Pebble painting has got serious in recent years as you can see from this Guardian newspaper article. ‘Rocking’ has taken off all over the world. It’s the act of painting a pebble and leaving it somewhere for others to find. It’s a mindful, thoughtful, kind activity that anyone can have a go at. This post will share with you ideas but also what to use to create your own stone art.
This website contains affiliate links. As an affiliate I may earn money from qualifying purchases. Thank you if you do use one of my links – it helps keep my website going. Please see affiliate link and disclaimer page for more information.
If you find a pebble there is usually a Facebook group on the back of the pebble where the finder can share where they discovered the stone. The finder then re-hides the pebble. You can then trace the journey of a pebble which may end up on the other side of the world!
Rocking Out On My Own
Back in 2017, I’m not sure if ‘rocking’ was already a thing, but I created the nursery rhyme pebbles above for my daughter Floss. She was only a baby so she was always supervised with the pebbles. It meant that she could, from a very early age, make a choice of the songs I would sing to her. Sometimes we would put the stones in a bag so we could pick out a ‘surprise’ rhyme to sing.
When I first painted the nursery rhymes stones for my daughter I remember thinking about how making marks on natural materials is such an ancient tradition. It did lead me down a little path of finding out about rock art and its historical and cultural significance.
I highly recommend doing some research yourself as it’s a fascinating topic. Indigenous peoples around the world continue to use rock art for sacred purposes. It’s a topic that I talk to my daughter Floss about when we paint pebbles together.
Soon after, I discovered My Story Stone Rock – a small company selling hand made story stones. You can read my interview with Mel from My Story Stones Rock here. They use small glass pebbles to create their designs on.
There were several other small business doing the same and I actually worked for one of them – Imagistones. Sadly, it’s no longer trading but it was such a wonderful experience that taught me a lot about painting stones.
What Materials To Use?
With my experience in rock painting I have certainly found that paint pens are my preferred choice of medium. I like the accuracy they give and the vibrance of colour.
Rock Painting Stones
These stones are very similar to the ones I used to work on. They come in a few different pack sizes and colours. Black stones are so good to work on and you discover that colours that didn’t inspire you come alive on the black background.
You can of course find any pebbles out in the wild. Please be sure to follow any guidelines in the country you live in. For example, some countries you are not permitted to take objects from a beach.
Several pen brands do a range of different thicknesses of pen. I found with the people I worked with that we each had our favourite thicknesses. I really enjoyed working with a more medium tip and only using thinner tips for very fine detail. Have a play and see which size you prefer.
Dry Time Between Colours
When you’re painting with paint pens it is important to allow each colour to dry before moving onto the next UNLESS you want a blended effect.
For example, we used to do a volcano stone and wanted colour blending. If you are colour blending start with the lightest colour and work your way up to the darkest. For the volcano I used to start with the yellow, blend in the orange and then work in the red.
When you’re painting lots of stones in batches you can switch around stones to work on other ones while your paint dries. The perfect excuse to work on more than one design at a time.
Two items that were essential for me were a damp cloth (you could use a baby wipe but a damp cloth is more eco-friendly) and a small tooth pick or skewer. The damp cloth means you can easily wipe away on your stone. A tooth pick or skewer can be used when the paint is just dried to help remove errors or make more definition.
There are certain designs I loved painting and would happily paint oodles of. Others had challenging parts that drove me mad if I didn’t quite get them right! The toothpick was essential for me!!
Sealing is very important. Depending upon where your creations will live will also have an impact on what sealant. As I mentioned before, when I first made stones I used Mod Podge. I love the Mod Podge range and they are easy to use. I got this starter pack. It’s got a great range including one suitable for outdoors and one with sparkle.
If you’re sealing lots you may find a spray sealant a better option (here’s a gloss one and a matt one I’ve used before). Make sure you are using sealants in a well ventilated space. Follow any guidelines – spray sealant you may need to use a mask. Mod Podge I used to use a couple of coats while spray sealants I did several coats.
Leave as much time as possible between sealing coats. It will make your finish more hardy. If you don’t have a sealant you could use clear nail varnish for small projects.
Making Your Own
One thing I love about making your own is that you can match stones to exactly what your family or class need.
Floss loves the No-Bot books so it was great fun making stones for us to enjoy when reading the books.
I loved creating the story stones to go with beautiful book The Magic Friendship Rock.
It’s the perfect book to enjoy together before making and gifting rocks like they do in the book.
Pebble Painting – Rocking Ideas
Hopefully, this blog post has given you some inspiration. I’ve also got a Pinterest board that you might like packed with ideas that have caught my eye.