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How to paint stones easily: step-by-step guide

paint stones

How do you paint stones easily for the best result? Our guide outlines the step-by-step process for this easy and enjoyable craft — ideal for both adults and children.

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For some time now there has been a trend of painting stones and sending them on their way. We think that’s a great idea and we have some tips for painting.

It’s not that difficult to make a small work of art yourself when you paint stones and put them on the side of the path so that someone else can find the stone and send it on a new journey — taking it with them and putting it somewhere new. Sometimes the painted stones cover great distances and are shared by the finders in special social media groups. Why not share your own creativity with other people? It’s not so hard!

Every stone is unique! The small, finished work of art that is created by painting conveys a special message and brings joy – not only to the recipient and finder, but also to you. We show you everything you need for your new DIY project and how you can do it be able to implement it.

Find stones to paint on

The best way to paint is stones that are round and have a smooth surface. These are of course easy to find by the sea. But they are also lying around by rivers and lakes or even sometimes on the edge of the field, just waiting to be found. They are often right at our feet and just need to be picked up. Because stones can be found and collected almost everywhere:

  • on vacation on the beach or in the mountains on the banks of a mountain stream
  • on the banks of large rivers or lakes
  • while walking through the woods and fields
  • in the garden while gardening

Collecting stones yourself is simply part of creating a work of art on it. Because creative ideas grow in the process, which can be implemented after they have been found.

Prepare stones for painting

Before the stones are ready to be painted, you need to clean and tidy them up. The easiest way to do this is with water and a nail brush. Then you can put them in the sun to dry. Depending on how you want to paint it afterwards, a primer should be applied to the surface. Black or white paint is ideal as a primer. Black creates beautiful contrasts and white makes the colors applied afterwards particularly shine.

Brushes – choose the best tools from a variety

Basically, three to four standard brushes are required to paint stones. The easiest way to prime is with a large brush. The subsequent painting can be made with the following brushes:

  • Medium-sized brush for coarser areas
  • Fine brush for delicate lines and dot painting

Tip: Use tools
A dotting tool can also be used to ensure that points are successful, so that points and dots are properly rounded. The tools are also ideal when painting stones with brushes is difficult.

Which paints are suitable for painting stones

When painting, you should use a paint that dries quickly and lasts on the stone for a long time. Watercolor is less suitable for this, but acrylic paint is. The basic colors red, yellow and blue, many complementary colors as well as black, white, silver and gold can be found. The basic colors can be mixed very well to obtain a special shade with a beautiful effect. A touch-up pencil is ideal for drawing fine lines. 

In addition to acrylic colors in tubes, there are also acrylic pens. These are easier to work with, especially for beginners and those who are not that good with a brush. When it comes to acrylic pens, professionals swear by the colors from Reeves and the multimarkers from Bine Brändle, because they have a high degree of opacity. In order to be able to paint properly with it, it is worth choosing the acrylic pencils in different thicknesses.

Tip: Correct type of pen
With paint pens , stones can also be painted very well. They come in many different thicknesses and colors. In combination with acrylic paint, a lovingly designed picture is created on a stone.

To make the colors weatherproof, you should cover them with varnish. The simplest variant is spray paint with a silk gloss finish. A clear varnish can also be used to brush on. Lacquer ensures that the colors are not only weatherproof, but also protect them from fading and soiling.

Find ideas and create a work of art on a stone

Inspiration and ideas for the creative design of stones can be found everywhere. Landscapes, the sky with its white clouds, the starry night sky, a fantastic sunset, the sea and music can inspire the brainstorming process. Pictures and color compositions by great artists are also suitable for this. Instagram or Pinterest are also ideal because there painted stones are shared by finders with other users. In the same way, a saying that is close to your heart can be immortalized on a stone and sent on a journey.

It is difficult for beginners to transfer elaborate motifs onto a stone. But it doesn’t always have to be a picture like an artist’s. Certain words, special properties or mandalas are beautiful motifs for a stone. For example, if the word “smile” has a special meaning in life and you want to motivate others to smile more often, this little word can be immortalized with 5 letters on a stone. Framed by brightly colored, luminous dots and lines, it is sure to spread joy and bring a smile to your face.

Stones with happy faces like stick figure mariner or a heart that is framed with small rhinestones are just as beautiful. Experienced painters can also dare to create a real work of art with filigree lines and special subtleties. Sometimes it takes a little patience until the first stone is finished. But with each further painting becomes easier and the ideas for motifs are endless.

Here are a few more suggestions for you:

Paint stones and be creative

Artful paintings, impressive pictures or even banal and inconspicuous things can turn a stone into an object of art with the right idea and a little color. They are not only laid out everywhere so that others can find them, but can also be used as original paperweights or as a colored accent in flower pots or on a table. Painted stones can also serve as a charm or as a charm. The possibilities are endless. Painting stones is very easy with a little skill. Not much is required for this and the material can easily be found right on the doorstep or in the handicraft department of the hardware store. Below is a material list:

Material list

  • different stones of different sizes and shapes
  • Brush to clean the stones
  • old newspapers to cover the work surface
  • black or white acrylic paint for priming
  • different shades for painting the stones
  • Brushes of different strengths
  • a touch-up pencil
  • Clear coat for the finish
  • Decorative elements such as small rhinestones, borders and the like as desired

Step by step to paint stones

Step 1 – prime the stone

Before transferring your own design idea to the stone, you should prime the surface with white acrylic paint. This means that every single color can develop its luminosity particularly well. If the white color does not cover properly, the primer can be applied a second time without hesitation. It is easiest if you spread the primer evenly before you transfer your motif.

Before applying the primer, you should have a rough idea of ​​what the end result will be. This is particularly important if you want to keep parts of the stone in its original state and integrate them into the picture. No primer may be applied there. Instead, these areas are masked off with tape, similar to painting walls. Stripe patterns with a clear, clean separation on a stone or only painting one half can be done easily with masking tape.

Step 2 – design and paint the stone

There are no limits to creativity. The stones are a canvas in mini format and perfect for realizing your own creative ideas and playing with the colors. The shape gives pictorial motifs their very own character. You can highlight fine details with waterproof felt-tip pens, touch-up pens or Posca pens. Colorful areas of color placed next to each other result in an expressive pattern.

If you prefer to design the stone in an abstract way, you can apply paint to the surface and then decorate it with a multitude of colored sprinkles. There is also the option of applying several colors next to each other on the stone and then pulling the individual colors together with a fork, comb or cotton swab. A very personal touch is created when fingerprints are placed on the colored background. To do this, the fingertips are covered with acrylic paint and pressed onto the stone. If that’s too personal for you, you can also add beautiful accents with stamps. Special effects can be achieved with several layers of paint.

  • first paint the stone with a paint and let it dry well
  • then stick on letters, wrap a rubber band, cord or border around the stone
  • then apply the second layer of paint and let it dry well
  • repeat this process several times to create additional effects
  • if all colors are well dried, adhesive or rubber bands and other aids are removed from the stone

Step 3 – Make colors lightfast and weatherproof

Finally, the painted stones are covered with a transparent varnish. The finish seals the surface and offers the best protection against environmental influences. It is important that the paint is applied evenly. This works best with spray paint. A satin or matt clear lacquer should be used so that the elaborately designed painting is not falsified. Gloss varnish is more suitable for simply designed small and large stones, because it emphasizes the colors, grains and structures of the stones.