5 Best Places to Find Perfect Stones for Painting

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Flat stones for painting are the first of the painted rock supplies needed to get started making your own designs. These little canvases are ideal for painting colorful designs, limited only by your imagination. You can find rocks, buy them, or you can even make them yourself!

A mix of animal-painted and unpainted flat stones.
Learn the best places to find smooth stones for rock painting.

Why would I need to buy stones to paint?

Sure, some of us live in places that we can pop outside and find a few rocks to paint. But lots of us don’t have that option. And what about specialty rocks? Perfectly round stones?

Since I’ve been painting rocks for years, I’ve needed oodles of them. I definitely can’t snag them all from my landscaping, so I’ve needed to find some outside sources. I’ve tried river rocks from plenty of places and found some specialty stones I really love to use. Let’s take a look at all the places to get rocks for painting.

Finding Free Rocks to Paint

Finding rocks outdoors is free*. If you have a public river or beach nearby, or are out on a neighborhood walk, you can find some fun flat stones in different sizes. You can even spackle and sand bumpier rocks to fill in the divots and make them smooth.

*Just make sure it’s legal to collect them in your location, or your free rocks may cost you big bucks in the form of a hefty fine.

Video: Where to Find Rocks to Paint

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See this guide as a Get Rocks to Paint video by clicking the photo or caption link.

Where to Buy Flat Rocks for Crafts

My favorite place to get smooth river rocks for painting is the landscape supply store. It’s where I get most of the rocks I paint. These stores sell river rocks in bulk, and usually sort by size. Bring a bucket or plastic bin and ask if you can choose your own.

You can find some interesting colored and textured rocks by looking through the piles. Then let the pretty, natural stone texture show through by skipping the base coat. One of the benefits of buying rocks from landscaping stores is that they usually charge by weight, so you’re only paying for rocks you like.

Smooth rocks, paint jars, and fishbowl with paintbrushes in water. Rock painting scene with teal fabric background.

You can also buy rocks to paint in large bags at home improvement stores in the garden section. They may be less visually interesting than the naturally speckled ones, but they can be dressed up with a pretty painted base coat. They’re also fairly convenient, because you can pick up a bag when you’re at the store for something else.

Rock tip: Don’t discount the stones that aren’t perfect flat ovals, they can be used for rock painting too.  I turned this triangle stone into a snarky shark painted rock. It would also have made a cute slice of pizza.

Hands holding a triangle shaped rock, with other rocks in background on white table.

Craft stores or big online stores also sell specific smooth stones for crafts. These stones are usually on the smaller side, but they’re good for finding specific colors or types of rock. Beware of rocks with a wax coating though, because your paint won’t stick. You’d have to spend time removing the coating before you can paint.

Specialty Stones for Painting

For specialty rocks like Santorini Stones or flat rock slices, there are many independent rock sellers on Etsy. I don’t have the option to find or slice these on my own, so I have purchased them for specific projects. These specialty stones are super-fun to try, plus they’re shipped directly to my doorstep. Win!

Hands holding large white Santorini Stone for painting.

Santorini stones are a special, sparkly, white marble from Greece. I definitely can’t find these in my backyard! They’re sliced and tumbled to create these smooth, flat pieces that are ideal for painted rock art. You can even get them cut into tiny circles and hexagons. I usually find my Santorini Stones on Etsy from independent rock sellers.

River rock slices also make a unique surface for stone painting art. The speckled surface shows, and the level surface is easy to paint on. They’re a little harder to find, since the rock shops sell them intermittently. If they’re not currently listed, you can often message the sellers to see when the rock slices will be in stock or to make a custom order.

Hand holding a slice of river rock used for making painted rock art. More white and speckled rock slices in background.

How to Make Rocks from Cement

Make my own rocks? Whaaaaat?

Yes, you can make your own rocks to paint! It’s as easy as a mix and a silicone rock mold. The biggest positive to making your own rocks is that you are in control of the size and shape of the finished stones. Make rocks that are perfect circles for mandala painting, or more naturally shaped stones for other designs.

Grab a mold in the size and shape you like, (or even replicate your favorite stone using molding putty to make a custom mold) and some quick-set concrete from the home improvement store. Then follow this easy tutorial for making your own rocks from Ruffles & Rainboots.

Hand holding a yellow sunbeam painted rock over a white silicone rock mold.

What is your favorite type of stone to paint on? Let me know in the comments. Enjoy painting on your new pretty stones!

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A mix of animal painted and unpainted flat stones. White text on blue background at bottom reads


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