Creative Painted Rock Ideas to Inspire Your Rock Painting Projects

Rock painting has come a long way, baby, and it’s not just for the kids anymore.  Far from the vintage Pet Rocks of the 1970s, today’s painted rocks range from simple crafts to works of art.  Not only have the design ideas absolutely exploded, but the rocks have become a world-wide creative and social phenomenon.

Painting rocks as a fun craft or hobby is not new, but the sheer number of people around the world who have become actively involved in this art form is more than a coincidence. 

The spark that ignited the current craze was Megan Murphy’s Kindness Rocks Project.  One day in 2015 Megan wrote “You’ve Got This” on a rock and left it on the beach.  It happened to be found by a friend, who was encouraged by the message, and a grassroots kindness movement was born.

Soon Megan was creating more inspirational rocks and leaving them in public places, with the simple goal of spreading encouragement to others.  The project’s official mission statement is “One message at just the right moment can change someone’s entire, day, outlook, life.”

With the help of the internet, the idea quickly spread, connecting people within communities and around the world.  It’s fun, easy, and inexpensive to create the rocks.  And the idea of sharing kindness with strangers in small ways has succeeded, but also ended up doing even more than that.  It has turned many strangers into friends. This has raised the popularity of rock painting to new heights.  Even if you’re not interested in Kindness Rocks (aka the Hide-and-Seek Rock Game), you can thank the project for bringing this art form new recognition.

Pictures of painted rocks to inspire you

There are literally thousands upon thousands of painted rock pictures to be found online.  Here is just a small sample.  Whatever your level of artistic ability, nothing is too simple and nothing is too complicated to be painted on a rock.

Cute and easy painted rocks

Moderate to advanced painted rocks

What to do with painted rocks

There are so many options!  Whether you keep them or give them away, your rocks will bring enjoyment wherever they are. 

Decorate your home and garden

As decorative accessories, painted rocks have a lot going for them.  They can be any color, style, and size.  They don’t require any maintenance.  And they can make beautiful arrangements by themselves or combined with other accessories.
Candle Holders
Garden Markers
Paperweight
Garden Tic-Tac-Toe
Bookends
Photo Holders

Give as gifts

One of the things I like most about giving painted rocks as gifts is that they can be so incredibly personalized and meaningful for the people receiving them.  They can be funny, sentimental, romantic, or anything you want them to be. 

Here are a few examples from rock painters I know:

  • When our dog, Winchester, passed away last year, a friend gave us a rock painted in his likeness.
  • A friend who acted in a local theater production gave rocks painted with the theme of the play to her fellow cast members as a closing gift.
  • A small, cute painted rock was given (along with candy!) to trick-or-treaters on Halloween.
Wedding Favors
Party Favors
Pet Portraits

Hide & find

The Kindness Rocks Project started the idea of the ‘Hide-and-Seek Rock Game’, but it has become larger than any one organization.

When you find a rock, look at the underside for instructions.  Many times there is a label indicating a website to visit and/or a hashtag to use when you post your find on Facebook.  The person who created the rock can then search Facebook for their hashtag and see all the posts from people who have entered it.

When you create and hide rocks with instructions and your own hashtag, you’ll be able to use the same method to track them on Facebook.

Make Story Stones

Story Stones are a fun way to stimulate creative thinking, storytelling skills, vocabulary, communication skills, and other types of learning.  For more about this creative approach, and lots of great ideas, check out the following links.

Story Stones
Emotion Stones
A-Z Stones

Celebrate Holidays

Holidays make for great rock ideas! 

Valentine’s Day
Easter
Fourth of July
Halloween
Thanksgiving
Christmas

More Great Ideas

Encouragement
Magnets
Vacation Memories

How to make painted rocks

Are you feeling inspired after seeing so many great designs?  It’s fascinating that painting rocks is so simple a child can do it, but so versatile that an adult can get as creative as they like. 

If you’re new to rock painting, I’m guessing that right about now you’ve probably got a lot of questions!   And we’ve got you covered.

Visit our online guide
How to Paint Rocks:  The Best Rock Painting Supplies + Tutorials
for everything you need to get started!

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