I’ve been feeling whimsical lately and want to add some garden art pieces to my flower beds and new rock garden. And I thought it would be a great idea to get that charm by making flower painted rocks.
This is the first time I’ve tackled a rock painting project.
And what I love about this fun activity is that anyone of any age can do it, and they make great gifts.
And the best part is that it only requires a few simple supplies.
Tips for Painting Rocks
The best type of rocks to use for painting: You’ll need smooth rocks. Specifically for flower rocks, the ideal rocks will be flat and round.
Typically the rocks are called river rocks or Mexican beach pebbles.
The best paints to use for flower painted rocks: Do you plan to leave your beautiful flower rocks outside?
If so, then you need paint that is UV resistant and resistant to fading in general because they’ll be exposed to sunlight and rain.
But of course, the most important thing is going to be the top coat.
A good top coat will keep your garden rocks looking good for a long time –more on this further down.
I prefer to use paint pens rather than paint brushes because you have more control. I have tried the Sharpie oil pens and Posca acrylic paint pens.
The benefit to the Posca pens is that they are easy to clean up, take less time to dry, and come in a variety of different colors.
The benefit of the Sharpie pens is that they glide more easily than the Posca, making the pen easier to control.
You won’t be able to wipe away a mistake with the Sharpie, though, and the colors are more limited.
I worked with the oil pens for this particular project.
Many tutorials for painting rocks say to use Mod Podge Outdoor formula.
However, if your flower painted rocks are exposed to the sun and rain, you don’t want to use that because it’s not waterproof or UV resistant.
It’s more suited for projects that sit outside on a covered porch decorating a flower pot.
So instead, use this UV-resistant, waterproof clear top coat spray.
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DIY DIFFICULTY LEVEL | Easy
Materials For How To Make Easy Flower Painted Rocks
- Large river rocks -size of 3-4″ (flat, smooth, and preferably round)
- Oil pens– multiple colors, fine point
- Oil pen– white, extra fine point
- Clear top coat spray
River Rocks: These weren’t as easy to find as I expected. I found mine at Home Depot. And I read many reviews on their site, and they were very mixed.
Some reviews said they were too small, rough, or mostly chipped. Mine were in pretty good shape and the size I expected, as well as smooth.
Like other big box home improvement stores, Home Depot will consistently switch suppliers, so I can’t guarantee you’ll get the perfect batch.
You may only be able to order it online, but it will ship to your home for free. Just be prepared to return them if they aren’t great.
I checked all the usual craft stores, and they either didn’t carry them or were too small.
Paint: You may wish to give your entire rock a background color, which I chose not to do.
In that case, you can use craft paint rated for outdoor use.
The clear top coat I recommended should keep it from fading. Still, I can’t guarantee it unless the paint itself is waterproof.
Tutorial Steps For How To Make Flower Painted Rocks
FYI, before you start, if you use red and white together, they tend to bleed.
I didn’t have any trouble with a mix of white with any other color, but I didn’t test mixing red with different colors.
But I believe both have the potential to bleed.
I recommend waiting 24 hours before putting the colors next to each other or layered on top of each other to help reduce the bleed.
My markers may be very old, and this was the cause, but I wanted to give you a heads up, just in case.
I recommend you test this on the backside of one first.
Step 1. Wash The River Rocks
Rinse the rocks in a bin with a garden hose and then dry them with a cloth or paper towels.
They need to be completely dry before you begin painting them.
Step 2. Sketch the Flower Painted Rocks Designs
This tutorial explains how I painted my rock flowers, but feel free to paint your own flower with any design.
You may feel more comfortable sketching the designs on a piece of paper first.
A helpful little tip is that it’s actually going to be easier for you to paint the flowers on the rock than draw them. The oil pens make it easy somehow.
If you are good to go, look at your rock and choose the side with the flat surface to paint the flowers on.
You’ll need to figure out spatially which flower design shape will fit best on which stone. I’m sure yours are a different size or shape than mine.
For example, I needed to make two flowers on the long and narrow one, but I also couldn’t fit a full second flower on it.
First, sketch the outlines of flowers onto the rocks with a pencil. This doesn’t need to be perfect.
You just need to know how to fit everything together.
Next, fine-tune the flower shapes. Start by drawing the center of the flower. Then, draw the petal shapes outward and do your best to keep them the same widths.
Again, if they aren’t, correcting this will be pretty easy when you start painting.
Once your petals are roughed in, you can begin painting. Again, the oil pens will cover the pencil marks.
Step 3. Paint The Flowers Onto Your Rocks
Start near the petals’ outer edges and work your way around.
You can either create the inner outlines with the black paint pen at this point or fill the petals in slowly and shape them more concisely as you go.
If you feel confident with the shapes, outline them now. Otherwise, play with the shape by filling it in.
Now use the white and black paint markers to draw the outlines around the flowers.
Hint: I had much more control over shaping the petals with the paint pen than when drawing them.
After drawing the petals with the pencil, some were different sizes and widths. Still, with the paint pen, I could fix that.
And the other good news is that you can repaint on top of any mistake. When layering, ensure the oil paint is completely dry.
Otherwise, you’ll remove some of the existing paint as you paint over it, or you may experience a slight bleeding of colors.
It’s best to wait until there is zero tackiness to the paint.
If you have a thick coat, then you should wait at least a couple of hours before trying to paint over the initial coat.
Step 4. Add The Final Details
Once the petals are close to being fully shaped, go ahead and paint the centers.
Then finally, for the blue flower, use a yellow marker to paint the stamens and dots in the center.
For painting the red and green flowers, use the extra fine point white paint pen to add the little details of the small dots in the flower centers and the white lines on the red flower petals.
Step 5. Protect The Paint From The Outdoor Elements
Use the clear top coat spray to make the flower painted rocks waterproof.
Make sure you wait 24 hours before doing this with the oil paint, or you might risk some color bleed.
Check out this cool concrete owl statue for another fun garden art project.
Don’t forget to Pin it for later!
- River rocks
- Oil pens
- Top coat clear spray
- Please see the full materials list above the tutorial for details and links.
- Wash The River Rocks In A Bin
- Sketch the Flower Painted Rocks Designs With A Pencil
- Paint The Flowers Onto Your Rocks Usint The Paint Pens
- Add The Final Details With the Extra Fine Point Pens
- Protect The Paint From The Outdoor Elements With The Top Coat Spray