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How to Color Rocks
How to Color Rocks
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If you like to draw, give this rock decorating idea a try! Learn how to color rocks with this step-by-step tutorial. This is an easy artistic technique to master. Coloring rocks with permanent marker is a fun option because you can really create fine detail using marker instead of paint. You have a bit more control applying color as well when you use markers. If you're interested in the hiding rocks trend and aren't sure where to start, learn the basics of decorating rocks with this tutorial. It even includes a helpful video.

Estimated CostUnder $10

Time to CompleteIn an evening

MaterialsNature Material, Paint

Primary TechniqueColoring


Project TypeMake a Project

Materials List

  • Smooth rocks
  • White acrylic paint & brush (recommended)
  • Permapaque® markers
  • Clear spray paint or sealant


Has the rock hiding craze hit your area yet? It’s a community game, where people decorate ordinary rocks and hide them in public areas. If you find a rock, you can either keep it or rehide it for someone else to find. You can share what you make and find on social media. Today I’m going to show you how I decorate my rocks, so you can join in the fun.

  1. First you’ll need to find some smooth rocks. I found most of these when I tilled my garden, but you can also find rocks in nature. Medium sized rocks are easier to draw on, but I prefer the smaller rocks because they’re trickier for rock hunters to find.

  2. Rinse and dry the rocks. 

  3. I like to add a primer coat of white acrylic paint because it makes my colors pop. I recommend covering your work area in newspaper or wrapping paper to keep your desk clean. Let the paint dry completely before moving on to the next step.

  4. Some people like to only use acrylic paint on their rocks, but paint can be messy, and it’s hard to add detail on small rocks. Other people use markers, but they don’t show up as well as paint does. I think the best solution is to use markers that have paint-like ink. I prefer Permapaque markers by Sakura of America. They contain opaque ink that has the vibrancy and coverage of paint. They have dual tip markers, with a chisel point and medium point, as well as fine tipped markers. They’re easy to control and mess-free.

  5. You can draw pretty much anything on your rocks, as long as it’s family-friendly. You never know who might find your rock! You can doodle food, animals, or pop culture characters. You can make designs and patterns, or try a landscape. You can even hand letter a positive message. 

    I’ve found that outlining my drawings with a black Permapaque marker makes them stand out more. I like to use the fine tip markers for detail work, the medium point for filling in smaller areas, and the chisel tip for filling in backgrounds.

  6. Don’t forget to label your rock with a hashtag, if you hope to see it shared on social media. Many communities have Facebook pages, often the name of the city followed by “rocks,” such as Vancouver Rocks. Do a quick online search to see if there’s a group in your area, if not, you might want to consider starting one.

  7. Finally, spray your rocks with a clear coat to seal them and make them weather-resistant. Be sure to spray in a well-ventilated area. Placing your rocks in a disposable pan or box will keep the spray where you want it. 

  8. Allow to dry, and then it’s time to hide! Public parks and nature trails are a great place to stash your rocks, but avoid placing them in grassy areas, because they can damage lawnmowers. Never trespass, and only hide your rocks in locations that are safely accessible. Keep the game safe and fun for everyone. 

  9. Once they’re hidden, you have the option of posting a hint on social media for local rock hunters. Keep an eye on the page to see which of your rocks have been found!

    Rock decorating and hiding is a fun way to share small works of art with your community. Happy hunting!

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I have a few bigger rocks already. Can be done by kids also

Looks like fun, I'll have to give this a try.

The most unusual object I have ever painted was an ostrich egg. It was a decoupage project.

Wow. I'm so boring compared to everyone else in the comment sections. The "most unique" thing I've ever painted was a person. And it's not even THAT unique.

I've painted an Odin portrait on the hull of a boat - that's pretty unique. I love to draw, so I'd love to paint some rocks with the Sakura markers. I also like the idea of hiding them!

This sounds like the most beautiful thing.

I haven't tried the rock painting yet, but I want to. I like the idea of using the Markers by Sukura.

I have painted a tabletop with a Native Katchina Sunface, and i do rocks for the local children. They love finding them as much as like seeing them find them.

I have painted birdhouses and a bookcase. Have never done rocks and its not a popular thing here in Canada.

I have made the rock art with my grandkids and it was so fun but we painted them with sayings and the markers we used smeared and when we tried paint it was a mess. i have never heard of these Permapaque markers. They look like they go on smooth. Does the color stay on? I was afraid when it rained with ones we did the paint would come off. I will have to find more rocks and try with these markers. Thanks.

Permapaque markers by Sakura of America. They are great to use. I want to get more colors this is a project my grandkids and I will do this summer when we get together. Thank you

I havent colored any rocks yet but it looks like fun! Thanks for the video.

Oops, forgot to say that I painted an old orange crate to use for storage.

Rock painting is such a wonderful project, I've helped my mom paint rocks in our garden,

My granddaughter and I painted my large kitchen trash can!

I have been wanting to try rock painting- what a lovely idea to hide them for others to find! Thanks


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