Can You Paint Rocks With Tempera Paint?

Tempera paint is a non-toxic craft paint that children use for art and craft projects in school, and it is quite simple to use. The reason behind the popularity of this paint is the washability and simplicity of using the paint. You can use tempera paint on wood, ceramic, glass windows, and even on hair. Now the question is can you paint rocks with tempera paint? 

The short answer is yes. You can use tempera paint on rocks. You need to prepare the rocks well before you jump into the painting. Moreover, if you intend to use rocks for outdoor decorations, you must seal the paint with a sealer before doing so.  

Tempera paint on rocks

In this article, I will walk you through the whole painting process of rocks with tempera paint. 

What Type Of Surfaces Can You Paint Rock With Tempera Paint?

Painting on rocks with tempera paint is a fun and creative activity that can yield beautiful art pieces. You need to choose the right supplies, and with imaginative touch, you can create a unique art piece with rocks for your home. These rocks can be beautiful gifts for your close ones. But what type of surfaces can you paint rock with tempera paint?

You will get rocks in all shapes and sizes, from smooth river rocks to jagged garden stones. However, you should not worry about the rocks’ surface because you can apply tempera paint more or less on every rock, whether it is smooth or a little cracked. But if the rock is severely scraggy, you will not want to paint it. 

If you want to add a certain design, such as a cat or a butterfly, on the stone, you need to look for a stone that can accommodate the design. Finding the right stone is important before painting.  

How To Paint Rock With Tempera Paint? 

Follow these guidelines when painting a rock with tempera paint.

Step 1: Choose Your Rock

The first and most important step is to find the right rock. If you choose beautiful rocks, you will get an even finish after you complete your painting. What I mean by beautiful rocks is that you need to choose rocks that are free of blemishes or cracks. A smooth rock will create a more even surface after the paint is applied. You can find your desired rocks at your local craft store and even in your own backyard. 

Step 2: Clean the Rock

You will need to clean the rock properly before you start painting. Use a mild detergent and warm water to remove any dirt or debris from the surface of the rock. If you buy rocks from your craft store, you might need not wash them. However, there is nothing wrong with checking them twice.

As the rock doesn’t possess an absorbent surface, the paint will have a difficult time adhering better to the surface. You can sand the surface well before applying the paint so that the surface becomes smooth and the paint adheres better. 

After you wash the rock, let the rock air-dry completely before moving on to the next step. 

Cleaning Rocks for Tempera Painting

Step 3: Prepare the Paint

Once the rock is ready after drying, it’s time to prepare the tempera paint. To prepare the paint, start by mixing the paint with a small amount of water to create a thin, even consistency. You need to mix water until you get a creamy consistency of the paint.

Don’t make the paint too thin or too thick. You may need to add a few drops of water at a time until the paint reaches the desired thickness.

Step 4: Apply the Paint 

Now that you get the desired consistency of the paint, you are ready to begin painting. Use a small brush to apply tempera paint to the rock. Be sure to cover the entire surface with an even layer of paint.

After the paint dries on the rock, you need to check if you need another coat of paint. If you think the paint looks very thin on the surface, you can add another coat. Usually, two to three coats of paint are recommended. However, applying the thin coat is ideal as this enhances the adhesion of the paint. 

Tempera paint offers a matt finish; however, if you want your tempera paint to look shiny, you can make tempera paint shiny. 

After the paint dries, you can add different designs or patterns to the rock. 

Step 5: Let the Paint Dry

After you have added the design, set the rock aside and let the paint dry completely. Tempera paint is very fast drying. However, depending on the thickness of the paint, it may take longer to dry the paint to the touch. 

How Long Does Tempera Paint Last On Rock Surfaces?

As tempera paint is not permanent, you may wonder how long the paint will last on the rock. Actually, it depends on several factors. 

If you apply the paint on a smooth stone or rock, the paint will not peel off easily. The longevity of the paint also depends on the surface preparation and environmental conditions. If the painted rocks come in contact with water, it is highly likely that the paint will peel off. 

As we mentioned earlier, when applying tempera paint to a rock surface, it’s important to prepare the surface properly. This includes cleaning the rock to remove any dirt, debris, or other contaminants. The rock should also be sanded to create a smooth surface for the paint to adhere to. And always make sure to apply the paint on polished rock.

Once the surface is prepared, the tempera paint can be applied. Tempera paint should be applied in thin layers to ensure the best adhesion and longevity. Make sure to allow each layer to dry completely before applying the next layer.

Even after following the steps, you need to consider if you are using quality paint. If the paint is of bad quality, the paint will flake and peel off. Generally, if the painted rock is kept away from direct sunlight, humidity, and extreme temperatures, the paint will last for several years.

Is Tempera Paint Suitable For Outdoor Rock Painting?

If you want to keep your painted rocks outdoors, tempera paint is not an ideal paint to do that. Because this paint is not permanent and highly washable. If your painted surface gets exposed to water, the paint will peel off. 

There are ways to make tempera paint permanent. Apart from making the paint permanent, you can use a clear acrylic sealer on the surface so that paint lasts a little longer. After making the paint permanent, you can use tempera paint for outdoor rock painting.

Which Paint Is Better For Rock Painting? 

When painting the rock, it is better to choose the right paint. For painting rock, craft acrylic, or tempera paint is the best option. You can also use any water-based paint. Acrylic paint is water-resistant and can withstand wear and tear. You can use acrylic paint if you want to keep your rocks outdoors. 

Tempera paint is a great choice if you want to keep the painted rocks indoors. If you want to keep your tempera-painted rocks outdoors, you must seal the paint after painting. Otherwise, the paint will peel off when it comes in contact with water. 

acrylic paint on rocks

The Final Thought 

Now, you know that it is possible to paint rocks with tempera paint. However, you need to follow some precautions before painting your rocks. Preparing the surface is important. Also, you need to get your paint to the desired consistency to get the paint to adhere better to the surface. 

Tempera paint is better if you keep your painted rocks indoors. For outdoor usage, you need to use a sealer to make the paint last longer.