Introduction: How to Paint Animals on Rocks

Picture of How to Paint Animals on Rocks

A fun thing to do in the garden is to paint various animals on rocks and place them strategically in various garden spots. 

Step 1: Gather Your Rocks

Picture of Gather Your Rocks

The best rocks to use for this craft are very smooth "river rocks".  Rocks that have been polished over time by eons of water rushing over them. The goal is to have a very smooth surface on which to paint.  Semi-smooth rocks can be used, but will require more finese in the painting process. Try to pick rocks that resemble your cat, or mouse, or dog, etc.  

Step 2: Assemble Needed Painting Supplies

Picture of Assemble Needed Painting Supplies

I used regular acrylic craft paint since I have many colors available.  Acrylic paints dry rapidly, and are my art media of choice.  You will need brushes, of course, and you can use liners, rounds, flats, shaders, etc.  I use the liner brush for fine details.

Step 3: Sketch Picture on Rock

Picture of Sketch Picture on Rock

Here I've shown the steps in picking, and sketching a cat on a rock.  The rock has been primed with white paint so that your pencil lines will show up in contrast. From here, it's on to the actual painting of the rock.

Step 4: Paint Rascal of Choice on Rock

Picture of Paint Rascal of Choice on Rock

Now the fun part begins!  Using your painting skills, paint your pet picture on the rock. Pay attention especially to the eyes, as they can make the entire picture/sketch.

Step 5: Finish Rock by Painting on Clear Acrylic

Picture of Finish Rock by Painting on Clear Acrylic

The final step would be to protect your pet rock by applying several coats of varnish, especially if the rock is to be placed outside.  I have had these rocks outside for 10 plus years, and have re-applied varnish only once, just a few years ago.  They may be needing another coat this year, however. Enjoy!


darrenah (author)2016-03-02

Pet Rocks! These are really neat! I'm thinking you should consider selling them on Etsy. Or are you already doing that?

The black cat in the last picture looks a little too exactly shaped to be a rock, or completely rock. Is it?

jforest45 (author)2015-08-07

Wow! You are an excellent artist! I especially admire the personality you've captured in the cat's eyes! I have never painted before but you've inspired me. Now if I only had some talent like yours....

Thanks so much for the instructions!

Creativeman (author)jforest452015-08-07

Thank you! With a little practice you may be the next Van Gogh! Just go for it!

Phoenix Flare (author)2014-09-26

Wooooow! Amazing!!!!!!! They look stunning and so lifelike! Taking pet rocks to the next ( next, next, next...)

Creativeman (author)2014-03-09

It's fun! Thanks for your comment and good luck!

charchar2 (author)2012-01-09

Those are really beautiful!

bisojo (author)2011-05-29

I loved, maybe you like the cats jeje, me too, anyway I have aquestion, the rock needs some caracteristics, i mean the shape obviously but the , mmm sorry i'm not speak english, it's something like porosity or something like that. mmm grettings

sanjay117 (author)2011-05-22

wow! cat rocks!

sunshiine (author)2011-05-17

Nice work! Do you need any rocks? We have a ton! Just wish I was as talented as you or I would not be offering any.

Creativeman (author)sunshiine2011-05-17

Thanks for the nice comments...wish I had access to more rocks, they are actually hard to come by where I live! Go figure, eh?

sunshiine (author)Creativeman2011-05-17

Our back yard has a lot because my husband had big plans but he is very tired now and talks about getting rid of them. We are using some for the retaining wall though. We actually haulded them in. Here a little and there a little. Too bad they are not in Tx . where we will be moving in a few months or year??? We could use them there. Too much stuff to move already. .

foobear (author)2011-05-17


Creativeman (author)foobear2011-05-17

Thank you very much.

dismissie (author)2011-05-15

your painted cat rocks are fabulous!

Creativeman (author)dismissie2011-05-16

Thank you!

ChrysN (author)2011-05-15

Wow, they look amazing!

Creativeman (author)ChrysN2011-05-16

Thanks for your compliment!

bigmark (author)2011-05-15

amazing!!!! now I need to get out & find some rock's

Creativeman (author)bigmark2011-05-16

Thanks, and have fun!

splazem (author)2011-05-15

This rocks! Sorry, can't help myself.

Creativeman (author)splazem2011-05-15

Thank you!

AndyGadget (author)2011-05-15

These are great. Personally, I wouldn't place them in full view, but just as something you'd come on unexpectedly in the garden, partly hidden by foliage. (My artistic skills are nothing like yours, but I may have a go at a small toad sometime during the summer.)

Creativeman (author)AndyGadget2011-05-15


mikeasaurus (author)2011-05-15

A steady hand indeed, nice work!

Creativeman (author)mikeasaurus2011-05-15

Thank you!

poofrabbit (author)2011-05-14

Very cute! I too have done this and they always make me smile :) Nice work.

Creativeman (author)poofrabbit2011-05-15


splazem (author)2011-05-15


About This Instructable




Bio: Retired, doing art work now. Great. Have the time and the money to spend doing what I want to do.
More by Creativeman:How to Make Fairy Doors/Fairylands and Open Up a Whole New World!SKULL STAND(S) FOR BUDDING ARTISTSThe Art Of Reclaiming Oak Flooring:Upcycling Shop Workstand
Add instructable to: