It’s gardening season! As you plant those seeds and seedlings into the ground, it can get a little confusing trying to keep track of what was planted in which place. Garden markers are a great way to keep everything organized, and these painted rocks are a cute, frugal way to mark your garden!
DIY Painted Rocks Garden Markers
Painting the rocks was a fun project. I think what I enjoy most about these, is that they are very inexpensive, and can be used for years. The bright colors make them easy to identify in the garden, and because they are painted with eco-friendly paint, they are also a non-toxic option.
Planning Your Garden
Before you begin painting rocks, the first step is to plan out what you are going to plant in your garden. Make a list of what you’ll want to plant, and how many markers you’ll need.
Related: Planning a Spring Vegetable Garden
Picking Out Your Rocks
When picking out your rocks, there are a few things to consider. First, be sure to pick out flat, smooth, river rocks. This will make it easier to paint, and the flat surface will allow more room, so that they are easier to see in the garden.
Also consider the shape of the rocks. Longer, thinner rocks can be used for vegetables like peas, carrots, corn and cucumbers. Round rocks can be used for potatoes, tomatoes or melons. The shape of the rocks will help form the fruits and vegetables.
Once you have picked out your rocks, wash them with mild soap and water to remove any dirt or debris before painting.
Gathering Your Supplies
Once you have your garden planned, and your rocks picked out, the next step is to get everything you need together for the painting project. Below is a list of the supplies you will need.
- Rocks – For this project I’m using 5 river rocks, in different shapes and sizes
- Paint – I’m using chalk paint because it’s non-toxic and very easy to use. I prefer to use Country Chic Chalk Paint because their product is eco-friendly and high quality. Be sure to gather the colors you need for the vegetables and fruits you would like to paint. Use my code for 10% off your order: Lavender10.
- Artist Brushes – It’s important to use high quality brushes to get the detail you need with a quality finish. I used Country Chic’s Artist Brushes, but you can also find artist brushes online, at hardware stores and craft stores.
- Paint Pen – This is the only “toxic” product I’m using. You will use this to write the name of the vegetable or fruit onto the rock.
- Tough Coat – This is a sealant by Country Chic Paint that does an excellent job sealing and can really take the harsh elements of being outside. You can also use an acrylic sealer, which you can find online or at craft stores.
- Small Foam Brush – You’ll use this to apply the tough coat.
Sketching Out Your Design
In this step you will use a pencil and lightly sketch out what vegetable or fruit design you would like to paint on each rock.
This is an optional step, but unless you’re an accomplished painter, I suggest sketching them out. This will help guide you through the painting process. The final product won’t look exactly like the sketch, but will keep you focused on where you need to paint and what colors to use.
Painting Your Rocks
Now comes the fun part! Paint your rocks in layers. The first layer of paint is going to be the largest color on the rock. For instance, I chose to paint a rock like a tomato, so I would use red first before adding the green at the top.
Chalk paint dries in about an hour, so you can begin painting your second coat at that time. Paint the second largest color for each fruit and vegetable. For the peas, this was the inside of the pea pod.
Lastly, you’ll paint the smallest amount of color at the end. For the carrot, is was the dark orange stripes.
This can be as detailed or as simple as you would like.
Labeling Each Rock
Once your paint has dried completely, use a black paint pen and write the name of each fruit or vegetable on its corresponding painted rock. I like to use my “teacher printing” when writing the names to ensure they come out looking at neatly and legibly as possible.
Leave the rocks to dry overnight.
Sealing the Rocks
After all the paint as dried fully, it’s time to seal! Mix your tough coat thoroughly, but do not shake as that will create bubbles. Using a foam brush, apply the tough coat over the painted portion of the rock. Leave the rocks to dry for about an hour.
Apply one more coat of tough coat to the rocks and allow to dry completely before use!
If you are using a acrylic aerosol sealer, spray two coats of sealer onto the rocks (allowing the rocks to dry between each coat). The rocks should be ready to use once they have dried completely.
Caring for the Rock Painted Garden Markers
These little rocks should last a long time. However, because they are exposed to sunshine, water and potentially harsh weather conditions, some basic maintenance will really help them last longer.
Be sure to remove them from the garden once the season is over and clean them of dirt and debris. Before planting in the spring, apply another coat of sealant. This should really extend the life of these painted garden markers so that you can enjoy them year after year!
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