My Best Acrylic Paint & Pens for Rock Painting

Last Updated on March 22, 2024 by Masha Eretnova

I love how easy, fun, and accessible to anyone painting on rocks is!

All you need is some acrylic paints or markers and an idea.

I made a few rocks for our garden and let me share what paints I liked the most.

This article contains affiliate links. It means no extra cost for you but a little commission (2-3%) for me to support my hobby and blog. Thank you!

Rock Painting Supplies You Need

Rock painting is a screen-free activity for kids and adults that activates fine motor skills, and boosts creativity and artistic expression. 

  • Rocks without a waxy coating- collect some river stones or buy rocks (2-3 flat rocks for painting) online I am lucky to have a beach near our house so I can hunt for rocks there 🙂
  • Paints or markers.
  • A plastic palette.
  • Gloves
  • Brushes or miniature painting brushes.
  • An acrylic sealer.A cheaper alternative would be Mod Podge.

How to choose the Best paint for rock painting

Let’s start with choosing the best paints for rocks.

The best paint list is going to vary from person to person according to their preferences and favorite techniques, but I’m sure that following my advice will help you choose the best rock painting supplies.

First of all, when it comes to selecting a type of paint several factors should be considered: time (how long do you want your masterpiece to last), desired result (glossy or matte finish), and technique used for applying the paint (brush, sponge).

Here is a short guide on the best types of paints depending on these criteria:

Type of the paint.

Acrylic and acrylic enamel paints are the best for stone painting.

This type of paint dries glossy (acrylic can dry a bit matte depending on the brand) and are best used for painting rocks using the dry and wet brushing technique.

They can be applied with either a small brush, sponge, toothpick, cotton swab, or your fingertips (just make sure you wear gloves).

Craft acrylic are best for uniform coverage and acrylic paint pens are better to do some detailed designs and draw lines.


Now let’s talk about different techniques that rock painters might find useful: sponging, airbrushing, pouring, etc…

  • Sponge Painting Rocks – This technique requires using special water-based paints and sponges; you can create unique patterns by mixing colors or use one solid color as a base coat.
  • Dry Brushing Rocks – To achieve such an effect paint best used is dry brush acrylics which are applied very thinly with just the tip of a small brush; this method creates a textured look that’s great to imitate stones found in nature.
  • Airbrushing Rocks – The best tool for achieving a smooth finish on your painted rocks is airbrush. Choose airbrush paints available in various finishes from matte to glossy depending on what kind of result you’re looking for. Airbrush paint is fluid and can be sold in bottles or you can thin down paint you already have, using special mediums. Note, that airbrushing is more advanced technique and may seem difficult ar first and you need additional equipment.


rock painting
Painted with Artistro and found place under my little ginger plant

FolkArt for Rock designing – best paint for rocks art

Easy to use and to clean, glossy acrylic paint for rocks FolkArt was specifically created for an outdoor project on stone.

The painting set includes 12 bottles of 2oz each and the following colors FolkArt Wicker White, Lemon Custard, Baby Pink, Pure Orange, Engine Red, Violet Pansy, Grass Green, Calypso Sky, Cobalt Hue, Cerulean Blue, Maple Syrup, and Licorice.

FolkArt rock paint dries to a gloss UV water-resistant finish. It will also work on versatile surfaces not only rocks.

The crafters love FolkArt and appreciate its value for money a lot. One of the best paint for any craft projects I know.

There are almost no cons, but keep in mind that if you won’t seal the painting, the paint may fade over time.

Artistro Acrylic Paint pens – best acrylic paint pens for rocks painting

ARTISTRO 12 Acrylic Paint Pens for Fabric, Canvas,…
highly pigmented Italian acrylic ink in these markers works on rocks perfectly!

I must say that I liked Artiqo but they bleed a lot and dry out quickly.

A better, more stable alternative for rock painting are Artistro paint pens, which are affordable, great quality and easy to use. I like them more than Posca due to price and amazing coverage.

I tested Artistro on so many surfaces and find out that they work equally well no matter what! I highly recommend these pens for beginners.

Read full review + youtube video review: Artistro Acrylic Paint Pens Review on Rocks, Wood, Paper, Glass etc

Apple Barrel Acrylic craft paint

Apple Barrel is an absolute bestseller among craft paint for beginners rock painters: it is easy to use and to clean fluid paint with a matte finish.

