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The ultimate rock painting guide answering the most asked questions

The ultimate guide to rock painting / pebble painting.

Table of Contents

What is rock painting and where did it originate?

Rock Painting or pebble painting is the art of decorating rocks, stones and pebbles using paints, pens and other craft items. Adding embellishments to rocks to decorate them is easy for all abilities.

Pebble painting or Rocking began in the US with a Megan Murphy’s The Kindness Rock facebook group. It all started as she came up with the idea to spread kind words and positive quotes on heart shapes stones and sea glass she found whilst beach combing. This soon took off with the craze spreading to the UK with facebook pages such as Love on the rocks and Brighton rocks UK. 


Why should i try rock painting?

Art is known for its therapeutic qualities and painting rocks is the latest way to relax and unwind, getting creative to create mini masterpieces Spreading joy and positivity by hiding them for others to find. It’s an awesome way to share your art and its suitable for all abilities.

Painting and decorating rocks, pebbles and stones using paints and paint pens has become increasingly popular in the arts and craft world. Stones, rocks and pebbles are great mini canvases and with supplies readily available its a reasonably in-expensive activity.

Whether your already enjoying the rock painting craze of feeling inspired to join in and have a go. Follow our ultimate rock painting guide for answers to all your questions.

Where do i get the rocks to paint?

This paragraph teaches you how to select the perfect rocks. Remember when you are out searching for the perfect rocks for painting look for a variety of shapes and sizes. A top tip is that Smooth flatter rocks work best and are easier to decorate. To start with we would recommend palm size rocks as they are big enough for most designs and easy to hind and find. Secondly its important to remember the impact on the environment when choosing or collecting rocks it’s important to not remove rocks, pebble or stones from National parks, nature reserves or private property. If your worried or in doubt leave them behind and find an alternative. You can purchase stones from a variety of places including landscaping businesses, garden centres, diy stores and online. Now Always Remember You can also make your own using air drying clay.

What supplies will i need for rock painting?

Pebbles, acrylic paints, brushes, paint pens, pencil, primer, varnish, tape and a palette.

Rock Painting Essential Art Supplies.

Environmentally friendly supplies.

In this paragraph we highlight the importance of the environment. When choosing what medium to use always consider the environmental impact if you intend to hide your rocks or put them outside. It’s important to look for water based, non toxic products when looking at paints and pens that way they will not harm wildlife. These products are also going to be more child friendly if you plan to try rock painting with kids. Also if you use glitter or wiggly eyes use these rocks inside only as the use of plastic glitters and plastic embellishments are harmful to wildlife if ingested or swallowed.

Acrylic paints For rock painting

Acrylic paints are great for decorating rocks, pebbles and stones, most are water based and non toxic and dries completely permanent. Paints can however be messy and for a beginner and a bit daunting. Alternatively Acrylic paint markers, chalk pens or paint pens are a great way to decorate rocks with drawings, they are the perfect medium for writing positive quotes and vibes already made popular by Megan Murphy and more recently messages of hope and thanks for the NHS like the ones that feature on facebook pages such as Frans NHS rocks.Premium Acrylic Paints Set – 8 High Pigment & Vibrant Colours (75ml tubes) – by Zieler | 09299302

Paint pens

These types of pens are a great alternative to paints with less mess, fuss and washing of brushes. Paint pens are available in a range of styles, colours, nib sizes and ink types. Acrylic markers are an easier way to create artwork on a variety of surfaces including rocks, pebbles and stones. They are also permanent when they are dry and dry in a semi gloss finish. Chalk markers are similar to poster paint with a powdery, matte and non permanent finish although brands such as posca contain high pigments that stain so create a semi permanent finish. When using these style of pens we would always recommend sealing or varnishing your artwork.Acrylic Paint Marker Pens | Fine tip (1.5mm) | Mix and Match – Pick 3 – by Zieler


When choosing your brushes try to look for smaller sizes, remember the size of the brush is important when creating artwork on small surfaces. A range of brush sizes and shapes are recommended and the brush can help you create the desired effect. For example Round brushes are ideal for lines, dots and fine areas.

