Saturday, June 29, 2013

Rock Painting Tip: Use Paint Pens Instead of a Brush for Detailing

Sometimes my rock is too small or my hand too unsteady to paint fine details with a brush. Regular Sharpie markers smeared and changed color when a sealer was applied. Micron pens scraped the paint off my rock and dried up quickly.

Update: Monday, October 24, 2016

Since the date of the original post, I have discovered the Uni Posca marker and consider it the best pen/marker for rock painting. This post has now been updated to include the Posca pen. (Click here to see my experiments with the Posca Pen.)

Four pens suitable for rock painting are the: 
Note: When you click on certain links in this post, I may receive a commission for the purchase of products.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

While only one of these pens is my perfect solution, they all enable me to add details to my painted rocks without using a brush.

I drew a simple kitty using each pen to illustrate how they perform on a rock. (FYI: Smooth stones are easier to draw on than pitted stones.) 

Uni Posca Marker (water-based paint filled)

Uni Posca Marker - My Perfect Rock Painting Pen

  • Available in various colors
  • Many tips available from extra fine point to extra broad
  • Can be used on unpolished and polished stones
  • Dries quickly
  • Does not blur or change color when sealer is applied
  • None

Elmer's Opaque Paint Marker (acrylic paint filled)

Elmer's Painters Pen
  • Available in various colors
  • Fine tip available
  • Dries quickly
  • Doesn't smear or change color when sealer is applied
  • Fine tip is not as fine as I'd like

Sharpie Oil-Based Paint Pen

Sharpie Oil-Based Paint Pen

  • Available in various colors
  • Fine & extra fine tips available
  • Dries quickly
  • Glossy
  • Doesn't smear or change color when sealer is applied
  • Fine tip is not as fine as I'd like (I have not tried the extra-fine tip)

Sagura Pigma Brush (archival ink)

Sakura Pigma Brush

  • Available in various colors
  • Dries quickly
  • You can control the thickness of the line by amount of pressure used when drawing
  • The kitty drawn with the Pigma Brush smeared when I applied a polyurethane varnish (Delta Ceramcoat)
Polyurethane sealer smeared my kitty design

  • After redrawing the kitty with the Sakura Pigma Brush, I carefully sealed the rock with a thin coat of Mod Podge first, then I applied the Delta Ceramcoat  
Apply Mod Podge first then polyurethane sealer when using Pigma Brush

I previously used three of these pens interchangeably but my new favorite is the Posca marker.

How to Prevent "Sharpie" Permanent Markers from Blurring When Sealed

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© Cindy Thomas Painted Rocks 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

How to Paint a Stone-Clothespin Alligator Critter

Here's a fun, easy project for young and old alike using two common items - a clothespin and a stone.

Supplies Needed:
  • Wooden clothespin
  • Wedge-shaped stone
  • Acrylic paint - dark green, light green, pink, white, black, yellow
  • Glue

Look for a stone that has a shape resembling an alligator's head.

Paint the clothespin and stone dark green, leaving the teeth portion unpainted.

Paint the teeth portion of the clothespin white on both sides of the clothespin.

Paint the mouth area pink. (You'll need to hold the clothespin open while the paint dries, otherwise the top and bottom will stick together.)

Using a light green shade, paint 2 rows of arcs along the top of the clothespin. (You can mix a little white or yellow with the dark green color you used for the body to get a lighter green color.)

Mix a little black paint with the green color used for the body to get a very dark green shade. Use this color to fill in the area beneath each light green arc.

Outline each tooth on both sides of the clothespin with black paint. (You can also omit this step.)

Paint two nostrils and eyes using black paint.

Using a light green shade, paint eyelids over each eye and add a curved line on each side of the head from the nostril up to the eye.

Fill in the eye area with yellow or gold paint.

You can stop painting the head here, or add more detail by outlining each nostril and eye with white paint and adding a dot of white in the pupil.

Glue the painted stone head onto the tip of the clothespin. (I used E6000 glue to attach the head to the clothespin.)

You did it!


  • Attach a magnet to the bottom of the clothespin to make a refrigerator magnet to hold artwork, lists, etc.

  • In the kitchen, use the stone-alligator clothespin as a fun, inexpensive way to close up bags to keep food fresher longer
  • Use the stone-alligator clothespin to keep stacks of papers together if you're out of binder clips. It's a great gift for teachers, office workers or anyone with a cluttered desk

  • Create other stone-clothespin critters with large teeth, e.g., sharks, dinosaurs, etc.

© Cindy Thomas Painted Rocks

Monday, June 17, 2013

Rock Painting Ideas: Owls

I enjoy painting owls and owlets on rocks and stones.

I'm always looking for different ways to paint owls on rocks and have a new Pinterest board: Ideas for Painted Owls Rocks

The next time I paint stone owls, my Pinterest board will be a reference for different feathers, style, or rock painting technique.

Visit my Pinterest Rock Painting Ideas and Helps board to get inspiration for other painted rocks projects.

© Cindy Thomas Painted Rocks

Monday, June 10, 2013

How to Personalize a Painted Rock Car

You can personalize a painted car rock with:
  • Paint color
  • Details of headlights, rear lights, rims, etc.
  • License plate
  • Passengers

Here's how I personalized a painted rock car for a Father's Day gift. (I already had a car-shaped rock on hand.)

First I gathered photos of the actual car model I wanted to paint on the rock which helped me choose the correct paint color and other identifying details.

I did not try to paint the car front exactly. Instead I chose a few simple details from my photo.

I referred to my photos to paint the rims.

I further personalized the auto with the rear lights and license plate. You can get very personal with the license plate by using names, vanity plate phrase, etc.

I took the personalization even further by adding a family of passengers on one side of the car. I just Mod Podged photo printouts onto the painted rock. (The tricky part was making sure the photos were the right size for the car.)

  • Paint a school bus full of classmates
  • Paint a truck and add a photo for the driver
  • Paint a train full of passengers

These personalized, painted rock cars are a great gift idea not only for Father's Day but for any boy (or girl) who loves vehicles. It's also a unique, one-of-a-kind permanent "frame" for favorite photos.

*     *     *

My first painted rock car was a lot more fun than I expected because of the personalized details.

© Cindy Thomas Painted Rocks

Monday, June 3, 2013

How to Make Photo Holders with Stones and Binder Clips

Don't know what to do with small polished stones and/or painted rocks laying around the house? 

Here's a super easy idea for one-of-a-kind photo holders using stones.

These DIY photo holders would make sweet and simple gifts for children to create and give to friends, grandparents, teachers, etc.

Supplies you'll need:
  • Large (2-inch) binder clips
  • Self-stick magnetic strips
  • Stone(s) - painted or unpainted
Two-inch binder clip - self-stick magnets - painted/unpainted stones

The Process
  • Cut magnet strips to fit the back of the stone(s)
  • Attach to stone(s)
  • Place magnetized stone(s) on bottom of binder clip 

  • Make sure the stones aren't too heavy or your clip will tip
  • Magnetic strips allow you to re-arrange and switch out the rocks as you desire
  • For permanent stone photo holder, glue the rocks to the binder clip
  • Use care when doing this project with children - binder clips can pinch their little fingers

  • If you don't want the black binder clip to show, cover with contact paper
Contact paper covers black binder clip
  • Use colored binder clips instead of black
  • Use for reminder note or recipe card holder
  • Use scrapbooking accessories to further embellish the stone binder clip photo holder

Stone binder clip photo holders are a simple way to show off your small painted rock creations as well as display your photos.

© Cindy Thomas Painted Rocks