Paint Pour on Rocks by Heather Powell
Heather Powell, a west coast rock painter has a passion of spreading kindness in her community with her beautiful paint poured rocks.
Workman’s Friend Brand shared Heather’s rock painting journey with me and I had to know more about her beautiful rocks.
First of all, tell me a little about yourself, and how you got started painting rocks?
Heather: “I got started rock painting after my sister told me about it, and suggested that I check out a couple of rock painting websites, especially WIR out of Washington state. I fell in love with them right away. You would be amazed at some of the incredible artists out there… I’ve since joined about 10 different rock painting groups around the country. I do travel some for work, and leave these kindness rocks in airports, hotels, and different places while I’m travelling. If I can make even one person smile each day, I’ve done my part.”
Walk me through your poured paint rock painting process?
Heather: “There are times that the rock can tell you what it needs to be… I’ve found not only egg-shaped ones for Easter, but heart shapes, boot shaped (for a Christmas stocking), my son even found one in my pile with a heart carved into it, that he painted for me… making the heart shape red… I’ve seen nice round or oval ones that are cute as M & M rocks, and larger oval ones that make a great baked potato rock.”
“About a month after I started painting, I was tired of hauling bags of rocks home from Home Depot and Lowes, so my husband took me to a landscaping company in Memphis and we brought home a ton of rocks in the back end of his pickup truck. For inspiration, I’ll go out to my pile of rocks and pick out several with a similar shape or color to them to bring into the house to paint. Of course, I wash them all off first, and leave them to dry outside (if it’s nice out). Some days I just start painting them with flamingos on them (I’ve collected flamingos for around 38-39 years), other days I paint something holiday appropriate, such as the Easter ones I’ve currently been working on. Then other times, I think of a couple of colors that would look good together in a poured rock, such as pink, blue, yellow together for Easter. I let them dry in the house and take them outside to spray acrylic clear coat on them. I have tried a couple of other things, such as a brush on or pour on resin, but for the most part, just use the clear spray. I have discovered that before painting any of my rocks, I use a barrier cream (Workmen’s Friend) to protect my hands from paint stains. I told my sister about it, and she too now uses the cream before painting. It’s a great way to keep your hands from getting stained, and as I work in an office, it keeps me from explaining to people why my fingers look red, green, purple, etc.”
What’s your workspace setup like?
Heather: “My workspace is in my den, it’s an extra dining room table covered with newspaper. The area that I use for pouring rocks I have 4 disposable aluminum cake pans sitting together, with cookie cooling racks sitting on top. This turned out to be easier for my pouring than just cookie racks over foil. Either was is an easy clean up, but with the disposable cake pans, the rocks are higher above the drip collecting area, and less likely to stick. I also like to set the rack to the side and dip other rocks into the excess paint as another way to use up the paint that has dripped, and not waste it. Some of these rocks have turned out with their own designs that I couldn’t have done myself. “
What’s your paint pouring process like?
Heather: “I pick out the colors I want to use, and pour some into a Dixie cup, depending on how many rocks I’m pouring that time. Usually about 1/2 full for the small sized cups. I use a paint medium such as Liquitex gloss medium, or you can use water to thin the paints enough to make pouring easier. I then pour each color into one larger cup and swirl them together slightly with a stick or plastic knife. then slowly pour them over the rocks either in an up and down motion or back and forth. The paints then start to blend together as they run down the surface of the rocks. So, if you were using pink and blue, you would also get purple as the paint mixed and dried. I do use red white and blue together a lot as they look so stunning together. I’ve also used two or three shades of turquoise with a little black and silver, so that the finished rocks look like raw turquoise when they’ve dried.
There are also times that I mix in Argon oil (like you would use to get the tangles out of your hair after washing) and it makes the color you’ve blended it into burst when spreading, adding some unique color blends and features to the finished rocks.
It’s also a fun thing to do with kids, especially if they have used the barrier cream for easy clean up… and I would recommend doing it outdoors…
After they are fully dry, I clearcoat them as I do with all my rocks.”
What are your favorite tools and supplies to use when creating these beautifully painted rocks?
Heather: “I really like using the color shift paints on different rock pours, because they give such unique finishes when they’ve slightly blended during a pour. I started out using just some acrylic bottled paint that I’d used for painting t-shirts for my kids, and have expanded my collection to over a hundred paints.
