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Rock Painting Ideas – How to Get Started

Rock Painting Ideas is an article to inspire you to join the kindness rock movement. Spreading joy to others has become an obsession. In a world inundated with digital distractions, the timeless art of rock painting offers a serene escape and a canvas for creativity to flourish.

Rock Painting Ideas

Rock Painting Ideas - Photo of Mandala Painted Rock
Rock Painting Ideas – Mandala Painted Rock

If you want more ideas on painted rocks, the Most Popular Rock Painting Words & Phrases and The Art of Stone Painting Book Review will help you on your crafting journey.

Whether you’re a seasoned artist seeking new inspiration or a beginner eager to dip your brush into artistic expression, this article serves as a gateway to a kaleidoscope of rock painting ideas.

From whimsical designs to intricate patterns, each stroke unveils a story waiting to be told, transforming ordinary stones into extraordinary works of art that captivate the imagination and ignite the soul.

The rock kindness movement is a heartwarming phenomenon sweeping communities worldwide. It ignites a ripple of connection through simple, yet profound acts. At its core, this movement revolves around the idea of painting rocks with uplifting messages, vibrant images, or inspiring quotes, and then leaving them in public spaces for others to find.

Each rock is a tiny beacon of positivity, offering unexpected moments of joy and encouragement to those who stumble upon them.

From parks to sidewalks, beaches to city streets, these painted treasures can brighten someone’s day and remind them they are not alone in this world.

Rock Painting Ideas - Basket of Painted Rocks
Rock Painting Ideas – Basket of Painted Rocks

Rock Painting Ideas Group

If you’re looking for inspiration, I started my own Painted Rock Idea Facebook Group with over 51,000 members. In it, you can share your painted rocks and interact with other rock painting enthusiasts.

Kindness Rocks Project

Meghan Murphy started the Kindness Rocks Project which shows how that a single word or message on a rock can change someone’s life. You can find more about the Kindness Rocks Project here.

The first step is to just get started. You don’t have to worry about creating “perfect” rocks. Your artistic talent doesn’t matter in this movement.

After you start painting rocks, the next step is to find a local Facebook kindness rock group. On the back of every rock, you add the group’s name and directions where to post the pictures of the found treasure. The person who finds the rock can keep it or hide it again.

There are touching stories on the Facebook rock groups about how finding the rocks changed people’s lives.

One example was a woman who went to purchase flowers for her daughter’s grave and found a rock with an inspirational message tucked inside the pot of flowers she was going to buy. She saw it as a sign that everything was going to be okay.

Another story tells of a four-year old who found his first rock and wanted to immediately go home and paint rocks for others to find.

Rock painting is a simple way to give back to others and infuse a little joy in your life. A little shimmer of love is poured into each hand-painted rock and the bliss of hiding or finding each piece is something we could all use a bit more of.

Here are the painted rocks I found in my area

Three Different Rock Paintings Found in Washington State
Three Different Rock Painting Found in Washington State

On the back of every rock, let the “finder” know they can keep the rock or rehide, but post a picture of it on the local Facebook Group page before hiding again. You can write, “Keep or Hide. Post selfie picture to ________ Facebook Group.

Here’s How to Paint Rocks

Mandala Rock Painting Ideas
Mandala Rock Painting Ideas

Where to Find Rocks to Paint

You’ll want to make sure you get a smooth rock for your art.  Smooth stones are easier to navigate with your paint brush to create designs. Make sure you’re able to remove stones from where you find them.

If you live in an area that it’s hard to find rocks, head over to your nearest home improvement center, landscape supply store and garden centers to purchase flat rocks.

Removing stones from National and state parks isn’t legal. Taking rocks from waterways can also be against the rules. It’s also illegal to take rocks from railroad tracks.

Check Craigslist, Offerup, Facebook Marketplace, and to find free rocks.

Fish Rock Painting Ideas
Fish Rock Painting Ideas

How to Wash Rocks for Stone Painting

Paint won’t stick to dirty rocks. We’re aiming for a smooth surface, so washing your rocks in warm water and soap will ensure that. You might want to scrub them with an old toothbrush to make sure all debris is removed. Allow the rocks to dry completely before painting.

Smoothing the Stones

If there are any light bumps or grit on your rock, you can sand the rocks using 150 grit sandpaper.

Do you a base coat for your rocks?

Using a base coat depends on the look you are designing. If your rock is going to be a solid color, then you definitely should do a base coat. The base coat should either be black or white paint, depending on the color you choose.

Rock Painting Ideas - Photo of a Variety of Painted Rocks with Different Designs
Rock Painting Ideas – A Variety of Painted Rocks with Different Designs

What’s the best kind of paint to use?

