painted rocks

Painted Rocks: How To Paint & 127+ INSPIRATIONAL Rock Painting Ideas

Painted rocks are the perfect kid-friendly activity. It’s cheap, fun, and can brighten someone’s day. Of course, it’s also a great way to keep the kids entertained in a safe way while we indulge in adult activities.

This article will introduce you to the world of rock painting, teach you how to paint rocks, and inspire your own creativity with a huge list of rock painting pictures.

How the Painted Rocks Movement Started

painted rocks pin

The painted rocks movement started with Megan Murphy who lost both her parents in her early 20s.

One day, as she took her daily walk on the beach, she decided to write messages on five rocks with a sharpie. She dropped them while walking in hopes that someone would find them and it would brighten their day. And she was right! On that same, a friend of hers texted her a picture of a rock with a sharpie-written message on it and exclaimed how she had found it and it was exactly what she needed to hear.

Overwhelmed with emotion, Megan knew that was a special moment and had to do something to spread the message of hope and kindness. She started the Kindness Rocks Project and it blossomed from there.

The “rules” of the movement are that if you find a rock, you’re supposed to either keep it and make another to leave somewhere OR drop the rock that you found somewhere else. Of course, you can also just paint as many rocks as you want and drop them off everywhere. The goal is to spread the joy!

To learn more about the movement, check out the Kindness Rocks Project Facebook page.

How to Paint Rocks (Beginner Friendly)

All you really need to get started spreading the joy is a rock and a sharpie. But, if you want to do something colorful and fancy that can also weather rain and snow, you’ll have to be a little more sophisticated. There is a three-step process to painting rocks: first, you must prep the stone, then paint the rock, and finally put a coat of sealant on the rock to protect it.

frog king rock
You’ll need a little more than a sharpie to create a masterpiece like this.

This is a great DIY kids craft project. Before going over the process in more detail, let’s gather all the supplies you’ll need to paint your rocks.

Rock Painting Supplies You’ll Need

Here’s what you need to start painting rocks:

  • Smooth Rocks. You can use any stone or garden rock you find outside. Just remember that in some places, like National Parks, removing rocks can result in large fines. If you can’t find any rocks outside, you can buy landscaping rocks at your local garden center or home improvement store. At my Home Depot, I can buy a 30lb bag of smooth rocks for around $10. You can also buy rocks to paint on Amazon. Don’t worry if you can’t find any smooth rocks, I’ll go over how to make them as smooth as possible later.
  • Acrylic Paint. Next, you’ll need acrylic paint in the colors you want to use. The paints the link go to are perfect for outdoor painting. Remember to get white or black paint for the base layer.
  • Various Paint Brushes. Having multiple types of paint brush sizes will help you create beautiful rock painting patterns.
  • POSCA Paint Markers. If you want to write text on your rock, it’s much easier to do with markers than a paintbrush. The POSCA markers are the ones that worked best for me, though any type of acrylic paint pen should work OKAY.
  • 150 Grit Sandpaper. This is only necessary if you found your rocks outside in nature rather than buying them in a store.
  • A Sealant. Once you’re done painstakingly painting your rock, you’ll want to protect it from the outdoor elements. This sealer is the one I would recommend. Remember, the sealant can come in three different finishes: gloss, satin, and flat. Those are listed from most shiny to least shiny. So get the sealant finish that you want.

Depending on the design you’re trying to paint, you won’t need all the supplies listed above. The bare minimum is to have a rock, some paint, a paint brush, and a sealant if you want your paint to last.

Once you’ve gathered your supplies it’s time for the fun to start!

The 3-Step Rock Painting Process

1. Prepare Your Rocks

If you bought your rocks in a home improvement store or on Amazon, then you can skip this step.

For the paint to stick, the rock has to be clean and smooth. First, clean the rock with warm water and soap. Use a toothbrush to really dig in and get all the dirt off. Next, if the rock isn’t smooth, use the 150 grit sandpaper to sand away the rough bits. Depending on what type of rock it is, sanding may or may not be effective. Either way, try to get the rock as smooth as possible. Once that’s done, rinse it under water to remove the grit and let the rocks dry.

