Wow, has it been a while! Happy spring, everyone! The spring is always such a busy time of year, and this year has been no exception! For months, it’s been my intention to write a little blog post about the process I use when I paint my rocks. The time has finally come! However, I think it’s very important to say. “Thank you” so I will do that first.
Thank you so much to Divi Tree Coffee in Point Pleasant, NJ. Earlier this month, they hosted a pop-up shop, and invited me, Nodoka Woodcrafts and a few other vendors to participate. The owner and staff were all so lovely and welcoming. I was a great environment to be a part of, and I can’t wait to go back! I had a scone and some coffee when I was there, and it was all so delicious! I highly recommend the fig, walnut, honey scones!
Continuing along...here is how I paint my rocks!
First, I get some little pebbles. I collect them in a few different ways. Sometimes I find them on the beach or a the park, and sometimes I buy them. If you buy pebbles with the intention of painting them, make sure you don’t get stones that are shiny or look like they have been polished. The paint will scratch off of them really easily. When I buy stones, I like the “Jumbo Rocks” from Christmas Tree Shops. I usually get the 5 lbs canister. Whether you buy your pebbles or find them, make sure you clean them. I usually just use water and scrub with a towel. Sometimes I use a little dish soap if it seems necessary.
Once your rocks are clean and dry, it’s time to prime them. Priming them gives you a nice surface to paint on, the paint will stick better, and the colors you choose later on will look brighter. I prime my pebbles with Liquitex Acrylic Gesso, but any acrylic primer will work. After I prime my pebbles, I usually let them dry for about an hour. Generally, I prime a bunch of pebble at once so I have them ready any time I feel like painting.
After your pebbles are primed and dry, it’s time to paint! Any acrylic paint will work if you are planning to keep your pebbles inside. If you are planning to hide your pebbles or keep them outside, I’ve found that DecoArt Patio Paint works well. Other acrylic paints tend to fade from the sunlight over time, but the DecoArt Patio Paint seems to hold its color well. It’s inexpensive and comes in a lot of colors which is great. If you are buying it at the craft store, check the acrylic paint aisle as well as the flowerpot/floral aisles. I’ve seen it in both places.
When I paint my pebbles, I usually like to outline the designs with black, blue or another dark color, However, if you are new to painting rocks or small pictures, you might want to work up to this step or practice on a piece of paper first. It takes a very steady hand, and artwork without the outline looks just as beautiful.
After you are finished painting, let your rocks dry for about 2 days. Acrylic paint needs to cure even after it seems like it’s dry. If you are keeping your rocks inside, you are now finished! If your painted pebbles will be outside, you have one more step. The last step is to seal the paint. I tried the exterior ModPodge, and found it got a little tacky in the sun. This is not a huge deal, but it’s not my preference. I like to use PLAID FolkArt Outdoor Matte Sealer. They also make a glossy sealer if you like that look better. I do one coat of sealer, and it seems to hold up well. However, just like the paint, the sealer also needs to cure. After sealing your pebble, wait about 3 days before putting it outside.
Now, you are finally finished! You can decorate your desk or dresser, add even more color to your garden, or hide some pebbles to brighten the day of unsuspecting strangers! I love hiding my painted pebbles. I always put my website address and #foundpebble on my pebbles when I hide them. I’ve gotten so many kind emails and messages about how my painted pebbled have made people smile. I also love seeing photos of pebbles that people have found using #foundapebble
I’m Rachel, an art teacher by day and a freelance artist by night. You can find my art locally and online. If you check out Exhibits, you can find all the info about gallery shows, local pop-ups, brick and mortar locations, and websites.