Rock art is one of the most ancient forms of artistic expression in the world. The oldest cave painting dates to a whopping 64,000 years ago: a red hand stencil painted by a Neanderthal in Maltravieso cave, Spain. Making handprints are still popular today – and it’s likely that if you have kids, you might have a colourful poster paint version of a tiny hand somewhere in your house.
Rock painting and pebble painting is a fantastic craft that anyone can enjoy – there are lots of different styles and designs you can create, many of which follow an easy rock painting formula to ensure beautiful results every time. Scroll down to see some of my favourite Mandela rock painting ideas for what I mean by ‘easy rock painting formula’.
In this article, you’ll discover heaps of inspiration for rock painting ideas, from simple rock painting ideas to more advanced designs. Some of the best rock painting ideas are marketed towards kids – it’s a great holiday craft activity and will keep them occupied for an hour or two, just make sure to put down plenty of newspaper!
If you like this, you might also enjoy our 50 Craft Ideas for Kids to make at home or our Papercrafts for kids round-up. We’ve also got lots of inspiration for specific ages too, with our favourite collections of craft ideas for toddlers and craft ideas for teenagers.
Rock painting ideas
Ready? Let’s dive into some of the best rock painting and pebble painting ideas.
Easy rock painting ideas
1. Domino rocks
This is probably one of the easiest rock painting ideas we’ve come across – domino rocks! Repeat Crafter Me (fantastic name for a blog) has put together a fantastic tutorial on how to create these black and white beauties – check it out!
2. Strawberry rocks
These strawberry rocks look good enough to eat! Crafts by Amanda has put together a detailed step-by-step tutorial on how to create your own basket full of delicious looking strawberry rocks.
3. Stationary rocks
We love these stationary-themed rock painting ideas – thanks to Sam over at ColorMadeHappy for this great idea!
4. Glitter word art
Have you tried Glitterific paint? You’ll want to once you’ve seen this fabulous rock painting tutorial over at 100 Directions!
5. Vegetable rocks
How about some rock painting ideas with a purpose? Paint up these garden vegetable rocks by Adventure in a Box, and use them to mark the locations of your vegetable seeds!
6. Rock magnets
Here’s another practical idea for your miniature masterpieces – rock magnets. We love the bright, bold colours in Alisa Burke’s designs!
7. Puffy paint sugar skull rocks
Puffy Paint has long been a favourite among crafters, so why not add some dimension to your painted rocks? Sam at ColorMadeHappy shows you how!
8. Rock painted photo holders
How about this – another practical use for your painted rocks! Wrap some wire around your rocks and use it to create these beautiful rock photo holders. Find the tutorial over at One Little Project.
9. Wedding rocks
Add a touch of gold leaf to create these deceptively easy painted rocks – they would make unique and cute wedding favours! Find more inspiration for wedding rocks from Frieda Therés.
10. Gilded rocks
You can create some gorgeous designs by painting glue in different patterns and applying gold leaf. Country Hill Cottage has taken this to quite literally create gold leaves with their gold leaf – but you can paint whatever shape you like!
11. Herb garden markers
This is a really on-trend project, and if you love the cottagecore aesthetic, then this is for you! Find the full herb garden rock painting tutorial at Plaid Online.
12. Doodle rock painting idea
This is a very satisfying project. Use paint markers to create tessellating shapes, and decorate each shape individually using a finer nib in black or white. Check out the full tutorial from Sam at ColorMadeHappy!
13. Pour painted rocks
Feeling creative but don’t want to physically paint anything? Then these pour painted rocks are for you – and you needn’t waste the run-off paint, either – pop a canvas underneath to catch the “wasted” paint. Check out Jackie’s blog, Happy Hooligans for the full tutorial.
14. Emoji rock painting ideas
Cara Dura Designs has a LOT of great rock painting ideas on her Instagram – including these fun emoji rocks!
15. Pumpkin patch painted rocks
Check out this easy to follow tutorial from Adventure in a Box for these wonderfully characterful pumpkins! Unlike real pumpkins, you don’t need to throw these painted rocks out after a few days – so you can bring them out year after year!
16. Pretty petals
Build up a pretty flower garden following a Life of Colour Products easy rock painting tutorial! Take your time, and let each layer dry before adding the next.
