Complete Guide: How to Paint Rocks, Tips & Tricks, and Ideas to Try

Hi friends! Thank you for visiting our How to Paint Rocks Beginner’s Guide. Here you’ll discover the joys of rock painting and gain confidence in your artistic ability.

how to paint rocks using alcohol ink, acrylic paint. mandala dot rocks, and paint poured rocks
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In the following beginner guides, I’m going to breakdown rock painting into its most basic parts and walk you through acrylics, best art supplies, painting techniques, and understanding color theory.

Why is rock painting perfect for new artists?

Today, rock painting is a way of being creative by expressing yourself with art. The simple act of applying paint to rock to create art is something as old as time. Painting on canvas can be a little imitating and overwhelming when painting art on large areas.

However, this is not the case with rock painting. The best part of painting rocks is that it gives the artist a smaller safe space to create without feeling lost in such a large space.

Learning how to paint rocks is simple and everyone can do it. Is it expensive hobby? Well, no you don’t need a lot of materials to get started, a paintbrush and craft paint is all you need to get started. Once you get started painting rocks, it’s hard not to explore the world of paint pens, alcohol inks, watercolor painting and more!

Where to Find Rock Painting IDeas?

For me, Pinterest is my first choice to find painted rock ideas and inspiring words. I also like exploring Instagram for connecting with other rock painting artists and featuring their painted stones on Rock Painting Guide.

You can get lots of easy rock painting ideas, right here on Rock Painting Guide. You can use social media and join a local rock painting group or Rock Painting Guide Facebook Group to find inspiration and get helpful rock painting tips as well.

blue painted rocks, bug painted rocks, animal painted rocks

Is rock Painting for Everyone?

The answer to that question is of course, yes! You don’t have to be a talented artist to paint, you just need the desire to pick up a brush and just start. Learning the fundamentals of painting techniques will take practice and over time you will develop your own style.

Children’s art is art in its purest form. Without guidance, kids can just have fun with painting without judgment. Starting a new hobby, like how to paint rocks isn’t impossible but practice is key to improving your skills. As I said, rock painting is for everyone, art does not discriminate.

How to Paint rocks Step-by-Step guide

Rock painting is easy and doesn’t require a lot of materials to get started. Below, you will see how easy it really is to paint stones.

Places to Find Rocks

Rocks are free if you know where to look. Part of the fun of rock painting is using the hunt and gather method to find rocks to create beautiful rock art. The ideal rock for painting is smooth flat rock. On the other hand, choosing rocks that have irregular shapes can spark inspiration for beautiful art.

Please be aware that there are areas that are illegal to remove rocks from such as, National and State Parks, waterways, and railway tracks. Leaving painted rocks and removing rocks for painting from National Parks, State Parks are prohibited. 

Consider finding on public beaches, public places and even buying stones from local garden centers or rock yards. Consider looking for rock on the public beaches and even buying stones from local garden centers or rock yard.

where to find rocks

Prep Stage

Once you gather enough rocks, you will have to wash with soapy water to remove any dirt and/or debris remaining and let the rocks dry in the sun before painting.

Base coating your rocks is optional but, it’s recommended that you include this in your prep time. You can paint your rock a solid color or try blending 2-3 colors together to create an ombre effect. While you’re waiting for “paint to dry”, it’s the perfect time to plan your design and gather your rock painting supplies.

base painted rocks in yellow, green red and blue paint

Painting Process

Now comes the fun part, painting your rocks with your creative ideas that you planned in the prep stage. There are many options available to choose from to create your rock art by using acrylic paints, marker pens, alcohol inks, dotting tools, and so much more!

Whether it’s a free-hand design or a traced image, it’s your rock and you decide how to design it…even the experienced artist use tracing methods. Once your fun design is done, go back over and outline your design with a darker color to highlight the image. I like to use paint pens for the outline process.

If you are hiding your painted stones, you can choose to use a hashtag inspirational message or your local rock groups name on the back of your rocks.

house painted stone

Final Step

Protecting your rock is an important step. After your painted rocks are dry, use an aerosol spray sealer or one of your favorite sealants. For best results, seal your painted rocks outside, even in a well-ventilated area, the smell can be overwhelming for many.

Sealing the painted rocks will provide a moisture barrier to protect your painted rocks from being faded or damaged over time.

how to paint rocks

hiding painted rocks

If you participate in the Facebook rock painting group, check with the group administrators about guidelines on where hiding rocks are allowed. Hiding painted stones in hospitals and businesses are typically not allowed unless given permission to do so. 

I like to hide my painted stones in a public area, local parks, and around my neighborhood for the neighbor kids to find. It’s a fun activity for my kids to hide rocks in plain sight that blend in with the elements!

painted cat stone and sun stone on the ground

Rock Painting tips!

  1. Acrylic paint is the most common paint to use when painting stones, but you can also experiment with alcohol inks and even watercolors too.
  2. I use a paper towel or an old towel for getting excess water off my paint brush and cleaning them between colors too.
  3. The best way to make your colors to be vibrant and “pop” is to apply a base coat to the top of the rocks.
  4. Highlight your painted rock by outlining your artwork with a darker color or black paint pen. It really makes your artwork stand out!
  5. It’s a great idea to wait 24 hours before sealing your painted rocks and 48 hours for paint pouring rocks. Sealing your painted rocks too early can cause your paint to bleed.
shades of blue acrylic paint on paper with paint brushes

how to paint rocks using different techniques

Here at Rock Painting Guide, you will find several ways on how to paint rocks using alcohol inks, watercolor, paint pouring, and mandala dot painting.

alcohol inks on painted rocks
watercolor paint on painted stones
paint pouring ideas on rocks and canvas
mandala dot painted stones

Ways to use Painted Rocks

There are so many ways to decorate your painted rocks. Painting colorful rocks with googly eyes are fun hobby for the little ones. You create your very own rock garden, make garden markers with painted rocks, display them in baskets, and so much more!

fun painted stone ideas
  1. Beautiful handmade paperweights
  2. The kindness rocks trend, I think is here to stay! Write inspirational messages on your painted stones. Photo by: Plaid
  3. Display your rock art and turn them into magnets for others to admire.
  4. Be creative with learning time. Use painted story stones to make learning fun for preschoolers.
  5. Mandala Art Inspired Stones
  6. Decorate and use your painted rocks as markers in your flower pots and vegetable garden. Photo by: Crafts by Amanda
  7. Decorate your home with holiday-themed painted rocks.
  8. Raise awareness for a cause in your community with painted stones. Photo by Plaid
  9. Alcohol Inks on Rocks
  10. Meditation Stones
  11. Make awesome photo holders!
  12. Acrylic Paint Pouring

Kindness rocks

I was inspired by Megan Murphy; the founder of the Kindness Rocks Project began leaving kind messages and inspirational words on stones and leaving on the beaches of Cape Cod for people to find and to make a difference in their life.

Here at Rock Painting Guide you will find lots of quotes and inspiring words ideas for you to explore.

kindness painted stones

In the Next Guide…

You’ll find out everything you need to about using acrylic paint, sealers, the right tools, and how to use them.

Hopefully, you enjoyed reading this guide and is excited to start your rock painting journey!

acrylic paint on a palette with paint brushes