Painted rocks are attractive and creative backyard decorations, whether you make them yourself or have a creative friend. But leaving these rocks outside can put them at risk for moisture damn it. If you are looking for how to waterproof painted rocks, you’re in the right place.
In this article, we will cover the process of painting your rocks for outdoor use as well as some helpful products that will ensure your rocks stand the test of time. If you are looking to waterproof your existing painted rocks or hope to waterproof your upcoming art project, let’s dive in and learn more now.
Table of Contents
- What Type of Paint Do You Use on Garden Rocks?
- Is Acrylic Paint Waterproof?
- How Do You Waterproof Painted Rocks for Outdoor Use?
- 5 Best Waterproof Sealers for Painted Rocks
- Get Creative!
What Type of Paint Do You Use on Garden Rocks?
Acrylic paint is the best paint to use on garden rocks. It is water resistant, affordable, and dries smoothly on many different types of surfaces. Acrylic paint is readily available in many stores, and can be found in a variety of finishes, such as matte, satin, and more.
Acrylic paint is also available in smaller sizes, perfect for completing craft projects or other painting Hobbies. You can find this style of paint in virtually every color, or you can combine different shades to make the exact color you’re hoping for.
Water based paint is less likely to give you the full coverage you will be looking for when painting rocks, and it will not be able to withstand the elements. Most other varieties of paint will also be more expensive, but you can decide for yourself.
Is Acrylic Paint Waterproof?
Acrylic paint is known for being water resistant, but not entirely waterproof. Depending on the amount of rainfall or moisture present in your backyard, your painted rock may fade much sooner than you expect. Water can damage and alter your artwork quickly.
However, acrylic paints can self-seal projects from the majority of damage caused by water. Naturally, water-based paint will run when exposed to water, so this variety of paint is much less useful for painting outdoor rocks.
Choosing a clear coat or waterproof spray to use in conjunction with your acrylic paint is the best way to ensure that your artwork lasts for years to come.
How Do You Waterproof Painted Rocks for Outdoor Use?
Painting rocks is an easy activity that anyone can do at any age. Not only is it affordable and convenient, it leaves you with artwork that lasts a lifetime- so long as you take the time to waterproof your rock. Here’s how:
1. Choose Your Rock
A rock that is flat and smooth makes for a better painting surface overall. You may have a certain design in mind and would like the rock to support that design, but choosing something without very many holes or imperfections is a good way to go
2. Paint Your Chosen Design Onto Your Rock Surface Using Acrylic Paint
You can choose a variety of colors, finishes, and paintbrush techniques to accomplish this. Have fun with this, and consider where you want your painted rock to go in your landscaped backyard or garden. You can paint rocks to use as garden markers for different plants, decorative stepping stones, or simply creative accents throughout your outdoor living space.
3. Make Sure Your Design is Dry
Before you can move on to the waterproofing step, you need to make sure that your acrylic paint has fully dried. If your design is still wet, you run the risk of smudging it or otherwise messing it up when you spray waterproof spray on it. Your project will no doubt be ruined if you are using an outdoor sealer that requires you to paint it on with a brush- let your rock dry for at least 4 hours, depending on your local weather conditions.
4. Apply Your Waterproof Sealer
Many waterproof sealers use an aerosol can to distribute their products, making your projects even easier to complete. However, if you are using a sealer that requires you to paint it on, use a clean and dry paint brush to do so. Make sure the rock is fully coated, and you can always apply another coat if necessary.
5 Best Waterproof Sealers for Painted Rocks
Looking for a waterproof sealer for your painted rocks? Here are some of our top recommended products to get your craft project finished.
Made in the USA, FolkArt Outdoor Sealer is one of many painted rock sealing options out there. This convenient sealer comes in an 8 ounce bottle, which is perfect for the average hobbyist or craft enthusiast. This product is easy to clean up as well, making it perfect for painting with the kids.
This brand makes a variety of outdoor sealers in different finishes, such as matte, high-gloss, and satin. Is designed to be painted on multiple surfaces, including terracotta, metal, cement, wood, and, of course, rocks. It is only branded as an outdoor sealer, not as an entirely waterproof one, however.
This particular product is perfect if you are trying to preserve your specific paint color and design. The finish goes on clear, and it is designed to prevent yellowing or discoloration from UV rays. FolkArt makes a wide variety of acrylic paints as well, so you can check out their many colors and products on Amazon.
This product from Rust-Oleum is perfect if you are looking for something quick and easy. It is found in a convenient aerosol can, and supposedly dries in 20 minutes. This can size also covers up to 12 square feet, making it a long-lasting product for waterproofing your painted rocks.
The finish when using this waterproof spray is glossy, but not enough to cover up your hard work. It is oil-based, which means it will have a slight smell and should be applied in well ventilated or outdoor settings only.
While this spray mentions that it is UV-resistant, it may not be entirely waterproof. However, with painted rocks, you don’t have to worry as much about your painted surface decaying or experiencing water damage. Plus, you can always add another coat of this spray or refinish your rocks at a later date should you notice any issues.
Mod Podge has long been a staple in the crafting community for its wide variety of products, and this outdoor waterbase sealer is no exception. It is designed to preserve your artwork and make it water resistant for outdoor use.
Mod Podge is non-toxic, making it perfect when painting rocks with your younger family members. It goes on without much gloss, and gives you a perfect clear coat to protect your rock’s surface. While some reviewers mention that the thickness of the sealer is off-putting, you can easily spread the product around if used sparingly.
Speaking of being difficult to apply, Mod Podge has thought of this and has made a very similar product in a handy aerosol can. This spray is acrylic based, much like your rock paint, so it will resist water and dry in a matte finish, protecting your project for years to come.
For both of these products, Mod Podge recommends applying multiple coats. They have designed their products with this in mind, as both dry quickly and allow you to add multiple coats in a single day.
Amazon recommends this Krylon Clear Gloss product, and I can see why for many reasons. It dries clear, resists UV rays and prevents yellowing, and is dry to the touch in 10 minutes. The convenient aerosol can makes it easy to apply again and again should you need to.
While the product description says this gloss is moisture resistant, many reviewers seem to believe that it is completely waterproof. This is a good sign if you intend to use this product on your rocks in a particularly rainy area, as you will likely not have to reseal them every few months.
You will need to let this product sit and completely dry before putting it outside, at least five hours according to the product description. However, once it is dry to the touch, you can add more coats. The thinner the better, as this product can dry a bit thick if you’re not careful.
Rust-Oleum is an ideal brand for water protection, and this clear enamel spray is no different. Arriving in a convenient aerosol can, you should have plenty of product to cover your painted rocks and give them a protective coating that lasts for some time.
This spray is designed to resist the elements and be primarily waterproof, with some UV protection built-in as well. It sprays on easily and dries with a classy matte finish, so that you can preserve the gloss and shine of your paint.
The only trouble with this product is that you will need to let it sit at least two hours, if not up to 6 hours. It is recommended that you wait between drying times before adding multiple coats. However, this brand is well-known for water resistance, and it will definitely seal your painted rocks.
Painting and waterproofing rocks for your outdoor living area and garden can be a great way to harness your creative energy. Choosing to seal them with a clear coat of waterproof spray or paint will ensure that your artwork lasts a lifetime.
Have you painted garden rocks before? What are some of your favorite techniques or project ideas? Let us know in the comments!
Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.