Saturday, December 29, 2012

How to Make Paint Palettes Using Everyday Household Items

Here's how to easily make paint palettes from items you use every day around the house. And you're reusing an item that was headed for the trash anyway.

Use plastic lids from margarine tubs, yogurt cups, coffee cans, etc.

rock painting, palette, idea, DIY
Lid from a 32 ounce yogurt container

Use plastic bottles - any size works. In some cases this may not be cost-free, as you're losing the bottle deposit. I used a 2-liter seltzer bottle.

2-Liter Seltzer Bottle

Cut the bottom off the plastic bottle. (I was able to use regular scissors to cut around the bottom of my seltzer bottle.)

You now have a paint palette which is best for using individual colors without mixing. This works especially well when painting with children.

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Soda Bottle Paint Palette

I drink more water than soda and found my favorite palette is made from plastic 1-gallon water jugs.

Plastic 1-Gallon Water Jug

Similar to the soda bottle, just cut the bottom off the jug.

I love these paint palettes made from plastic water jugs because the colors can be mixed yet there's a divider if you want to keep them separated.

rock painting, idea, palette, water jug
Water Jug Paint Palette - My Favorite

If you have ideas for other inexpensive, DIY paint palettes, please leave a comment.

© Cindy Thomas Painted Rocks

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

How to Improve Your Drawing Skills

I believe the more you create, the more creative you become.

An important element to creating painted rocks is being able to sketch the design first and here are 5 things to remember when you are drawing.

WE Design Studios believes everyone is a creative genius and have graciously shared these drawing tips.

If you remember and practice these 5 drawing tips:
  1. Step back
  2. Draw what you see
  3. Consider composition
  4. Be patient
  5. Enjoy the process will 
  • Improve your rock painting
  • Become more creative
  • Find inspiration in unexpected places.

More drawing tips: Painting Rocks - Gaining Confidence and Skill.

Learn, practice, get creative and rock on!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Can't Find Rocks to Paint?

Some of us have an easier time finding rocks to paint than others and now that winter weather is setting in, who wants to scrounge around outdoors for stones?

Tip: Visit the Garden Department of your local stores
  • Walmart
  • Home Depot
  • Lowes
  • etc. 
to see if they have any landscaping pebbles, stones, or rocks they want to get rid of.

On a recent trip to my local Walmart, I discovered many torn bags of landscaping stones stacked near the Garden Center. When I inquired about them, I was told the torn bags were being returned for a credit, however, if I wished to purchase some, I could do so for 1/2 price.

Tip: Try to negotiate for a discount if you live in an area where winter is setting in and landscaping is the last thing on a homeowner's mind. 

These decorative, landscaping stones are the type of rocks which make my eyes light up:
  • Smooth
  • Unpolished
  • 2-3 inches in size
  • Various shapes

Here's just a small portion from the bag I purchased which have been washed and set out to dry.

Landscaping stones purchased for a discount at Walmart

Tip: Be aware that polished stones found in craft stores are pretty, however, paint doesn't adhere to them easily. It may require sanding, priming, and a few coats of paint if you use these type of store-bought pebbles.

Now I have a large supply of rocks, stones and pebbles to keep me busy painting during the winter while I'm stuck indoors.

Idea: If I paint rock garden decor, perhaps Spring will be here before I know it.

© Cindy Thomas Painted Rocks

Saturday, December 8, 2012

How to Paint a Santa Hat on Rocks and Stones

Just in time for the holidays I came across a rock that was perfect for painting this Santa hat.

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Step 1:  If you look closely, you can see how I drew a line around the bottom third of the stone and added a circle towards the middle right.

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Step 1 - Sketch simple hat design on stone

Step 2:  Next, I gave the stone a base coat in 2 different colors - yellow for the portions that will be painted red and a shade of blue for the sections that will be painted white. (To get the blue shade, I mixed medium blue with a touch of white and black acrylic paint).

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Step 2 - Add base coat of blue and yellow acrylic paint

Tip:  I discovered that a binder clip was a great tool for holding the stone so I could paint both sides at once.

painted rocks, ideas, binder clip, stones
A binder clip is a great tool for holding a thin stone while painting

Step 3:  Then I painted over the yellow base coat on both sides of the stone with red acrylic paint.

painted rocks, rock painting, Santa, hat, red
Step 3 - Apply red paint over yellow on both sides of stone

Step 4:  I added a dab of black paint to the red to get a maroon color and outlined the blue circle, added a couple of arcs from the circle to the top of the hat, and added a line between the blue and red along the bottom.

