Even if they requested that specific toy!
My kids love playing with non-toy items such as twigs, leaves, sticks and rocks found outside.
More so than any pricey plastic toy.
They spend hours whacking each other with twigs in the backyard or rock painting in the driveway at little cost to myself.
Best of all….it’s “real” fun. Imaginative play.
Recently, my mom has been experimenting with painting rocks and the results have been impressive.
It’s incredible how painted rocks can come close to resembling just about any image you can dream up.
So far, we’ve tried pumpkins, turtles and a duck pond, all of which came up to scratch.
And we have lots of unique ideas for you today!
Why paint rocks?
Just ask my mom! She’s a rock painting addict now. Besides, it’s reasonably inexpensive to do. Rocks are free after all.
Once painted, you’d almost never believe they were ever rocks in the first place.
They can be used for play, decoration or both.
Painted rocks are fun to mix with other natural items such as “real” pumpkins or gourds for an eye catching display.
Painted rocks make great seasonal decor that can be displayed indoors or out.
Showcase them on your coffee table or outdoors on your front porch.
And it’s not a lifetime commitment. If you don’t like the outcome, repaint the rock. Give it another go or find another rock more suitable.
The duck pond with the mom and dad duck and their ducklings? Okay, my mom made that one.
The girls helped with the pumpkins and the turtles. Sure, they’re not perfect, but they are super cute.
What you need
- Smooth rocks in all sorts of unique sizes and shapes. Always be on the hunt for rocks that can take on the shape of your next project!
- Paint – both acrylic and spray paint.
- Some type of sealer varnish, an indoor/exterior spray enamel with a gloss finish. Rust-Oleum works well.
- Instant glue.
- Black Sharpie marker.
- Your imagination!
Decide what you want to create/replicate
But come Spring, I’m going to be tempted to make a rock vegetable garden.
Can you imagine the cucumbers, tomatoes and peas? How cute the rocks will look all painted up in a harvest basket.
So use some of my ideas or dream up your own.
I’m also thinking a hamburger with cute little rock pickles, tomato and onion would be sweet to make.
Not to mention the little rock bun and burger itself.
What would you make?
Simple step-by-step instructions
Hopefully, you have “the vision” of what they will look like once painted.
Example. Can you find a curvy stone that resembles a pumpkin stem when painted green?
A long, flat, smooth rock that will easily take on the appearance of a pond when painted the right shade of blue?
How about a rock with just the right indentations to resemble a duck head when glued on another rock?
These are the types of questions to ask yourself when seeking the right rocks.
2.) Use either spray paint or acrylic paint on your rocks.
Adults might prefer several coats of spray paint. Kids might enjoy hand painting using brushes with acrylics.
It may take a few coats to truly coat the rock. Perhaps three coats?
Let rocks dry in between coats. Make sure you paint your rocks on newspaper, especially when kids are involved and preferably outside for ventilation.
This may include gluing duck heads on their body or stems onto the pumpkin. Make sure they stick!
4.) Coat well with a sealant.
Not only will this give your rock art a slightly shiny appearance, but more importantly, it will prevent the paint from washing off.
This is particularly true if you plan on leaving your rock art outside where it is exposed to the elements. Weather is rough so treat your rock art right!
5.) If your rock art is an animal such as a turtle or duck, you’ll need a black Sharpie marker to add the eyes.
That’s it! How easy and fun.
One last super helpful tip….
If you have too much of a gap, even with super glue, your pieces are likely to fall off in time.
A little gap is fine, but if the two pieces are wobbling even before you’ve used glue, then it’s probably not a good fit. Glue can only fix so much!
Keep looking for rocks until you find ones with the right shape that seem like they fit together. As in…puzzle style to your bigger rock.
You don’ t want to keep gluing turtle feet back on! Seek a natural seal between the rocks and you should be fine.
Kids love painted rocks!
My mom just spray-painted smooth rocks in some pastel colors like lilac, pink, yellow and green. She also did some gold ones.
My two girls alongside their cousin loved manipulating them while playing imaginatively together.
She even took a piece of lace to lay on the top of a few of them to create quite an effect on top of the rock. Of course, all three girls fought over the gold rocks! Ha.
And it is funny watching kids play with the ducks in the duck pond.
They just love moving those ducks around in a dirt-cheap Playmobil kind of way and it’s interesting to watch them.
The eight ducklings get maneuvered around their sparkling blue pond as it rests on the coffee table. Lots of singing is involved!
Just a little thought….
How about a painted rock paperweight? For the teacher in the shape of an apple? Or a pumpkin? How cute is that.
And this Fall, I’ve really been enjoying my “rock” pumpkins adorning my “real” pumpkins on my small front porch.
Mix together, they look great and are all natural materials.