Best Paint Pens for Rocks: They Really Do Make Art Easy & Fun!

best paint pens for rocks

It is true. Paint pens are nifty little tools that make the whole rock-painting process so much easier. And where there is less mess and more control over the outcome, there is typically more fun to be had! So let’s take a look at the best paint pens for rocks, and marvel at some very pretty painted rocks along the way, just for the fun of it.

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The detail and precision – that is where paint pens really shine, as well as the convenience of carrying some in your purse or pocket.

Where kids are involved, paint pens have a certain advantage, too.

Now don’t get me wrong – I’m all for making big, creative messes with my kids. We have drawings on the walls (shit happens, even a helicopter parent needs to sometimes focus on making dinner) a little paint hand print on the bathroom door (which I don’t wash off because it’s cute), and stained clothes are just “whatever” (because they’ll grow out of ‘em anyway – might as well have some fun).

As a hard-core artist, I value creative expression over the impeccable state of material goods. And there’s nothing quite like wielding a paintbrush.

That’s probably why initially, I gave paint markers a somewhat intrigued but mostly suspicious side-eye. Paint in a pen?! That can’t be as organic, as “alive” and creative as using a brush.

Then, I ordered a cheap pack on a whim, for the sake of trying new things. And those pretty Artistro Pinterest pins, the ones showing a drawing being made from start to finish, make it look too fun to ignore.

Boy, did I get off my high horse fast! Paint pens can join you on a picnic. They can reside in the car. They can be your Starbucks companion. They can handle a few nights out in the rain, dropped under the swing bench.

And alleviating the workload of real, old-fashioned, messy painting, involving brushes, water puddles, dripping, and cleanup… That can be good, too.

Paint pens don’t always work as smoothly as real, wet paint on a brush. Their tips do clog. Waiting for the paint to flow is a minor drag. And the violence you need to shake them with – let’s just say a cordon of safety is not an excessive safety measure.

However, when you learn to work with them, within the boundaries of what they can offer, it’s impossible not to appreciate their convenience.

Rock painting is a great craft project that allows you to express your creativity and add a personal touch to your surroundings. Paint pens are highly portable, which means you can slip them in your pocket or purse, and make art wherever!

  • On the couch. At your own risk, but it’s definitely less risky than using actual paint.
  • In the front or backyard.
  • Anywhere the car can go, or public transportation will take you.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rock painter, using the right paint pens can make all the difference in achieving the perfect finish.

As mentioned earlier, I started with a cheap set. Since I’m now feeling the need for an upgrade, making this overview might help both of us decide!

With so many paint pens for rocks available on the market, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one.

You want a pen that is weather-resistant, waterproof, and durable, with a fine tip for detail work and a smooth flow of ink. Maybe you also want a pen that is non-toxic and child-friendly, with a range of vibrant colors to choose from.

Here are some of the best paint pens for rocks on the market, so you can zone in on the perfect one for your next rock painting project.

Why Use Paint Pens for Rock Painting?

If you are new to rock painting or looking for a more convenient and efficient way to decorate rocks, paint pens are a great option. Here’s why:

Benefits of Using Paint Pens for Rock Painting

  • Convenience: Paint pens are easy to use and transport. You don’t need to carry around brushes, palettes, or bottles of paint. You can take your rock painting supplies with you wherever you go.
  • Precision: Paint pens have a fine tip that allows you to create detailed designs and patterns on your rocks. You can easily control the flow of paint and create clean lines and edges.
  • Versatility: Paint pens work on a variety of surfaces, including rocks, wood, glass, and more. You can use them to create different effects, such as matte or glossy finishes.
  • Water-based: Most paint pens are water-based, which means they are easy to clean up and non-toxic. You don’t need to worry about harmful fumes or chemicals.
  • No Brushes Needed: With paint pens, you don’t need to worry about cleaning brushes or buying new ones. You can use the same pen for multiple projects.
  • Quick Drying: Paint pens dry quickly, which means you can layer colors and designs without waiting for each layer to dry.

Overall, paint pens are a great option for rock painting. They are convenient, versatile, and easy to use. With less concern about accidental splashes, spreading, bleeding, or unintended hand movements, even for less experienced artists, creating detailed designs and patterns on your rocks is well within reach.

How To Paint The Base Layer

When it comes to painting rocks, the base layer is an important step. While paint pens are great for adding details and designs, they are not typically meant to be used for the entire base layer. However, for smaller rocks, you can definitely use paint pens to color the entire background.

Another option for the base layer is spray paint. While this can be messy and not very eco-friendly, it can be a quick way to cover a large surface area. Just be sure to protect the surrounding area and always use spray paint in a well-ventilated space.

If you prefer a more controlled and eco-friendly option, you can use acrylic paint and a larger paintbrush. This will require painting in stages to get both the front and back of the rock covered. However, this method allows for more control over where the paint ends up and avoids the use of aerosols.