painted rocks, Santa, hat, rock painting, idea
Step 4: Outline and define

Step 5:  I achieved the fleecy texture by using a stiff, flat brush and dabbed on white paint, allowing some of the blue base coat to show through.

painted rocks, Santa, hat, fleece
Step 5: Dab on white paint for the fleece

Idea 1:  You can stop here or add finishing touches such as sealer and glitter.

painted rocks, stones, Santa, hat, Cindy Thomas
Three Variations - unsealed - sealed - glittered

Idea 2:  Here's another idea for your painted stone: Add a ribbon or pipe cleaner and your painted Santa hat rock has now become a Christmas tree ornament.

painted rocks, Santa, hat, ornament, Cindy Thomas
Painted Rock Santa Hat Ornaments

Idea 3:  You can personalize the Santa hat by adding a name or slogan to the bottom, white portion.

Painted Santa hat rocks make cute DIY Christmas gifts that are easy enough for children to paint and fun for all ages to give and receive.

© Cindy Thomas Painted Rocks

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sweet, Simple Gifts - No-Fat Rock Candies

Painted rock candies are a sweet gift to have on hand around the holidays and very easy to paint.

painted rocks, candy, candies, chocolate, Cindy Thomas

Quick How-To Lesson for Painting Chocolate Candy Rocks

  • Small, round stones make the best rock candies.
  • Paint one (or both) sides of each stone with a milk, dark, or white chocolate acrylic paint color. For the majority of these stones I used burnt umber acrylic paint. The light one is painted with buttermilk acrylic and for the shiny stone on the lower right I used brown fabric paint. 
  • If you have stones that are naturally chocolate-colored, you don't need to paint them. FYI: The stone on the upper right is unpainted.

painted rocks, stones, acrylic paint, chocolate, candy
Paint the stones with chocolate-colored acrylics

  • You can start decorating the stones now or you can add a little shading around the sides of each stone by mixing the brown paint with a little black (or brown with the buttermilk color).
  • An internet search for chocolate candy images will give you ideas for how to decorate your candies
  • I made this tool for applying the little dots on the stones

painted rocks, tool, DIY, dotting, pencil, pin,
DIY Dotting Tool

  • Now use your imagination - dots, swirls, lines, squiggles, a combination of designs - anything goes.
  • 3-D Fabric paint is what gives the designs dimension and realism. I used white, butterscotch and brown fabric paint
  • You may want to practice using the 3-D fabric paint before applying it to the stones.

painted rocks, stones, candy, chocolate, designs, Cindy Thomas
Add designs to the chocolate-colored stones

The painted rock candies will look even more realistic if you display them in a festive holiday dish...

painted rocks, candy, chocolate, festive, bowl, Cindy Thomas

...or a bowl.

painted rocks, chocolate, candy, bowl, Cindy Thomas

A few more gift-giving ideas: 
  • Adorn wrapped packages with a candy or two
  • Gift a few individual candies
  • Place a few rock candies in a Christmas stocking
  • Attach a ribbon to make a Christmas ornament
  • Create a unique and/or personalized gift by packaging the candies in a dish, bowl, mug, etc.
  • Painted rock candies make great gifts for Valentine's Day too.

Please, please, please remember to keep these candies away from young children. They can be very tempting and dangerous if ANYONE attempts to eat them.

Note: This idea was adapted from and inspired by Suzi Chua.

© Cindy Thomas Painted Rocks

Thursday, November 29, 2012

An Alternative Painting Idea for Polished Stones

You can buy bags of stones at craft and dollar stores. I found these for $1 each at Family Dollar.

However, in most cases the stones are polished and difficult to paint. You may need to sand the stones, prime the stones, apply several coats of paint, and sometimes leave them outdoors for many months to "weather" them prior to painting.

An alternative to painting these stones is to engrave them first using an electric engraver tool (e.g., Dremel).

This video shows how to use this engraving tool on polished stones. In fact, engraving works best on the polished stones.

I've put this tool on my wish list so I can get even more creative with all the polished stones I've accumulated.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Simple Painted Rock Gifts Brighten the Day

Today is "Giveback Tuesday" and I'm off to the post office to mail another painted stone for this lovely lady's collection.

painted rocks, Cindy Thomas

At the time I started painting rocks, my mother entered a nursing home far from where I lived. The adjustment to this new living arrangement was traumatic for my mom. So, to brighten her existence and let her know I was thinking of her, I started mailing little, painted stones.

After my mother left this world, I learned of another senior going through a tough time. Aha! I knew just the thing to bring a smile to her face and make the transition a little less traumatic - painted rocks!

It's amazing how ordinary rocks come alive with a little paint and bring joy and smiles to all who see them.

