom, home or garden with them.
- Share them. Join a local rock group like Northeast Ohio Rocks and share your artwork to bring joy to others, share inspiration, and create rocks to create chain reactions of smiles and kindness.
What is Northeast Ohio Rocks?
Northeast Ohio Rocks is a group of people who have come together to make the World a little brighter by painting and hiding rocks with the goal of unexpectedly brightening someone’s day. Since their start in 2016, Northeast Ohio Rocks! Has grown into the World's largest rock painting community with approximately 6 millions rocks, turning them into tiny vessels of kindness for others.
“Painting rocks is a great way to come together with your family. Many people have said thank you for giving them a reason to step away from electronics and do something as a family both painting and hiding. Rock painting isn’t about who is the best. It isn’t about who can get the most comments or likes on social media. Rock painting is about doing something with your family no matter their ages or their abilities. It’s fun for all ages. When we focus on what is important in life, friends, family and sharing kindness we find more joy and happiness then we could ever receive.” — Northeast Ohio Rocks