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Painting Rocks – Garden Art DIY

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My kids love to paint all kinds of things they find in nature, like acorns, sticks, and rocks, and I thought painting rocks for garden art might be a way to kill two (or three) birds with one stone! First, painting rocks is a fun way to add some color to the garden. Second, painting rocks gave my kids something fun to do for a while; and finally, painting rocks for garden art DIY left me with a nice homemade gift for their grand parents!

Painting Rocks - Garden Art DIY - a great way to add color to your garden or to make a personalized, homemade gift for family or friends.

Painting Rocks - Garden Art DIY

The hardest part about this project is deciding how to make the rock to look. My initial plan was to paint a rock, write a garden saying on it, and then have my kids use their finger prints to make flowers. Turns out, it was impossible to make pretty flowers out of finger prints. At least it was impossible for me and my kids. If you are a super creative person and your kids are patient and follow directions well, you might be able to get them to make really nice finger print flowers. And if you do, I would love to see a picture!

Supplies for Painting Garden Rocks

  • Large, flat river rock
  • Acrylic paint, I find I can make most any color using the primary colors and black and white
  • Paint pen, for writing the words
  • Stencil
  • Paint brushes
  • Tape
  • Clear outdoor sealer

Painting Rocks - Garden Art DIY, flower stencil

Since the finger print flower pictures didn't turn out like I had envisioned I moved on to Plan B and got a flower stencil. See, sadly, I'm also not talented enough to simply paint flowers free-hand. But, I can use a stencil. And turns out, my kids enjoyed painting with the stencil a lot, too.

Painting Rocks - Garden Art DIY, painting the rock
The first thing I had to do was find the rock. And wouldn't you know it, finding the rock was easier said than done. I needed a pretty big and smooth rock to be able to fit both a garden saying and flowers on it. Unfortunately, we don't have rocks that big anywhere around us. All the river rocks we could find were quite a lot smaller. I found this rock at our local plant nursery and greenhouse. It was in a bin outside in the parking lot and cost 30 cents a pound! It was pretty funny watching them weigh my rock on their fruit scale. My rock cost about $4.50, so it wasn't too expensive, but I was still bummed to have to buy a river rock!

Painting Rocks - Garden Art DIY, painting surface After we found the rock, I couldn't decide what color to paint it! I repainted that thing three times! First I painted it a rich blue, but I decided it was too dark. Then, I painted it white, but I decided that was too light. Finally, I made an orange color and settled on it. Luckily, the acrylic paint was quite thick and covered very well. I liked that a lot about the paint. I did make sure to dry the rock completely overnight before repainting it a new color. If you plan to keep the rock outside, I recommend that you spray a clear, outdoor sealer to keep the colors nice.

Painting Rocks - Garden Art DIY - an easy way to add color to your garden or make a nice homemade gift for loved ones

Garden Quotes to Add to Your Rocks

  • “A weed is but an unloved flower.” ~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox
  • "...though an old man, I am but a young gardener.” ~ Thomas Jefferson
  • “Man was lost and saved in a garden.” ~Pascal
  • “If you want to be happy for a lifetime, be a gardener.” ~ Chinese Proverb

See more garden quotes about weeds and quotes about gardeners to personalize your rocks.

While I'm happy with the way this project ultimately turned out, I have to admit that it was one of those projects that just didn't go as planned. Do you ever have something in mind that you just can't quite make happen? This was one of those projects.

I'd still love to see a rock painted with pretty finger print flowers, so please give this a try and email me a picture! What do you think would make a really nice painted garden rock?

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I’m Michelle and I blog over at Simplify, Live, Love. I live in rural Eastern Iowa with my husband, 4 kiddos, 17 chickens 3 rabbits, 1 dog, AND a cat. We are self employed crazies trying to balance it all and live sustainably at the same time. In addition to blogging, I garden, can, homeschool, and teach online community college classes too! Hop on over for more on our crazy life in Eastern Iowa.

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