Painted Rocks Day 2: Mass Production and Getting Braver

My first actual "paintings" on the Rocks!

Painted Rocks Day 2

Today I decided NOT to try to transfer the writing over to the rocks, it didn't work out too well yesterday lol

It was a beautiful day so I decided to set up shop outside. I painted a LOT of rocks (47) in the base color I wanted to use. I also painted a bunch of orange rocks for my Mom while I was at it because she wanted to try painting some Halloween themed rocks.

I painted the base color then a beautiful gold over the top of it followed with "dry brushing" a swipe of white over the top of that so the letters would show up well when I painted them. I'm not sure if dry-brush is the proper terminology.  Basically, I dipped the brush in white, dabbed most off on a paper towel and lightly brushed over the top of the rock so there'd be a very light coat of white down the middle of the rock.  

You can see it better in this picture:


The Paint

For the base colors, I use Apple Barrel paint. I use the Matte because my Mom uses Matte. She uses Matte because a woman that was shopping for paints at the same time told her it was easier to work with than the gloss - it was a very well researched decision lol  I'm hoping some vets will pop in here and educate us ;)

I accidentally purchased the gloss in white though and it didn't dry nearly as fast; I had to wait a lot longer between fun! Plus it felt sticky for quite a while after. I spray the rocks when they're finished so I don't care if it's a Matte base but I'd love to hear what others are using. Here's the type (exactly) I'm using.  It's only .50 a bottle if you have a Walmart near you.

If you purchase them at Walmart you can also cherry pick the colors you like best because they're sold as singles. That being said - just go ahead and buy one of each color while you're there - because you WILL be going back to buy them all eventually anyhow - I'm telling you, this is ADDICTING!

One of these little bottles goes a long, long way when you're using it for rock painting - unless you segway over to boulder painting; no promises in that case! If you're planning on trying to save money (FIFTY CENTS) on paint and decide to mix two colors together to get the shade you're looking for I want to caution you. If you run out and you try to blend again to get the same shade you had before - good luck this that - been there, done that. Not because I was trying to save money but because it was late at night and I was in the middle of painting. I went to Walmart the next day and stocked up on more colors!

The Finish Spray - BE CAREFUL!

It's VERY IMPORTANT that you spray the rocks after they're dry in order to seal them. I spray them twice on each side.

It's a good idea to put them FACE DOWN and spray the backs of the rocks first then flip them and paint the fronts. Once some of this finish spray gets on the surface the rocks are sitting on as you spray them, it can stick to anything it touches if it's not completely dry.

For instance, I spray them on paper plates now so I can toss the plate when I'm finished. If I spray the front first and then flip them over and the painted side is now down, it can stick to the paper plate if I accidentally lay it on a place that has some of the finish spray on the plate.

I hope I'm being clear here. If the rock touches the place the spray off landed, it will stick to it and you might mess up your beautiful rock. I'll cover that in greater detail in the Day 4 blog.

Here is the finish spray I use but don't buy it on Amazon. It's only 5.00 or so at Walmart and Home Depot. I'm sure just about any finish spray will do the trick but please let me know in the comments below if you've found one that you love for a specific reason.

The Paint Pens

Later in the evening, I wrote in black on all the rocks. I used a sharpy to do the black writing because I didn't trust myself with a brush. I wasn't happy with the way they turned out so I use one of these paint pens to write over the top in gold. Overall, I wasn't very pleased with the way the rocks turned out because of my handwriting - BUT....I was MORE THAN pleased that I was actually painting rocks. I was having a blast with it.

The pens I used aren't as good as the Elmers Pens you can get at Walmart (you can see them here) but they are much less expensive (they are kind of watery). You can use them for writing but I wouldn't really use them for painting any larger areas - nor would I use the Walmart version for painting larger areas, though. When you're using a pen to paint with, you can see the strokes when you're looking up close. The pens at Walmart are $1.97 each.  They are more expensive on Amazon - some are being sold for nearly $6.00 a pen on Amazon for exactly the same pen you can get at Walmart for just under $2.00.

If you can afford to, I'd recommend purchasing a box of the less expensive ones I used in the image above so you have them on hand. They work great for certain applications and you can just add an extra coat if you feel it needs it. If you're going to get a pen for writing, please note they come in a variety of sizes - Ultra Fine, Fine, Medium etc. You might want to pick up one of each so you get the feel for how this the line is. My fav fav fav paint pen for writing is a white ultra fine that I got at Walmart.

When I was finished painting these rocks, I wanted to paint some more! I still had my Mom's orange rocks so I decided to google Halloween ideas to see if I could find any EASY pumpkin ideas - like two triangles for the eyes and see if I could do the

Here's what I ended up doing:

My First Rocks

I saw the picture of the cat in the tree and wondered if I could do it. I started by tracing an outline of the rock on a piece of paper and then using the paint pens to paint directly on the paper inside the outline of the rock. I discovered I WAS able to actually paint on something that small space (these are slightly bigger than a silver dollar) so I decided to go for it.  I did the ghost next, then the spider.

On the spider, I used mostly sharpies and you can tell when you blow up the picture. It's pretty ugly up close - but I was THRILLED with them!  

Here is a closeup of the spider so you can see that sharpies are probably NOT the way to go lol

Day 2 - First Painted Spider_copy

As bad as that looks, it doesn't look nearly that bad when you're looking at the actual rock. That blowup is probably 4X as large as the rock itself. You'd have to use a magnifying glass to see the terrible detail you can see in the image above.

Another thing you need to be careful of if you're using sharpies, the ink can run a LOT if you're too close to the rock when you're spraying it with the sealant. 

When I showed these to my Mom later, she thought I was punking her. She didn't believe I did them myself because I'd been saying for so long "I can't do that".

While these are certainly no works of art, it was/is a pretty big deal to me to have done it. I was meeting my sister the next day so I gave her my first rocks. She loved them.

By the end of Day 2, I was officially "bitten" by the painting bug (thanks, Mom!) - but still not brave enough to paint some to leave out for others to collect. I'd painted 50 rocks - not a bad start!

On to day 3 where I painted my 2nd batch of Halloween Rocks to see if I could do them well enough to feel good about leaving them out for others to find.

I'd love to hear where you are in the process - have you started painting yet?  Are you just now stumbling across the whole concept of painted rocks?

If you found one of my rocks "off-island", let me know in the comments below! The furthest I've seen one travel so far is about 4 hours from here. Yesterday I gave a bunch to a couple that is going to be traveling down the coast. They took up a collection of rocks from people to leave them along their path (in WA, OR, CA and I think Nevada).  If you found one, let me know down below! 

And - if you have tips or input on what I'm covering so far, pleases leave them in the comments below so all of us "newbies" can learn from you - and from each other!  What types of paints, pens, supplies do you use or can you recommend?

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