When you begin your Painted Rocks journey, it can be a little confusing to know where to begin. Here are the quick basics of what you need to do to start.

  1. Find some nice rocks
  2. Clean the rocks
  3. Paint the rocks
  4. Attach a label (if desired)
  5. Write a hashtag (if desired)
  6. Seal the rock (if desired)
  7. Hide the rocks
  8. Track your rocks (if desired)
That's it. Easy to start and fun for the whole family. Below are the detailed steps to help give you the additional information you need.


The easiest way to find a nice rock to look in your your yard, a friend's yard, or somewhere where you walk. A nice smooth rock is usually the best, but sometimes you may want some character to your rock for specialized drawings. You are not able to remove from National Parks, and State Parks rules vary so be sure to be aware. It is best not to remove from them at all.

Most people probably prefer a rock that fits in the palm of their hands, but decide what works best for you. One consideration is that you will have to carry one or more rocks with you when you place the rocks, so weight may become a factor.

If you have trouble finding rocks where you live, you could always purchase them at a local gardening center, Lowes, Home Depot or online. We always encourage local shopping if possible, but realize that it may not always be convenient.


Cleaning the rocks helps to ensure that the paint and decorations will last longer. The easiest way is to soak them in hot water for 15 minutes to loosen the dirt. Add some dishwashing detergent and scrub them with a toothbrush or other stiff brush. We have found that foot scrubbing brushes work well because of the stiffness.

If there is a lot of dirt it would be best to perform this outside to keep inside drains free of debris.

Once clean the rocks need to dry prior to painting. You can wipe them off with a clean cloth and lay them outside in the sun on newspaper or towels, or inside if you have more time. When in a hurry you can heat the rocks in an oven. Somewhere around 200-250 for 15 minutes should work. Just be careful when you remove them as they will be very hot.

If you would prefer not to clean rocks, local gardening stores will sell them pre-cleaned and ready to go. Or you can go online and have them delivered to you.


Now comes the fun part - painting the rocks. This is where you can let your creativity flow. There is certainly no need to be a great artist of any sort. If you are then great. If not, just paint whatever you feel like at the moment.

If you are looking for ideas, take a look at our Ideas page where we have lists and pictures that might spur your imagination.

The most popular paint type is acrylic, which can be purchased almost anywhere including craft stores, Walmart, dollar stores, and even online. The best deals are usually available at dollar stores and craft stores. Craft stores frequently have coupons and discount bins that provide significant discounts.

Our online selection has some of our recommended paints that may help you to get started.

If you have small paint brushes laying around you can probably use them. It is usually good to have a variety but it is certainly not necessary. Whatever works for you.

A lot of people like to put a base coat of white on the rock to cover any imperfections and help to provide a more even color distribution. White also helps to brighten the subsequent colors.

Others like to use a black or other color coat for a different type of look. Feel free to experiment.

Once the base coat has been applied (if you choose to do so) you can either begin to draw your masterpiece right away or trace a pattern in pencil ahead of time. Depending on the design you will probably use a combination of thin and thick paint brushes.

Another option for fine detailing is to use paint markers, which come in a variety of colors and widths. The markers can provide a finer level of detailing than brushes, especially when writing on rocks.

Some people also like to create patterns of circles in varying widths. There are specialized tools for this, but you can also use Q-tips or even heads of nails.


Although not necessary, many people like to either write on their rocks or attach a label to give instructions to those who find it. The instructions tell the finder what Facebook community you may belong to, and instructs them to post a picture online with your unique hashtag as explained below.

If you choose to write instruction directly on your painted rock, simply use a Sharpie type marker or paint marker as described above.

If you use a label, apply some Mod Podge to the back of the rock, apply the label, and spread the label evenly with your fingers to get rid of any air pockets. Then cover the entire label with additional Mod Podge to ensure it is firmly secured.

An example label looks like this:

Painted Rocks Label Example with #Hashtag for PaintedROX

This is just one example and you can use whatever suits you. We will have labels that you can download in the future and write your group and hashtag on. Stay tuned.


Once you find a Facebook community that suits you, find out if they use a specific hashtag. Hashtags are words or combinations of letters/numbers preceded by a # sign. For example this site uses the #PaintedROX hashtag. Each Painted Rocks Facebook Group usually has their own hashtag that they use.

Once you join a Facebook Group, you can choose to use their hashtag, make up one of your own, or even use both.

How do you make up a hashtag? Simply select a combination of numbers and letters that you can easily remember, put a # sign in front, and you have made a hashtag! To ensure that it is unique and therefore easier to track your rocks, search in Facebook for that entire hashtag including the # sign. If nothing comes up, then it would be a good choice.

If a lot of posts come up in the search, then try adding one or more letters and numbers until something unique has been chosen.