Of course, you can also use paint pens to create fun pictures on bare rocks. The contrast between the rugged, grey rock and bright colors can create a striking effect.

In summary:

  • While paint pens are not typically used for the base layer, they can be used for smaller rocks.
  • Other options include spray paint, or
  • acrylic paint applied with a larger brush.

Don’t be afraid to experiment and have fun with your rock painting!

Types of Paint Pens for Rock Painting

When it comes to rock painting, paint pens are a popular choice for many artists. They offer a convenient and mess-free way to apply paint to rocks, and they come in a variety of types to suit different needs. In this section, we’ll explore the different types of paint pens for rock painting and what makes them unique.

Acrylic (Water-Based) Paint Pens

Water-based paint pens are a popular choice for beginners and children because they are easy to use and clean up. They contain acrylic paint and are often marketed as child-friendly and non-toxic. While I do let my kids use them, keep in mind that this is not on the same level as finger paint. It’s still acrylic paint, which grown-ups can also use, for some rather permanent projects (that don’t go in the mouth).

That doesn’t mean they aren’t a great option for family-friendly craft projects. Just keep an eye on the younger ones.

Even though they are water-based, these paint pens are nothing to scoff at. They’re perfect for painting on porous surfaces like rocks, as well as weather-resistant and fade-resistant.

I’ve left (unsealed) painted rocks out in the yard and found them again one or two years later, worn but still recognizable.

Tip: It never hurts to browse some fun examples of painted rocks! Check out How to Paint Rocks: Materials + 10 Great Ideas for Inspiration.

Acrylic paint pens are a popular choice for rock painters because they offer vibrant colors and excellent coverage. They come in a range of tip sizes, from extra-fine to broad, making them suitable for both detail work and broad strokes. They also come in a variety of colors, including metallic and glitter, which is super fun to experiment with.

Oil-Based Paint Pens

Oil-based paint pens are also a good choice for painting on non-porous surfaces like glass, metal, and plastic. They offer excellent coverage and durability, and they are weather-resistant and fade-resistant. Perhaps even more so than Acrylic paint pens.

Oil-based paint pens also come in a variety of colors, including metallic and glossy finishes.

Chalk Markers

Chalk markers are another fun type of paint pen that has a chalk-like finish. They can be used for more than coffee corner and restaurant menus!

Working well on smooth rocks and surfaces, they come in a variety of colors, including metallic and vivid colors. Chalk markers are also weather-resistant and fade-resistant, making them suited for outdoor use.

When choosing paint pens for rock painting, consider the type of surface you will be painting on, the level of detail you want to achieve, and the type of finish you prefer.

Ideally, experiment with different types of paint pens to find the ones that work best for your needs, though you have to start somewhere… and below I’ve included some great beginners packs.

Popular brands of paint pens for rock painting include Posca paint pens, Artistro paint pens, and Sakura Pen-Touch paint markers. To make them weather-resistant and durable, you can seal your rocks with a spray sealant. With the right tools and a little creativity, you can create beautiful and unique rock paintings that spread messages of kindness and joy!

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Paint Pens for Rocks

When it comes to choosing the best paint pens for rock painting, there are several factors to consider. Some of this info repeats parts we’ve already touched upon, such as paint type. Here are some of the most important differences to keep in mind:

Tip Size

The tip size of your paint pens is crucial when working with rocks. Extra-fine, fine, and medium bullet tips are the most popular for their size and versatility. Smaller tips are needed to create intricate designs and details on your rocks. However, if you’re looking to cover larger areas of your rocks, you may want to also add some pens with a larger tip size to your collection.

Ink Type

The type of ink used in your paint pens is another important consideration. Acrylic-based paint pens are a popular choice for rock painting because they are water-resistant and dry quickly. They also provide excellent coverage and are available in a wide range of colors. Oil-based paint pens are another option. While they can take longer to dry, they are more durable than acrylic-based pens.

Color Range

The color range of your paint pens is also an important consideration. Look for paint pens that offer a wide range of colors, including regular, fluorescent, metallic, and glitter colors. This will give you more options when it comes to creating your designs and will help you achieve the look you want.

Durability and Weather Resistance

When painting rocks, whether paint pens are durable and weather-resistant is somewhat of a thing to consider, though the final sealant is really what stands between the painting and the elements.

The concept of paint that won’t fade or peel over time is, of course, always relative. Nothing is permanent, and change is inevitable. Paint pens are typically very durable and resistant, and an additional coating of sealant will ensure the safekeeping of your art.

Ease of Use

Finally, consider the ease of use of your paint pens. Look for pens that are comfortable to hold and easy to control. You may also want to consider pens that are refillable, as this can save you money in the long run.

