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Painting Rocks

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rock painted like cat

Their unique shape, size, and texture make rocks an excellent canvas for the artist, child or adult, to create beautiful and delightful bugs, scenery, or just colored rocks. This is a guide about painting rocks.


Solutions: Painting Rocks

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Colorful Garden Pebble Paperweight

finished paperweightMaking inexpensive, yet handy gifts for Valentine's Day cannot be easier than with this craft. Turn an ordinary garden pebble into an extraordinary paperweight and be ready to wow your Valentine! The beauty of this craft is that there is no right or wrong.


Tip: Craft: Painted Rock Cupcakes

Small rock decorated to look like a cupcake.I like to collect small stones, the size of maybe two inches in diameter, and paint them with fingernail polish first and then puffy paint.

I have noticed how the puffy paint looks like cake frosting. I thought this would be cute to start making cupcakes out of small rocks. Here is an experiment I did. I did not have a cupcake liner to use on the rock. I used a small amount of duct tape to see what it would look like generally. I love doing little things and rocks are a favorite of mine.

By Robyn from Tri-Cities, TN

Yard Rock Names

Cement piece with name painted on.Make a quick house warming gift that will last for years.

Approximate Time: 3 hours


  • slab of cement
  • cement sealer
  • oil based paint
  • paper name template
  • small brush
  • newspaper
  • steel brush
  • stick glue


  1. Spread newspaper out to cover your working surface.

  2. With a steel brush clean the surface of your cement for all loose chunks then use a brush or water pressure to remove all dust.

  3. Let it dry completely before covering with cement sealer.

  4. Let the sealer dry and then trace on your letters, paint with oil base paint two coats letting them dry in between. I prefer to use spray paint so I make a template of my letters. Remember to keep the centers of letters such as A, O, P and tape them onto the cement before you paint. I wear rubber gloves and hold the edges of the centers down with my gloved finger while spraying as it is hard to get them to stay in place. Using stick glue will work if you are careful also. Make sure you spray straight at your rock or you will have spray bleed under your edges.

  5. Some bleeding can and will be covered by outlining all of your letters with a complementary color of paint with a small brush after your main color is dry. This looks good anyway to me as it really sets the letters off.

I have several rocks I made 10 years ago and they still look like the day I made them. If you don't use the cement sealer your paint will not stay on the cement for long before it starts flaking, so be sure to use it.

By Ann from Loup City, NE

Tip: Paint a Village of Rocks

Paint a Village of RocksI no longer spend lots of cash on plants and flowers which get battered by the wind and burnt by the salt air. I add colour and fun by painting rocks and developing a village much to the delight of neighbours and friends who visit. I sprayed the rocks white to give me a canvas to paint on with acrylic paint and the shape of the rock determines whether it will be a house, shop, car or animal.

By Isobel from Scotland

Tip: Painted Rocks

My daughter wanted to show her rock craft to the ThriftyFun family. It is one of my favorite things that she did with puffy paint. Painted Rocks - a girl writing her initials on the back of a flat rock. Painted Rocks - the signed back of the rock. Painted Rocks - the heart shaped front of the rock, painted with puffy paints.

By Robyn Fed. from Tri-Cities, TN

Pet Rocks

I always get a smile on my face when I see these around the house, their big painted on smiles and google eyes are so adorable. I get all my supplies except for the rocks at Walmart. Red Pet Rock with google eyes

Approximate Time: 30 minutes to paint plus drying time


  • smooth rock, washed and completely dried
  • acrylic paint
  • google eyes
  • paintbrush
  • glue, I like Elmer's craft glue.
  • spray enamel (optional)


  1. Wash and dry rock. It if is not dry, let it sit until it is dry.
  2. Paint rock with paint brush and let dry.
  3. When paint is dry, paint any other colors you want on the rock. Let dry.
  4. Glue googly eyes on rock with a generous dollop of glue. I like to put them on the top.
  5. You can spray with clearcoat type spray if desired.

Note: These are just as charming with just the washed rock and the google eyes on them at the top, but the kids seem to love to paint!

By Robyn from Tri-Cities, TN

Tip: Rock Critters for Garden

This is a project kids love to do - make rock critters for the garden or for indoor plants. For indoor plants, select some rocks (or gravel) of round or oblong shapes. Then the kids paint them, and add eyes and features. An oblong rock could be painted green to look like a grasshopper, or a round one red with black dots to be a lady bug.

For an outdoor garden, simply pick larger rocks. The round paving stones make great lady bugs. You paint it all red, then add a black triangle against the edge for the head. Paint a black line from the end of the triangle to the opposite side of the paver. That defines the 2 wings. Then paint the black dots on.