P.S. Here's a little secret: It's just as joyful giving these painted rock gifts as receiving them.

P.P.S. A miniature painted stone nativity scene is what I sent to this dear lady today. 

painted rocks, nativity sets, nativity scene figures, slate, Cindy Thomas

© Cindy Thomas Painted Rocks

Friday, November 23, 2012

Painted Rock Nativity Sets - An Alternative to Traditional Christmas Decor

Nativity scene figures hand painted on Colorado river rocks and stones are an unusual yet appealing alternative to traditional Christmas nativity decor and a charming addition to a Creche collection.

painted rocks, unique nativity sets, nativity scene figures, Cindy Thomas
He is my Rock Nativity Sets

For a delightful and distinctive conversation piece, try something new and out of the ordinary by replacing the figurines in your traditional nativity set with nativity scene figures that are uniquely painted on rocks.
Newly completed, painted rock nativities ranging in size from tiny, small, medium to large are available in the Nativity Shop.

© Cindy Thomas Painted Rocks

Friday, November 16, 2012

So Many Rock Painting Ideas and So Little Time To Do Them All

I have so many rock painting projects to try and I've "pinned" them to a board on Pinterest called Rock Painting Ideas and Helps.

rock painting, painted rocks, ideas, tips, help, Cindy Thomas, Pinterest

Perhaps you'll find inspiration for your painted rocks also. Just click here or on the image below to go straight to my Pinterest rock painting ideas board.

P.S. If you find a way to add more hours to the day, please let me know.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

How to Display Painted Rock Nativities in a Traditional Way

In earlier posts I showed you how to display painted rock nativity sets in a simple way using a charger plate with greenery, stones, or glass gems.

Painted rock nativity scene figures can also be displayed in traditional Christmas nativity stables.

*  *  *

You can use an existing nativity stable and place the nativity scene figures inside.

painted rocks, unique nativity sets, stable, Cindy Thomas
Painted Rock Nativity Scene Figures in a Store-Bought Stable

I found this stable at my local craft store (Hobby Lobby). Stables come in many sizes and you should be able to find one at craft or general merchandise stores.

*  *  *

You can use an existing nativity stable along with the animals that came with the set.

painted rocks, unique nativity sets, nativity scene figures, Cindy Thomas
Painted Rock Nativity Set with Store-Bought Animal Figures

Store-bought nativity sets (stable and figures) come in many different sizes and are readily available. You can decide which pieces from the nativity set to combine with your painted rock nativity scene figures.

*  *  *

Just remember to take into account the size of your painted rock nativity figures. You'll want them to fit nicely in the stable.

© Cindy Thomas Painted Rocks

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Glass Gems and Charger Plate Nativity Set Display Idea

This is another simple solution for a Christmas holiday nativity display.

Use glass vase gems with a charger plate...

...and a painted rock nativity set.

unique nativity sets, nativity scene figures, painted rocks, Cindy Thomas

  1. Position the Mary and Joseph nativity scene figures on an empty charger plate
  2. Scatter the glass gems around Mary and Joseph
  3. Set the Baby Jesus painted rock on top of the glass gems

painted rocks, unique nativity sets, display, charger plate, Cindy Thomas

  • Glass vase gems can be found in the floral department of craft stores, some dollar discount stores, online, etc.
  • Glass vase gems are available in many different colors which you can coordinate with your nativity set and plate
  • You can find charger plates online, at department stores and sometimes at thrift and dollar stores
  • Gold, green, silver and red charger plates work well for Christmas holiday displays 

You can see an idea using a charger plate with fake greenery instead of glass gems on this post

You can see an idea using a charger plate with polished stones on this post

Create your own customized nativity scene display with any of these easy ideas.

© Cindy Thomas Painted Rocks

Monday, November 12, 2012

Unique Display Idea Using a Painted Rock Nativity Set, Charger Plate and Stones

Instead of using a bulky stable that sheds pieces of moss and hay, try this simple solution for your Christmas holiday nativity display.

This easy idea uses polished river rocks...

...with a round charger plate...

...and a painted rock nativity set.

unique nativity sets, painted rocks, Cindy Thomas

  1. Position the Mary and Joseph nativity scene figures on an empty charger plate
  2. Scatter the river stones around Mary and Joseph
  3. Set the Baby Jesus painted rock on top of the stones

unique nativity sets, painted rocks, nativity scene figures, Cindy Thomas

Unique, Customized Nativity Set Display

  • River stones can be found in the floral department of craft stores, some dollar discount stores, online, etc.
  • River rocks are available in different colors which you can coordinate with your nativity set and plate
  • You can find charger plates online, at department stores and sometimes at thrift and dollar stores
  • Gold, green, silver and red charger plates work well for Christmas holiday displays 

You can see a similar idea using a charger plate with fake greenery instead of stones on this post.

