Monday, July 29, 2013

Rock Painting Technique: Pattern Tracing

No drawing skills? No problem. You can trace a pattern onto a rock and paint it.




Supplies
  
Steps

Find a rock with a smooth and/or flat surface. A rock with lots of pits or angles will be difficult to transfer a pattern onto.


Even though this rock has pits, the pattern transferred nicely because of it's flat surface.

Find a photo or pattern you'd like to paint on your rock. If the photo or pattern is larger or smaller than your rock, that's OK.

This pattern was taken from "Stained Glass in an Afternoon" by Vicki Payne


Measure the width and height of your rock. You'll need the dimensions to adjust your pattern so it fits nicely on your rock.

Copy OR scan your pattern so your original is not damaged. 
  • If you copy your pattern on the printer, you'll need to play with reducing or enlarging the image so it will fit nicely on your stone
  • If you scan the image, you can insert it into a drawing program and resize the image using the rock's measurements to find a good fit, then print the page

Place a sheet of graphite transfer paper on top of your rock with the waxy side down. (If your rock is dark colored, you'll use white graphite paper. If your rock is light colored, you'll use gray or black graphite paper.)

Place your pattern (face up) over the graphite paper. You can use masking tape to secure the pattern and graphite paper to the rock so it doesn't slip while you're tracing the image.

Trace around all the lines of your image using a stylus or pencil.

Remove the pattern and graphite paper and paint your rock.

Pattern transferred onto the rock


The rock after it was painted and sealed

I used a stained glass pattern for this painted rock but you can use photos and other patterns just as easily. (Remember to copy or scan them first so the original isn't damaged.)

© Cindy Thomas Painted Rocks 

42 comments:

  1. Just found you here. Thank you for the wonderful information!!! Your work is beautiful!

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    1. You're welcome, Mary; I'm glad you find the information helpful. Thank you so much for the compliment about my work.

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  2. What did you use to seal the paint on the rock.....could you use modge podge?

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    1. Yes, you can use Mod Podge to seal rocks. However, in high humidity it can become "tacky" so I always add a coat of acrylic or polyurethane sealer over the Mod Podge. Here's how I seal my rocks: http://paintingrocks.blogspot.com/2012/07/how-to-seal-and-protect-painted-rocks.html

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  3. So good to find another rock painting lover. Love painting on paving stones too. Always have my eyes open for river rocks and rocks in unusual shapes. Moving to Ft Lauderdale and asked my friend there if river rocks, etc were plentiful. She paused and said they have sand! I'm moving my supply of rocks with me. Sure, could buy them at garden center but I prefer ones I find, or as I call them, free range rocks. Like to repurpose clay pots that are broken, especially if they are molded into decorative shapes. Oh, the possibilities. Rock on, Cindy!

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    1. Thanks so much for leaving a comment, dreamweaver. It's a good thing you're moving your supply of rocks with you to Florida. I've heard good ones for painting are difficult to find. Don't forget the U.S. Postal Service "if it fits, it ships" service with the 70-lb. weight limit. Maybe some of your friends can send rocks to you in Florida as a Christmas or birthday present. :-)

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  4. I was wondering if you used a pen or brush on the lines of the harlequin? Such a beautiful piece of artwork !

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    1. Thank you for the compliment. I used a brush to paint the lines on the harlequin because I prefer to use a brush-on sealer and a pen tends to bleed or change color. A pen can be used, but a spray-on sealer (instead of brush-on) should be applied to protect the piece.

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    2. I am going t have to try this I've been using paint pens to draw on the rocks
      this would be soooooo much easier I love your rocks they are so beautiful

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    3. I'm glad to hear you want to try this idea on your rocks, Cindy. It is much easier than free-hand drawing. Thank you for the compliment about my rocks.

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  5. Ahh. I wondered how I could successfully transfer designs to rocks. Thank You.

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    1. You're welcome, Marnie. I'm glad the technique was helpful to you.

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  6. Thank you for being such an amazing sharer of your journey of rock painting. You simply make it easier for us newbies who are afraid to ask thinking we are being daft. Your work has only improved from what I have seen. The Shabby Chic rocks were lovely and I cannot wait to make some. I was also thinking of a dark green to give it a verdi gris look. Again, thank you Miss Cindy.

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    1. What a lovely compliment to receive on Christmas Eve! It warms my heart to know my rock painting tips have been helpful to you. When you make the Shabby Chic rocks, I'd love to see them. If you're a member of Facebook, share a photo on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CindyThomasPaintedRocks

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  7. Hi Cindy, thank you so much for sharing. Could you please tell me what kind of paint you use?

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    1. Hello. I'm happy to share what I learn about rock painting. I use acrylic and craft acrylic paint sold in 2 oz. plastic bottles.

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  8. Hi Cindy! I got my transfer paper tonight along with some outdoor acrylic paint. I'm really looking forward to getting started on some new painted rocks. Maybe I'll snap a couple of photos when I'm finished, which will be quite some time from now, I'm sure, to show to you. You inspire me to try new ways of doing things. Thank you so much!!

