DIY Project: Painted Rocks

Rainy Day Gratitude, Sunny Day Joy

“When a child gives you a gift, even if it is a rock they just picked up, exude gratitude.  It might be the only they have to give, and they have chosen to give it to you.”

When you walk up to my house, you know that children live there.  We have toys, we have Halloween decorations my oldest won’t let me put away, but we also have an incredibly, uniquely ours pathway to our front door (which is now being expanded to our backyard pathway, too).  My son has been painting rocks for over a year now, and there are many reasons why, which I’ll share, as it just may prompt you to get your kids started, too!

Our rock painting began when I saw a beautiful image from a school in Indiana who had been inspired by the book “Only One You” by Linda Kranz.  A quote from the book shares, “There’s only one you in this great big world. Make it a better place.”

Students paint a rock as uniquely theirs as they can and the rocks are placed along a path for everyone to see. They simply sparkle in the sunlight.  I may not be super crafty, but this didn’t sound too hard. My oldest and I grab 10-20 rocks at a time from our yard on a dry day to save and paint together on a rainy day.  We paint color schemes, animal faces, characters we love, and sometimes just mash a bunch of paint together.  No rhyme or reason – we just paint.  There are many great (and somewhat intimidating) ideas on Pinterest should you wish to try them – though we now have a section of our garden that is essentially Pinterest fails.

My son likes to save some of his most favorite rocks to give to people, hoping they, too, will start a “rock garden.” My favorite part about it is that the paint stays for a while, but eventually, your rocks may need to be refreshed, creating a brand new opportunity to design, create and spend quality time improving and enlivening your space.

If you’re interested in trying this yourself, here are a few steps to take:

painted rock pathway
Stack of rocks
Paint brushes in bin
5 year old boy about to paint
  1. Supplies:

    1. Rocks – If you don’t already have rocks in your yard, you can buy them bulk or bagged at your local home improvement store.
    2. Paint – I buy the $0.69 acrylic paint from Michael’s – and at this point have literally one of every color from the aisle (I wait for a 20% off entire purchase to re-stock).  I store them upside down in a shoebox-sized tote bin so we can see our colors, marking on the bottoms which are already open so we try to use them first.
    3. Brushes – we buy the multi-style bags inexpensively, which have foam and bristles and lots of fun.
    4. Mod Podge spray – you can use this if you want to create a coating on your rocks to keep the paint there longer and to create a little sparkle/shine to them.
  2. Painting Day:

    1. We set out a bunch of newspaper on our table and have a cup ready with warm water.
    2. I save up egg cartons and use that to drop the paint into.  Then, no more than 12 colors per activity day, and when we’re done, it’s super easy cleanup.  It also helps him keep his paint separated, and is a bit more sustainable as we are recycling in the process!
    3. We suggest you use 1 brush per color and drop it in the water cup when done.
    4. Let your rocks dry and place in the yard or gift to others as you please!

I’ve had so many people share with me that they just smile as they walk up to my door. Art, color, happiness are all things that go together – we hope you’ll consider spreading some, too!

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