How To Seal Painted Rocks

Whether you’re a seasoned brush-and-palette wielder or an occasional artist who puts color on stone, there is no doubt painting rocks will be an activity that you’ll enjoy. What is just as important as the right choice of paints and the proper painting of rocks are the different techniques of how to seal painted rocks so that they become weatherproof.

Painted rocks come in all shapes, sizes, and designs – with the last one limited only to the individual artists’ creativity. You can create all kinds of designs, and they can be as simple, or as complicated as you want them to be.

How To Waterproof Painted Rocks

And if you’re creating painted rocks to leave them out in nature or in public places for strangers to pick up (as part of the kindness rock movement), you’re going to want to make sure that whatever masterpiece you’ve created stays colorful and vibrant even as they are exposed to the passing of the seasons and weather patterns.

While acrylic paint forms a dense, weatherproof coating when dry and sticks really well to rocks, additional sealing of the surface with a clear coat ensures that the little work of art looks stands up to the weather even longer. Here are some tips on how to waterproof painted rocks.

How To Seal Painted Rocks

Sealing is a process in which you create a protective layer around your painted rock. Sealer usually comes in either spray-on or brush-on forms, and whichever application you choose is usually based on what you have available as they both work just the same.

This sealer is made out of materials that are waterproof and UV-resistant, ensuring that the artwork on your painted rock is not dull and remains vibrant even as it faces rain, snow, sun, and sleet.

Why Do You Seal Painted Rocks?

Sealing of your painted rock is an important finishing step to ensure that your painted rock lasts for as long as possible. After all, you’ve spent all that time on your rock painting, so why not spend time making sure you’ve got all the finishing touches to protect it?

Sealing is important especially if you’re leaving them outdoors in a garden or out for other people to pick up. This ensures that your artwork remains visible and has a bright and vibrant sheen to it rather than losing all its color as it gets exposed to the sunlight or the rain.

Do you need to seal painted rocks?

The answer to the question “do you need to seal painted rocks” depends largely on where you’ll be leaving them in. If you’re leaving your painted rock or displaying them at home indoors away from the elements, chances are, sealing isn’t going to be that important as your painted rock will not be exposed to the elements.

However, if you’re planning to leave your rocks outdoors, then sealing is important. Weather patterns can really wreak havoc on acrylic paint and can destroy your artwork, leaving you with a heap of mixed, murky, and running colors on your rock, rather than the masterpiece you’ve painstakingly created for hours.

The best reason to seal painted rocks, no matter where you’ll be using them, is that by adding an extra layer of sealer on the surface of your rock, you actually add a layer that not only protects the paint but actually adds a vibrant, glossy sheen to it that can last for a very long time. Even if you choose matte finish style sealers, you can be sure that your colors will stay just as bright as they were when you just painted them on. 

How To Seal Painted Rocks

Sealing painted rocks is quite a straightforward process, however, it does come with some things to consider.

  • Firstly, you’ll want to wait at least a day or two after you’ve finished completing your artwork on your painted rock before putting sealant on your rock. This ensures that your paint is completely dry on the surface, and will not be ruined by having a layer put on top of it.
  • Next, you have to decide whether you’re using a spray-on or a brush-on sealer. Generally, spray-on sealers are a lot easier, as you won’t need another brush to come into contact with the paint on your rock, and you remove any risk of smudging. However, brush-on sealers will do the job just fine as well.

When applying the sealer, be mindful of how many layers you’re putting onto your painted rock. Too little, and you won’t be giving it the protection it needs. Too much, and you’ll end up with a painted rock that looks like it’s encased in a layer of silicone, which is not that attractive!

Other considerations when sealing painted rocks

Always apply the sealer to your painted rock in an airy room or outside. This avoids any strong smells from the sealer lingering in the room, which may be uncomfortable and in some cases, unhealthy if the fumes are inhaled in large amounts.

An environmentally-friendly seal is a water-based varnish. Water-based polyurethanes do the job with no or only a minimum of hydrocarbon solvents. These hardly smell at all and can also be used indoors.

Wait for each layer to dry before applying the next layer. The best amount of layers would probably be 2 or 3, however, you can choose to have more depending on how much protection you want for your painted rock.

Cover every angle of your painted rock and don’t leave any areas unsealed – if any areas are exposed to the elements, the effectiveness of your sealer is reduced, wasting your effort (and money!) in applying sealer in the first place.


When you create your painted rock, you want to ensure that it stays colorful and beautiful for as long as possible. After all, with all the hours that you’ve put into your masterpiece, you want people to appreciate it in its greatest form – which is why applying sealer to your painted rock is important.

And if you leave it outside for people to pick up and rehide, or to keep, you’re going to want to ensure that your designs stay as colorful as they were from day one. Sealers help you protect your artwork and give your painted rock a lovely sheen that makes the colors and designs really pop, making people smile every time they see it.