Painted Rocks are as much fun to find as they are to make! Learn how to paint rocks and explore the best rock painting ideas for kids and adults. This rock painting guide shares our favorite rock painting supplies, and, an awesome collection of rock painting ideas to help you get started!
Creating painted rocks is a great way to pass the time, and is a wonderful meditative art activity for both children and adults.
My daughter and I LOVE rock painting and coming up with new ideas for rock art projects.
Learn all of our favorite rock painting ideas, materials, and tips below!
Related: Real Flower Nature Crafts
Rock Painting with Kids
Rock painting is one of our favorite activities. Get outside with your children to collect rocks, and then paint them, for a rock activity that kids will love.
If you don’t have any areas that you can go to collect rocks, you may have to go collect your rocks a home improvement or a landscaping store that carries smooth round unfinished river stones in bulk. You can also find stones for rock painting for sale HERE.
The photos above were taken the first time my daughter and I painted rocks together when she was 2 1/2 years old.
It was her first-time rock painting, and my first time in years. I had not painted rocks since I was a kid. It was so much fun I wondered why I hadn’t tied rock painting in so long!
We collected and painted our rocks over several days. We found rocks on our daily walks and would come home to paint them. It was wonderful to bond with my daughter painting rocks on her DIY art table outside in the warm sunshine.
Since that time we have painted lots and lots of rocks using the fun rock painting ideas below!
Best Rock Painting Supplies
Our favorite rock painting supplies for painting rocks are listed below.
- Rocks [Flat smooth rocks work best]
- Rock paint (see options below)
- Water-based glue sealer with a foam brush or acrylic varnish (optional)
Rock Paint Options
- Patio Paint or acrylic paint & paintbrushes
- Extra fine tip paint pen multipack (includes pastel set listed below)
- Extra fine tip pastel paint pens
- Black outline & fine detail pens
- Black and white fine to medium paint pen set
- Metallic brush paint pens
Have a look at our favorite rock painting supplies in our Amazon Store for even more ideas!
How to Paint Rocks
- Collect rocks to paint.
- Wash rocks and allow them to dry in the sun.
- Set up an area to paint rocks. Put down newspaper or a piece of white posterboard to protect the surface that you will be working on.
- Optional–Paint a single color acrylic base layer on each rock that you will be painting and allow to dry. Recommended for some rock painting designs.
- Paint rocks in any way you like, or, use any of the ideas found in “Rock Painting Tips,” “Rock Painting Ideas,” and “Painted Rock Crafts” in the sections below.
- Allow rock paint to dry overnight.
- Use a foam brush to paint a layer of acrylic sealant or use a varnish to help protect the paint. (optional)
Once finished painted rocks can be displayed on your nature table, in flower beds, in the garden, or wherever else suits your fancy. If you place painted rocks outside they will weather in the sun and may get damaged even with a sealant or varnish applied.
Painted Rocks for Kids and Adults
You can see the difference between painted rocks with sealer, and painted rocks without a sealer in the photo above. The rocks on the top left have no sealer, while the painted rocks both below and to the right have had a top coat sealer applied.
Rock Painting Tips
- A fun way to paint rocks is to think of them like clouds in the sky. What do you see? Paint the rock to match.
- Two color patterns using a complementary or contrasting color always look nice.
- Hearts, rainbows, mandalas, and words of inspiration are always fun to paint on rocks.
- If you place your painted rocks outside they will weather in the sun and may still get damaged even when you apply a sealer or varnish. If you want to keep your painted rocks looking their best, keep them inside.
For further inspiration, we have added a bunch of links to some beautiful, creative, and fun painted rocks and rock painting ideas that we have discovered and tried since the first time my daughter and I painted rocks together.
Some of these awesome rock art ideas come from painted rocks that we have found on our daily walks and hikes. Just look at all these fun rock painting ideas!
The Best Rock Painting Ideas for Kids
- Paint one rock with each letter of the alphabet. Learn more about this rock painting idea over on Teach Beside Me.
- Make some food for your mud kitchen with these super fun painted rocks from Munchkins and Moms.
- Paint rocks to look like ladybugs in a rainbow of colors. Pop over to Crafts by Amanda for the directions.
