What Paint To Use On Rocks?

Rock can have a very smooth or rough porous surface. In the latter case, priming the rock surface helps to prevent too much paint from getting soaked up which would make detailed fine painting difficult. But not only a good primer is important, but the type of paint to use on rocks is just as essential for nice artwork.

What kind of paint to use on rocks?

No matter if you choose to go at it alone or with your nearest and dearest for company, you’re going to want to use the right tools for the job. Painting rocks can be an addicting pastime, so it only makes sense to look for the best kind of supplies and use the right techniques in order to make the most out of your time creating and sharing your tiny masterpieces to the world around you.

Let’s start with one of the most important supplies you’ll need for rock painting – the paint!

What Paint To Use On Rocks?

When you’re rock painting, it’s always best to keep in mind that you’re working on a natural surface and that you’ll be leaving them around in natural environments. So the keyword here is to always consider a non-toxic paint so as to avoid causing harm to the flora and fauna around your tiny masterpiece when you leave it for others to find.

In general, there are so many colors and types of paints to choose from, and it can be overwhelming to say the least when you’re considering the best paint to use for your rock paintings.

Well, if you’re asking yourself “what is the best type of paint to use on rocks?” – the answer is simple. It’s acrylic paint!

What is Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint is a type of paint that is produced by suspending a pigment (that means color) in an acrylic polymer emulsion. Both of these compounds work together to produce a color that is highly versatile and can be used in all kinds of applications.

Because it is water-based paint, it can be mixed with acrylic gels, pastes, and pouring mediums to create some interesting textures for any kind of artwork you intend to create.

Rock painters tend to prefer using craft acrylic paint for their tiny masterpieces, because of the fact that it comes in a wide variety of colors and has a thin yet heavy enough consistency that makes the color transfer from brush to rock face such an easy process.

Why use acrylic paint?

Well, we now know that acrylic paint is the best paint to use for rock painting, but why is it so? Here are some of the benefits of using acrylic paint for your new creative activity.


Acrylic paint dries rather quickly, making it the perfect choice for those who plan to paint a handful of tiny rock masterpieces in a single session. And because it dries quickly, it becomes more resistant to water once the paint dries, locking in the colors and vibrancy of the painted rock that you’ve just created. 


By flexibility, we mean the ability of acrylic paint to withstand cracking, even on thicker multiple coats of paint on your rock. As a comparison, oil paints, which are a lot thicker, tend to crack if thick coats are applied – and especially on slightly curved surfaces such as rocks and pebbles. 

Less toxic 

Acrylic paints contain fewer fumes and are less toxic than oil-based paints. This is a key thing to consider if you plan to leave your painted rock artworks around places where there is nature around. The motive of the rock hiding kindness movement is to spread joy and positivity to others, so we shouldn’t be hurting nature at the same time!

 Effective paint transfer

Acrylic paint has an ability to adhere to virtually any kind of surface, and works especially well on rocks and pebbles, making it the best paint to choose when rock painting. However, if your rock surface contains any wax or oil, your acrylic paint will not adhere well, so it’s worth remembering that. 

Other considerations when rock painting

In addition to the acrylic paint itself, you can also create different finishes to your painted rock surface such as gloss, textured, or matte finish. This is made possible via the use of mediums, which can help you to change the consistency of your paint from thick to thin, and vice versa.

Using a matte medium will allow you to create a more subtle sheen to your rock artwork, while a gloss medium increases the luminosity of the colors that you use, making it shinier and more vibrant.


Knowing what the best paints to use in rock painting is a good thing to know, as you always want to create a painted rock with colors and a vibrancy that lasts. Whether you’re gifting it to someone, or just hiding them for strangers to find and crack a smile at, your painted rocks will benefit from using acrylic paint, and the appropriate medium that can create the finish that you want on your tiny masterpiece.

Aside from mediums, you can also choose to finish off your painted rock with a sealer instead, which protects the paint on your rock. These come in spray-on or brush-on types, and what it does is encase your entire painted rock in a protective layer that is usually weather-resistant and non-yellowing. You can also choose between the different finishes that these sealers have available – commonly matte, gloss, or satin finishes.