What Kind Of Paint To Use On Rocks (2023)

Decorating rocks has become a massive pastime around the country. However, no rock will be the same from kids to adults, so creating art on small stones will be highly unique.

One downside is that the rock surface isn’t absorbent like paper, so it may not stick as easily. It quickly leads to the question. “What paint do you use on rocks that will stay on?” Here, you can find all you need about the best paint for rock painting to bring your great ideas to life and make pretty rocks.

By the end of our rock painting guide, you’ll know enough about how to use your full range of art supplies to paint designs on your rocks supplies for everyone to enjoy. (Learn How To Cut Hard Plastic Without Breaking It)

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What Paint To Use On Rocks For Outside?

Many individuals ask, what paint do you use for rocks outside? Acrylic paint is the best paint for stones. It applies evenly and allows you to paint rocks quickly. However, not all acrylic paints are made equal, and you can also use other paints to paint rocks

Outdoor Acrylic Paint.

Acrylic paints made for outdoor craft projects are the best for rock crafts as they are weather resistant. They offer vibrant colors that will stick to rock surfaces, and you can use any paint brushes to apply the paint.

While you don’t have to apply a spray sealer (Mod Podge) finish, it can help keep the paint on just the surface of the rock rather than falling off after an accidental drop.

Multi-Surface Acrylic Paint.

When using this satin finish acrylic, you won’t need a sealer, and you can use it on any uneven surfaces such as on rocks for your delicate rock art. Multi-surface paint is a popular choice for rock art painting since it is a thick, smooth multi-surface paint in many finishes.

One downside is that if you want any fine details, it may be challenging because of the paint’s thick consistency.

Craft Acrylic Paint.

Regular acrylic paints work well for rock painting, although you need more coats to achieve the desired design quality.

These come in a wide range of paint colors, and when using this acrylic medium, you need to ensure you use a sealant, so the paint stays on the natural stone surface.

Special Effect Paints.

Acrylic paints with a metallic or glitter finish add glitz and glam to your painted rock creations.

You can use them to paint the entire base or add decorative accents. For a sparkly shine, you can try Americana Dazzling Metallics, Americana Craft Twinkles, chunky glitter paint, or Glamour Dust which offers a much finer glitter paint.

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Puffy Paint

It comes in shiny, pearlized, glitter, and other happy finishes, and it’s great for adding dimension and dots.

Although the label says fabric paint, it can be used on any surface.

Base Coats with Acrylic Paints

You are getting the best finish when stone painting helps have a good base coat. From this, you’ll have a better finish and more saturated colors.

Base coats are the solid colors that cover the rock before any additional ornamentation is applied. (Learn How To Take Care Of A Zygocactus)

Acrylic craft, multi-surface, and outdoor paints work well as base coats on rocks. They’re easy to apply, dry rapidly, and mixed to give unique effects.

The best rock base coat paint should be weather resistant if you are painting rocks outside.

It needs to be thin to give a smooth painting surface for subsequent paints to stick.

How Do You Prepare Rocks For Painting?

The supply list can seem overwhelming, but you don’t need that much from your local craft stores or even your home improvement centers to get started.

Some people opt to start with a rock painting kit, or you can dive in with the following supplies.

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Get Rocks to Paint

The first thing is rocks. You can buy rocks in bulk, or you may find unique ones in the river or beach.

Once you have your rocks, make sure they are ready to paint with these rock preparation tips.

Paint Rocks with Pens and Markers

Posca Paint Pens are perfect for beginners and are one of many favorite rock painting supplies since they are easy to work with.

While these pens may not offer the same finish as a paintbrush, they allow you to draw outlines or small details.

One thing to keep in mind with Micron pens is that the tips can quickly wear off if you press down too hard on the rock surface.

One tip is to make your dotting tools; however, you’ll need to clean these in hot water between use.

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Brushes and Painting Supplies

You’ll need to invest in a set of brushes. However, when you’re just getting started, nothing special is required.

Look for a package with a bigger square edge tip, at least one medium size, and a few smaller brush size tips for detail work.


This is the most frequently requested rock painting supply. You’ll need to seal the rocks if you want to hide them outside. Although brush-on sealers are available, spray sealers are easier to use and leave a smooth finish.

You can choose from matte, gloss, or satin finishes after ensuring weather-resistant and non-yellowing. If you don’t have a sealer, you can compromise and use non-yellowing white glue to get a hard finish.

Steps for preparation:

  1. Rocks should be cleaned and dried to remove dirt.
  2. Sand the surface with a fine-grit sandpaper.
  3. Prime the surface with your base coat.
  4. First, arrange your paint processes by sketching your design on paper.
  5. Backgrounds are painted first, then layers of paint are added one by one, allowing each layer to dry completely between layers.
  6. More delicate work is done last, and fine-tipped markers and paint pens are usually the best tools for the job.
  7. Draw your design on the stone with a pencil.
  8. Begin painting. (Tip: Rest your painting hand on a rolled-up paper towel for support.)

