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Painting Rocks: Easy Ideas and Tips

July 12, 2016

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Painted rocks are a lot of fun to make.

They're a super easy craft for adults and kids, make great gifts and fun home decor accents.

Check out my easy tips to look like a painting pro!

Painted Rock Crafts Easy DIY for All Ages

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that summertime is when I really get to dive into crafting.

I can step away from the home decor and repair DIYs and play with all the fun stuff I have stashed away in my craft closet.

I can experiment, make frivolous, fun projects, upcycle and when they let me, involve my kids.

Although truth be told, lately, it's been them telling me to step away from the computer screen and join them at the kitchen table to craft.

Of course, I'm always thrilled.

This week, we painted rocks.

I don't really have a fancy tutorial for this one.

It's a pretty basic concept, but here's how we did it, the rock painting supplies we used and a few tips.

How To Paint Rocks

First, things first. There are no rules. Have fun with this process.  

1. Collect Your Rocks

Go outside on a warm summer day, without shoes.

Barefoot toes in the lawn

Pad around on the hot ground gathering rocks of all shapes and sizes. Pick up a few super teeny, tiny pebbles and some larger, more substantial stones.

You don't even have to leave your yard.

The more diverse your collection, the more choices you'll have when it comes to design. The most important consideration is that they all have a relatively smooth surface for painting.

Of course, being barefoot is not a requirement, but it is summer. You may as well enjoy nature while you're hunting.

Even if that part's not really crafty.

2. Rinse Them Off To Remove Any Dirt Or Dust

Washing rocks off in the sink

You want your painting surface to be free of any debris.

Don't use soap, just rinse with plain water and scrub them with a paper towel or your fingers if necessary.

3. Air Dry Them

Drying Rocks On Paper Towels

I place my rocks on a paper towel to dry so they will be free of any dust or lint.

Once that stuff gets caught in a paint brush, it's a mess to get rid of.

4. Decide On A Design For Your Artwork

My daughter was in charge of this one.

She had a ton of ideas.

She even checked Pinterest for inspiration. Your choices are limitless, regardless of your interests, age and/ or skill level.

Have something in mind? If you can paint it, I say go for it!

5. Grab Your Paint And Get To Work

Pink painted rock

It's actually easier than you think to get professional results.

Start with a base coat. We used Americana acrylic paint <---like this - and let it dry.

If necessary, rough out your pattern on the rock.

If you are not confident in your freehand skills, you can use tracing paper and a pencil to sketch your design onto the newly painted surface.

Pencil Drawing on Rock

I recommend using bristle brushes as opposed to foam for this type of project.

Sometimes, the foam brushes can leave small bubbles in the wake of application.

Teeny, tiny brushes <---like these - ones with a pointed tip, work well on pebbles or details.

Don't be afraid to add your own accents to your artwork and if you make a mistake a little water will take the wet paint right off.

I use pointed q-tips <-- like these for make up, to erase paint in tight spots.

They're great for projects in any season.

Painting A Sheep On Rocks

6. Add A Top Coat

To seal, protect and make your rocks really pop, add a top coat of decoupage gel or glitter paint. If you're going to display them outside I recommend a spray sealer.

On one of our rocks we used DecoArt's Craft Twinkles in Crystal for a little sparkle.

Again, I recommend brushes for application.

7. Display Your Creations Or Give Them Away

Painted Rocks For Sports Fan, Mets Logo

They are great little DIY decor accents for the everyday and holidays.

They are also really cute personalized gifts, just wrap them up pretty for Mother's Day, Father's Day, birthdays, Christmas, baby and wedding showers, anniversaries, graduations.

For example, some easy rock painting ideas are initials, years, school names.

Kindness rocks, mandalas.

You don't need to paint a picture.

There is no end to what you can put on a rock.

We made little bugs to decorate my kitchen.

Painted Lady Bug on Green Apple

A sheep, because I'm a farm girl at heart.

Rock Painting Sheep

And a very special gift for super sports fan.

NY Mets Logo On Painted Rock

Like many of the crafts I do, the possibilities here are truly endless. If you can dream it, you can paint it.

No right, no wrong.

Variety Of Painted Rocks

There are no rules.

