How To Prepare Rocks For Painting

Painting rocks is a great hobby that has taken the world by storm. It’s a hobby that requires a bit of creativity and fantasy. To do this, of course, you need painting utensils and suitable stones that you can prepare for painting with a few tricks.

How To Prepare Rocks For Painting

If you’re planning to create painted rocks as a gift for someone special, to hide for other people to find, or even just to display in your home, you’ll be happy to know that painting a rock is so easy – in fact, it can be as simple, or as complicated as you want it to be. It all just depends on your creativity and how much time you want to put into creating your tiny masterpiece!

The best rocks for painting

When you’re painting rocks, you’ll be glad to know that there are many rocks you can choose from to paint on. Because they are formed naturally, rocks can come in all shapes, sizes, and colors – perfect for those who are looking to have multiple types of rocks on hand for different kinds of projects.

You must be asking yourself this question: “Where do I get rocks to paint on?” Well, the answer is pretty simple. You can either get out there in the great outdoors, and trek for different rock types in their natural habitat, or you can simply purchase them on Amazon or other specialty rock painting sites, or craft sites.

How to prepare rocks for painting

Whether you’ve bought them or sourced them from mother nature herself, you’re going to want to prepare your rocks first before you start painting them. Here are some top tips to prepare your rocks before you start painting them.


So you’ve got your hands on beautiful rock, and want to start painting on it? It’s always a good idea to wash your rock first, as you’ll be getting rid of any old dirt or stuck on organisms that aren’t visible to the naked eye.

Simply get a bucket of soapy water and an old toothbrush or a scouring sponge, and use it to brush all visible dirt off the rock. Brush for a few rounds around the rock and then dry it off with a paper towel or a towel until it is completely dry.

Sanding and smoothing

Next step in preparing your rock before painting is to sand and smooth your rock. You can use sandpaper to buff your rock and get rid of any grit on the surface of your rock. This makes the painting process much easier as the surface will be smoother.

Some rock painters use wood filler to fill up all the holes, dimples, or cracks on a rock’s surface during this process to ensure that the rock surface is perfectly even. 


If you want your rock to stand up, you can add some wood filler to the base of your rock to turn it upright. Or whichever orientation you want your artwork to have. 


Before painting, you’ll have to prime your rock surface to ensure that your paint adheres to it securely and that the colors that you use stay vibrant after a long period of time. 


Here’s the fun part – painting! You can use any kind of brush, but remember to always use water-based acrylic paint when rock painting. It is less toxic than other oil-based paints, and is easier to apply, dry, and finish once you’re done with your artwork. There’s no limit to your creativity here! 


Once you finish painting your rock, you’ll want to finish off the job with some sealer. Sealers provide your rock artwork a layer of weatherproofing and help prevent your tiny masterpiece from turning yellow or losing its sheen when exposed to the elements (if you’re planning on hiding them outside for strangers to find!)

Sealers come in two forms – spray on and brush on sealers. Both types are the same, but it all just depends on which method you prefer to use.

Considerations when rock painting

Although rock painting is all about sharing kindness and spreading positivity, you shouldn’t be taking rocks from other’s private properties! If you’re out rock hunting and see a rock that clearly belongs to someone’s front garden decoration, it’s best to leave it where you saw it, as this can be considered trespassing and theft, which is an offense in most states.

Most rocks that you buy online from specialty rock painting stores come prepared and ready to be painted – so if you’re purchasing rocks online or from a store, chances are all you need to do is probably just give them a rinse and a dry down before putting the paintbrush to work on them.

However, if you’re taking rocks from their natural habitat, you’ll most probably need to spend more time preparing them using the methods above as they are formed naturally and will come in different shapes and sizes.


Why do we need to prepare rocks before we paint them? Well, for a start, it makes for a much easier and more enjoyable rock painting process. Every artist needs good tools in order to make an artwork of the highest quality, so preparing your rocks for painting is always a good idea.

And if you’re planning to make some seriously impressive rock painting artworks, such as gluing rocks together or adding different materials to your rocks, you’ll definitely want to ensure that your rocks are easy to work with. Adding other materials to your rock such as wiggle eyes or stickers may look funny, but don’t hide those rocks in nature. Wild animals could lick the rock and then be harmed by these materials. Keep these rocks for indoor decorations or presents.

Generally, smooth rocks are the best surfaces to paint and adhere materials to, while rough surfaces are a little harder to work with. By sanding and buffing down natural rock surfaces, you can make life a little bit easier for yourself, which means you’ll enjoy the process even more!