The BEST sealer for painted rocks

sealer for painted rocks

We actually discovered this sealer by accident. We're in the midwest (Ohio, United States) where we have a good amount of precipitation. When we first started painting rocks, we used a clear spray sealer, which worked okay, but we weren't crazy about the fumes. And, there were many days where we couldn't spray our rocks because it would either be raining or snowing outside. We also noticed that our rocks were sticking together when using the spray sealer. This was especially the case during hot summer months and we'd keep some rocks in the car (you know, for rock drops!) and we'd go to grab a rock and it'd be stuck to another rock, peeling away some of our painted design. No fun!

We heard about a brush-on sealer that could be used indoors and just had to try it. SO glad we did! Here are all the reasons we love DecoArt DuraClear gloss varnish as a sealer for painted rocks.


No smelly fumes!

The #1 reason we love this sealer for painted rocks is the lack of smelly fumes, which means ... we can use it year-round indoors! Before finding this sealer, winter time and cold, snowy weather meant our rock painting hobby slowed down. Not anymore with DecoArt DuraClear gloss varnish!

sealer for painted rocks used indoors


Doesn't smear paint pens*

*Why the asterisk? We did experience some smearing when applying this sealer directly to the rock after using fine tip Sharpie markers, which was a bummer because we love using Sharpies for all sorts of crafts. But, we've found that Sharpie markers don't work so well for painted rocks. (Psst, if you've had a different experience, please comment below and let us know about your technique!)

When using Sharpies, the way we avoided the smearing was to first apply a thin layer of Modge Podge, let fully dry, then brush on the DuraClear Gloss Varnish as a final finish. It worked. But, it was an extra step.

INSTEAD, we love using the Posca extra fine tip paint marker pens, especially in conjunction with the DecoArt gloss varnish. In our opinion, they're like the peanut butter & jelly of the rock painting world — they just go together! They work especially well for when it comes time to label our rocks. We just write a quick message and an ID from (so we can follow our rock's journey), seal then hide!

Quick video to show how we wrote on a rock using Posca paint pens, then 10 minutes later sealed the rock and... no smearing!

Holds up to weather

We get it... some rocks you just can't let go of. We have little painted rock gardens around our house and they just make us smile.

The rocks in this photo have been outdoors for over a year and have endured hot summers, rainy weather and plenty of snow. The colors are still vibrant and the finish still glossy.

sealer for painted rocks


Modge Podge is NOT great as a final sealer

After hearing from rock painters saying their rocks are "cloudy" or "sticky", then asking what they were using and finding out it was Modge Podge, we feel it's worth noting that Modge Podge is not great as a final sealer.

Modge Podge works really well if you're working on decoupage projects or trying to stick a paper label to your rock (but, you'll want to finish with a different sealer). Modge Podge is basically a glue. So, think about setting that glue-covered rock outside and it rains. Unfortunately, over time, the water breaks down the Modge Podge and can leave a painted rock all cloudy.

Just thought it was worth mentioning to help you avoid this mishap!

Give this sealer a try!

Paint your rock, then follow its journey of spreading joy!

Paying it forward, one painted rock at a time. is a global rock painting community where:

  • see on a map where your painted rocks travel and spread kindness
  • be notified when your painted rocks are found
  • read stories from those who have found your painted rocks
  • it's easy for rock finders to post they've found a rock (no social media required)
  • your painted rocks lead to donations to charity. Learn more about our Rock It Forward program where we're paying it forward, one painted rock at a time.


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4 thoughts on “The BEST sealer for painted rocks”

  1. I’ve used this sealer for a few years. Love it. I tend to put 6-10 coats of the sealer on to get a super high gloss finish that is very durable. I also use this sealant for baked Sculpty sculptures that I’ve painted with craft acrylic paints. Those I coat with 10-15 layers. They come out quite well, if you like high gloss.

  2. This is awesome. I used to use a varnish I had but then it started to smear my paint when I glazed them. Does this smear the apple barrel paint at all? I would love and alternative to the spray varnish cus I have asthma and the fumes for the spray varnish is harsh on me.

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