Use acrylic paint or acrylic patio paint for best results if you will hide your rocks outside. Let each layer of paint dry before applying the next layer.  

Paint Brushes

Having a variety of paint brushes is essential for rock painting enthusiasts, as it enables them to unleash their creativity with precision and flair. From fine-tipped brushes for intricate details to broader strokes for bold designs, each brush offers a unique opportunity to bring the artist’s vision to life.

When starting rock painting, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on brushes. You’ll want to get a packet of a variety of paint brushes to get started.

What’s the best Paint Pens for Rocks?

Adding text with markers is easier than painting words. Through trial and error, I have found that Posca Markers work best for rock painting. Make sure you look at the tip size before purchasing to make sure you have the right sized point for your work.

Photo of Yellow and Blue Bird Rock Painting Ideas
Bird Rock Painting Ideas

More Tools You Can Use to Paint Rocks

Fineline Applicator

A Fineline Applicator lets you control your artwork. This tool enables intricate detailing and delicate lines with its fine tip and smooth flow.


The Dotting Tool is a versatile instrument for creating mesmerizing patterns and textures. By varying pressure and size, artists can produce an array of dot sizes, allowing for intricate mandalas, whimsical motifs, or realistic textures like scales or flowers.

Mandala Rock Painting Ideas
Mandala Rock Painting Ideas

Sealing Rocks

Sealing your rocks is one of the most critical steps in rock painting. All that hard work you put into your stone would be wasted with any moisture.

If the stones are exposed to outdoor weather, you’ll want a seal that won’t curdle. I recommend this sealant. Two thin coats work best. Be sure to let the first coat dry before spraying the second coat.

Place your rock in a well-ventilated area before spraying and clean the spray can nozzle in between uses.

Using a hairdryer to dry your rocks can help speed up the process.

Cleaning Brushes

How many of us have been guilty of not cleaning our brushes right away and having to throw out a rarely used brush because of it?  Soak your paintbrushes in this and you’ll never have to do that again.

Tips on Hiding Painted Rocks

Ladybug Rock Painting Ideas
Ladybug Rock Painting Ideas

Where NOT to Hide Rocks

  • Lawns or anywhere that a mower can run over it.
  • Leaving rocks in state or national parks is not allowed.
  • Anywhere that a person has to climb to get the rock.
  • In the middle of pathways where people can trip on them.
  • Businesses that don’t give you permission before “hiding” them there.
  • Anyone’s private property.
  • Placing rocks around businesses at night after they’re closed may trip the alarm.

Ideas on where to hid rocks

Sailboat Rock Painting
Sailboat Rock Painting
  • One of the Facebook group members added a painted rock with his tip at a restaurant.
  • Nooks of trees.
  • Coffee stands. (That’s where I found two of my rocks.)
  • Leave a hot dog rock painting on a grill at a sports store.
  • Farm stands or farmer’s markets.
  • Top of a neighbor’s mailbox.
  • Your town’s visitor’s center.
  • Create a small “rock garden” in front of a store. Where I live, they have a galvanized bucket filled with sand, and they allow rockers to leave one rock and take one rock.
  • Check-out stand of grocery stores.
  • The playground.
  • Veterinary offices.
  • Gas station pumps.
  • Drive-thru windows of your favorite eatery.
  • Motivation rocks would compliment any gym.
  • You could leave cat and dog portrait rocks in pet stores.
  • Food-related rocks could be left at various food festivals. Dog shows would be a perfect place to leave dog-related stones. How about rocks featuring musical instruments left at a symphony?
  • You can place the rock in flower pots at nurseries or flower shops (ask permission first!)
Rock Painting Design Ideas - Photo of a Variety of Painted Rocks
Rock Painting Design Ideas
  • How about leaving some rocks at local hotels to show visitors to your area just how fun your town can be?
  • Someone knows how to add a little irony to a hiding place…they placed the rock in front of the spray paint cans!
  • A rock group member travels in an RV six months a year and leaves them behind at every campground they visit. Well-played RV’ers, well-played.
  • One of the Rockettes of St. John Parish Rocks has a son with brain cancer. She obtained permission to bring the painted rocks to the children’s hospital and hid them in the cancer wing. This idea brings many smiles to the children who can’t get out and hunt for rocks. They also place rocks at schools for children of special needs and Veterans hospitals and nursing homes.
  • The Reedley, CA group is expanding their painting and hiding participation in after school programs, day camps, Boys & Girls Clubs, church youth groups, and even wine and cheese parties.  They also started hiding rocks in their historic downtown area to encourage rock seekers to spend their money locally. Another idea they have is to put the stones along a walking trail to encourage people to get out and exercise!
  • How about contacting your local foster care programs to hide rocks at their gatherings?
  • The Lakeland group suggested hiding rocks in churches and diners.