A couple of tips to consider:

  • There are no spaces in hashtags. If using multiple words, just omit the spaces
  • Use only letters and numbers, not special characters like !,@,$,% etc.
  • Do not use full last names nor children's names for security reasons
  • Do not use any other sensitive information like birthdays, passwords, ZIP codes, or phone numbers
  • Hashtags are NOT case sensitive - #PaintedROX is the same as #paintedrox
  • Hashtags only work in posts, not in the comments section
  • Even if you choose a unique hashtag, someone else can come along later and use that same one. There is no ownership for hashtags
When someone finds your rock and posts a picture with your unique hashtag, you can search and find that post and all subsequent posts pertaining to your rocks. That allows you to follow the location of your rocks and who has seen them.

Many rocks have now travelled to multiple states and/or countries. Yours might be one of them.


Sealing the rock ensures that all of the hard work that you put into it will last a long time. We recommend a two step process for sealing, although others may only use one step.

The first step is to coat the entire rock with Mod Podge, which is usually done while attaching the label and writing the hashtag from above. When you attach the label, coat the entire underside and let it dry for about 15 minutes. Turn it over and coat the top in the same way.

While covering the rock with Mod Podge it will look awful, but rest assured that it will dry clear. Just use a light coat and take long brush strokes to even things out.

The second coat will give your rock a shiny coat and protect it from the harsh environment of the outdoors. For this step you will use clear outdoor sealant sprays.


Now you can get out and get a little exercise in the process of having fun.

Now comes the really fun part, where you get to go outdoors and hide your rocks. Where you choose to hide them is up to you. Here are a few ideas:

  • Hiking Trails
  • Parks
  • Restaurants
  • Stores
  • Local monuments
  • Park Benches
  • Picnic Tables
  • Playgrounds
Most people place them in plain site a little away from where people walk. There are some things to consider though:

  • Respect private property and do not trespass
  • Do not place rocks on grass that will be cut as they may not be seen and can create a safety hazard for mowers
  • Do not hide in landscaped areas or gardens where retrieval could damage the surroundings
  • Do not hide rocks in areas that may not be safe to retrieve including bodies of water
  • Do not hide rocks in business establishments without the permission of the owner
Just use common sense and if you are questioning whether or not to place a rock somewhere, it is best to err on the side of caution.


This is optional, but adds a level of excitement to the entire process. You can track the rocks you place with the hashtags you added to them. Go to the Facebook Group you have chosen to be a part of, and search for the entire hashtag including the #.

If someone has found your rock and followed the instructions, they will have posted a picture with the hashtag and you can see it on Facebook. It it was picked up and place elsewhere, someone else may take a picture of it in another location.

Sometimes rock cross state lines, countries, and even continents. In the future as this hobby grows you will see more and more rocks go across the globe. Yours could easily be one of them.


The bottom line to all of this is to make the process your own, use common sense, and have a whole lot of fun. Painted Rocks is a fantastic alternative to other activities, one that is organic and brings people together. In addition it gets more people outdoors to enjoy nature.

Enjoy it as you would like!


Below is a list of items you may need when you begin with Painted Rocks. Use this list to get ideas and purchase locally whenever possible, or purchase online if that is more convenient for you. These links take you to a searchable area of our site for supplies.

When starting out, the bare minimum of what you need are:

  • Rocks
  • Paint
  • Paint Brushes
These will get you started if you are on a budget or in a hurry to begin. You can always add other items as you go along. Also remember that you can often use ordinary household items to paint like Q-tips, nails, popsicle sticks, etc. Get creative and you will easily find others to use. Not only can these save you money, but they can also give you a unique look that is all your own.


Since they are called Painted Rocks, you probably will need some paint.


Just a few brushes are needed to start, add more as you get more creative and daring.


Most people agree that a sealant around the rock at the end will help it keep its looks longer.


Markers are some of the best tools for fine details, even more so than detail brushes.


You will need glue if you choose to add a label or tag to your rock.


Crayons? Yes there is a hot rock technique that we will highlight that uses crayons. Really cool!


There are a myriad of accessories you can choose to use like aprons, smocks, palettes, pencils and more.


There are numerous training books, websites and videos that can help you become the next Monet.


Sometimes you just can't find a good rock for whatever reason. But, of course, you can purchase them online.


Connect with others who are as passionate about Painted Rocks as yourself. There are dozens of Facebook groups that will help you get in contact with others. Most of the groups are local, others are national or worldwide. Some groups are simply for tips and instructions on how to proceed.

We have a Facebook Group for this Painted Rox page, and another for connecting with people throughout the entire planet. Feel free to visit them to see if they are of interest to you and join to connect with others who share the same interest.


Get the latest new and updates about Painted Rocks from around the world. We keep you abreast of the latest ideas on how to paint rocks, tips on placement, tracking, community involvement, local regulations, and more.

When something interesting is happening in the world of Painted Rocks, we will make sure that you hear about it.

Many of our news stories will be posted to our social media accounts also.


Trying to figure out what to paint on your rocks? We have a huge, ever-growing list for you. Everything from funny faces to animals, bugs, abstract art, and even inspirational quotes.

The nice thing about the Painted Rocks craze is that you get to paint whatever you feel like, even if you are not artistic. These rocks are meant to brighten someone's day in some way, and give you joy in the process.

So have fun, don't stress too much about what to paint, and make the world a better place.