By having so many shades of similar colors, I can blend and shadow my flamingos so that they look more realistic. When I’m painting them, I’ll put two or three pinks together and dip my brush into the area that the colors meet, then when I brush it on the rock, it’s already blended. I don’t use the $1 special brushes; the bristles are too stiff… I do like a set of brushes that I got at Walmart with a selection of about 8 brushes. My favorite being one that has short maybe 1/4 ling bristles and the bristles are cut straight across instead of tapered.
Sometimes I do put a basecoat on the rocks, so that the color I’m using will show up better, or going with a holiday theme, but most times, I just paint right onto the rock. When I basecoat, I normally take the rocks outside and spray them with spray paint, rarely do I just spray them white, but I’ve found one Rustoleum that was a glitter green and fun to use for Christmas and St. Patrick’s Day rocks. Then paint shamrocks on top of that using gold or silver… simple but elegant… Or using white, and painting simple cancer ribbons on them for whichever friend has or has had a particular cancer.
Don’t overlook the paints you can find at the store near the t-shirt painting areas, they are also acrylics and work well on rocks, even puff paints can be used to give texture to the surface of the rocks. My favorite one for doing dots or other highlights around something on a rock is a silver glitter paint, the holds its shape somewhat and dries with whatever shape you’ve created.”
What advice would you give to my beginner rock painting readers?
Heather: “The advice I would give to your beginner rock painters is: Just try it… it can be relaxing and fun. I enjoy going to the den for some get away time, and just start painting or mixing colors to do a pour… they always turn out unique, and inspiring. I did a pour one time using brown, tan, gold and off white, the rocks ended up looking like they were carved right out of the walls of the Grand Canyon. I didn’t think that I was very artistic before doing them, but have found that I can be very creative… I just hadn’t given myself a chance to discover how to be.”
Heather's Paint Pour on Rocks Video
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How to Make a Paint Pour on Rocks
What is a Paint Pour?
Paint pouring or it’s also known as Fluid art is a form of abstract art that consists of pouring paint of many colors over a support creating beautiful art.
Fluid art is great for beginners to explore abstract painting versus the pressure of traditional acrylic/oil painting of objects.
There are actually many ways to accomplish fluid art.
Some artist’s use open cylinder pours, direct pours, flip cup, upside down flip cup, ribbon pour, puddle pour, dirty pours, and so many more ways.
Since I was using rocks as my support, I decided to use the dirty pour method.
Basically, dirty pours consist of layering different colors of paint in a cup, then pour the paint over rocks. It’s simple and fun for all ages.
Paint Pour Supplies
Reusable containers for rock pouring, cheap foil pans with a lip works well.
A base for rock. You can use anything from wide bottle caps to an upside-down egg carton, it just needs to be big enough to hold your rock above the surface area for paint runoff. You can also place a baking cooling rack inside a foil pan. Keep reading below for quick DIY rock paint pour container.
Optional **Silicone and 91% Isopropyl Alcohol for creating cells
How to Make a Dirty Pour for Rocks
1. Start preparing your paint cups. Choose the colors you want to work with and pour each color in its own cup. Mix in the pouring medium and stir with a craft stick. Mix just enough pouring medium to thin out the acrylic paint for pouring. The paint cannot be too thick, it needs to flow over the rock. The paint should be able to coat the mixing stick but still be able to drip off smoothly.
2. Making the Dirty Pour. Use a larger cup and start pouring the paint into small amounts creating a layering effect with all the colors. Once all the paint is emptied in the “pour” cup, the magic begins!
3. Begin pouring the Dirty Pour over the rock slowly in your desired pattern to cover the entire rock.
4. Let your rocks dry for at least 2 to 3 days before sealing.
DIY Paint Pour Container
Super simple to make, all you need is a cake foil pan, bamboo skewers and a hole-puncher.
Punch holes evenly parallel on both sides. Add more holes for strong base to provide support for heavier rocks. Feed the bamboo skewers through to make your own DIY paint pour pan.
Paint Pour on Rocks Gallery
To learn more about rock painting for beginners check out these helpful articles:
- Rock Painting 101
- Rock Painting Essential Tools & Supplies
- 35 Acrylic Painting Tips that will Blow your Mind!
- How to use Alcohol Inks on Rocks
- Beginner’s Guide to Paint Pouring on Rocks
Visit our Art Toolbox Essentials page for a list of our favorite art supplies and tools!
Show me your rocks! Join our Facebook Group and post your creations for all to see and inspire!