Friday, January 31, 2014

Rock Painting Inspiration from a True Story

Rock painting ideas come from unexpected places.

I was inspired to paint a mouse hitching a ride on the back of a frog after reading this true story about a flood in India.

* * * * *

First, I searched through my unpainted rocks to see if I had any shapes and sizes suitable for this project.

Two, smooth stones were the right size and shape with a flat surface suitable for gluing the painted rocks together..., I primed the stones with white, acrylic paint.

The stones have been primed

Each stone was painted separately using a simple design.

Painting has begun on each stone

Once the paint was dry, I attached the painted stones to each other using E6000 glue.

The painted stones have been glued to each other

My final step was sealing the rocks with Mod Podge Outdoor followed by Delta Ceramcoat Exterior/Interior polyurethane varnish.

To display the frog and mouse similar to the photo in the news story, I filled a container with small pebbles and shallow water.

We get by with a little help from our friends

© Cindy Thomas Painted Rocks 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Rock Painting Ideas: People Painted on Rocks

I have a new Pinterest inspiration board. It features ideas and tips for painting people, figures, dolls and other types of folks on rocks

Ideas: People Painted Rocks

* * * * *

Fifty years ago, The Beatles invaded America and this idea pinned to my "people" board inspired these painted rocks.

Inspiration for The Beatles Painted on Rocks

A simple, sumo wrestler was inspired by this idea which is also "pinned" to the people painted rocks board.

Inspiration for Sumo Wrestler Painted Rock

* * * * *

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

© Cindy Thomas Painted Rocks

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

How I Discovered Rock Painting

It took me over 30 years to discover rock painting!

As a child, I enjoyed drawing and always had a pencil and/or crayons in my hand. I was one of those kids whose favorite class was art. 

But, rather than pursue an education or career in art, all artistic endeavors were forgotten when I moved to a big city, married, and had a child.

Twenty years later, I received a painted, clay pot as a Christmas gift from my sister. I loved my painted pot and it came with me (unbroken) on 3 moves to different states.

Skip ahead 13 years to where my last move took me - an environment I never experienced before - few trees and lots of rocky terrain. I thought I had landed on the moon! People used rocks instead of grass for their yard! Yuck, how ugly!

Then, I saw a review for Really Jazzy Pots: Glorious Gift Ideas and thought to myself, "I like gardening, want to paint with acrylics, loved my painted pot Christmas gift, why not give this a try."

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.
So, I started looking for this clay-pot-painting book. I'm the type who likes to borrow a book from the library and peruse it before making a purchase. However, my library did not have this particular book nor did my local bookstore at the time.

Months later, while I was looking through the book rack at Hobby Lobby for "Really Jazzy Pots," I discovered "Rock Painting Fun for Everyone" by Lin Wellford.

Once I started paging through Lin's book, I was hooked! It was perfect and even better than painted clay pots! The "canvas" was rocks - something plentiful where I lived! 

Each page of the rock painting book brought a smile to my face as I saw the cute things I could paint with acrylics and rocks. And, Lin's step-by-step instructions illustrated how easily I could do it!

My first kitty cats painted on rocks

I painted my first rocks seven years ago. Now my eye is drawn to rocks of all shapes, sizes and textures. I see their potential to come alive with acrylic paint to warm your heart and bring a smile to your face.

P.S. I don't think rocks are so ugly anymore.

Rock Painting Links
Lin Wellford's how-to-paint-rocks books
Free rock painting projects and other resources 
Cindy Thomas Painted Rocks on Facebook 

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.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

How to Prepare Rocks and Stones for Painting

Cleaning is the first thing I do to prepare my rocks for painting. 

  • Use a little dish detergent and water
  • Scrub the rocks to remove dirt
  • Rinse well
  • Allow the stones and rocks to dry completely
    • I like to do several stones at one time in a bucket
    • Dirt from the stones may clog the pipes, so be sure to dispose of the cleaning water in a suitable place
    • To sanitize the stones after washing and rinsing, I add a little bleach to a bucket of clean water, then rinse well 

Many rocks need just a good cleaning and no other preparation for painting.
Priming will make your project go much easier for certain types of rock and stones. 

Candidates for priming: 
  • Smooth stones
  • Dark-colored rocks and stones
  • Rough, porous, and/or pitted rocks or bricks


I purchased these landscaping stones in the garden department of a big box store. 

They are a great shape for rock painting, but the smooth surface makes it difficult for paint to adhere properly. Without priming the rocks first, my design and hard work can peel right off. 

To prime these stones (after they've been cleaned and dried), I just apply 1 or 2 coats of white (or light colored) acrylic or craft paint. 

The light primer not only helps subsequent paint layers adhere but also brightens subsequent colors.

Update August 2017: My preferred primer is gesso. Learn more about gesso and how it is used.


A coat or two of white or light-colored paint applied to dark stones helps brighten subsequent paint colors as illustrated below.

Painted Rock Ladybug Color Counters


There are several ways to prime pitted or rough stones.

Acrylic paint can be used to fill the pits (if they aren't numerous or deep) by dabbing the paint into any little crevasses or holes. 

Landscaping bricks, edgers and pavers are very rough. I like to brush on a product called KILZ to prime them before painting.

Sometimes, I smooth wood filler over a rock's holes and cracks to fill them before applying a primer and/or painting. 

Update August 2017: For slightly pitted stones, I now use super heavy gesso. Learn more about gesso and how it is used.

To protect and seal my rocks once they are painted, I brush on Americana DuraClear Satin Varnish. 

These are the supplies and methods I prefer for painted rocks preparation and protection.

© Cindy Thomas Painted Rocks