Rocks painted with a Christmas theme

How to paint rocks

Painting rocks has become very popular – especially in recent years. It’s an activity that easy to do and fun for all ages.

Although you can paint rocks for personal use, it has also become a community game. You may have noticed some brightly coloured rocks around when on a walk in your local parks etc.

The general premise of the community game is that you paint a rock (or rocks) and place it somewhere around your local area such as a park. Some people place them in plain sight where others make them slightly more hidden. You then go on a hunt to find as many as you can – almost like an Easter egg hunt!

Some people will simply keep the rocks they find, some will swap the rock out to that of a rock they have painted, or some will simply take a photo of it and upload it onto an online painted rocks group. It is an easy, fun and cheap activity that everyone can get involved in.

With the Christmas holidays approaching and families coming together, why not create your own painted rocks and go on a hunt yourself?

Rocks painted with a Christmas theme

How to paint rocks

Although there isn’t necessarily a ‘wrong’ way to paint rocks, there are a  few things you can do to make your works of art more effective!

Step 1: Give your rocks a thorough clean

Having a good clean rock is paramount to a good finish. Whether you have purchased rocks from the local garden centre or collected some in your local area, we recommend giving them a good scrub! Simply use some warm soapy water – dish soap is perfectly suitable due to its grease-cutting abilities.

Once they are clean, allow them to fully dry before continuing.

Step 2: Apply a base coat (optional)

This isn’t necessarily an important step but if you are planning on using your rocks for decorative purposes (such as decorating the outside of your house) you may want your design to last for as long as possible.

If this is the case, we recommend priming your rocks with a base coat. You can easily apply a coat or two with a can of primer or by using priming paint. If you are using an aerosol-based primer we highly recommend you do it outside and protect the area in which you will be working.

Step 3: Choose your paint

Paints and brushes

The most commonly used paint for painting rocks is acrylic. This is due to their vibrant colours, affordability, ease of use and effectiveness. The next commonly used paints are oil paints. These are also a good choice, but they are more expensive and take a lot longer to dry.

You can, of course, use pretty much any paint you would like. Just be aware that some will not be as vibrant nor last as well as others.

Step 4: Get your brushes

Unless you are painting very large rocks, or are only using one colour, we recommend using fairly small paintbrushes. Especially so if you want to paint something with a lot of detail.

There are a wide variety of brushes available ranging from a few pounds for a set to over £20 for a single brush!

If you plan on painting lots of rocks or making a hobby out of it, you may want to opt for a more premium set of brushes. This is because very cheap brushes tend to have a lot of bristles fall out. This is very frustrating when you have to pick them all out and ruin your work of art!

Step 5: Set up your painting area

Make sure your work station is properly set up for painting. Especially so if this is an activity for kids! Using some sheets of newspaper is a quick, cheap and easy way of protecting your surfaces.

You may also want to use clothes you don’t mind getting a bit of paint on or get some overalls.

Be sure to have a cup of water available so you can quickly and easily change colours, along with some sheets of kitchen towel to mop up any spillages.

We recommend using a palette to decant your chosen paint. You don’t need a fancy one, a piece of cardboard will be perfectly sufficient.

Step 6: Paint your rocks!

Rocks painted with a Christmas theme

Now all the prep work is out of the way, you can finally get on with painting your rocks! To make it a little easier, you can draw the image onto the rock with a pencil or marker pen to give you a starting point. If you’re not confident with your painting abilities, you can always use stencils.

If you’re not sure as to what you would like to paint, take a look at Google images or Pinterest to get inspired!

Once you are finished with the paint, you could use decorations to finish off your works of art such as with glitter or pom-poms! If you plan on using your rock as part of a communal rock finding group, you may also wish to draw or paint a hashtag to the group on the bottom of the rock. This is a great way of getting more people involved who are unaware of the activity.

Once you’re happy with your creation, just leave it to dry.

Step 7: Sealing your rocks

Once your rocks are completely dry, you will want to seal them. This is especially so if you are planning on leaving them around for the community to find where they will be subjected to the great British weather!

All you need to do is get some sealing spray, varnish or gloss (depending on if you want it to be shiny or matt) and apply it as per the instructions. You could use a product such as Natural Varnish or Oxid Vernis to finish and protect your rocks.


We hope you found this post helpful. As always, if you have any tips, tricks or advice, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

Or, feel free to follow us on our social media pages! You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest @Owatroluk or use the hashtag #owatroluk.

Owatrol Team
About Owatrol Team

Our team are ready and willing to support you with your requirements whether it is protecting your newly laid deck or renovating a luxury yacht, whatever the application Owatrol has the solution you are looking for.

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