2. Paint Your Rocks

Depending on the design you plan on painting your rock, you may need to paint a base layer. Basically, if you plan on coloring the entire stone and not using the raw stone color as part of the design, you’re best off painting a base layer. This base layer can be white or black, but I would recommend white if you want your colors to really POP.

Continue reading for some great rock painting ideas.

Remember to every layer of paint fully dry before painting the next layer. You don’t want to smudge your paint. If you want to speed up the process of paint driving, use a hair dryer to gently blow warm air onto the rock.

3. Seal Your Rocks

The final step is to seal your rocks.

Your rocks should be completely dry before you begin the sealing process. To seal your rocks, take them outside to a well-ventilated area. A garage with the doors open would be perfect. You don’t want to do this inside! The fumes can be dangerous.

Set your rocks on some old paper or inside a cardboard box. Spray one side with the sealant, making sure to follow the instructions on the back of the bottle. Let it dry. Flip the rocks and spray the other side. Let that side dry and you’re done!

Time to hide those rocks!

If you’re really into rock painting and want to take your game to the next level, I can’t recommend these books enough:

Rock Painting Ideas, Inspiration, & Pictures

Not sure what you want your painted rocks to look like? Trying to assemble a huge rock garden?

Don’t worry, this is the largest list of painted rock ideas and rock painting pictures on the internet. You’ll be sure to find something that inspires you.

Easy Rock Painting Ideas

The following rock painting pictures should be easy to recreate. Nothing fancy here. Sometimes the simplest designs are the best.

Smiling Faces Rock
Smiling Faces Rocks
Cute Random Rocks
Random Cute Painted Rocks
Watermelon Rocks
Watermelons!
Monster Rocks
Monster Painted Rocks (with Googly Eyes)
Yard Snake Rocks
succulent rocks
Succulent Cacti Rocks
mm rocks
M&M Rocks (Yummy!)

Holiday-themed Rock Painting Ideas

Halloween? Christmas? It’s always a good time of the year to paint some rocks. Use the following pictures for some holiday inspiration:

Lucky Irish Rock
Lucky Irish Rock
Rainbow Pot of Gold Rock
Pot of Gold Painted Rock
Patriotic Flag Rock
Patriotic Flag Rock
pumpkin rocks
Pumpkin Rocks (CUTE!)
Fall Leaves Rock
Leaves in Fall
Candycorn Rocks
Rocks Disguised as Candycorn
Patriotic Flag Rocks
Patriotic 4th of July Rocks
ghost rocks
Halloween Ghost Rocks
snowflake Rocks
Snowflake Rocks
Snowman Rocks
Snowman Christmas Rocks
Peppermint Rocks
Peppermint Rocks (These look TOO real)

Cool Rock Designs

Check it out. Some rock painting patterns and designs can be cool too (not just cute).

Cool Space Rocks
Cool Space Painted Rocks
Cool Dinosaur Painted Rock
Cool Dinosaur Painted Rock (Great example of using the rock’s natural flaws)
Cool Spider Rock
Scary Spider Rock
Creepy Tree Rock
Creepy Tree Rock
TV Show Character Rocks
TV Show Rocks
Yoshi Rock
Yoshi Painted Rock
Cool Monster Rock
Cool Monster Rock
Pokemon Rock
Pokemon Painted Rock
Spongebob Rocks
Spongebob Squarepants Rock
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Rock
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Rock
Smiling Faces Rocks
Smiling Faces Rocks
Nesting Dolls Rock
Nesting Dolls Rock
Superhero Painted Rocks
Superhero Painted Rocks
Minion Painted Rocks
Minions Painted Rocks
Emoji Painted Rocks
Emoji Painted Rocks
Spiderman Rock
Spiderman Rock
Emoji Kiss Rock
Emoji Kiss Rock
Avocado Painted Rock
Avocado Painted Rocks
Dr Seuss Rock
Dr Seuss Rock
Assorted Painted Rocks
Assorted Painted Rocks

Quote & Word Painted Rocks

Nothing brings more joy than a perfectly timed quote.

