Rock drawing is a thing right now, y’all. If you can walk through your town without kicking a painted rock, then you’re probably just not very observant. On a recent trip to downtown Newport, Kentucky, my Girl Scout troop found two painted rocks. My older kid found one each in two different national parks on a recent vacation. As I write this, I know of a family visiting Disney World right now, and what do they have with them to hide there?
A painted rock. Of course.
The painted rocks that you see on Pinterest or perhaps even find as you walk around your town can be SO beautiful that they might seem impossible for a mere mortal to create. I mean, I have one that I found that has an intricate drawing and a funny message AND a cutesy hashtag. How do you compete with that, when the most sophisticated thing that I, personally, can draw is a cartoon cat? The same cartoon cat that I’ve drawn since the fourth grade?
The thing is, though, that many of the most beautiful painted rocks utilize some surprisingly easy rock drawing techniques to make them. The method is just so creative that you don’t notice how easy the rock was to actually make! It’s a good thing that I’m here to peel back the curtain for you. Below, you’ll find the best, the easiest, and the most creative rock drawing techniques, and my favorite resources for new methods and tutorials. I’ll even show you what I come up with when I follow the directions–my rocks aren’t half bad!
1. Rock Sharks Working with the shape of your rocks is something especially fun and creative to do, so these rock sharks, made from naturally triangular rocks, are extra cute and easy!
2. How To Add A Label. I really like this idea for the bottom of your painted rocks. My Girl Scout troop painted rocks a few weeks ago, and it was a bigger production than I thought it would be to get each kid to write our hashtag (#girlscoutsrock) legibly and in the correct place. A slap-on-the-tag production line would have been so much easier!
3. Sugar Skulls I love the rock painting ideas that work with a rock’s natural shape, like these sugar skulls. I wouldn’t use the puffy paint on a rock that you planned on hiding outdoors, because it will likely peel off too easily, even if it’s sealed. However, it should work fine for indoor purposes.
4. Marbled Rocks While you do have to buy a special product for this technique, it’s probably the only way to get this particular marbling effect on a rock.
5. Art On The Rocks Yes, this is a book, and I know that many of you don’t like it when I offer books as a resource because you actually have to, you know, go and READ the book. But friends, books are great resources! And this book is a great resource–it has the best tips that I know of to show someone who might not consider themselves artsy how to make lovely art on rocks.
6. Silhouette Painted Rocks I LOVE these rocks! Even if you’re not the best artist, your simply-drawn silhouette will stand out in lovely contrast to the painted sunset background.
7. Painted Owls All I want to do in the world is make a painted Hedwig. It looks surprisingly easy!
8. Ladybug THIS is how you make those perfect semi-circles!
9. Paisley This paisley-drawing tutorial would work perfectly on a rock, especially if you use paint pens or ink pens instead of a paintbrush.
10. Faber-Castell Pitt Pens I see this over and over again. The quality of material really does make a difference. The rule of thumb that I’ve always heard is to use the highest-quality supplies that you can afford. Faber-Castell pens aren’t as cheap as Crayola, but they work great on a huge variety of surfaces. I’ve tested them out with fabulous results on paper (obviously), shells, wood, and yes, rocks:
11. Kid-Friendly Halloween Rocks Even little kids can get in on the fun drawing “monsters” on Halloween-themed rocks.
12. Rock Painting Challenges Do you have your techniques down but you just need some inspiration? Check out these challenges for every day of the month!
13. How To Dry Your Rocks I have the background for a silhouette painted rock drying on a table outside while I sit here impatiently and type, so trust me when I tell you that you WANT to know these tricks for getting your rocks to dry nice and quickly.
14. Pet Rocks This is a terrific idea for a homemade gift for a kid or teen. Paint a rock, upcycle an Altoid tin, and thrill someone special with their very own pet rock.
15. Strawberries These rocks painted to look like strawberries aren’t meant to be hidden around your town–instead, set them around your strawberry beds and train the local bird population that strawberries aren’t tasty at all!
16. Color-Matching Game Put little kids to work painting big rocks while you happily work your own rock drawing magic next to them, and then let them play a color-matching game with their painted rocks.
17. Mix And Match Facial Features Draw different parts of a face onto different rocks, then mix-and-match them to make sidewalk art or as a toy for the kiddos.
18. Plant Markers Here’s another useful way to utilize your painted rocks, if you’re not keen on hiding them around. They make terrific plant markers!
19. Story Stones If your drawing skills aren’t up to this, you can do as the tutorial suggests and cut out pictures from magazines to paste to the rocks, then use them to tell imaginative stories.
20. Moveable Letters And Numbers Young children need lots of practice with letters and numbers, and these could not be easier–or more tempting!–manipulatives:
21. Rock Watermelons Paint spray can either be a reasonably eco-friendly or a wildly toxic craft supply, but if you’ve got it and it’s not solvent- or oil-based, this project is a fun way to try out spray painting on rocks.
22. Wedding Favors Or Dinner Party Placeholders These monogrammed rocks would be such pretty wedding favors or easily personalized placeholders for a dinner party.