With rock painting Preparation is key.

Rock Painting Preparation. Priming Your Rocks.

How to prepare your rocks

It’s important to prepare your rocks before painting and decorating them, firstly thoroughly wash your stones and pebbles making sure to remove all debris such as dirt, seaweed or sand.

Lots of people ask whether or not they need a base coat before decorating, this is down to personal choice. Most people paint or draw directly onto their rocks and pebbles but you can prime them in a base coat of gesso or acrylic. Priming of rocks is most popular with those who use dark rocks or the rougher less smooth rocks as the base coat makes a better surface to draw on. An even or uniform colour background can also help enhance the colours of your designs.

Choosing your design

There are so many trending designs in rocking currently. Here we will touch on a few of the techniques Most popular at the moment such as mandalas, landscapes, hand lettering, funny faces and home decor designs. Lots of these designs involve blending colours whether with acrylic paints or with paint pens so below we’ve included a little colour blending guide. Rock painting is a very wide description of this art form.

Blending colours

1. Firstly when creating a tonal or ombré effect popular for landscape backgrounds start with the darker colour first.
2. Then the middle colour/colours finishing off with the lighter colour.
3. With acrylic paint blend together with a dry brush for a soft misty blend or use a wet brush for a more bold blend.

Now for colour blending using the paint markers this wet on wet technique this requires you to use the lighter colour pen in backwards and forwards motion over the top of the darker colours to achieve the blended effect. For example start with the red then add the orange and whilst wet colour over them with the yellow. Do this by starting over the red and colour over all of the colours and carry on colouring until the full yellow colour is left.

Rock painting. Paint pen colour blending guide.


Inspirational design ideas


Mandalas are patterns normally created within a circle. Layers of shapes, line and dots are repeated starting from the inside of the circle working outwards. Follow the link. For our how to draw a mandala guide.

Rock painting Mandala patterns created using paint pens on a black background. Design by ambassador artist @bishandbow_art




Silhouette painting black designs over a multicoloured background. Normally a landscape image. The sky with clouds, sunsets and galaxy style designs are popular with silhouette designs.

Rock painting wet on wet colourful backgrounds.

This Palm Tree Sunset Is Created By Artists Ambassador Bishandbow_Art


Landscapes in the following example Rock painting directly onto unprimed rocks. 

Beautiful Brighton Landscape Rocks Painted Using Acrylic Paint By Artist Sue Ross.

Positive quotes

This is the perfect way to spread positivity with your artwork.


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Be Happy Pebble By Bishandbow_Art


Emoji faces are an easy beginners friendly way to start with funny faces.

This Fun Emoji Rock Painting Created By Artist Ambassador Lorenza Gamberi.


Rock and pebbles with stuck on embellishments like wiggly eyes and glitter.

Wiggly Eyes Owl Rock By Bishandbow_Art

Pouring art pebbles 

A great way to experiment with acrylic pouring art.

Pouring art pebble/rock painting. Acrylic pouring art using Zieler acrylic paints and p.v.a glue to decorate the pebbles and rocks in vibrant marble patterns.


How do i seal my rocks?

Sealing your rocks

Most people ask whether or not their rocks will need to be fixed or sealed. The answer is that it depends on the medium you have used and the finish you require. Now if you use acrylic paint it will dry permanent and doesn’t require sealing but then you may want a nice glossy finish so a spray on gloss varnish would be perfect. However if you use posca or chalk pens which are not permanent or you plan to hide them or display them outside they will need a varnish to seal them.
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Montana Gold Spray Varnish Are Perfect For Fixing And Sealing Your Rock, Pebbles And Stones.
Hopefully this guide has given you the answers to the most regularly asked questions on rock painting and helped inspire you to try this super fun craze. Now it’s time for you to get creative and become a rock artist.

Rock painting examples

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