Make sure you “hide” the rock somewhere it will be found – finding the painted stones is the whole point of this movement. Keep a batch of painted pebbles in your car; you never know when you might find the perfect place to hide one.

Sun Rock Painting Idea
Sun Rock Painting Idea

Rock Finding Websites

To find your local rock painting group, simply go to Facebook, search for “rock painting” or “painted rock” and then add your town. This should populate your local rock group.

How to Spread the Rock Painting Movement

  • Create a Meetup group where everyone gets together to paint rocks.
  • Contact local nursing homes about adding painting rocks as an activity the seniors can participate in.
  • Create a Facebook rock craft group for your area and invite friends, family, and neighbors to join.
  • Take completed rocks with you on vacation to spread the movement in other areas.
  • Give your family and friends a rock painting kit by purchasing the needed supplies and putting them all in a tote bag.
  • Become a walking billboard. Create a group t-shirt on a site like Cafe Press and walk around advertising your new rock painting group.
  • The more rocks your group makes and sends out into the world, the more others will want to learn about your craft group and rock painting.
  • Share this blog post on social media. Let’s rock this movement!
Fox Painted Rock Idea
Fox Painted Rock Idea

Stone Painting for Kids:  Book Review – this is the perfect book on rock painting ideas for kids

Easy Rock Painting Design Ideas

The best rock painting idea is the stone that is complete and out into the world. Your skill level doesn’t matter.

  • Quotes or Words – “Be a little BOULDER” is one idea. Just a little rock humor. Here’s a list of words and phrases to refer to for inspiration.
  • Beach Theme – anchors, beach chairs, beach balls, sunglasses, waves, surfboards, sailboats, and kayaks.
  • Birds – birds, flamingos, nests, owls, chickens, and peacocks.
  • Bugs – bumblebees, spiders with webs, caterpillars, butterflies, ladybugs, and snails.
  • City Skylines – both daytime and nighttime skylines.
  • Desserts – cakes, cake slices, pies, cookies, cupcakes, ice cream cones and ice cream sundaes.
  • Fantasy Rocks – fairies, dragons, unicorns, magic wands, and wizards.
  • Farm Theme – barns, haystacks, tractors, cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, horses, goats, rabbits, llamas, and ducks.
  • Food – hot dogs, hamburgers, sandwiches, corn on the cob, tomatoes, pickles, pizza slices, fried eggs and sushi.  
  • Flowers – roses, tulips, forget-me-nots, and daisies. You can never get enough of these.
  • Fruits – pineapples, watermelon, strawberries, lemons, oranges, apples, and bananas are just some examples.
  • Hats – cowboy hats, top hats, berets, derby, fedora, baseball hats, Viking horns, and chef hats.
  • Hearts – hearts of all shapes and sizes will be fun to use.
  • “Hello” Badge Rock Painting – “Hello, my name is Rock” name tag. Even more rock humor.
  • Houses – cottages, cabins, chalets, castles, and magical doorways.
  • Monsters – one-eyed, toothy, and googly-eyed monsters will make everyone smile.
Monster Rock Painting Ideas
Monster Rock Painting Ideas
  • Mandalas – mandalas painted on rocks evoke a serene beauty, blending intricate patterns with the timeless essence of nature.
  • Natural Elements – acorns, leaves, foliage, trees, landscapes, raindrops, snowflakes, clouds, mountains, and waterfalls are just some ideas.
  • Patriotic – flags, eagles, past presidents, coins, dollar bills, Uncle Sam, Statue of Liberty, and the Liberty Bell.
  • Peace – peace signs, earth, and doves. We could all use a little bit more peace on earth!
  • Pets – dogs, cats, goldfish, hamsters, hamsters, turtles, frogs, and snakes.
  • Pirate Theme – pirates, parrots, pirate ships, treasure chest, skull and bones flag.
  • Plants – cactus, hanging plants, and flowers are just some ideas.
  • Silhouettes – silhouette rock painting is all about creating bold, recognizable shapes against a contrasting background on rocks.
  • Smiley Faces – paint smiley faces in different colors for an easy painted rock idea.
  • Space Theme – use glow-in-the-dark paint for painting rocks, and you will have an out-of-this world experience. Spaceships, astronauts, the solar system, starlight, and aliens.
  • Sporting Equipment – baseballs, footballs, soccer balls, tennis balls, hockey sticks, tennis racquets, and boxing gloves.
  • Sun, Moon, Star, Rainbow, and Clouds – the sky offers a world of inspiration.
  • Tea Cups, Coffee Mugs, and Teapots – everyone could use a little “buzz” in their day.
  • Traffic Signs – stop signs, caution signs (“Caution falling rocks”), Yield signs (“Yield to rock painting”), street signs, and traffic lights are just some ideas.
  • Transportation – bicycles, roller-skates, ice-skates, skateboards, airplanes, trains, cars, trucks, hot air balloons, trailers, and tractors.
  • Under the Sea – jellyfish, whales, stingrays, dolphins, octopus, fish, mermaids, sharks, seashells, starfish, seals, otters, crabs, and lobster are just some ideas to use.
Fish Rock Painting Ideas - Variety of Fish Colors and Designs
Fish Rock Painting Ideas
  • Wild Animals – deer, bears, moose, tigers, elephants, giraffes, alligators, hawks, mountain lions, hippos, panthers, zebras, lions, tigers, antelope, mountain goats, buffalo, rhinoceros, leopards, elk, pandas, polar bears, cheetahs, foxes, camels, monkeys, wolves, and raccoons are just a few ideas to paint.
Christmas Rock Painting Ideas - "Happy Holidays" Rock and "Merry Christmas" Rock.
Holiday Themed Rocks

