My kids have been noticing painted stones hidden along the path on our morning walks. We’ve seen some of the cutest rock art ideas!
It didn’t take long before my kids wanted to start painting rocks themselves.
Problem is, I didn’t know where to start. What kind of paint was the best to use? Are there any rules about what’s supposed to go on them?
I’ll answer all your questions here so you and your kids can get started. It’s super simple, believe me.
These fun rock art ideas give your family a creative outlet and allow you to brighten the day of those around you.
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In This Guide:
How to Paint on Rocks for Outdoors
For those that want to get started painting their own rocks, you may be wondering where to begin.
Let me break it down for you. With these simple steps you and your kids will be creating beautiful rock art in no time.
1 | Gather Supplies
First, make sure you are prepared with the proper rock painting supplies.
I say this because once you introduce the idea of rock painting and start brainstorming rock art ideas, your kids are going to want to start finding rocks to paint right away.
Make sure you have all the tools you need:
- Paint (acrylic paint works best!)
- Brushes (small with firm bristles)
- Rags for washing and cleaning paint
- Paint pens (for words, intricate pictures, and outlining)
And of course you’ll also need the perfect canvas for all of your amazing rock art ideas: the rock itself!
The most traditional option is river rocks that are smooth and round. But really any rock with a mostly-flat-surface will do.
Just be prepared that not all designs work on rocks that aren’t completely smooth. If you want to write more than a few words or do an intricate picture, you’ll need to opt for the river rocks.
2 | How to Prepare Rocks for Painting
Wash rocks with soap and rags to make sure they get really clean.
After washing by hand, many people even put them in the dishwasher just to be sure.
Before you start painting, ensure the rocks are completely dry. Sometimes I let my kids blow dry them just to give them something to do and help speed up the process.
3 | What Kind of Paint Do You Use on Rocks?
Short answer – acrylic paint.
Long answer – all acrylic paint isn’t created equal.
If you want really vibrant colors, you’ll want to do multiple coats. I highly recommend FolkArt Acrylic Craft Paint because it goes on thick yet smooth, meaning you don’t have to do as many coats to get those powerful colors you’re looking for.
They also make rock painting kits for kids that are an inexpensive way to introduce rock painting.
While these kits are a great introduction and will get the job done, they do often require multiple coats and often the “popular” colors are gone after a few attempts at rock art.
4 | Add Words and Details
I love using paint pens to add fine details to images, outline pictures for a clean look, or write inspirational words/sayings.
The Artistro paint pens are highly recommended for rock painting as you can use them to draw directly on the rock itself without any primer or base coat, if desired. They have a fine tip for good control and show up very vibrantly on any rock art.
5 | How Do You Seal Painted Rocks?
If you want the rocks to last for more than a week or so outside, you’ll have to seal the paint on there.
Personally I use an all-purpose paint-on sealant because it was what I had around the house. If you paint on a sealer, however, you have to be very careful to not mess up your painted design.
Easy Rock Art Ideas
Now they you know how to paint on rocks, what are you going to choose to paint?
My advice is to keep it simple. Here are some easy rock painting ideas for beginners:
It may sound overly simple, but just a single word or two on rock art can be extremely simple.
Kids are great at brainstorming ideas, but here are a few to get you started:
- Be Kind
- Be Happy
- You Matter
- Don’t Worry
Cool Rock Painting Ideas for Kids
I’ve seen so much cute rock art created by kids out there.
Let them go wild! They can draw something simple like a smile, heart, or star. Or maybe they want to draw a person, a flag, or even something completely abstract.
Let your kid’s imagination soar!
If you find a big enough rock, you can write out a sentence or two. Here are some ideas for quotes:
- Song lyrics
- Bible verses
- Book text
- Inspirational and uplifting words
- Famous quotes
What’s the Point of Rock Art Anyway?
For me, it’s twofold.
Our family has thoroughly enjoyed hunting for rocks on our morning walks. Reading the messages, enjoying some of the impressive rock art, and smiling at the paintings done by children brings so much joy into our lives.
It’s a small thing, but a great way to start the day. It forces you to pause for just a second and enjoy the simple things in life.
On the flip side, creating rock art ourselves has been a blast as well!
It’s wonderful to think that we could be inspiring our neighbors and bringing a smile to those in our community. Plus, it’s a fun project and it gives us a creative outlet.
So for us, it’s a win-win.
We’d LOVE to see some of your rock art ideas! Send pictures to us at themomsatodds (at) gmail (dot) com and you may just see them appear here or on our Facebook page.