Watch for Rocks Rock
Watch For Rocks! (Literally)
Jurassic Park Rock
A Jurassic Park Theme Inspired Rock
Welcome Rock
Welcome!
Quote Rock
“How you make others feel about themselves says a lot about you.”
Woody Rock
“You’ve got a friend in me” Toy Story Rock
love rock
Love Painted Rock
bee happy painted rock
BEEEEEE Happy
courage rock
Courage Painted Rock
kindness painted rocks
Kindness Painted Rocks
quote rocks
Bunch of different quotes
Live love laugh painted rock
Live, Love, Laugh Painted Rock
Life is beautiful painted rock
Life is beautiful painted rock
painted rock inspire
Inspire!
be a rainbow painted rock
be a rainbow painted rock
You can move mountains painted rock
You can move mountains painted rock
life is short rock
life is short rock
weather forecast painted rock
weather forecast painted rock
stay wild quote rocks
stay wild quote rocks
dream rock
DREAM
believe rock
Believe Painted Rock
chalkboard painted rock
chalkboard painted rocks
love painted rock
LOVE Rock
you rock painted rock
You Rock Rock
i love my cat rock
I Love My Cat Rock
adventure is out there
Adventure is out there…
shhh rock
Shhh…
olive you rock
How punny.
don't stress painted rock
don’t stress painted rock
thought bubble rocks
thought bubble rocks
smile painted rock
Smile Painted Rock

Ladybug Painted Rocks

These cute little ladybugs deserve their own list. Nothing says springs like dozens of these cute bugs.

Ladybug Rock 2
A Ladybug Painted Rock
ladybug rocks 1
More Ladybug rocks
cute bug rocks
A few cute bugs that could be ladybugs…

Rock Painting Patterns

Not a great artist? Don’t worry, turn to the rock painting patterns for an easy-on-the-eyes design that aren’t hard to replicate.

patterned painted rocks
White Patterned Painted Rocks
Pretty flower rocks
Flower Pattern
Flower Pattern Rock
Another Flower Patterned Rock
Rainbow Pattern Rock
Rainbow Pattern with Words
music note rocks
Music Note Patterned Rocks
heart patterned painted rocks
Heart Patterned Painted Rocks
flower pattern rock
Another Flower
yellow flower rock
Yellow Flower Pattern
blue branching tree rock pattern
Blue Branching Tree Rock Pattern

Cute Animal Painted Rocks

Cute animals are probably my favorite things to find on painted rocks.

owl rocks
Cute Owl Rocks
bird flower rock
A Little Bird On A Flower
Cute Bird Painted Rock
Cute Bird Painted Rock
Cute Owl Rocks
Cute Owl Rock
Alpaca Rock
Very Realistic Alpaca Rock
Toucan Rock
A Toucan Rock
Sloth & Llama Painted Rocks
Sloth & Llama Painted Rocks
Cow Rock
Cow..Mooooo
Toucan Tree Rock
A Toucan in a Tree
Peter Rabbit Rock
Peter Rabbit Rock
Sloth Deadly Sin Rock
Sloth Deadly Sin Rock
cute blue chick rocks
cute blue chick rocks
Panda Rock
Panda Rock
penguin painted rock
Cute Penguin Rock
hatching chick rocks
Chick Hatching
cute mouse rocks
Cute Mouse Rock
cute seal rocks
Walruses!
flamingo rocks
A Flamingo Rock
frog rocks
What a cute frog painted rock
cute hippo rocks
Hungry hungry Hippos
duck rocks
Duck Duck Duck….Goose?
sheep rock
Bahhhhh is for Sheep
cute pig rock
This little piggy didn’t go to market.
cute bee rocks
What’s buzzin’?
cute hedgehog rocks
Just a hedgehog rock family
fish rocks
Where’s nemo?
chick rocks
Bunch of chicks
black cat rocks
Bunch of black cats rocks

If you want more rock painting ideas, just search for the #paintedrocks hashtag on Instagram. Social media is a great place to find inspiration. You can find many different rock painting groups on Facebook. Just search for a Facebook group. It’s also a great place to find other rock crafting or rock projects

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