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    1. Hi Lora. I'm happy to hear you've been inspired! Don't be afraid to experiment with rocks. That's how I discover what I share on my blog posts. And, don't rush. Sometimes I take weeks to finish a painted rock. I'll paint a little and let it sit for awhile. It helps me visualize how I want to paint the rest of it.

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  9. 7/24/2017 I'm so glad I found you, now I can draw / paint my feather onto a perfect rock, it's a spiritual meaning for a friend that's going to help me in more ways. Thank you for sharing this information it's greatly appreciated ❤

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    1. Thank you so much for letting me know my information is appreciated and has been helpful to you. I love to hear from fellow rock painters.

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    2. Is transfer paper the same as carbon paper???

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    3. That's a good question, Betty. I have only used the graphite transfer paper. I believe carbon paper will be more messy and may transfer some of the carbon onto your rock. While the graphite transfer paper will enable a cleaner tracing of your design. You may certainly experiment with the carbon paper and see how it works for you.

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    4. Can I use sewing tracing paper?

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    5. I've never used sewing tracing paper but it could work. You'll have to give it a try. Much of what I've learned about rock painting is the result of experimentation.

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  10. I just began to paint rocks but I find that my drawing skills are lacking. I have gotten a little discouraged until I found your method. I am motivated again. Thank you so much for your ideas Cindy.

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    1. I'm so happy to hear you haven't given up on rock painting because of my tips. I was a beginner once and the more you paint, the easier it becomes. Another idea for you to try is rubber stamps (like the type used for making cards and scrapbooking). Once you stamp the design onto a nice, smooth rock you can apply the paint - no drawing skills required.

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  11. So happy to see this site. Our great granddaughter is having her 1st birthday next month and to celebrate they are collecting items to put in a time capsule to be opened by her on her 18th birthday. There is a special pattern I want to try but my drawing skills aren't that great. This will be perfect. I also want to share with her the current fad of painting and hiding and relocating rocks we enjoy so much. Thanks for sharing your skills.

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    1. A time capsule is such a neat idea for your great granddaughter's 1st birthday, Trisha. I'm happy to hear you'll be able to use my pattern tracing technique for your contribution to the time capsule. Rock painting has been a continual learning process for me and I'm happy to share what I've discovered with others.

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  12. Have you tried applying stickers to the rocks, and then, using a sealer to cement the image to the rock?

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    1. Yes, I have applied stickers to rocks followed by a decoupage technique using Mod Podge to cement the stickers to the rock. The rocks with stickers have held up, however, they have not been handled. Therefore, I can't comment on how long stickers placed on rocks would last.

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  13. Hello Cindy, I have been painting rocks with a group here in Orange County,California. I have a hard time drawing as I am just not artistic in that way. I love your site here and just did my first graphite paper transfer of a dog and it turned out pretty good I might add. I am getting ready to do a stained glass one on a rock of a star. My question is...should I do the rock as it is or should I seal it first (it is a smooth rock)? Looking forward to hearing your advise :)

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    1. Hello. I'm happy to hear you've found the tips on my site helpful with your rock painting. Personally, I've always sealed the rock after I painted it and never tried to seal it prior to painting. Since your rock is smooth, my advice would be to paint it first and then seal it.

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  14. I have been taking a friend for radiation treatments at the Mitchell Center, in Mobile Al. They give out rocks to paint for the rock garden. They want up beat, encouraging sayings on them. Thank you so much for your educational information. I will use it!

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    1. Thanks for letting me know you'll be using some of my rock painting tips. I'm sure your friend appreciates your company while undergoing radiation treatments. I think it's fabulous the Mitchell Center has a rock garden and encourages uplifting sayings painted on stones.

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  15. What are good markers, fine point, to use? I've tried a couple kinds, but they won't mark on the "natural" rocks I got from the garden.
    thank you

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    1. Sherry, for painting, I like Posca Paint Marker Pens. They have fine and extra fine point.
      For writing on rocks and and drawing very fine lines, I like the Sakura Pigma Micron Pen - size 03 (0.35mm)

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  16. Thanks so much for this information! I can't wait to try it. Your work is beautiful.

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    1. Thanks for the compliment and happy rock painting.

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  17. I have tried and tried using graphite paper black, on white rocks and pattern does not show. press until paper tears. what else can I do?

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    1. I'm sorry to hear you're having trouble transferring a pattern onto a rock, Shelley. Personally, I've never experienced that issue with the graphite paper.
      I have heard of another way to transfer but haven't done it myself.
      Here are the steps:
      1. Reduce/enlarge a design to fit your rock.
      2. Color the back of the design with black pencil (for light rocks) so the paper acts like carbon paper.
      3. Cut out the design and tape it to the rock (design side up).
      4. Transfer the image by tracing over the lines with a ballpoint pen, using light to medium pressure.

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    2. My son makes is own fishing lures and uses this technique to transfer his drawings to his wooden lures. It works great.

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    3. Thanks for sharing how your son uses this technique to make his own fishing lures, Alfreada.

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