How to Paint Watercolors on Rocks with 3 Easy Ideas

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Have you ever tried using watercolors on rocks? If not, here are few easy watercolor ideas to paint on rocks by Carol from Carol’s Rocks on Facebook. Her Facebook page is filled with easy step-by-step instructions on how to paint rocks using watercolor pencils then “activating” it with water… more about that later.

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Our featured artist calls Nottinghamshire, England home. Carol says “it’s in an area that was part of Sherwood Forest…Robin Hood Country!” Carol hides most of her painted rocks but does have a few keepers too!

She painted her first rock back in September of 2018. She says “my first efforts were using Sharpies that smudged & ran when I varnished them.” As with all newbie rock painters, it only takes one time to mess up a rock, before learning and moving on.

What types of paint brushes to use for watercolor painting on rocks?

Carol says, “any brushes will do although, I do prefer to use short handled ones. I have a few short handled travelling watercolor brushes that I’ve had over 20 years…. but I also use a really cheap disposable eyeliner brush too!”

Watercolor Supplies

  • Watercolor pencils
  • Paper towel to remove excess water from my brush
  • Any old jar or container to hold water
  • Pencil
  • Colored pencil crayons to add a little extra dry color where and when needed
  • A black fine liner pen
  • Plasticine to hold my rock steady
  • An old toothbrush & a kebab stick to Splatter paint onto my rock

Best types of rocks for watercolor rock painting

Carol says “Any rock will do, but as I find all my rocks, I can’t be picky.  Smooth flat rocks are great but pitted rough rocks gave a lovely texture to the painted doodle birds, butterflies, and etc. 

I love to walk and I get all my rocks on my walks over and around fields, woods, country lanes, byways & footpaths. I then stagger home with them in my rucksack!”

Watercolor Painting Step-by-Step Process

  1. Base coat. I use masonry paint t step pots which I apply with a nail polish brush … I cleaned and reused one from my nail polish bottle!
  2. I add light marks with a pencil so I can see roughly where my design will be on my rock.
  3. Then I paint the design.
  4. When dry I outline using a black fine liner pen & sign my rock.
  5. Varnishing is next. I use a yacht varnish which I apply with another cleaned nail varnish brush. Before you ask, I don’t live anywhere near the sea! Yacht varnish is available from DIY stores here in the UK to use on any outdoor project.
  6. When dry I add my details to the back of the rock and varnish that side too.
  7. Hiding is the next step….. and the hope the finder will not only like the rock but will post a photo to Facebook!

Watercolor Painting Tips for Beginners from carol

  • Firstly, have fun!  Paint the things you like …. I love painting flowers and other things in a loose style.
  • Don’t judge your rocks harshly…. remember all painted rocks are fabulous! I get really excited when I find a rock with a few scribbles on it!
  • Forget about coloring within the lines …. let your creativity and your paints flow, mix & spread. When outlining using a black fine liner pen. Keep your marks loose and free.
  • Don’t try to keep to just the painted areas.
  • Sit in a comfy chair, listen to your favorite music or tv show…. or like me listen to an audio book whilst I paint with a glass of something nice & fizzy to hand….. in my case a glass of lemonade!

3 Easy Watercolor Ideas to Paint on Rocks step-by-step

These easy to follow watercolor ideas for rock painting comes from Carol’s Rocks Facebook page. With her permission, she shares her beautiful watercolor ideas with our readers.

blue bird watercolor painted rock

Tweeter Bird Watercolor Painted Rock

Easy watercolor ideas for rock painting.

Materials

  • Rock
  • White Acrylic Paint
  • Watercolor Pencil
  • Paintbrushes
  • Fine Liner Pen

Instructions

    1. With a pencil lightly draw a line for the branch. I want the redder hues to be on my birds chest. Starting from the top left I added fuchsia, then cherry, then teal green then iris blue. In a sort of oval shape with the tail. Most of the color overlap each other in a random way, When we add the water they will mix and blend together and hopefully there’s some random new combinations of colors. watercolor pencil drawing of a bird on a rock
    2. Using a paintbrush and clean water activate the paint allowing the colors to flow. Don’t’ try to be too precise, random is good! Activate the lighter areas first and then clean your brush. Do this between activating each color to avoid muddying the colors. Don’t’ let the paint dry in between activating each color though as we want them to mix and blend a bit. Then add some brown tones to the branch.blue bird watercolor painted rock
    3. Activate as before.blue bird watercolor painted rock
    4. Outline using a black fine liner pen. Keep your marks loose and free. Don’t try to keep to just the painted areas.blue bird watercolor painted rock
    5. Add details. I used a white acrylic paint pen to add the dots. Sign your rock and you’re done!blue bird watercolor painted rock



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rainbow hearts watercolor ideas on rocks

How to Paint Rainbow Hearts with Watercolor

Easy Rainbow Hearts Watercolor Idea for Rock Painting

Materials

  • Rock
  • White Acrylic Paint
  • Watercolor Pencil
  • Paintbrushes
  • Fine Liner Pen

Instructions

    1. Draw a row of heart at jaunty angles across your rock.rainbow hearts watercolor ideas on rocks
    2. Color your hearts in rainbow colors.rainbow hearts watercolor ideas on rocks
    3. Using a paintbrush and clean water activate the colors allowing the colors to flow and “escape” your drawn hearts.rainbow hearts watercolor ideas on rocks
    4. Outline using a black fine liner pen, sign your rocks and you’re done!rainbow hearts watercolor ideas on rocks







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bunny at night watercolor ideas

Midnight Bunnies Watercolor Painted Rock

Beginner-friendly watercolor ideas for rock painting.

Materials

  • Rock
  • White Acrylic Paint
  • Watercolor Pencil
  • Paintbrushes
  • Fine Liner Pen

Instructions

    1. Splish on some water and splosh in some watery paint allowing it to spread and run. My paint was probably too watery but it doesn’t matter.watercolor on rocks
    2. Splash on a second color allowing them to mix and spread. purple watercolor on rocks
    3. Allow it dry a little and then add darker paint.purple watercolor on rocks
    4. When dry, draw a circle. I drew around a lid then add darker paint around it. Don’t’ worry if you go over the edge of the circle.night sky watercolor ideas on rocks
    5. When totally dry paint the circle white using an acrylic paint pen.moon watercolor ideas
    6. Using watery yellow watercolor or acrylic paint, add yellow shading to the moon.moon watercolor ideas
    7. Splosh on some mid green paint at the bottom of the rock.moon watercolor ideas
    8. While it’s still wet, splash in some darker green and add feathery dark green grass using a fine brush. moon watercolor ideas
    9. Roughly sketch the bunnies using a pencil. moon watercolor ideas
    10. Paint them black using either acrylic paint or an acrylic paint pen. bunny watercolor ideas on rocks
    11. Splosh on black watercolor or acrylic paint to “blend” the bunnies into the background. Don’t cover up all the green, allow it to pop through in places.bunnies watercolor ideas on rocks
    12. Add more feathery grass & foliage using black paint and a fine brush. Outline the moon using a black fine liner pen, add Scribbles to the grass. Sign your rock and you’re done! bunny at night watercolor ideas













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I hope you enjoyed these fun and easy watercolor painting ideas to paint on rocks. Thank you Carol for sharing your helpful advice, tips, and tutorials on the Rock Painting Guide.

Check out our list of fun and easy rock painting ideas that will keep you busy all year long!

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watercolor painting idea, blue bird


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