- Learn a simple hack to paint dots on rocks and other simple designs and pictures. Learn how over on Twitchetts.
- Try Kandinsky inspired painted rock art like the fun collection of painted rocks found over on Arty Crafty Kids.
- Paint garden rocks and make a little drawstring bag for them like the beautiful ones Kate made over on The Craft Train.
- Try rock painting using puffy paint like Sam over at Color Made Happy.
- Or, try a painting a mermaid on a rock like the one my daughter found below! We also found a diamondback rattlesnake painted a rock that we thought was pretty cool. You can see a photo of it in the photo collage of the best rocks that we have found.
Finding this mermaid painted rock made my daughter so happy. Thank you, Chico Rocks!
More Painted Rocks for Kids and Adults
- Shark painted rocks by Sustain my Craft Habit look super cool sticking out of the sand. Find the tutorial HERE.
- Paint river rock garden markers like the beautiful collection found over on West Valley Moms Blog.
- Silhouette painted rocks by Adventure in a Box are fun to draw over a starry twilight sky.
- Paint mandala stones like the amazing stones painted by Elspeth McLean. While your there, have a look at all of her rock painting ideas to gather even more inspiration to create painted rocks.
- This fun collection of pumpkin painted rocks are made with jack-o-lantern faces. Head over to Adventure in a box to learn more about this fun rock painting project for the fall.
- Poop emoji painted rocks are a fun rock painting idea for kids and adults. I will never forget the day our dog found one at our local park. My daughter and I laughed so hard when our dog sniffed it that we almost peed our pants! Thanks, Chico Rocks!!
Related: Nature Crafts and Art Projects
Painted Rock Crafts for Kids
- Make a rock snake like the one made by Rachel over on I Heart Crafty Things. A rock snake is a fun rock painting idea and a fun homemade toy for the kids to play with.
- When I saw this painted rock garden caterpiller over on Nellie Bellie (one of my nicknames too!) I wanted to put our funny little yellow slug alongside it. So cute!
- If you have ever made a pet rock you will love these pet cactus painted rocks over on The Best Ideas for Kids. Find the directions for this super cute rock craft here.
- Make a rock fish pond like this painted rock craft by Make it Your Own. Or try this cute pebble fish painted rocks craft by Hello, Wonderful.
- Paint rocks to create mix and match flowers like this cute idea from Typically Simple.
- Turn any garden or unused yard space into a fairy garden with the super cute painted rock fairy houses pictured below!
Related: Fingerprint Art Magnets
Leaving and Finding Painted Rocks In Nature
There are many people that collect and paint rocks and then leave them somewhere for others to find. Others frown on this practice, believing that nature should remain as undisturbed as possible.
While I understand and agree with the “take only pictures and leave only footprints” ideal, we just can’t help ourselves!
My daughter and I have come to enjoy putting out a few painted rocks every now and again. It all started the first day we actually found one.
Finding a hidden painted rock is a delight not to be missed. It filled my heart and made me want to run home and paint rocks to hide for others to find.
We have found several more since that first painted rock, and they have all been found in different locations sometimes hundreds of miles away! A few of our favorites are pictured below.
We think moderation is key. Don’t take all the rocks and stones you find, and don’t leave a mess of painted rocks everywhere–sound good?
Painted rocks that my daughter, dog, and I have found.
Related: 15 Ways to Raise a Helper
Painted Rocks for Kids and Adults
Get outside with the kids to collect and paint rocks. Don’t forget to look for hidden painted rocks while you are at it. They are out there hiding waiting for you to find them!
Learn more about Rhythms of Play HERE.
If you Liked Painted Rocks, You May Also Like
- Sorting and Classifying Rocks
- Acorn Marble Necklaces
- The Best Nature Study Supplies for Kids
- Four Season Handprint and Fingerprint Tree
- 15 Reasons to Climb a Tree
A poop emoji painted rock that our dog found–lol!
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Nell has over 20 years of experience working with children and is the founder of Rhythms of Play. She believes in the power of the imagination, learning through play, making this world a greener place to live, and getting outside in all seasons! Learn more…