Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Painted Rocks are Less Messy with the Help of These Cheap Household Items

In addition to the basic supplies used when I hand paint rocks, I've discovered these inexpensive household items make rock painting a little easier and less messy.

My vinyl tablecloth

Vinyl tablecloth - A vinyl tablecloth is always placed over my painting table to catch drips and messes from the painted rocks. Clean up is easy and the tablecloths are so inexpensive that I don't mind throwing them away when necessary. These are available at dollar and discount stores.

Lazy Susan found at a thrift store
Lazy Susan - This once-popular household item has been invaluable to me because rocks can be placed on the lazy Susan and rotated as I paint all the sides. It can be very difficult (and messy) holding a rock and painting it and a lazy Susan easily solves that problem. I acquired my lazy Susan at the local thrift store for just a few bucks and it even included the glass serving dishes which could be used as washable, paint palettes.

Plastic Coffee Container - The large Maxwell House coffee container (30+ ounces) is perfect for holding water for brush rinsing. The built-in handle helps me avoid spills when I'm carrying the container back and forth from the sink to my painting table. The hollow handle is also great for keeping smaller brushes upright while they're soaking in the rinse water. There are other plastic, coffee containers but none have a handle quite like Maxwell House's. I'm a coffee drinker so this household item was free for me.

Container, brush, lid, toothpicks, soap

Fingernail Brush - For scrubbing the rocks before being painted, an old or inexpensive fingernail brush from the dollar/discount store works beautifully. (The plastic coffee container mentioned above is a perfect container for soaking and sanitizing rocks, too).

Plastic Lids - Lids from plastic food containers are useful as paint palettes. I use larger lids for rocks that require more colors to be mixed and the smaller lids for more simply-colored rocks. The lids are also useful for holding a small amount of Mod Podge when I'm ready to apply a sealer to the rock. This keeps me from dipping my brush into the large bottle of Mod Podge and contaminating it.

Toothpicks - This inexpensive household item found at grocery/discount stores is useful for clearing the tips of clogged paint bottles and for keeping a small rock upright when applying paint details.

Bar Soap - I use inexpensive bar soap to clean my brushes. I dip the wet brush onto the bar soap and swish it around, pushing the brush into the soap to get all the bristles clean. I then rinse the brush thoroughly. (Now you know what to do with all the small bar soaps you've collected on your travels.)

Keeping yourself, your kids, and your rock painting area neat and clean is not difficult or expensive when you enlist the aid of items readily available in your home.

© Cindy Thomas Painted Rocks


  1. Murphy oil for floor makes magic for brushes. MIx a little bit in water and leave brushes for half an hour, you will be impressed

    1. I love Murphy oil soap and that's a great tip! Thank you so much for sharing this one.

  2. As a newbie to the Rock Art community, I give you my gratitude for sharing so many helpful tips and information. You have been bookmarked. Thank you. ;-)

    1. Thank you for the compliment and bookmarking my blog, Linda. Over the years rock painting has been a learning experience for me and I'm happy to share.

  3. I use a hair dryer to quickly dry rocks in between paint layers and to quickly dry sealant layers. A rock will dry in like a minute or less. Rocks do get warm quickly, but also cool quickly. So I'm able to paint rocks faster.

    1. That's a great tip, Jewels. Thank you so much for sharing.