17. Watercolour style butterfly rock idea
Learn which paint to use to create this simple, yet effective watercolour-style painted rock (clue: the secret is in the paint!) – check it out at I Love Painted Rocks.
18. Pokémon rock painting ideas
Another great idea from Cara Dura Designs – we love these pokémon face rocks! Can you paint ’em all?
19. Turtle rock painting idea
Kaz Windness has created this lovely totem turtle rock over on her blog, Random Acts of Creativity – she’s added glitter and sealed it with Mod Podge to make it more durable!
20. Glitter butterfly painted rock idea
Watch the free video tutorial over at I Love Painted Rocks and make this gorgeous glitter butterfly rock! To help the glitter stay in place – use a spray sealer or varnish to finish.
21. Stamped rocks
No artistic skill? No problem! If you don’t have time to learn how to paint, how about using stamps instead? Michelle’s Party Plan-it shows you how!
22. Spiderman rock
Painting spiderman has never been easier than with this tutorial from Life of Colour Products! The pattern is broken down into manageable steps – try it out!
23. Minion rock painting ideas
Who doesn’t love Minions? This easy rock painting idea has been created by Mum in the Madhouse – the details are drawn on with a sharpie!
24. Hogwarts painted rock idea
This is a great rock painting idea – and one that can be painted onto rocks of every shape and size – thanks to Karen Jakicic on Instagram!
25. Puffy paint rocks
Did you know you can also use puffy paint to create a pigmented wash? Sam at ColorMadeHappy shows you how!
26. Inspire kindness
Want to spread a little kindness with your artwork? Check out this tutorial from Inspire Kindness, which includes lots of quotes for rocks painting to get you started.
27. Alcohol inks
The Rock Painting Guide has an extremely thorough tutorial on everything you need to know about creating vibrant works of art on rocks using alcohol inks and is definitely worth a browse!
28. How to draw a cactus with paint pens
Learn how to draw this adorable cactus using paint pens in this easy tutorial from Color Made Happy!
29. Sea view tutorial
Rock Painting 101 has designed this easy step-by-step tutorial and is a great place to start if you want to create a beautiful beach scene.
Mandala rock painting ideas
30. Beginner’s Guide
Learn everything you need to know about Mandala rock painting over at The Rock Painting Guide. Learn about the different tools, patterns, supplies and follow this step-by-step tutorial. This is a great place to start for anyone wanting to get into mandala rock painting ideas.
31. You Got This
Combine mandala rock painting ideas with inspirational quotes to create this stunning work of art. Go check out creator Rain on Instagram for more beautiful mandala rock painting ideas!
32. Easy mandala rock art tutorial
Colorful Crafts have put together a really easy to follow step-by-step photo tutorial on how to create this piece of mandala rock art. Learn how to get the perfect spacing between dots!
33. Love hearts
Just beautiful – what’s not to love about this gorgeous rock painting idea? Go check out creator Rain on Instagram for more beautiful mandala rock painting ideas!
34. Ladybug mandala rock painting tutorial
This is a great tutorial on how to create a ladybug using the mandala dot art method – it’s easy to follow and includes LOTS of picture steps, so it’s a great beginner project, too. Go check it out at The Things We’ll Make.
35. Be strong
Combine your rock painting ideas with a simple message – we think this would make a lovely gift for someone! For more stunning mandala rock painting ideas and lots of positive vibes, follow creator Rain on Instagram!
36. Mandala rainbow rock painting tutorial
I Love Painted Rocks has a great tutorial that makes use of temporary tattoos to create mandala artwork on rainbow painted rocks – such a great idea!
37. Mandala heart rock painting tutorial
These easy mandala hearts are the ideal quick project – find the full tutorial over at Sustain My Craft Habit!
38. Tools of the trade
So what can you use to make your own mandala rock art? Head over to Concord Monitor where they have ranked the best and worst items to use.
39. Improve your technique
Improve your mandala rock painting technique by following the useful advice over at RockPainting101.
Rock painting ideas for kids
40. Pet cactus
This design really is one of the best rock painting ideas for kids! Paint a rock green, add some white spots or stripes and stick a couple of googly eyes on it. We’re in love! Check out the full tutorial over at The Best Ideas for Kids.
