Enter our Australia Day Giveaway!

A beginners guide to rock painting

Rock painting is the oldest art form known to humans. Our ancestors used to tell stories on rocks by painting symbols that represented their daily life. This rock art painted colourful pictures of of myths, legends, rituals, religion, and types of area maps such as mountains, rivers, and lakes.

These days rock painting has become a way of expressing yourself on a small and natural canvas that is fun and versatile. It is an activity that adults and kids enjoy and the beauty of it is that it usually takes you outdoors to search for your rocks. The other great qualities of rock painting is the ease of passing on your artworks as small gifts and tokens of love, whether to a stranger or to a loved one. The small surface is less intimidating than a canvas and you can easily finish a small rock work-of-art in a short sitting and have something you can be proud of.

The Kindness Rock Project which has become worldwide phenomenon is an inspiring use for your rock creations. Kindness Rocks Project motto is “One Message at just the right moment can change someone’s entire day, outlook, life”.  Megan Murphy, the founder of the Kindness Rocks Project began leaving messages and inspirational words on rocks and leaving them on the beaches of Cape Cod for people to find and to make that small but very powerful difference to their day or life. Do you have a kindness rocks project in your area?

The rock projects are fabulous and besides for their main purpose of spreading love and happiness, they also get kids and adults outdoors. It is a wonderful activity to go out into nature to search for these colourful rocks that have been dropped by some unknown strangers. And then to find your own rocks, paint them, and then pay it forward to the next people in your community.

Ok now that you know the incredible benefits of rock painting, I can tell you how to get started with rock painting and the tools you need.


The best types of rocks to use are smooth flat rocks. You can always go outside to look for them, on riverbeds, parks, beaches, forests, and so on, but if you have limited natural rocks in your area you can go to your local hardware store like Bunnings or landscape suppliers to buy them. Make sure they are not polished. You can buy a whole bag for pretty cheap so you will have plenty to practice with and improve your skills. Make sure you do not buy polished rocks as the paint will not stick very well. Also, the lighter the better as paint shows up better on light than dark rocks, although if you have dark rocks, all good, you can still prime them with some light paint.

unpolished river rocks for rock painting


Wash your rocks to remove any dirt or dust before starting. Let them dry and then you have an option of sealing or priming the rock to make a nice smooth surface to the rock. You can use a spray primer or a brush on primer/undercoat from dulux. Do one side at a time or both sides as you wish but make sure they dry first before starting to paint.

spray primer for rock painting


Now the fun part! We believe the easiest and best way to paint rocks is with our acrylic paint pens! They are the best of all worlds when it comes to rock painting. Not everyone has the agility to paint small spaces with a paintbrush, but we all know how to use a pen. These pens are filled with acrylic paint so they will look exactly the same as if you applied paint with a brush, but will be a lot easier for most people. They are also mess free and portable, so you can take all your rock painting tools with you outdoors.

life of colour paint pens

You can start by tracing a picture you like onto the rock using traditional tracing methods, or by writing a quote you love, or small symbols, or even using our fun art stencils. You may want to add a base colour first to help make your colours pop. Think of a theme you love and go from there. You can even start just by painting different colours on a rock to get the feel of rock painting. Dot art is also a fun way to decorate rocks and our paint pens are perfect for that! The most important thing is to have fun and be non-judgemental. You are not entering an art competition, you are simply having fun and spreading love with your rocks.

painted rocks

painted rock

painted rocks


Preferably you would like to finish your artwork off by sealing the paint so that it is protected from the elements such as sun and rain and also time. This will also give it a pretty finish such as making it more matte or glossy. If you have decided to add things like goggle eyes or stickers to your rock, then a pvc glue would be helpful.

There are many different brush on and spray polyurethane sealants available, anywhere from your local hardware store, art store or even supermarkets. Choose either a glossy, glaze, matte or satin finish depending on what you prefer. Ask for a sealant that is waterproof, especially if you want to leave your rocks outside. This step is not a necessity for if you are just playing around, but if you want to keep these rock for a long time or hide them in nature for someone else to find, then I would recommend it.

That is is...you are ready to start rock painting. 4 easy steps...rocks, Life of Colour paint pens, seal and play.

In the following articles we will give you more ideas on what you can do with your rocks. I would recommend going outside, looking for a couple of rocks to start with, getting a set of our awesome paint pens, and giving it a go. You never know, you may have just stumbled upon your next great love!

Leave a comment