Rock Painting: How To Paint Like a Professional?

River rocks and polished stones are excellent art materials. Rocks have for long been painted on since the era of caveman, who drew pictures on the rock walls of their caves. Stones have been used in craft processes, and they can have even more artistic application. For instance, fieldstones can be painted to resemble plants and flowers. There are endless possibilities when it comes to painting rocks!

Painting on rocks is an enjoyable craft. It is desirable because at most times the rockscome free, unless you purchase some rocks from a craft shop. If you have small children and you want something to do on a rainy day, a bunch of stones are a good idea!

Supplies Needed for Rock Painting:

  • Paint. Acrylic or water-based paints are the most suitable for rocks. One disadvantage of acrylic paints is that they are usually difficult to wash out from fabrics. You should therefore take great care when utilizing them. Put on a smock and lay something to give protection to the painting area.

If you’re painting with small kids, use tempera paint since it is easy to wash out but is less bright. Use outdoor-friendly paint if your rocks will be staying outside.

  • Fine-pointed markers. These are suitable for making small details that can be challenging to draw using brushes, particularly on small-sized stones. In general, markers are fun to use while rock painting.
  • Paints for markers. These are great if you enjoy the control given by a marker and the sight of paint. Markers and paints for markers are made in wonderful metallic colors as well.
  • A sealer. You’ll need to utilize a sealer to ensure that your paintings last for long periods of time. If your paintings will be staying inside, you may apply an acrylic spray which will brighten the colors and give them a glossy look (the spray should be used outside).

For rock pieces that will live outside, you can utilize a spar urethane sealer that will prevent formation of cracks and wearing out.

  • Magnetic backings. These are useful if you plan to use your paintings as magnets. Simply attach magnetic backings at the back of the rock art. Ensure that you use rocks that are not too huge or too dense, or you will require a very strong magnet to prevent your rock from falling off where you put it.
  • Protective covers such as newspapers are needed for covering your painting surface.
  • A paint palette. You may make a paint palette at home from a paper plate or a cardboard box covered in aluminum foil. You can also buy one from the store. If you plan to paint for an extended period of time, you may want to think of buying a wet palette, which will maintain the wetness of your paints for longer.
  • Painting brushes. Purchase cheap brushes that are stiff and have wooden handles in a vast range of sizes. The surface of the stone will rapidly wear the brushes out, in this notion, expensive brushes are unnecessary.

Wide and flat paint brushes will be suitable for bigger design areas whereas smaller and pointed brushes will be suitable for making tiny details. Invest in brushes that have lengthy bristles which can hold loads of paint.

  • Google eyes. These are needed for the mixed media that you plan to use in your design, like rock monsters.
  • Glue. If you plan to attach rocks to each other or to some type of media, you will require some glue. Elmer’s and hot glue guns are suitable. However, if you need your stone to last for a lengthy time in the outdoors, you should enquire about glue that is safe for the outdoors.


To do your rock painting like a professional here are stepwise instructions:

  1. The first thing you need to do is to get the ‘perfect’ stone. Smooth and rounded stones like river stones and those found on beaches are the best. If you have thought of what you want to draw (e.g. a dog, a house or a table) look for the most suitable stone that has the right shape.
  1. If you’re not free to wander for long periods of time searching for the right stone, you can go to a craft store and buy one. Craft stores usually have bags of rocks that come in different sizes and shapes. You can choose what appeals to you.
  1. If you’re selecting your rocks from nature, make sure that you’re permitted to take them. National parks usually prohibit removal of rocks.
  1. If you got your canvas (stone) from Mother Nature, you’ll need to ensure it’s clean. Wash it using water (preferably warm) and soap then dry it with a cloth. You can also scrub it with a toothbrush you no longer use.
  1. Some rocks possess rough spots on their surface that will make it difficult to paint. To counter this, sand the stone’s surface with sandpaper, beginning with grit of 200 and continuing to 150 and 220 grit till the roughness disappears.
  1. At this point, you’re now ready to draw on the rock. It is wise to try and draw your design first on a piece of paper to make it good. When drawing your design on the stone, you may use a pencil, soapstone, chalk or a sharp marker which gives control and allowance to draw tiny details.
  1. After drawing you can now start painting. Have patience and paint from the largest parts of the drawing to the smallest ones. Alloweverycoatto fully dry before proceeding. You may use a blow drier to speed up the drying process.
  1. After you’re done with painting your stone, you need to seal it. You can use a sealer and paint additional coats to ensure that your art will last for a long period of time.

Things You can do with Your Rock Paintings.

You can:

  • Transform them into magnets
  • Use them as decorations for your garden
  • Make seasonal decorations
  • Discover your artistic talent and make a small masterpiece
  • Have art time with your children either inside the house or in the outdoors.
  • Make gifts, your kids will especially enjoy creating gifts for others
  • Sell your rock paintings when you finally learn to paint like a professional
  • Create pet rocks
  • Engrave messages of hope on the rocks, and so much more!

Bright colored acrylic paints are very suitable when painting rocks. Bright hues make remarkable and dynamic designs. If the colors you’re using are not bright enough, you can mix them with white color to increase their brightness.

When you’re starting to paint you can begin by outlining your drawing with a fine-pointed marker, and then paint. If you want to take the short way out, you can use a highlighter instead of paint; highlighters will suit really light colored rocks.

If you wish to have a painted background, ensure that you utilize 2 paint coats, leaving the first coat to fully dry prior to painting the second coat. After the second coat is fully dry, you can start to draw your designs on the rock; patience is important during painting.

You can for instance, paint the background white on a dark-colored stone, for a great appearance. You can also paint the background black, but the picture you draw should be brightly painted in such a case.

There are endless possibilities as to what you can draw on your rocks. Flowers, cartoons and the sun etc. are very common. Holiday drawings are also done, like snowmen, pumpkins, hearts, and eggs. As the list goes on, you get to be as creative as you can.

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2 thoughts on “Rock Painting: How To Paint Like a Professional?”

  1. How do you make your designs so uniform? I see some rocks on pinterest that look so uniform they look like they were done with a stencil. Some of the lettering looks like it was typed right on the rock! How is that done? My rocks look like they were done by a spider. Their edges are so quivery looking. Thanks for your directions!


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