Does Acrylic Paint Wash Off Rocks?

Here are some of the best ways to get the best finish on painted rocks so they won’t wash off.

Choose smooth flat rocks. You can paint any rock, yet ridged rocks are difficult. If you can’t find any in nature, craft stores sell them.

Before painting rocks, make sure they’re clean. Use dish soap warm water, then drain, so they dry thoroughly.

Apply spray sealer or use a clear brush as this can stop your marks from being sucked into porous rocks. Alternatively, use white acrylic paint as your primer. to make the colors you paint on top look more brilliant. (Learn How To Grow A Jade Plant From A Broken Stem)

Paint your pattern and apply numerous coats, allowing each layer to dry in between application. To help them withstand the outdoors, use outdoor or multi-surface paint.

Make little details and dots with small brushes or a stylus.

To write on your rocks, use oil-based paint pens or Sharpies.

Apply a coat or two of Mod Podge Outdoor to finish your rocks and make them weatherproof. Mod Podge can come in a spray sealer or be applied with a brush.

What Do You Use To Seal Painted Rocks?

Mod podge, resin, or spray polyurethane sealants are the recommendation for painted rocks and one of the rock painting supplies that will make a difference when you decorate rocks for outside.

Bright colors will remain bright on your flat rocks much longer without chipping and fading.

Here is a look at more rock painting supplies you may need when you paint rocks more often.

Best Paint for Rocks

When searching for the best rock painting supplies, you’ll discover the best paint to paint rocks is acrylic paint.

If you’re painting rocks for outdoor use, the best base coat paint for rocks should be weather resistant.

If your painted stones are shown or buried outside, the Patio Paint Acrylics are an excellent alternative, and you can save a step by not using a separate sealant with this paint.

For on-the-go rock painting, use pens and markers.

Best Paint Pens for Rocks

Sitting close to the top of your rock painting supplies has to be paint pens. When you have rocks painted with pens, you’ll see how the fine tip makes it easier to detail

Here’s an overview of ideal rock painting pens you can find.

Posca Paint Markers are currently all over the internet, and with good reason.

When kids are painting rocks, you’ll find these non-toxic, water-based pigment paint markers perfect. They stay put on porous surfaces with a solid color. Many budding rock artists are a top pick for the best paint pens for rocks and all-around favorite paint supplies for painting rocks.

Sakura Pen-Touch paint markers make a versatile tool; the paint works on various surfaces, including smooth rocks.

The metallic bullet point markers are favorites of many and add another fun finish to your painted rock. Metallic pens provide a lovely sheen that looks great on painted rocks.

Sharpie Oil-Based paint pens provide an excellent glossy finish to decorate rocks. You’ll find them in various colors, and when you use them, they dry quickly.

Unlike other paint pens for rocks, you can easily find these in most large stores rather than searching craft shops. Sharpie, In addition, Oil-based markers won’t bleed colors into each other or change color once you seal your painted rocks, unlike conventional Sharpies.

Pitt Artist Pens are high-quality artist pens that use India Ink, a permanent and fade-resistant ink. The dark colors cover particularly nicely, and the tip in both the standard and brush-tip variants is sturdy enough not to bend or squash.

Pitt Artist Pens are costly, although they can last a long time and will be suitable for various projects on other media besides just rocks. For example, a black and white pen is great to start on painted rocks and can be used for a monochrome effect rather than a solid color.

Rock Painting Tools

Even with the best paints for rocks, and the best sealer, it helps to use the right tools.

Here are a few other things to add to your list for paint application or for getting unique effects you can’t get any other way on your painted rocks.

If you’re using bottled paints rather than acrylic paint markers, you’ll need brushes or other rock painting equipment.


A flat brush or two will be used for applying foundation coats and covering bigger areas. But, again, 12″-1′′ is an excellent all-purpose size range for this.

Small circular brushes are ideal for fine details and lettering. A medium-range mixed pack of brushes strikes a nice price-quality balance.

Dotting Tools.

If you like polka dots and/or enjoy creating mandala designs, a set of dotting tools may be beneficial to your collection. For perfect circles, dip, and press.


A stencil can be used to block in a shape on your painted rock with a bit of tweaking.

Paint may bleed under the stencil since pebbles aren’t perfectly smooth or flat.

For the greatest effects on your painted rocks, start with a thin coat of paint to produce the basic shape, then remove the stencil and freehand another layer and detail decorations for the best results. (Read Why Is My Lucky Bamboo Turning Yellow)

Temporary Tattoos.

If you haven’t gotten the hang of drawing your art, or if you need something quick, you can find this quick fix ideal.

Temporary tattoos are a simple option for painted rocks that takes little effort. Apply like you were painting the tattoo on a person, then sealing rocks against the weather is all you have to do.

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