Thursday, October 16, 2014

Rock Painting Tips for Beginners

Where to Find Rocks

For many of us, rocks are plentiful in our environment and free for the taking. If you have difficulty finding stones to paint, you can:

Stones purchased from Home Depot

I do not condone removing rocks from government lands or parks or a residence or business which has been landscaped with rocks. 

How to Prepare Rocks and Stones for Painting

You will need to clean and (in some cases) prime your rocks prior to painting. Read more about this tip.

Learn how to prepare stones for painting
How to Make Stones Stand Upright

If your rock is wobbly and you would like it to stand upright, read this tip for adding a base.

Learn how to add a base to stones
What Are the Best Brushes for Rock Painting?

You can use any brush to paint rocks (and I have many) but I keep returning to the same three brushes. Learn about my favorite brushes.

Learn about my favorite brushes
What Type of Paint is Best for Rocks and Stones?

Acrylic paint and craft acrylic both work well on rocks. The difference between them is the craft acrylic is thinner and more paint applications may be necessary. Learn about specialty paints you can also use on rocks.

Learn about specialty paints for rocks
Can I Use Sharpies on Painted Rocks?

Regular Sharpie markers smear and change color when a sealer is applied. Learn about paint pens suitable for rocks.

Learn more about these paint pens

How to Correct Mistakes on Painted Rocks

Learn how to fix a mistake while painting a rock and after it's finished (but before it's been sealed).

Learn how to fix mistakes on painted rocks

How to Seal and Protect Painted Rocks

Painted rocks beg to be picked up and admired and by applying a sealant, the colors remain true and the life of the painted rock is extended.  

How to Display Painted Rocks - Store-Bought and DIY Solutions

You can display painted rocks by using wooden, metal and plastic display easels, a plate stand, or DIY stand made from drapery slip-on hooks. Learn how to make your own display stand and see other options here.  

Optional Household Items

Can't Draw? No Problem
Create colorful painted stones with this no-draw technique.

Learn how to paint these stones - no drawing required
Where to Find Rock Painting Ideas


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you, Lisa. I'm glad to hear you found the information helpful.

  2. könnten sie bitte einen button zum "übersetzen" einfügen?

    das wär toll

    lg gaby

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. That's a fantastic suggestion and there is now a "translate" button at the top of the page near the search box.

  3. Very helpful. I love painting on rocks.

    1. I'm happy to share the rock painting tips I've learned and glad you found them helpful, Carol. I can understand why you love painting on rocks! :-)

  4. what about using permanent ink sharpie

    1. You can use a Sharpie permanent ink marker on a rock, BUT, a sealer will smear your work. So, if you don't plan on applying a protective sealant when your design is finished, go ahead and use the Sharpie.

    2. I use shapes on rocks all the time and then I use sealer, no smearing. Make sure you don't spray too close, about 8 inches or so should work wonderfully. Spray thin, dry, repeat. Just an old rock artist opinion.

    3. Thanks for the tips, Anonymous. I'm glad to hear some rock artists don't have problems with Sharpies smearing when sealed.

    4. A friend (Barbara Leggett) in our group, GH Rocks (Grays Harbor Rocks), suggested applying a layer of Elmer's Glue on the Sharpie art, allowing to dry, before applying spray sealant. It works great!!!

    5. Thanks for the Elmer's Glue tip. I'll have to give that a try.

    6. I experimented with white glue applied over Sharpie art prior to a sealer and it worked! The Sharpie art did not blur. You can read more on my blog post:

  5. Will an acrylic paint with a spray sealant hold up in rain? I was thinking on making outdoor stones, but unsure if I should by enamel paint or acrylic?

    1. Cindy D - Acrylic paint with a spray sealant will not be waterproof. Eventually, the weather could wear away the paint. It's recommended if you use acrylic paint with a sealant and place the stone outdoors, you should check the rock every so often and apply more sealant if necessary. So, if you're concerned about the rocks being outdoors in the rain, the enamel paint may be a better choice. However, I have never used enamel paint. You could experiment with both the acrylic and enamel paints on small stones and see which one holds up better outdoors. Another option is DecoArt Patio Paint (acrylic paint with built-in sealer). But even with Patio Paint, the rock would need to be checked and resealed at times.

  6. This is so cool. Going to make my dogs grave marker and see how it goes

    1. It is more than cool, Lisa. It's fun too! A painted rock will be a beautiful tribute and marker for your dog(s).