Rock painting has become a popular hobby in the past years, especially nowadays when we’re spending most of our time at home. It may seem like a new concept, but it's actually one of the oldest ways to create art – dating back to the prehistoric ages when our ancestors drew animals, hunting and ritual scenes, and other nature-inspired illustrations on cave walls.
Today, we can use vibrant and versatile chalk markers, acrylic paint pens, and other paint mediums in a wide selection of colors for rock painting. It's a fun way to express your creativity, and it’s the perfect choice for environmentally conscious artists because you literally just pick up rocks and paint on them. If you haven’t tried it yet, now’s a great time!
Do you know what to paint on a rock? Don’t worry, these easy rock art ideas are here to inspire you. To get started, you won’t need much but a few art supplies and your imagination, and you’re all set!
How to Prepare for Rock Painting
Pick up smooth rocks, preferably sea pebbles. Consider the following as you collect your rocks:
- Shape - They should have a suitable shape and size for the artworks you have in mind.
- Texture - The rocks' surface should be smooth for easy paint application. Rocks with a rough surface can complicate the painting process and distort your artwork.
- Density - Dense stones are preferable as porous rocks will only absorb the paint.
- Color - Depends on your planned artwork. Keep in mind that dark-colored rocks can dim the paint color. As a start, choose light-toned rocks to make the paint colors pop.
Art Supplies You Can Use for Rock Painting
- Acrylic Paint
- Acrylic Paint Markers (ideal rock painting markers)
- Chalk Markers
- Varnish (optional: if you want to seal your artwork once you’re done)
- Paint primer (optional)
- Paint brush (if you’re using acrylic paint)
Rock Painting Tips
- If you find a stone with an imperfect texture or a bizarre shape, don’t discard it. Perhaps later you’ll come up with a fantastic idea how and what to paint on it.
- If you don’t feel confident to paint directly on the rock, use a pencil or white chalk to draw a faint outline of your artwork.
- Apply varnish as the final step if necessary, especially if you plan to use the rock as an ornament or give it as a gift. This will make your painting permanent and give your artwork a spectacular shine.
- Just paint! Don’t be afraid to experiment and just let your creativity flow. You can always pick up more rocks once they run out.
Easy Rock Painting Design Ideas
Here are some simple and awesome rock painting ideas that you can recreate with liquid chalk markers, acrylic paint pens, or acrylic paint. Let's rock and draw!
Solar System Rock Painting
A unique way to recreate the solar system is to draw each planet on a stone. That way, you can move them around and place them in different positions, especially for an interactive educational lesson.
Portrait Puzzle Rock Painting
It’s a fun idea to transform a rock into a portrait artwork, especially if the features fit the rock’s shape perfectly. It would be more fun if you also create extension pieces of the face or body using other rocks that you can change up whenever you want – like a paper doll concept but with rocks.
Skyline Rock Painting
Take your souvenir collecting to the next level. If you ever get the chance to visit a beautiful place with some smooth rocks lying around, why not take one as a souvenir and paint the place you picked it up from.
Beach Rock Painting
Practice acrylic painting on rocks by blending and layering colors to create a serene beach artwork.
Easter Bunny Rock Painting
There’s Easter egg painting, and then there’s Easter rock painting. It’s a fantastic way to add colorful elements and decor during Easter, and something you can replace eggs with for egg hunting.
Flag Rock Painting
A unique way to recreate flags is to deconstruct the elements and paint them on each rock, creating lovely little pieces that go perfectly together or apart.
Memorial Day Rock Art
Here's another way to paint the American flag in a creative way, especially in celebration of Memorial Day.
Rock Art Game for Kids
Spell out F-U-N! Whether you want to complete the alphabet or spell out names, words, or phrases, this is a great way to build up your rock collection and create an interactive spelling game for both kids and adults.
...Or you can go spell out full words on some rocks:
Halloween Rock Painting
Take the spook factor to the next level this Halloween by painting ghosts, ghouls, jack-o'-lanterns, and other scary images on rocks. Unique decor for your front porch.
Christmas Decor Rock Painting
Add more charm and quirk to your Christmas decorating with painted rocks. Place them under the tree, over the fireplace, or by the door as a lovely ornament.
Fish Rock Painting
One of the best rock painting ideas for kids. Check out the brilliant way the smaller pebbles were painted as fins and tails!
Insect Rock Painting
Most rocks are round, making them the perfect canvas to paint insects on like ladybugs and buzz-y bees.
Animal Rock Painting
Whether you want to paint giraffes, elephants, tigers, or lions, this is another creative way to express your love for animals and get the kids to paint with you too.
Nature and Tree Rock Painting
Plants, trees, flowers, and nature are always remarkable subjects to paint on any surface. More so on rocks when you can play around with their shape and texture as you paint your inspiration. It can also be a relaxing or therapeutic activity to connect with nature in a creative way.
Garden Rock Decor
Want to add a unique decorative touch to your yard or garden? You can paint a beautiful classic compass on a rock and place it by your garden path as a nice 'direction' sign.
Mantra Stones or Mindfulness Rocks
Place it by your bed, on your work desk, or anywhere around the house where you practice mindfulness and spend your quiet time. These mantra rocks are beautiful reaffirming art pieces that you can display in your house or give as a gift.
Mixed Rock Art
Create a series of images and words and put them all together, like this bunch of wonderful painted rocks below.
Another great collection of mixed rock art:
Add classic cartoon characters into the mix:
Cartoon Rock Design
Draw and reimagine cartoon characters using paint or paint pens for rocks. Use them as paperweight or give them as a personalized gift to a friend or loved one.
Comic Book Character Rock Painting
Most of us love to recreate our favorite book characters on paper, so why not do it on rocks using liquid chalk markers!
Puzzle Painted Rocks
Into puzzles? Paint them on rocks as fun and colorful decorative pieces. Or, you can challenge yourself and create your very own puzzle rock game.
Rock Painting for Kids
Let the kids help in picking out rocks and paint on them together. Rainbows, stars, the sun, and the moon are always a popular choice for starters.
Another variation that you might like:
Interactive and Creative Learning for Kids
Painting on rocks is a great way to keep the kids busy and creative at home. They can use their paint or markers of choice for this art activity, and you can display their artworks around the house to build a wonderful collection through the years.
Rock painting in the garden for a nice outdoor art activity:
Collect Rocks and Leaves for Autumn DIY Art
Chalk markers and acrylic paint pens are great for drawing on rocks, leaves, and other natural materials. So you can include this art activity to come up with DIY artworks with the whole family using foraged materials!
Rock painting will keep kids busy and creative for hours on end. They get to participate in collecting rocks, prepping them, and painting on them!
Show Your Love or Say Hello Through Rock Painting
Instead of post-its or notes, leave rocks around the house to show your love or just to say hello.
A colorful and unique way to say hey:
Other Ways to Show Off Your Painted Rock Pieces
- Rock Magnet - For smaller and lighter rock paintings, you can glue a magnet on the back of the rock, so you can display your rock on your refrigerator door or on a magnet board or magnetic chalkboard.
- Vase Centerpiece - You can fill up a clear vase with rock paintings and use it as a centerpiece in your living room.
- Paperweight - The bigger rock paintings can serve as a colorful paperweight for you or as a gift to your family and friends.
We hope these ideas and tips rocked your world and sparked your creativity to get started on rock painting! If you liked this list, we think you’d get a kick out of this complete beginner’s guide on 157 Easy Watercolor Painting Ideas. Happy painting!