Painting Rocks with Acrylics

Painting rocks: a great family activity!

This past Memorial Day we traveled to the Smokey Mountains for a family reunion. My niece had asked me earlier that week if the younger cousins could paint while they were there. "Sure," I replied. The place we were staying had a river running right through the middle of it, which meant there would be plenty of river rocks -- plenty of rocks to paint.

And did they ever paint…and paint… and paint! With only a few colors I had picked up from the store the day before, these children ages 5-10 worked for hours painting their rocks. Here's how we did it:


Smooth river rocks

Acrylic craft paints in a variety of colors


Containers with water for cleaning the brushes

Paper towels

Styrofoam plates


Paint shirts or smocks

1. Wash the rocks before painting and dry with paper towel.

2. Cover the table or painting surface with newspaper.

3. Pour a small amount of each desired color of paint onto a Styrofoam plate.

4. Paint your rocks -- you might want to paint them like bugs, turtles, or frogs, or you might want to make up your own design.

5. Use the water to clean the brush between colors. You can make sure the brush is clean by brushing it lightly on the paper towel.

** NOTE: Acrylic paints come off of skin with soap and water, but they don't come out of clothing. Be sure to wear old clothing when doing this project.