© Cindy Thomas Painted Rocks

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Unique Display Idea for Painted Rock Nativity Sets - A Red Charger Plate

Are you looking for a simple, economical way to display your painted rock nativity set for the holidays? 

This idea couldn't be simpler and, unlike traditional nativity stables, it's easily moved from a coffee table to a dining table.

unique nativity sets, painted rocks, display, idea, Cindy Thomas

Supplies Needed:

I used a shiny, red, plastic (Melamine) charger plate. Plastic is a perfect choice for use with painted rocks to lessen any chance of plate breakage.

A shiny, red, plastic, charger plate

Tip: You can find inexpensive charger plates at thrift stores and dollar discount stores. Silver, gold, and green are good color choices also.

Place your painted rock nativity set on the plate and arrange the greenery of your choice around the nativity scene figures.

painted rocks, nativity scene figures, unique nativity sets, Cindy Thomas
A pretty way to display your painted rock nativity set
Tip: If you have holiday floral decorations that have seen better days, remove a few of the nicer pieces and use them for your nativity set plate display. 

There you go - a simple, unique, festive, inexpensive idea for displaying painted rock nativity sets.

Display the nativity in a way which is uniquely you depending on the plate and greenery you select. 

© Cindy Thomas Painted Rocks

Saturday, November 3, 2012

How to Paint Unique, Outdoor Nativity Sets on Garden Pavestones

An outdoor nativity set painted on garden pavers is a great gift idea but there's a problem - packing and shipping to out-of-town recipients is difficult and pricey.

unique nativity sets, painted, pavestone, Cindy Thomas
Outdoor nativity set painted on garden pavers, brick and rock

The solution: I created a downloadable guide (in PDF format) explaining and illustrating how to paint these outdoor nativity scene figures and brick manger.

unique nativity sets, how to, guide, PDF, Cindy Thomas
How to Paint Nativities on Pavestones PDF Guide

The following sample page from the tutorial shows the type of garden edgestones and paver brick I used along with the rock shape & size which works best for Baby Jesus.

painted rocks, how to, unique nativity sets, pavestones, outdoors, Cindy Thomas
Sample page from the PDF how-to guide

Included in my 40-page tutorial:
  • a materials and supplies list
  • paint and brush tips
  • rock painting tips and helps
  • easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions with photos
  • ideas for more nativity sets using garden pavestones

Get your copy of 
Christmas will be here soon!

© Cindy Thomas Painted Rocks

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

DIY Craft Paint Storage Idea

My craft paint carousel worked well for a time, however, the weight of the paint, brushes, sealers, etc. has now made this storage solution wobbly.

My current paint storage solution - a wobbly carousel

Here's a clever idea for storing craft paint so it's easy to see and grab the desired color.

How to Organize Craft Paint on a Cabinet Door

For around $30 you can make this handy craft paint storage project.

Click here for the tutorial.

Now that I've seen this DIY storage idea, I'm motivated to try something similar to get my craft paints organized and easy to grab for my rock painting.  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Free Rock Painting Lesson - Simple Owls

Painted owl rocks are very popular and this easy, free project has unlimited possibilities.

I painted this owl in 10 minutes using this tutorial.

My painted rock owl

I used 3-D fabric paint for the whites of the owl's eyes

Metallic purple & silver craft paint was used for this owl

Other ideas for painting these rock owls:
  • vary the colors
  • outline the feathers and body with black or a darker color
  • fill in the beak with yellow
  • instead of circles on the chest, try another design
  • vary the size of the eyes
  • attach magnets to small stones

painted rocks, critters, owls, stones, Cindy Thomas
My owl variations

This project is simple enough for children and beginning rock painters and is a great idea when you need quick, home-made painted rock gifts.

© Cindy Thomas Painted Rocks

Monday, October 22, 2012

How to Keep Your Garden Colorful Year Round with Painted Pavestones

A chill is in the air and soon the garden will be bare. Brightly painted, round pavestones will keep your garden colorful all year.

painted rocks, garden, pavestones, Cindy Thomas
Painted round pavers peek through the greenery in the Summer

pavestones, painted, garden
Painted round pavers brighten the garden in Autumn & Winter

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Side-by-side comparison

Keep your garden colorful all year with painted pavestones or rocks. Just remember to apply an acrylic or polyurethane sealer to protect the colors from the harsh, outdoor elements.

© Cindy Thomas Painted Rocks