The popular set includes 18 different colors:

  • White, Yellow Flame, Bright Yellow, Bright Magenta, Fuchsia, Jack-o-lantern, Flag Red, Purple Iris, Parrot Blue, Bimini Blue, Bright Blue, Too Blue, New Shamrock, Holly Branch, Nutmeg Brown, Melted Chocolate, Pewter Grey, and Black.

Apple Barrel acrylic paint works amazingly on rocks, but don’t forget about sealing your painting!

Arteza Outdoor acrylic paint – best paint to paint rocks for outside

Arteza is one of the biggest brands on the painting market offering decent student-grade acrylic paint and other supplies. Arteza paint is great for beginners.

The outdoor paint set was designed for exterior projects on wood and rock. The set has 20 colors tich in pigment, two of them are metallic: silver and gold.

As this paint is outdoor, it means it is water-resistant and self-sealing, but I would still recommend sealing as acrylic paint as the type is not self-sealing enough in general.

Best paint for base coat on rocks

Best paint for base coat on rocks
My base coat for rock painting (right) – white gesso

Any white or black acrylic paint can work as a base coat on rocks.

Make sure you covered the stone evenly, and let it dry fully before painting (24 hours). Don’t make the base coat too thick as it will take longer to dry and may crack if it is too thick and not fully dried over time.

If you’re buying rocks online you’ll find a lot of stones already with a white base coat.

Better to use the same paint brand both for base coat and painting, at least, make sure you don’t use paints of different types, ex. solvent-based and water-based.

An alternative may be a Latex primer preparing walls for painting or gesso.

Best glow paint for rocks

Glow in the dark or fluorescent paint allow us to make a cool design that will light up once it’s dark. It is extremely fun for kids, but adults also love them! Of course, you can use glow paint for river rocks!

The classic choices will be Tulip Glow paint and FolkArt Neon Glow:

Best glow paint for rocks
Best glow paint for rocks

Remember that the paint should fully dry before you can test it in the dark.

It will also need to recharge as all fluorescent objects.

Best puffy paint for rocks – Tulip Paint

Tulip Dimensional paint is the best puffy paint for rock painting and craft projects.

Basically, puffy paint is known to be used on fabric, but you can use it directly on the rocks too to create textured designs.

Tulip puffy paint is washable, which means it will work ok with outdoor and you can hide your painted stones.

The set includes 20 colors: 10 of them are neon, 10 are regular. They are vivid and easy to apply.

Uni Posca Markers

Uni-posca Paint Marker Pen Set is a bundle of 3 different types of markers: extra-fine, fine, and medium. It includes 42 pens total.

A few of my posca markers

Great versatile bundle for all kinds of projects. These makers are lightfast, which means fade-resistant, and waterproof once dried.

Uni-Posca markers work great on stones, even for kids, as they are super easy to use and correct mistakes if you’ve had some.

The disadvantage of such a bundle is its price: it will cost you around $70, while a simple set of 12 by Artistro costs only $16.

Seal acrylic paint on rocks

Once you painted your rocks with paint or markers, let them dry.

If you want to keep them outside, you have to seal the painted surface.

If you will store painted rocks only indoors, you can skip the sealing but I would still recommend sealing rocks as a protective layer keep dust and scratches away. (Acrylic paint attracts dust!)

I simply seal my painted rocks with Mod Podge and they are doing just fine!

Mod Podge PLCS11205 11359 Gloss 4Oz Squeeze Bottle, 4 oz
multi-purpose, all-in-one glue, sealer, and finish in a 4 oz bottle made in USA

My Test

Before I paint with acrylic paint on rock:

  1. Pick out flat smooth rocks and clean them off with water and soap.
  2. Sand down some edges if needed for better adhesion of the paint.
  3. Lightly go over them with vinegar and water on a sponge or paper towel so there is no dust and debris on the surface before painting them.
  4. Paint a base coat or prime a rock with a primer. Let it dry completely before painting.

Lady Bug

One of the easiest rock painting ideas is to paint a lady bug. You only need 3 colors (red, black and white) and can use both acrylic paint or acrylic paint markers.

There are so many Facebook communities sharing painting on rocks and so many creative ideas – imagine, they are even drawing Star Wars on rocks, this is incredible!

At the same time, I feel like we are elevating a bit the legacy of our ancestors… leaving all these colorful rocks, lol!

Have you tried using acrylics on pebbles?

Last update on 2024-06-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API