Thursday, June 5, 2014

3 of My Favorite Rock Painting Brushes

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 - stencil, script liner and flat - for most of my painted rocks.

For me, it's the shape which makes these brushes my favorites and not the brand or material. (You're better off not spending a lot of money on rock painting brushes because the rough surface of the rocks wears away the bristles.)

Script Liner Brush

Good for:
  • Outlining
  • Detailing
  • Fur strokes

For many years, I used short-bristled liner brushes. Brushes with the longer bristles (script liners) just didn't make sense to me...until I used one. The longer bristles of this script liner brush enable me to pull the paint stroke further for better outlining, detailing and fur strokes.

Flat Brush

Works well for:

I use both small and large flat brushes depending on the area I want to fill or tint and the size of the rock I'm painting or sealing. The flat shape allows me to work around my sketch lines as well as fill large areas.

Stencil Brush

Used for:
  • Dry brushing
  • Blending
  • Shading
  • Dappling/stippling

I use both small and large stencil brushes depending on the area I want to shade or dapple and the size of the rock I'm painting. 

  * * * * *

Here's how I used a flat, stencil, and script liner brush to paint rockin' rolls.

As you paint rocks, you'll discover the subjects you enjoy painting, your personal style, and the brushes which work best for creating your masterpiece.

Helpful Resources
Brushes Tutorial
Before You Purchase a Brush
Paintbrush Guide
How to Care for Paintbrushes
How to Clean Paintbrushes

© Cindy Thomas Painted Rocks


  1. Hi, thanks so much for the great tips! I'm just getting started on painting rocks. I may have to purchase some craft rocks. I want to try a simple beach scene. =) Happy painting!

    1. Hi Debra. You're so welcome for the tips; I'm happy to share them here. I'm sure your beach scene will be lovely painted on a rock.

  2. Hi, Cindy. I read your tips with great interest. I am spearheading an effort at my church to create a pet remembrance rock garden. Members who have lost adored pets would be able to paint a rock in memory of their pet and place it in a designated area on the church grounds. I expect the members who want to paint rocks would have a wide range of artistic capability (or lack of it). Do you have any suggestions of how to help the less artistic members come up with a doable design for them? Most of the pets would be cats and dogs, with a smattering of other animals.

    1. Hello. A remembrance garden of painted pet rocks is a lovely idea. A simple design for less artistic members is to paint a paw and include the pet's name, etc. Do a Google search for "pet memorial rocks" and you'll see quite a few paw designs. I like the versions that incorporate a heart with the paw. Another option is to trace a photo of the pet onto the rock. My blog post explains how to do this. A third option is to stencil a silhouette of the pet onto the rock. I hope these suggestions are helpful. Since the rocks will be placed outdoors, don't forget to seal all sides of the rock once it's painted. In some cases, the paint will peel and fade even with sealer, so the rocks will need to be checked occasionally and touched up if needed.