And I love that.

Especially in summer!

How about you?

Painted Rocks Ideas and Tips

 Hey, before you go, did you know that I was a designer for All Free Holiday Crafts and have a profile there with some of my most popular crafty ideas? It's true!

It's a great website filled with holiday projects and easy instructions.

As a matter of fact, there's a neat post with a different rock painting technique that I love. If you're looking for some more painting inspiration, you should check it out!

Kim Signature

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  1. Excellent fun project for kids and adults alike!

    1. Thanks so much...and I totally agree!! :)

  2. Now this post is for me Kim. I go to the beach and throw rocks in my beach tote making it twice as heavy by the time I get home. I love rocks and painting on them. Great minds think alike.

    1. We are big beach rock collectors too, Mary! This gives us something to do with all the pretties we drag home!! :)

  3. Those are so adorable! My son found a flower bed at his college full of little painted rocks! I was surprised and happy to hear that. When my kids were in elementary school we had a big butterfly garden. The kids painted rocks each year for the garden. They are so sweet and there's no right or wrong. :)

    1. Exactly…crafts are best that way, I think!! ;)

  4. What fun. . .
    I am in that summer thing of "no rules" too . . .
    Guess I will go rock looking . . .

  5. I'm not into rules either. I haven't tried painting rocks. But it's all I can do to paint a wall. And then I make a horrid mess and track it everywhere.

  6. Replies
    1. Thanks you Florence! I will pass on your sweet words!! :)

  7. What a cute idea! I know my grandkiddos would love this one! thanks Kim for the neat idea.

    1. An oldie but goodie and approved for all ages, Lynn! Have fun! :)

  8. Super cute! What a fun crafting idea to do with your daughter.

    1. It was fun to paint something besides furniture or wooden signs for a change, Kris!! ;)

  9. Replies
    1. Thanks Kristi. Definitely makes you feel like a kid again!! :)

  10. Oh I love painting on rocks and that is the perfect summer craft for adults and kids!! :)
    Your rocks you all painted are so cute and I love the lady bug. :)

    1. Thanks Julie! I haven't done it in years and it was a lot of fun! :)

  11. What a fun idea! My favorite is the ladybug. :)

    1. That teeny tiny little lady is so sweet…and painted by my daughter. I guess tiny rocks need tiny fingers! ;)

  12. Hi Kim, Your rocks are adorable. So glad you discovered painting on them. I too enjoy this fun and especially the larger ones for the garden and door stops. Your sweet lady bug is too cute!!
    Have fun creating!

    1. Thanks Celestina Marie! It's something I loved doing as a kid and then again when I was in the classroom, but for some reason when you rediscover something with your own kids, it's all brand new again!! :) I have painted on slate, but never big rocks. Definitely want to try it!! Thanks for the suggestion.

  13. Oh, I just love that little ladybug.
    Fun ideas. My son recently painted a rock turtle. ;-)
    Thank you for the inspiration,

    1. A turtle sounds like fun, Carla! I could paint one up and perch it on the side of my pond. I'd never have to feed it or worry about it running away. Fabulous!

  14. OK, seriously cute! But I really suck at painting so this is nice to know I don't have to be!

    1. So easy, Cathy!! Painting prowess or no, I say give it a shot!! :)

  15. I love the ladybug too, but my fav is the sheep. Cuteness personified!

    1. I love that sheep, too, Doreen! Cute farm animals are my weakness!! :)

  16. Very sweet! I think my granddaughter would love to do this! Yours all turned out so cute. Love the idea of the sports team logo...I have a few guys around here that would appreciate that one!

    1. I really like the sports one, too, AnnMarie. That was totally my daughter's idea. She is super creative.

  17. So cute, Kim! I'm sure our Littles would love doing that!


    1. It’s a classic kiddo craft, Carol. Have fun!! ;)

  18. These are so sweet. I love doing this with my girl. It's so much fun.

  19. So fun! My girls and I did this all the time in the summers when they were little :)

  20. Those are cute! My favorite is the ladybug. I have rock painting on my long list of things to do. I have something already in mind. Plus I want to make veggie plant markers.

    1. Oh that sounds like fun, Linda. What a great idea for this spring. Thanks!