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Painting rocks is easier than it looks and it’s also quite addicting once you get started. It can be difficult to figure out the best supplies and techniques so I thought I’d create a guide based on my experience.
For years I sold my painted stones on Etsy, but now I prefer to share what I’ve learned so that others can enjoy painting rocks as much as I do. This post has a lot of great ways to get started painting rocks. You’ll also want to check out my Rock Art Handbook that’s available on Amazon with over 30 tutorials for painting rocks.
The Best Rock Painting Supplies (affiliate links are provided for your convenience)
1. Rocks-The number one question I get is “where can I find smooth rocks.”
Here are a few different places to find flat rocks, but first take a little walk around the neighborhood, you may by surprised what you find. Avoid buying rocks that have a wax film over them to make them shiny. This makes it difficult for paint or markers to adhere to the rock.
- Amazon has some great rocks for painting:
- Landscaping supply stores, stone yards and stone depots often sell river rock rock in bulk. Make sure to bring a bucket!!
- Home Depot and Lowes garden centers will often have smooth river rocks in the garden section.
- Stores such as Michaels Craft Stores, Walmart and The Dollar Store often have smaller rocks available.
2. Paint – The best craft paint to use on rocks is acrylic paint.
See my recommendation below for my favorite brand of acrylics.
- Liquitex Basics Acrylic Paint – Love this thick paint that’s very vibrant
- Mont Marte Acrylic Paint
- ARTEZA Acrylic Paint – this is a great option for a variety of colors.
- Artecho Acrylic Paint
- Folk Art Acrylic Paints are another favorite. I love the bright colors and thick consistency. The paint goes on smooth.
3. Paint Brushes – The key to painting details on your rocks is small brush sizes.
Below are some of my paintbrushes for rock painting . You don’t need to spend a fortune on your brushes, the most important factor is keeping the brush size small.
- I love this set of brushes. Even though they say they are for watercolors, I’ve found they are the best brushes for painting rocks with acrylic paint. I also usually have several 000 size brushes always on hand for fine details.
- In expensive paint brushes work great too fording full coverage and basic designs to your rocks.
4. Paint Markers and Paint Pens for Rock Painting
Another great option for painting on rocks, especially if you struggle with acrylic paint are paint pens and markers.
- My absolutely favorite brand of paint markers are Posca Paint pens with extra fine pen tips. These water-based paint markers also come in natural pastel colors as well. They are shown in the pic above.
- Another great paint pen option are Tooli-Art Acrylic paint pens shown below for the Halloween rocks. They come in both extra-fine and medium tip.
- I also really love these Grabie acrylic paint pens. The fine tips make them wonderful for detailed drawings like mandalas and other fine line doodles.
If you want to doodle on your rocks using regular markers these Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens are my favorite. Shown in the pic below. You can see all the different ways I use them in this post. You will need to paint a white acrylic base on your stones if you are using these markers.
Black Pens for Outlining
For creating black outline around finished designs, I love these Micron Pens and these Faber-Castell pens. I like having a variety of sizes for different thicknesses. You just need to be sure the paint is completely dry before using the pen or else you risk ruining the tip of your pen with paint.
White Gel Pens
These white gel pens are great for fine details and designs on painted rocks.
5. Fun Rock Painting Supplies for Kids
Chalk marker are such a great option for rocks, especially when crafting with kids. Here is great option Chalk Markers. NOTE: For the chalk markers you will most likely need to paint a white acrylic base on your stone first, unless your rock is already a light color.
These chalk crayons are another great option when doing rock crafts with kids. You can use them to draw directly onto the rock. See the pic above for reference.
6. Sealant for Painted Rocks
When it comes to sealing rocks I prefer to keep the matte natural look of the rock as I usually don’t cover the rock completely with paint. I mostly use this favorite spray sealer by Design Masters. This spray sealant will work no matter what you use to decorate rocks. And it will not smear your design as sometimes other sealants might. If you want a glass-like glossy finish, you will love this gloss spray sealant option! Be sure to spray in a well-ventilated area.
Rock Painting Tips
Prepping Rocks for Rock Painting
Before you get started painting rocks you’re probably wondering if you need to do something to your rocks first to prep them. For the thousands of rocks that I’ve painted I simply wash the rocks outside with a house and let them dry and I’ve never had any problems with decorating them using the supplies I prefer.
- Start with a base coat using white acrylic paint that either covers the area you’ll be painting or the entire rock. Having this white base coat underneath acts as a primer for the rock and helps brighten the other paint colors.
- Paint the basic design using the main colors.
- Go back and add more details and design with additional colors.
- Outline the finished design with a fine black pen for enhanced detail.
- Use a sealer to protect you finished design.
Easy Rock Painting Ideas
Here are some fun and easy rock painting ideas that are great for beginners to try.
People Painted Rocks
Have fun coming up with with different painted rock people. Get creative with their clothing, facial expressions and accessories. Using multiple rocks makes the project even more fun. You can even create your own family portrait.
Ladybugs are a great and simple rock painting idea for kids and adults. You can make your ladybugs different colors or even different themes.
Alphabet Painted Rocks
Who doesn’t love a colorful alphabet project. Paint your own alphabet rocks and then use the letters to spell out messaged for friends and family. You can glue the rocks down on a piece of wood or canvas to make a special gift.
If you want to put a smile on someone’s face you can make your own kindness rocks. Pick inspiring words or phrases and add them to your rocks. If you’re looking to order some kindness rocks check out the Rainbow Rock Project on Etsy!
Holiday Painted Rock Ideas
Holiday Painted Rock Ideas
You can create decorative rocks for all of the holidays! Check out these rock painting posts for inspiration.
- Fall Painted Rock
- Halloween Painted Rocks
- Zombie Painted Rocks
- Dia de Los Muertos Painted Rocks
- Thanksgiving Painted Rocks
- Christmas Painted Rocks
- Valentine’s Day Rock Painting
- St. Patrick’s Day Rock Painting Ideas
- Easter Rock Painting Ideas
Rock Painting Book
Looking for more rock art inspiration? Check out my book, The Rock Art Handbook! It has over 30 different rock art tutorials featuring dot painting, marbling, embellishments, decoupaging and much more. In the book I go in-depth on different art supplies that you can use on rocks and provide a ton of tutorials to get your creativity flowing.
Are you ready to start painting rocks? Make sure you check out all of my other rocks posts for more ideas. Also I’d love to see what you’re creating. Come find my on Facebook or Instagram and share your beautiful creations.