This is a great time of the year, while the kids are snowed in, to make some projects all ready to go when you plant your garden. Best of all, it is very cheap to make. It is also a good way to use up small bits of left over paint, just be sure it is all lead free!

Source: We have done this in our VBS, 4H, and Scout troops for years.

By mom-from-missouri from NW MO

Tip: Painted Rock Gifts

Our kids were looking for Christmas present ideas for their grandparents last year and I wanted them to make homemade gifts. We have a never ending supply of large rocks in our yard so we went hunting for flat ones to paint on. We purchased acrylic paints at the craft store and let them paint designs on the rocks. Once the paintings were dry, we sprayed them with a few layers of clear coat. These rocks can be used for so many things: door stops, paperweights, yard art, etc.. These gifts are personal and can be enjoyed for many years to come. Flying Dog Painted Rock Frog Painted Rock

Welcome Rock

A new way to use rocks. Name painted on rock.

Approximate Time: 30 minutes


  • big smooth rock
  • acrylic paints
  • sealer


  1. Take a big smooth rock and clean it well, let dry.
  2. If the rock is dark, use light colored paints, if light, use dark paints. You could also paint the whole rock one color, but make sure it is dry before painting on the design.
  3. Then you can paint on anything you want. I chose to put our last name on ours, but you can put any thing you like. Paint flowers or other designs around the words.
  4. When paint is dry spray with sealer.

By Sandy from Bluff City, TN

Tip: Painted Strawberry Rock

Painted Strawberry RockA number of years ago I found (possibly on this site) how to craft a strawberry. My daughter and I had some paint, found a huge rock, took our time and fashioned our very own strawberry. It still sits in my front yard today.

By Karyn01

Tip: Recycled Rock Crafts

These are some recycling crafts that we saw last weekend at a festival. All of the crafts were made by students. The pictures aren't the best, but the crafts were very nice and very cute ideas.

The first is a snake made out of painted rocks of different sizes, with each rock being separate, you can have your snake coil around a post or change their positions. Rocks painted to look like a snake.

The second is two rocks painted as turtles. They looked a lot better than they show in the picture. Unfortunately it was very bright and I only had my cell phone to take the pictures. These were really cute. Rock painted to look like a turtle.

I've had rocks that I painted last for years in the garden. I used acrylic paints to paint the rocks, then when it was finished, sprayed them with a good sealer.

Susan from

Tip: Painting River Rocks

My daughter loves to paint. So I put her to work! I bought a bag of larger river rocks at the Dollar Tree. She painted them in different designs. After they dried I sprayed them with a clear sealer spray. I put a few in all of my potted plants as decoration. I also used them in my flower garden as decorations. I got lots of compliments on them!

By Savings Assistant from GA

Tip: Rock Painting

Rock painted to look like ladybug.Find a rock that you would like to paint on. Wash it in warm soapy waster and let dry. Use acrylic paints to paint your rock. Let dry completely! Lastly, use acrylic finish spray to seal and weather proof your project.

Have fun with your craft.

By Crafty Billie from Stockton, CA

Tip: Gift for a Poet - Muse Rocks

These are a great cheap gift for a budding poet. First you need between twelve and twenty five flat smooth rocks. Now with a paint marker or a permanent maker write words to inspire that budding poet. A quick list of words to use would be:

Quiet, ocean, peaceful, angry, darkness, mountains, green, happy, solitaire, music, soaring, create, world, Anyway, you get the idea.

Adjectives are best but you could also use verbs. These are a great way to help with writers block. Add a notebook, a nice pen and a bowl for the rocks and you have a pretty special gift. You also could use a pringles can decorated to your taste and then they could shake up the stones to make it more random. Hope you like this idea.

By Debra in Colorado

Tip: Make Ladybug Rocks

With summer coming many of us see ladybugs everywhere. Why not create some special ladybugs you can keep on the porch or even inside in some special places?

This is a fun craft that kids can do. They may need some help with putting the tape on to evenly paint a straight line, and you also may want to handle the permanent marker (for putting dots onto the ladybug) - but otherwise should be able to negotiate the project just fine on their own.

This craft does involve painting parts of the ladybugs and then leaving it overnight (or for at least four hours) to dry. This is very important to make sure the paint sets. This is the perfect craft for a weekend project to do with children - by the end of the weekend the bugs are done. Just know going into it that this is not an instant project so children won't be disappointed.

