One of my favourite things to do is to paint rocks and pebbles for gifts and for my own collection.

When we are out and about I always keep my eye open for nice smooth rocks that would be good to paint. Painting rocks is also a really fun activity to do with kids – though it can be messy so a smock is a must!

I have been leaving painted pebbles around my neighbourhood for people to find as a way to spread some joy and happiness. This was inspired by others I had seen on Instagram and being in Covid lockdown.

What do you need?

Rocks and pebbles, acrylic paint, acrylic house paint, paint brushes of various sizes, paint pens (posca pens, life of colour pens), clear varnish or spray and pot of water. Acrylic paint is great to use because it is fast drying and easy to wash out of the brushes with water.

I get my supplies from $2 shops, discount stores, Spotlight and all sorts of places. You can buy bags of pebbles at Bunnings.

Ideas for painting rocks

  • Names
  • Hearts
  • Flowers
  • Patterns
  • Words
  • Dot designs
  • Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s day
  • Funny faces
  • Face rocks – lips, eyes, mouth, ears to make expressive faces
  • Rock family – mix and match heads, bodies, legs
  • Animals
  • Food
  • Wedding favours (hearts, love, wedding date)

Step by step

First step – I wash the rocks and pebbles and sometimes I coat them with white paint to give an even finish and so I can see the pencil lines. If they are dark coloured rocks, it is harder to see pencil lines though you could use a white pencil.

Second step – I draw my design on with pencil, using an eraser to remove excess pencil marks.

Third step – I use acrylic paint and acrylic paint markers to paint the design and let dry in between. I use little jars and containers to prop them on while they are drying. I like to paint a design on both sides, even if it is just patterns on the back. Generally it will need at least two coats to give a nice solid colour.

Fourth step – I like to let it dry well overnight before proceeding to varnish. When I am happy with my design, I use clear varnish to coat both sides. I do two coats on one side (waiting at least two hours between each coat) and make sure there are no big drips or runs. I then turn the rock over and repeat.

Now what?

If the pebbles are not too heavy you can glue a magnet on the back so you can put them on the fridge.

I like to leave a painted pebble in a public space so that someone can find them. I have received a couple of lovely emails from people that have found them and it really brightens my day!

I hope that this will give you the inspiration and motivation to give it a try. Search on pinterest for more inspo!

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