Holiday Themes

  • New Year’s – clocks, champagne glasses, party hats, “Happy New Year,” the year, and streamers.
  • Valentine’s Day – cupid, bows and arrows, a box of chocolates, heart candy with sayings, love letters, and roses.
  • St. Patrick’s Day – pots of gold, leprechauns, horseshoes, four-leaf clover, green top hat, and Irish flag.
  • Easter – Easter bunny, chicks, colored eggs, lambs, tulips, daffodils, Jesus, a cross, and various animals wearing bunny ears.
  • July 4th – flags, fireworks, “Happy 4th of July,” and “Happy Independence Day.”
  • Thanksgiving – turkeys, thanksgiving quotes, and pumpkins are all the rage for this time of year.
  • Christmas – reindeer, Christmas trees, stockings, Santa Claus, presents, ornaments, candles, Christmas lights, “Happy Holidays,” bells, Santa hat, sleighs, candy canes, peppermints, garland, holly, mistletoe, and elves.
  • Hanukkah – Menorah, dreidel, gelt, gifts, and Star of David.
Seasonal Rock Painting Ideas - Summer
Seasonal Rock Painting Ideas

Seasonal Themes

  • Spring – umbrellas, rain boots, baby birds in nests, watering can, and bird houses.
  • Summer – palm trees, thongs, lighthouses, sand pails, sunglasses, life preservers, snorkeling masks, and flippers.
  • Fall – squirrels, autumn trees, leaves, squash, apples, socks, and sunflowers.
  • Winter – snowmen, mittens, fireplace, sleds, snowflakes, wreaths, frosted trees, penguins, and igloos.

Here’s a YouTube video on beginning rock painting to help get you started.

Let me know in the comments below what your favorite ways are to paint rocks.

Be sure to join our Painted Rocks Facebook Group to join 51,000 other like-minded rock painting friends.

If you’re looking for a gift for a child, a rock painting kit is one of the best non toy gifts you can give to inspire minds.

Rock on, rock painting angels. Rock on.

How to Start Rock Painting - if you're looking to get started painting rocks, you've come to the right place. Follow these easy steps and you will be part of the Kindness rock movement that's sweeping the world. / Rock Painting Ideas Easy / Rock Painting Patterns / Rock Painting Designs / Painted Rock Designs / Painted Rock Patterns / Painted Rock Ideas / Crafts for Adults / Crafts for Children
How to Start Rock Painting

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Can You Make Your Back Garden More Appealing To Your Children?

Monday 4th of October 2021

[…] Invite them over for rock painting one day and use your finished rocks to decorate your garden area! Check out my friend Kelly’s post on how to get started rock painting. […]


Monday 4th of October 2021

These are so sweet and look like a lot of fun to make (and find!).

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Thursday 16th of September 2021

[…] Rock painting ideas […]

Bizhan Blessing

Saturday 23rd of November 2019

Would love to know if there is a South Bay group I could join...???


Saturday 23rd of November 2019

Hello! On Facebook - just look under groups for Rock Painting and your area. Check both your city and county. I'm sure there is a gourd! Kelly

Kathryn Ferguson

Sunday 9th of September 2018

The first time I heard about kindness rocks was May 2018, in June 2018 I started a Facebook page Rocks of Folsom in nine weeks I have 412 members. This has been a lot of fun spreading kindness. Kathryn Ferguson Folsom CA. Rock on!!!...


Monday 10th of September 2018

Hi Kathryn! I'm so happy you discovered it! It's fabulous you started your own group and it certainly is addicting! Thanks for writing in. Kelly

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