How to paint rocks and create beautiful artwork

They call themselves “rockers” or sometimes “rock and rollers” and if you are fortunate you may already have found a piece of their brightly colored artwork.

For the last several years, painted rocks have been found on paths and in parks, near buildings and on sidewalks all over the country. Some are big, some are small, some have religious quotes or inspirational sayings, and some are simply cute.

Very active groups of Inland Northwest rock painters thrive on social media, where they share tips and techniques and pictures of their painted rocks.

The coolest thing about it all is that anybody can paint a rock. You probably already have what you need around the house.

Here’s an easy step-by-step guide to beginner rock painting:

  1. Find a nice rock – perhaps in your yard or along the road. Make sure you are allowed to take the rock. Don’t take rocks from landscape projects or wilderness areas where rock removal is illegal.
  2. Clean your rock. Give it a nice bath in warm water and some detergent while using a stiff brush to remove dirt and debris.
  3. Dry your rock. You can wipe it dry or you can leave it outside in the sun or use a hair dryer. Rough patches can be sanded with coarse sandpaper – after sanding you should rinse and dry your rock again.
  4. Then you are ready to decorate! First draw an outline with a soft pencil or a fine tipped pen – whatever works best for you.
  5. Next it’s time for painting. You can use pretty much any paint/color including Sharpies, watercolor, latex, acrylic paint or colored pencils. It is very important to let your rock dry in between layers of paint – do the big solid colored areas first, let them dry, then add smaller details. It’s a process, but it can also be really calming to take your time with something fun and creative.
  6. Let your painted rock rest until it’s completely dry before you seal it. Sealing is very important to make sure your beautiful design doesn’t wash off in the first downpour. Use a clear coat sealer (often found in a spray can) and apply several layers. You may want to try the sealer on your favorite paint and markers on a different rock before you apply it to your painted rock masterpiece. Some paints and sealers don’t mix and your paint or marker may run.
  7. Sign your rock or put a label on the underside – some use Mod Podge or other clear glue to cover the label or signature to make sure it stays put.

And that’s it – your rock is ready be released into nature on your favorite trail.

Photo credit Eva Silverstone, Spokane resident, and her family. 

Visit the Spokane Rocks Facebook page.

Spokane Rocks


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