Rock Painting – Acrylics and Inks

Rock painting seems to be the latest craze, and why not?  It’s something anyone can do, it’s fun, and you can get really creative with it.  The best part is that it doesn’t need to be an expensive project.  You can use materials as cheap or fancy as you like.  There are even groups dedicated to sharing these little masterpieces treasure-hunt style if you enjoy that sort of thing.  Martin County Rocks is a great example of this and I encourage anyone to check them out for ideas.

I decided to make my first painted rocks with acrylics, but there are many other options which I plan to experiment with later.  The first step is gathering up your materials, like your canvas.  Which happens to be a rock.  I got mine at Home Depot, but you can get them pretty much anywhere including your back yard.  The rocks I’m using in this project are Mexican beach pebbles which I chose for their smooth surface.

Once you get your rocks, you’re going to want to prepare them for painting.  Here comes gesso to the rescue!  I found some great gesso on Amazon that was relatively inexpensive and it seems to do the job well.  The one I chose has a white finish, but there are clear ones too which I’m planning to try later.  I also got me a brush set with two paint tray palettes so my younger one could join in without us having to fight over supplies.  The links are below if you want to check them out.

Once you’ve got your rocks gesso’d up, it’s time to get to work.  And by work, I mean creating awesome little masterpieces.  Because I wanted to be able to blend a variety of colors, I got a set of Daler Rowney acrylic tube paints which I was pretty pleased with.  And because I’m also a cartoonist, I got some Ultra Fine Sharpies to add some lines at the end.  This last part had an unexpected consequence which I will get to in a moment.  But in the meantime, here’s what I came up with for my first painted rocks… a rose, a burger, and two fish.

Not bad for a first try right?  Well let’s get back to the Sharpie debacle, shall we?  When you create a rocky masterpiece that would potentially go outside and be exposed to the elements, you’ll want to protect it with a sealant.  I chose a glossy clear acrylic spray sealer from Plaid which I’ve used before to seal crafts and it’s worked really well for me.  That’s when I discovered that acrylic sealers make “permanent” Sharpie ink run.  So note to self.

In any case… what ever rocky masterpiece you decide to create, the important thing is to have fun with it.  Even if your inks run like a murky river on a hot tropical day.

Rock on!