Rock Painting: How to Create Art with Rocks

It all started when I saw, on social media, a friend share her family’s rocks they painted together. I thought the painted rocks were so creative and fun, but had not considered creating my own version. One day I was pulling weeds out of my front flower bed, and noticed a perfectly round and smooth rock. I thought to myself how perfect this rock looked and how it would look great in this flower bed painted with bright colors. That’s how I began rock painting.

I searched online for inspiration on designs and saved different pictures for ideas. Luckily, I had leftover acrylic paint lying around the house from past Halloween costume projects. I was so pleased with the outcome of my rocks, the next thing I knew I was searching the rest of my yard for more and hiking along creek beds on family properties. This small, simple project is such a great way to entertain your families, and to get outside to explore while searching for that perfect rock. Follow along with my guide to help prepare to make art with nature, painted rocks.


  1. Rocks
  2. Paint Brush
  3. Acrylic Paint
  4. Something to protect your workspace (like newspaper)
  5. Outdoor gloss sealer
acrylic paint
crafting table

How to Paint Outdoor Rocks:

Get outside and find your perfect rock! Inspiration will come to you once you gather a few. I always sit down and look over the rocks I have collected and immediately visualize different landscapes, animals, or plants. The rock I used this in this step-by-step has the best shape for a strawberry!

Foraging for Rocks
  1. Wash off your rocks if they have dirt or any other debris that might get caught in the paint and get in the way of the smooth paint texture. Set them out to dry, but do not worry that will not be a long process!
  2. Find or create your new design to paint! I find a lot of inspiration from items in nature, such as animals or plants. 
  3. Start painting with your favorite colors. Acrylic paint that is suggested for the outdoors, and has been the best paint I’ve found to use on rocks. The paint comes as different finishes, like matte or satin. The paint that has a thicker consistency covers the rock well. Most paint you will find locally will take a few coats to completely cover the rock.
  4. I recommend that you have more than one size of paint brush, for different details while you paint your design.
Paint Brushes
  1. One other painting tool that has been nice to have on hand for certain details and to write out words or sentences, is acrylic pens. They have been a great addition to painting the rocks.
Acrylic Pens
  1. Once you have created your finished masterpiece, you will want to use your sealer to spray the rock. This will help the paint not fade and protect the paint if you decide to place your new artwork back outdoors in your gardens. You will want the spray can that indicates either gloss or clear finish.
Spray Paints
  1. Set your rocks out to display on your deck, around the home, in your gardens around the yard, hide them in your neighborhood or on your favorite nature trail. Enjoy!
Painted Rock Strawberry

Painted Rock Craft Resources

Here are a few great links on how to get started with this craft, or inspiration for your rock finding and sharing:

How to paint rocks. Amazing answers to your first questions

Painting Rocks – Best Supplies for Painting and Decorating Rocks

  • About Jessica White

    Jessica White is the founder of Wander Woman Kansas, an outdoor education program for women near the Kansas City area. She grew up with a family that spends time outdoors, which provided her a great deal of experiences. She has gone on every kind of hunting and fishing trip imaginable with her Dad. While he liked that part of the outdoors, her Mom, on the other hand, taught her the love of camping, canoeing, caving, rappelling and all kinds of outdoor sports. Jessica still enjoys trips with them, but she started Wander Woman to encourage other women to find themselves in the outdoors.