Rock Painting Instructions

Rock Painting Instructions

Would you believe that I have never painted a rock before? Most people who know me would think, “Wait, she’s an artist who appears to love nature related subjects and she’s never done a rock painting???” Well, I haven’t! Not even as a kid. I always thought that one day I would but my inspiration took me to other places. The closest I have come to using rocks in art was taking small pebbles to create a mosaic.

I have seen painted rocks before and thought it was such a fun and clever form of expression. Not to mention inexpensive. I also collected rocks and still do sometimes, along with my children. I have always very much loved rocks. There is something soothing about their presence. For me, maybe it’s because they feel very grounding. They have a lot of stability. They are unchanging (well, they do change naturally due to wind or water but it is a very slow process). I think I like rocks because of that feeling of “reliability” they seem to provide. 

But despite all of this, I have never painted a rock. 

I’ve seen tutorials in the past. Even my kids have painted rocks themselves using YouTube videos. So, I am somewhat familiar with what looks like a fun process.

Well, I decided today, I am finally going to make some rock art! I’ve heard it can be addicting once you’ve started. I’m just starting with some simple rock painting instructions. I can’t help what happens after that! (To you or to me.) So, sorry if you end up getting hooked. 😀

Rock Painting Supplies

Rocks – You’ll definitely need these, don’t you think? Smooth ones, like river rocks, are the most ideal. This way, you don’t have to bother with sanding anything down. I’m not a big fan of sanding stuff. 

If you’re not into hunting the outdoors for your perfect rock, Amazon has a bag of 3″ – 5″ smooth stones available.

You can also find stones at Home Depot or Lowes in their gardening decor.

Other stores like Walmart or Dollar Tree sells bags of smooth rocks but they tend to be much smaller.

Paints – Craft or acrylic paints work best with rock painting. There are a ton of colors and they dry fast. You can buy some out of Walmart for something like 50 cents. They aren’t as high quality and will probably take more layers to cover your rock sufficiently. But if you’re on a budget, these will work just fine. That’s what I will be using for this project.

If you want the paints to come to you for whatever reason, you can buy a set of these same acrylic paints on Amazon.

Markers – Felt tips, a collection of Sharpies, or paint markers. I haven’t tried these myself on rocks. But if you really enjoy working with markers or just don’t want to fool around with paint, then I know there are many sets to choose from.

Paintbrushes  Round brushes or any small brush size will work. Amazon has a very inexpensive paintbrush set that is perfect for this kind of craft.

Sealant – I have heard Mod Podge works great for this but only if you do it over acrylic paint, rather than the markers. But you can also try a clear gloss spray to finish off your rock creation, especially if you choose to make your rock art with the markers instead.

1. Get A Rock

Actually, before you even get a rock, you should think about what you’ll probably want to draw on it. Depending on your choice, you may want a certain shape of rock. Maybe you want to do a landscape and need a larger, flatter surface. Or maybe you want to do a specific kind of abstract and want a long, skinny rock. Whatever you want! You know the imagination has no limits. 

If you have a lot of rocks in your own yard, it should easy enough to go looking. My apartment complex has a few here and there, mostly as decor. There are also some in my grandmother’s yard as well as the nearby park where I take my children to play. Most people have a place that they can find an abundance of free rocks. I swiped mine out my grandmother’s yard. I actually wasn’t even hunting for one when I saw it. I happened to look down and thought, “That would be perfect for that rock painting I keep thinking about but have yet to do.” So, in my pocket it went!

If you don’t have any free rocks available because of your particular living situation or maybe you just don’t feel like hiking around to find any, there are plenty of places to buy a simple bag of smooth rocks. Check out my supply links above for suggestions.

2. Draw Your Design

Here’s the first step to really acting on your inspiration. Do you want detail? Simplicity? A motivating message? How about abstract? The world is your rock.

I chose to do a tree because I like nature related subjects. First, I drew my design on with a regular pencil. Then I used a Sharpie marker to outline it. 

3. Start Painting Your Rock

The best part ever. Adding the color to your awesome rock painting! And this is such a nice, small, simple project. It’s fun to make something that I can do in just one hour or less. Usually, I am doing colored pencil projects that take FOREVER. But not rock painting. 

I noticed, while painting this, that the natural lines and shading that are in the rock itself are adding to my design. I was afraid they might get in the way but it’s the total opposite. It seems to enhance it. This is a very rewarding activity. Not only is it easy and quick but you really do get a beautiful result!

I really think I might have to make some more of these! Uh oh, that addiction thing might be kicking in here. Help!

4. Seal It

Well, this is pretty self explanatory! I decided to get myself a bottle of Mod Podge and slather it on my rock painting. Then, I put it out on our balcony to dry.

Well, I finally did it! I made my very first rock painting. After watching my kids do it plenty of times, it was nice to make time to try it myself. You don’t have to be a kid to have this kind of fun! 

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