Materials You Will Use:

  • Rocks that can fit into the palm of your hand. Select oval or rounded rocks. Can use larger rocks if you wish to.
  • red and black tempura paints
  • paintbrushes with assorted widths - medium to fine sized points
  • a black permanent marker
  • masking tape
  • scissors

Optional: gold or silver metallic paint pen (these are often toxic and are not child safe, if using with a small child be sure they do not put this in their mouths!)


    1. Clean your rocks with warm soapy water and dish detergent. Let rocks dry.
    2. Paint rocks red and allow them to dry. Drying may take four hours, or they may need to dry overnight. It is very important to let rocks dry completely before going onto the next step.
    3. Take a piece of masking tape the width of your rock. We will now paint the ladybug's head on. Place the masking tape on about 1/3 of the way onto the rock, creating a head. Now use your black paint and paint a head for the ladybug. Keep the tape on while the black paint is drying. *** When placing tape onto your ladybug, you only need to press the side that you will be painting onto the ladybug, so do not press the entire piece of tape down. Only press the side that will painted down.***
      By using the masking tape - you are creating very clean and even lines. Your ladybugs will have a very tidy look to them.
    4. Next we will create the black stripe down the ladybugs back. Take two pieces of masking tape and put them on the ladybug's back, allowing for a thin stripe of red between them. Depending on how large your rock is, this could be 1/8th of an inch or even 1/4 of an inch. Paint this stripe black and allow the tape to remain on until dry.
    5. Now it is time to draw dots on the ladybug's back. You can use paint or even the permanent marker. It is your choice. Most ladybugs have many dots, but for space's sake you will probably want to put three or four spots on each side of the ladybug's back. Once this is dry you are done!
    6. If you have several children making ladybugs consider writing their name in metallic paint pen along the side of the ladybug's body. Your bugs are ready for summer!
    7. By Abigail Beal

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Here are questions related to Painting Rocks.

Question: Painting Rocks for the Garden

Anyone out there with ideas for painting rocks for the garden? I am not a artist, but well blessed with rocks.

By katiebear from Grande Prairie, AB


Most Recent Answer

By Cyinda [214]07/06/2009

It all depends on exactly what kind of look you are going for. But basically you need to know one very important thing & that's that you need to use a UV safe paint or your work can fade drastically within a year or so. If you're using house paints be sure they're made for outdoors. If you're using acrylic craft paints they should say "garden" on them or "UV safe"... If you've already painted something it pays to buy a can of clear UV protectant to spray or brush on over the artwork. Long ago I didn't know about this & had a beautiful dark purple fade to an ugly shade of dull white.

As far as actual ideas of exactly WHAT to paint on the rocks, you need to remember one thing & that's that the rocks will be seen from quite a distance away, so delicate flowers & tiny details aren't usually the best idea.You need something big & bold. I thing in a garden solid colors work best or a solid color sprinkled with speckles also looks cool.

If you're going for actual "art" rocks with details like flowers & animals you can paint all kinds of things! It's best to start by cleaning them with dish soap & water with a toothbrush or scrub brush of some kind then be sure to paint a base of outdoor high-adheasive primer (Like Zinsser 1-2-3). Some people like to paint the rock to camouflage it into something else. For example you can take an oval shaped rock & paint it to look exactly like a big ladybug. I taught painting classes for years & had a student recently write me that she'd sold her house & bought a motorhome & was now traveling around the U.S. & living on BLM land & painting rocks for fun & profit. She said she was grateful for my painting classes because she now has the confidence to paint her little detailed rocks & is having the time of her life!


Below are photos related to this guide.

Use Rocks for Recipe Card

I found this pizza slice shaped rock in the backyard and of course I couldn't resist. I brought it in, I cleaned it, and wrote a pizza crust recipe on it. I put clear tape over the top and now I have a recipe that won't blow away. It will be cute to put in a little basket with some more recipes as soon as I find more unusual rocks, such as a perfectly round one for pancakes. I didn't spray clear coat on there because it smears the Sharpie pen.

I love being creative. This is an early Christmas present for me. I will get a small basket at the dollar store and waterproof the bottom for the kitchen somehow, then keep them there.

By Robyn Fed from Hampton, TN

A rock painted with a recipe.

Snowmen Painted Rock

This is a rock i found outside my house, its a great shape. I just used ordinary craft paint, using a scruffy brush is the best and my finger for blending. When done painting spray it with Krylon crystal clear coating, it will last forever. No pattern was used, just imagination.

By Judy Barr from Lanark, Ontario. Canada

Rock painted with three snowmen.