41. Baby chick rocks
This is such a simple idea – but we are in love! There are so many great tutorials over at The Rock Painting Guide this is one of their Easter projects. Go check them out!
42. Glow in the dark monster rocks
Use glow in the dark paint to create these fun monster rocks! Cover the rock with paint, then grab a sharpie and draw on some funny mouths – find the full tutorial here!
43. Ladybug rocks
Who doesn’t love ladybird rock painting ideas? Crafts by Amanda has created these fun, colourful painted rocks – ideal for kids – check out her blog for more details!
44. Bee rocks
These bee rocks are a really nice rock painting project for kids – they’re bright and colourful, and easy to paint. Head over to Easy Peasy and Fun for all the details!
45. Learning is fun!
Teach little ones about colours with this fun rock painting project from Homemade Heather.
46. Shark rocks
We love this idea – and it makes great use of triangular rocks that you might not otherwise know what to do with. Find the full step-by-step tutorial over at Sustain my Craft Habit!
47. Caterpillar rocks
These caterpillar rocks are great – kids can paint multiple rocks with green paint, add some eyes to one and arrange their caterpillar to be creeping around the garden!
48. Sharpie caterpillar rocks
You don’t need to use paint if you want the best rock painting ideas for kids – how about this fab colourful caterpillar? We love it! Head over to Glued to my Craft Blog for products and a tutorial.
49. Very Hungry Caterpillar rocks
Take storytelling to the next level and create your own Very Hungry Caterpillar! Go visit Sam at ColorMeHappy to find out how to give this Very Hungry Caterpillar its wings!
50. Toadstool house
Add two rocks together to create your own wonky toadstool house – the wonkier the rocks, the better! Check out more great ideas at Life of Colour Products.
51. Noughts and crosses
Turn painted rocks into a fun game with this fantastic idea from Run Wild My Child. One person has even commented that this would make a lovely Father’s Day gift – we absolutely agree!
52. Heat embossed alphabet rocks
Fancy switching things up? How about using alphabet stamps with heat-activated embossing powders? Find the full tutorial over at ColorMadeHappy!
53. Zombie rock painting idea
Simple Everyday Mom has created this easy tutorial for how to paint your own zombie rocks – ideal for Halloween, or just because!
54. Eyeball rock painting idea
This is another great project for kids – or for Halloween! Check out the full tutorial over at Carla Schauer Studio.
Advanced rock painting ideas
55. Fairy houses
Why not make miniature fairy houses and add a touch of magic to your garden! You’ll find lots of fairy house inspiration over at Kezban Myself.
Okay – so it’s not technically a moon rock – but we love this design. Doodlecraft Blog has paired up a holographic background with the first words ever uttered on the moon to create this fantastic painted moon rock design.
57. A touch of lace
This multimedia project will draw in techniques from papercraft and découpage to create these beautiful layered painted rocks. Find the full tutorial and products at Plaid Online.
58. Colour shift rock painting idea
Combine this cool colour shift technique with mandala dot art – Plaid Online shows you how in this step-by-step tutorial!
59. M & M rocks
You don’t always need to use the perfectly round rocks – keep the quirky shapes and celebrate their differences! We love these M&M rocks by Our Art World.
60. The eyes have it
How about this for some advanced rock painting ideas? Jennifer Allnutt uses rocks as an extension of her studio, leaving them to be found (or lost) around Queensland. What a talent!
61. Volcanic vista
Learn how to paint this gorgeous volcanic landscape with this video tutorial from Annamoon FineArt!
62. 3D rock painting ideas
Theresa Frankart has created this stunning 3D butterfly – and there is plenty more inspiration for advanced rock painting ideas on her Instagram page – go check it out!
63. Baby turtle
Follow the Painters Forum tutorial on how to create this sweet baby turtle over on their website!
64. Fairy door
Instead of painting the whole fairy house – just paint the fairy door! Find the full tutorial with tips and tricks over at Adventure in a Box.
65. Owl rock painting idea
Watch this video tutorial from Rachel’s Rocks Canada and learn how to paint this beautiful owl rock! Take time to plan out your design first in pencil onto a white painted rock first.