That’s about it. Consider these factors when choosing your paint pens, but don’t obsess over them for too long. Your art is waiting to be created and I’m a bit fan of the motto “Just Start.” You can fine-tune your preferences and gather the best tools for creating beautiful and long-lasting rock paintings as you go!

Best Acrylic Paint Pens for Rock Painting

If you’re looking for the best acrylic paint pens for rock painting, you have plenty of options to choose from. Here are some of the best brands and suppliers of rock painting pens that you can find:

Michaels’ Paint Pens for Rocks

Michaels is a popular arts and crafts store that carries a variety of paint pens for rock painting. They have popular brands like Posca and Sharpie, as well as smaller and larger sets in a variety of colors. You’ll even find sets in fluorescent colors and pastel colors. I’m not seeing the brand Artistro at the time of writing.

Whether you shop in-store or online, Michaels’ paint pens for rocks are reasonably affordable, depending on the pack size.

Rock Painting Pens at Hobby Lobby

Hobby Lobby is another great arts and crafts store that carries a variety of rock painting pens. They have a wide selection of paint pens in different colors, sizes, and brands. You can find rock painting pens from brands like Posca, Sharpie, and Artistro at Hobby Lobby. The price point for rock painting pens at Hobby Lobby varies depending on the brand and pack size.

Artistro Paint Pens for Rock Painting

Artistro is a popular brand of paint pens for rock painting that you can find on Amazon. They offer a variety of paint pens in different colors and sizes, and their pens are known for their high quality and durability. Artistro paint pens come in various assortments and the price-point starts around $20 for multi-color packs.

Rock Painting Pens on Amazon

Amazon is a great place to find a wide selection of rock painting pens from different brands and suppliers. You can find paint pens from brands like Artistro, Posca, Uni, and more on Amazon. The price point for rock painting pens on Amazon varies widely, depending on the brand and pack size. You can find a pack for around eight bucks, or get more color options, dual-tip pens, or an A-list brand. Those prices range from $15 to $50 or more.

In conclusion, there are many great options for acrylic paint pens for rock painting. Whether you prefer to shop in-store or online, you can find a variety of paint pens from different brands and suppliers.

Given its immense stock, Amazon is, of course, a great place to find the pack size that works best for you, tailored to your budget, color, and style preferences.

Final Coating to Protect Your Artwork

Have you completed your rock painting masterpiece? Now, it may be time to protect it with a final coating to ensure it lasts for years to come.

Or not. (More on that later.)

Indoor Protection

If you plan on keeping your painted rocks indoors, a clear acrylic sealant is your best option. It will protect your artwork from dust, moisture, and UV rays, which can cause fading over time.

When applying the sealant, make sure your rocks are completely dry. Use a spray or brush-on sealant, and apply it in a well-ventilated area. Hold the can or brush about 6-8 inches away from the rock, and apply a thin, even coat. Allow it to dry completely before applying another coat.

Outdoor Protection

If you plan on displaying your painted rocks outside, you’ll need a more heavy-duty sealant that can withstand the elements. A clear polyurethane sealant is a great option for outdoor protection. It will protect your artwork from the sun, wind, rain, and other weather conditions.

When applying the sealant, make sure your rocks are completely dry. Use a spray or brush-on sealant, and apply it in a well-ventilated area. Hold the can or brush about 6-8 inches away from the rock, and apply a thin, even coat. Allow it to dry completely before applying another coat.

Tips for Applying Sealant

  • Always read the manufacturer’s instructions before applying sealant.
  • Apply sealant in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling fumes.
  • Use a mask or respirator to protect your lungs from fumes.
  • Apply sealant in thin, even coats to avoid drips and bubbles.
  • Allow each coat to dry completely before applying another coat.
  • Apply at least two coats of sealant for maximum protection.

By following these tips and using the right sealant, you can protect your painted rocks from degrading over time and ensure they last for years to come. So go ahead and display your artwork with pride, knowing that it’s protected from the elements.

Final Thoughts

It seems everyone automatically assumes using a sealant is a must. This may come as a surprise but I normally don’t even use any. Why not, you’ll wonder – do we not want to keep those little pieces of art safe and protected for years to come?

Even though I appreciate a nicely painted rock as much as the next person, I do not feel the need to cling to them for eternity.

The thing is: nothing lasts forever. Rock are chunks of nature, and after we express ourselves on them, it feels right for nature to claim them back. This is merely a personal view I’m sharing.

You know those Buddhist monks, who make art with colored sand? That’s the idea, even if acrylic paint on a stone is much less fleeting than loose sand.

When I want to keep a piece of art relatively safe, I make it on paper and put it in a binder/drawer/frame. When painting on rocks, I flirt with the concept of impermanence. There is something primal and mindful about the idea of it being temporary. With that said, if you prefer sealing your rock art in, all the more kudos to you.

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