Skip to main content

Wichita Falls Living Magazine

Painting Rocks

I am absolutely in love with cacti and succulents. They are just so beautiful and each plant is so unique. This past weekend we decided to make our own cactus garden ... with rocks. This is a very simple activity that the whole family can enjoy together.

Smooth Clean Rocks

You will need smooth clean rocks.  When you are choosing the rocks, take into consideration the size and shape of the pot you will use to feature your faux cacti.  It will be a more interesting display if you choose different sizes and shapes.  

Wash them with plain water and a little dish soap, if you like.  Dry on a paper towel.


Pot/Container For The Cactus Display, Acrylic Craft Paint and Brushes

  • 3 different green paint colors ( or as many as you like)
  • yellow paint 
  • red paint
  • white paint
  • a variety of paintbrushes

Inexpensive acrylic craft paint is perfect for painting the rocks.  You can use the paint straight from the bottle or mix to create other colors.

By using three different greens, you can tie all the cacti together with color even though they are painted much differently.

A round brush, a flat brush, and a detail brush are the brushes that were used for painting the cacti.  If you have these, you are set.  If not, a variety pack of paint brushes is usually inexpensive and should have all the brushes you will need.  

Filler For Rock Garden Container

You need to fill the pot with some type of small pebbles or tiny rocks.  You can cover the hole with a flat rock or a piece of paper towel or a circle cut from a coffee filter. Initially, I planned to display these in the house, so a little square of paper towel covers the hole to keep any dust from the pea gravel in check.  The pea gravel I used was purchased from a local hardware store.

Polyurethane, Sealer, or Varnish

You can use FolkArt Outdoor Glass Sealer or another of your choice. Since the cactus garden featured in this post is going to be inside, a sealer is not necessary.  If you choose, you can add a gloss, matte, or satin finish to your finished cactus.  It would be wise to use something like the FolkArt Outdoor Gloss Sealer if you are planning on displaying your garden outside.  It provides maximum durability for outdoors.

How To Paint The Rock Cactus Garden

The first thing you need to do is choose the base paint color for your cactus. Obviously, you will need a container of water to wet your brushes, dilute the paint if necessary, and also, to clean your brushes. You’ll need a palette, a plastic plate, or even a paper plate to mix paint colors. A paper towel will come in handy, too.

Paint The Entire Rock With A Base Coat
There are a few ways you can accomplish painting the base coat. The paint dried very quickly.  It is easy to hold one end of the rock, paint almost the entire rock, and hold it until the opposite end is dry. Then, turn the rock around, and paint the rest of the rock.

Another way to base coat the rock is to paint one side, allow it to dry, and then, paint the opposite side.  If you do it, either way, make sure the paint on the edge feathers out and you don’t end up with globs of paint creating a raised line where the two coats meet.

If the first coat is too watered down and thin, don’t worry. You can paint another coat on top of the first. Just allow the first coat to dry completely. Pick up another rock and paint it while the first rock dries.

Paint The Details

There are so many ways you can paint these cactus rocks!  Each is simply made by painting a line, thick or thin, making X’s or asterisks, or dots.  How easy is that?


Arranging The Cacti In The Pots

Believe it or not, these rocks are just set and nestled into the pebbles.  Place the large cactus first. Then, add the smaller painted rocks.  

These little rock cacti are so adorable, you will love painting them!  You can let your imagination run wild.  It’s a little surprising how realistic they look from a little bit of a distance.  The details on them are so simple, anyone can paint these cacti!

Upcoming Events Near You

No Events in the next 21 days.

Spring 2021 Issue






Weekly Digital Issue