Have you seen a beautiful dot mandala design on Pinterest or YouTube and wondered “how did they do that?” What if we told you it could be done in 6 easy steps! Mandala painted rocks are a beautiful addition to your rock painting repertoire and this step-by-step rock tutorial will walk you through how to paint your own dot mandala. We add inspirational words to our designs because we like the variety of positive messages we can put out into the world once our rocks are prepped and ready to be hidden. Learn more about how we follow the journey of rocks we place around town to be found as a random act of kindness.
Start with a smooth stone
If there was ever a time to have smooth rock for painting, now would be the time. Those striking mandala designs you see tend to look that way because of the oval-shaped smooth stone.
We offer these tips for where to find rocks for painting. It’s worth a quick read because the post also highlights places where not to pick up rocks. If you don't have time to look for the perfect stone, these pink stones for painting have a nice and smooth surface fantastic for painting.
If you see the stones found at many craft stores (often in a netted bag), those can work. However, they’re generally smaller and do often have a waxy finish. It’s important you prep those stones before painting, otherwise your paint can chip off. Follow these tips for how to prep craft store rocks for painting.
Let's get started painting mandala painted rocks!
Since this was our first try painting a dotted mandala design on a rock, we wanted to hold off on investing in special tools until we got the hang of it. We used our favorite paint pens, a combination of Posca extra fine point paint pens and Posca medium point paint pens, and they worked really well!
The process outlined below took about 15 minutes. Think about if you had a bunch of rocks with a base color. Keep them in a bag, along with some paint pens and you now have the perfect activity to pass time if waiting at the doctor’s office or while binge-watching your favorite TV show!
That said, if you’d like to try a dotting method only using acrylic paints, these Apple Barrel acrylic paints are our go-to because they’re inexpensive, come in a variety of colors and brush on smooth. As for dotting tools, these say they’re made for nail art. But, they’re FANTASTIC tools for dotting on painted rocks!
Choose a base color
The best way to think about your dot mandala design is in terms of a theme of colors. This is where you can be completely creative in your approach. Some dot mandala designs follow a tight color palette with little variation between colors — simply shades of the same color. Other designs feature a rainbow of colors. It’s really up to you! Pick that color and paint the entire rock. This will serve as your base color.
Add an inspirational word
If you’d rather have a design that’s all dots, feel free to skip this step. We look for any opportunity to sprinkle some positive vibes into the world, so use rock painting as a vehicle to inspire others. If you join GoRock.com, you can get an ID to follow the journey of your painted rock as it travels and spreads kindness! Learn more about why people all over the world are using GoRock to track painted rocks and have their painted rocks go toward donations to charity.
If you do choose to write a word, try this font generator. Enter the word, click submit and your word is presented in a ton of fun styles.
Let's add some dots!
This is the fun part — making dots! We decided to make this rock a combination of light blue, purple and grey. To get started with the dots, choose one of your accent colors and start drawing large dots. There’s really no right or wrong way to do this. It helps if dots are spaced out a bit to leave room for the other color dots.
For drawing the larger dots, this is where the Posca medium point paint pen comes in handy as the larger tip size allows you to move through this step pretty quickly (and, how we were able to complete this rock in 15 minutes!)
Switch colors and keep adding dots
Once you feel like you have nice distribution of your first colored dots, move on to a second color and repeat the process (keeping with the larger sized dots).
Honey, I Shrunk the Dots!
Raise of hands if you get this movie reference. 🙋
By now, your design should start to be looking more like a dotted mandala. We’re using an approach where dots are sort of scattered throughout the rock. Many dot mandala designs start at the center of the stone and feature concentric circles with varying sized dots with different colors. Again, it’s really up to you!
We’re now on our third color, grey, and are drawing those dots slightly smaller than the light blue and purple dots. The idea here being we’re starting to fill in more of the base color with the colors of the dots and trying to fill in the rock with dots. This is where you have to just see what color dots make sense where. For example, we tried not to have too many of one color dot next to the same color. Drawing smaller dots of the same color next to a larger dot worked fine because the difference in size created a bit of a distraction to the eye and blended everything together to still make for a nice design.
Up until this point, if you’ve been using the Posca medium point paint pens, now is the time to switch over to the Posca extra fine point paint pens. The goal with this step is to fill in the rest of the rock with smaller dots (while still leaving a bit of the background color to show through). As you can see, we even filled in around the word. Add as many or as few dots as you would like to achieve the final look you’re going for.
VOILA! You did it!
We’ll admit that at first, we were intimidated trying a mandala design. But, after taking a step back and thinking about the process step by step, it seemed totally doable! This design was done fairly quickly to simply illustrate the process. With more time and attention to detail, you can really create a masterpiece on your stone.
Be creative! Switch up the word, the style of lettering, the color of the background and colors of the dots. We’ve since tried more designs, like the one below, using this technique and the more we practice, the easier it gets.