Hey friends! Adrianne Surian here with you today to talk about some rock painting ideas for fall and Halloween because ever since I started painting rocks back in the spring, I just can’t stop. I love it! I find it really relaxing, and it’s a great craft project for girls’ night, with your kids, by yourself, or anytime!
You may already be part of the growing trend of “kindness rocks” out there, but if not, I’m going to share a few ways that you can get involved in this positive movement. Go on a “rock walk” in your own community, paint and hide rocks just for fun, or you can join others in a local group. You can usually find groups on Facebook for your area and share photos and rock painting ideas! Each local rock group will have different guidelines, but what they all have in common is paint rocks, hide rocks, find rocks, and hide more rocks!
Supplies needed for these rock painting ideas:
Optionally, consider adding the following items to your collection:
- Ball-tip Stylus
- Gel Pens (I like the Sakura Glaze Gelly Roll Pens)
- Stamps, used with Archival-formula ink
Begin with a covered work surface, using newspaper, a craft mat, or even a paper plate for easy clean up later. Gather together the smoothest rocks you can find (the smooth ones will take fewer coats of paint than rocks that are rough or somewhat porous). It may be tempting to grab rocks from business and parks, but please remember that they paid for these rocks as part of their landscaping. Get permission, limit your search to your own yard, or buy a bag of tumbled river rocks.
If you’re sitting down with some fall rock painting ideas, add colors like pumpkin, goldenrod, leaf green, and maple. For Halloween rock painting ideas, I like adding grape taffy to the mix, and be sure to pick up some basic black and white! Size 10 paintbrushes work well for painting a background color on your rocks, and size 0 paintbrushes (and smaller) are great for detail. You may also want to add a ball-tip stylus to your supplies to make smooth, perfect circles.
A few tips I can give new painters: don’t get frustrated if your design isn’t perfect the first time around! As you can see below, I worked on the outline of my pumpkins trying to get it just right. When you use acrylic paints, you can paint over your mistakes. If you don’t like it, you can always make changes! In the design below, I filled the orange in, covering the too-wide black strokes, and achieving the shapes and sizes I wanted. You may look at some painted rocks and admire the artwork, but don’t make the mistake of believing those talented painters are perfect! We just know how to cover our mistakes, and you can do the exact same thing.
Don’t limit yourself to strictly traditional fall colors. I find that blues and pinks especially make great background colors for different design themes. You can make your rocks as simple or as complex as you like!
If you struggle with controlling your paintbrush, using a stylus to make easy, uniform dots is a great way to add details. Or if you prefer to draw, gel pens work awesome on rocks that have been given a coat of paint! If you use gel pens (or Sharpie markers) in your designs, you’ll want to add a coat of craft glue or Mod Podge over those areas of ink before sealing your rocks in the next step. Weatherproof sealants will smear designs using pens and markers without that protective layer.
Even if you have coated your rocks with Mod Podge as a sealant, the water-based formula won’t hold up over time without chipping or wearing off outside in the elements. Varnish is all you need to keep those designs looking fresh no matter how far your rocks travel. You can use a spray polyurethane formula, or I like the small bottles that you can brush on – that way I don’t need to worry about taking a trip outside with a spray can.
Don’t forget your final details like inspirational messages, fun words, and a note on the back of your rock that tells others where it’s from! If you use stamps, be sure your stamp pad has archival quality ink. My signature style is to add little words or phrases to each design with typewriter-style letter stamps, but get creative and develop your own styles and methods!
Once your rocks are dry, share them! Post photos, hide them around your community, or leave them when you visit other cities. Be respectful of the rules in parks and natural spaces; if the park is a “leave no trace” park (like National Parks) you should not take or leave any rocks. Local parks with playgrounds are often fun places to hide and find rocks, and it’s especially fun to find a little bit of happy in commercial areas as well. My favorite place to leave rocks is on walks in downtown areas!
Search for your city or metropolitan area on Facebook if you’re looking to join in the fun in your community. There are national, state, regional, and city groups out there – your community may already be participating! Even if you don’t get around to painting rocks, post photos of any rocks you find. It’s just as exciting to find out that someone spotted your artwork as it is to find these fun little rocks!
I’m an avid painter and hider in my community, and fall is a great time to hide rocks! The weather cools down for more enjoyable walks, and the places you visit on your autumn adventures are great for looking out for rocks.
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Adrianne is a writer, artist, designer, wife, and mom of 2 kids. She blogs at happyhourprojects.com where the theme is tutorials and recipes that can be made in an hour or less. Her favorite projects are jewelry-making, paper crafts, and recycled crafts. She participates annually in ArtPrize, an international art competition, and she’s the author of the book DIY T-Shirt Crafts: 50 Ways to Recycle a T-Shirt (August 2015).