These easy rock painting ideas are perfect for kids because they can all be considered beginner rock painting projects.
We have joined the painted rock craze because of the fun we have had making kindness rocks. It is a fun way to get the kids outdoors and doing something nice (and creative).
There are so many different ways to paint rocks, and we’ve found some of the best! First, we will discuss how to paint rocks when you are just beginning and then inspire you with some of our favorite easy painted rock projects.
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Easy Rock Painting Ideas for Kids
But there are so many more ways for kids (and adults!) to decorate rocks in addition to painting! Yarn, felt, googly eyes, markers, melted crayons, and even borax solutions can all make fun and creative ways to decorate rocks.
Finding the Perfect Rock to Paint
Collecting and painting rocks is a classic activity for kids and one that gets our kids playing outside, enjoying nature, and nurturing creativity.
Smooth, flatter rocks work the best for most painting and decorating projects. Most beginner painting projects use smaller rocks under 4″ in diameter, but that is a personal choice!
Where we live, there are plenty of rocks along the trails near our home to keep us collecting without disturbing the environment. If you are in a beach, river bed or protected environmental area, do not take the rocks! It is illegal and can cause erosion. I know it sounds crazy, but you can buy lovely rocks to buy online. Here are a few we like:
- This is a big set of 4 pounds of natural, smooth surface river stones
- 21 Hand-picked rocks and smooth stones perfect for crafts and painting
- White rock set of flat, smooth stones measuring between 2″-3.5″
Prepare Rock Surface Before Painting
You are going to want to brush any dirt or dust off the rock prior to painting. We have found that washing the rocks with a mild detergent not only works really well, but is great fun if you fill up the kitchen sink with suds and rocks!
What Paint Works Best for Rock Painting?
You can make almost any type of permanent paint work, but for beginners it is best to start with acrylic paint or permanent markers like Sharpies. This is what we use:
- I have this Acrylic Paint set from Apple Barrel that has 18 different colors in 2 oz. bottles…it has lasted me forever! The paint has a matte finish.
- This set of 24 metallic acrylic paints are really fun and are my next craft paint purchase.
- This set of 24 Sharpie markers have all the colors you likely need and make rock decorating really easy for kids.
We have also used left-over nail polish, melted crayons and glued on embellishments to paint rocks.
Steps for Painting Rocks for Beginners
- Collect/buy rocks.
- Clean rocks.
- Let rocks dry.
- (Optional) Paint a base coat of acrylic paint on the rock & let dry.
- Paint desired decoration on rock using paint brush, cotton swabs, foam brush, or stamps & let dry.
- (Optional) On the back of the rock write a message for someone with a Sharpie pen.
- (Optional) Hide your rocks around your neighborhood.
These rock art ideas will get everyone thinking of new and more unusual ways to create.
Beginner Painted Rock Projects Perfect for Kids
Whether you’re looking to create a series of kindness rocks, treasured kid-made keepsakes, or if you’re in it just for the crafty fun, here are Crazy Fun Rock Decorating Ideas for Kids!
Melted Crayon Rocks – We love how simple and colorful this project is. I know we have been talking about painted rocks, but this was the first project I ever did with rock art and they turned out so pretty!
Rock Monsters – Kids will have fun creating monsters like these. This is one of the easiest rock projects that even preschool age kids can get involved in and have some fun.
Easy Sharpie Rock Art – Use markers to color rocks instead of paint! Again, this is a super easy rock painting project that even kids as young as toddlers could do with supervision.
Heart Stones – Paint encouraging messages onto stones and leave them for others to find.
Painted Rock People by Non Toy Gifts – The kids made one of these for each member of the family for Christmas one year. I think every year we need to make a new stone family!
Zentangle Rocks by KC Edventures – Creating zentangles is so relaxing! I know this painted rock project might look too hard for a beginner or kid, but KC Edventures has a full tutorial showing her kids painting and it is really doable! Check out her full instructions.
Bug Village by Crafts by Amanda – This bug village is seriously adorable.
Rock Chalk Faces by Club Chica Circle – These made our neighbors laugh when they saw them! Just be careful not to leave the rocks in the middle of the sidewalk! Click through to Club Chica Circle to see all the different variations they made. They are all so cute and a great way to use painted rocks for a different use.
Painted Stone Fish Craft by Messy Little Monster – We painted rocks from our vacation into these. Check out Messy Little Monster’s tutorial because she had her preschoolers painting these and they turned out adorably!
More Painted Rock Art Ideas
Are you inspired yet by all these painted rock ideas for kids? Keep scrolling for even more easy painting ideas for beginners…
Melted Crayon Rocks by Red Ted Art – This is a great way to “recycle” old crayon pieces!
Crystalized Rocks by Happy Hooligans – This is one of the coolest techniques for painting and decorating rocks. Click over to site to get the full tutorial…you have to try this with your kids!
Fluffy Pet Rocks by the Craft Train – My daughter’s teacher had the kids create pet rocks like this for a lesson and the kids loved them!
Sparkly Painted Rocks by Craftulate – Sparkles make any craft project better!
More Creative Rock Decorating Ideas for Kids
Let’s move beyond painting rocks into some other inspiration that kids will embrace for their stone decorations…
Site Word Pebbles by the Imagination Tree – Practicing sight words was never so much fun. I can’t get over how smart this use of rocks is for kids!
Sticker Rocks by Fireflies and Mud Pies – Don’t want to break out the paint? Try these instead! Even your youngest crafter can make these decorated rocks.
Dye Decorated Rocks by Twitchetts – These are really subtle, but so pretty! It is a really cool rock painting technique using dyes instead.
Magic Dragon Painted Rocks by Color Made Happy – Make some of the most exciting play accessories with these rocks! You have to see her castle made out of a Oatmeal container too…
Gratitude Stones by Fireflies and Mudpies – These are simple, but so beautiful!
This rainbow painted rock is awesome and so simple. Grab your favorite rainbow paint colors to follow this fun.
Love these simple rock painting patterns for kids. Paint a simple flower using ovals and a circle. Paint what looks like the underside of a parachute with triangles of various colors or make a stripe and polka dot painted stone!
What a fun idea! Paint each rock as a colorful fish and then group them together to make a school of painted rock fish!
Grab your blue and yellow paint and two stones to create a pair of painted rock love birds.
Grab red and black paint to make this sweet painted ladybug stone!
Making rocks that are painted to look like cactus is a really cute idea and would make a great gift when placed in a painted flower pot.
You could take this idea and run with it. Start with single color painted rocks and then use those colors to arrange the rocks into a design like this heart.
Paint inspiring words on rocks and then hide them around the world to make someone who finds it smile. I love this painting idea so much!
More Rock Ideas for Kids from Kids Activities Blog
- Now that you are done decorating, here are some things to do with rocks like games and activities for kids.
- Kids will love to make rock chalk with this simple tutorial.
- Check out this painted rock walkway idea that one teacher created!
- Your kids will love to learn how to make moon rocks! They are such sparkly rocks.
- These cookies look like garden stones and are yummy! Make stone cookies for the entire family.
- We have some more easy rock art ideas that will give you even more inspiration…