What is rock painting?

A painted rock

Last week, a friend’s 7-year-old son walked up to me, proudly presenting a rock in his hands and saying, “Check this out!” The rock was about 2 inches long, fairly flat, and decorated in a colourful manner. I asked him if he had made this, and he informed me he hadn’t, that he had found it on his walk home from school. Perplexed, I probed further, and discovered a whole new world I knew nothing about. So today I introduce to you: rock painting!

Rock painting is a hobby that began sometime last summer and is popular with children in particular, but some adults too. In a nutshell — you find a rock, paint it, and leave it somewhere for others to find. Like a treasure hunt! However, I’ll go into the full details with you below so you can join in this summer (or whenever we have some nice weather)

How to get involved in rock painting

Rock painting is a simple and fun pastime, so here are the steps you need to take to get involved.

Choose a rock

When you’re out and about, select a stone to take home and clean. Choose the stone based on its size and shape — especially if you have a design in mind which would lend itself well to a certain shape of rock. For example, a hedgehog would work well on a pyramid shape, and an intricate design (such as a mandala) would work well on a large, flat surface.

Prepare the rock

Now your rock is clean, it is ready to be primed for decorating. Prime your rock with one or two coats of acrylic paint. This can be coloured or clear, depending on your preference. Once it is dry, it is ready for decorating!

Decorate the rock

A painted rock

Now for the fun bit! Apply your design with acrylic paint and/or paint markers. Allow it to dry between layers, and leave it to dry overnight after the last coat.

Add a hashtag

On the underside or back of your rock, hidden from view, write a unique hashtag (such as #AstonRockLucy so people will use it on social media when they share images of your rock and where they found it. This can be lots of fun, as your rock might travel out of your area, and could even go abroad!

Seal the rock

To give your rock design a longer life in the great outdoors, coat it in a clear gloss sealer — there are many to choose from, with varying prices and varying levels of effectiveness, so choose wisely. I’d personally recommend the most eco-friendly option (which are usually water-based sealants), as these rocks are being placed outdoors, where chemicals could leech into the ground.

Hide the painted rock

Now your rock is ready to go back out into the world and start its journey! Place it somewhere public and look out for your hashtag on social media so you can track its whereabouts.


Do you take part in rock painting? Let us know all about your experience of it in the comments below!

Lucy is our lead editor and has been passionate about stationery since childhood. She has a particular fondness for rollerball and calligraphy pens and is a keen advocate of snail mail.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *