How to Start with Rock Painting

What is rock painting and where did it come from?

Rock painting is the art of decorating rocks, stones and pebbles using paints, pens and other craft items. Adding embellishments to rocks to decorate them is easy for everyone.

Rock painting began in the US with Megan Murphy’s The Kindness Rock facebook group. It all started as she came up with the idea to spread kind words and positive quotes on heart shapes stones and sea glass she found whilst beach combing.

Why should I try rock painting?

Art is known for its therapeutic qualities and painting rocks is the latest way to relax and unwind, getting creative to create mini masterpieces, spreading joy and positivity by hiding them for others to find. It’s an awesome way to share your art and it's suitable for all abilities.

Painting and decorating rocks, pebbles and stones using paints and paint pens has become increasingly popular in the arts and craft world. Stones, rocks and pebbles are great mini canvases and with supplies readily available it's a reasonably inexpensive activity.

DACO Blog How to start with rock painting

Where do I get the rocks to paint?

When you're out searching for the perfect rocks for painting look for a variety of shapes and sizes. A top tip is that Smooth flatter rocks work best and are easier to decorate. To start with we would recommend palm size rocks as they are big enough for most designs and easy to hind and find. Secondly it's important to remember the impact on the environment when choosing or collecting rocks. It's important to not remove rocks, pebbles or stones from National parks, nature reserves or private property. If you're worried or in doubt leave them behind and find an alternative. You can purchase stones from a variety of places including landscaping businesses, garden centres, diy stores and online. Now Always Remember You can also make your own using air drying clay.

What supplies will I need for rock painting?

Pebbles, acrylic paints, brushes, paint pens, pencil, primer, varnish, tape and a palette.

Rock painting essential art supplies

DACO Blog How to start with rock painting

Acrylic paints for rock painting

Acrylic paints are great for decorating rocks, pebbles and stones. Alternatively, paint markers, chalk pens or brush pens are a great way to decorate rocks with drawings, they are the perfect medium for writing positive quotes and vibes already made popular by Megan Murphy and more recently messages of hope and thanks for the NHS like the ones that feature on facebook pages such as Frans NHS rocks.

DACO Blog how to start with rock painting

Paint pens, brush pens

These types of pens are a great alternative to paints with less mess, fuss and washing of brushes. Paint pens are available in a range of styles, colours, nib sizes and ink types. Markers are an easier way to create artwork on a variety of surfaces including rocks, pebbles and stones. They are also permanent when they are dry and dry in a semi gloss finish.

DACO Blog how to start with rock painting


When choosing your brushes try to look for smaller sizes. Remember: the size of the brush is important when creating artwork on small surfaces. A range of brush sizes and shapes are recommended to create the desired effect. Round brushes are ideal for lines, dots and fine areas.

How to prepare your rocks

It’s important to prepare your rocks before painting and decorating them.

Firstly, thoroughly wash your stones and pebbles making sure to remove all debris such as dirt, seaweed or sand.

Lots of people ask whether or not they need a base coat before decorating, this is down to personal choice. Most people paint or draw directly onto their rocks and pebbles but you can prime them in a base coat of acrylic (white paint is a common solution). Priming of rocks is most popular with those who use dark rocks or the rougher less smooth rocks as the base coat makes a better surface to draw on. An even or uniform colour background can also help enhance the colours of your designs.

Blending colors

  1. Firstly when creating a tonal or ombré effect popular for landscape backgrounds start with the darker colour first.
  2. Then the middle colours, finishing off with the lighter ones.
  3. With acrylic paint, blend colors together with a dry brush for a soft misty blend or use a wet brush for a more bold blend.

For color blending using brush pens, you will have to use the lighter color pen in backwards and forwards motion over the top of the darker colors to achieve the blended effect. For example, start with the red then add the orange and whilst wet color over them with the yellow. Do this by starting over the red and colour over all of the colours and carry on colouring until the full yellow color is left.

How do I seal my rocks?

Sealing your rocks

Most people ask whether or not their rocks will need to be fixed or sealed. The answer is that it depends on the medium you used and the finish you require. Now if you use acrylic paint it will dry permanently and it won’t require sealing. But then you may want a more glossy finish so a spray on gloss varnish would be perfect. You can use a can of hairspray if it comes handy.

Hopefully this guide has given you the answers to the most regularly asked questions on rock painting and helped inspire you to try this super fun craze. Now it’s time for you to get creative and become a rock artist.

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