How to Paint and Track Rocks

Know how to paint rocks, but new to

Just follow your normal process to paint a rock. The only difference with GoRock is that once it's painted, Get an ID at Add that ID to the back of your rock and tell people to visit Now you're tracking your rock!

Have questions? Check out our FAQYoutube channel, or get an overview at How it Works. Or just send us a message.

New to rock painting?

Get ready to have some fun with this simple guide to rock painting at!



Step 1. GET your rock

Rocks can be found at garden centers or landscape suppliers. Of course, if you have rocks laying around your yard, those work fine, too - just refrain from taking rocks from other public areas (parks, hiking trails, your neighbor’s yard).


  • Many garden centers will let you fill a 5-gal bucket with rocks for a few bucks.
  • Given the rock is your blank canvas, a smooth finish typically works best.

Step 2. PREP your rock

Make sure your rock is clean and dry before painting. We suggest the old fashioned method of rinsing them in water and letting them air dry.

Note: Some sources online suggest methods such as boiling your rocks (to clean) or baking them on a low temp in the oven (to dry). GoRock does not support these methods as they may be very dangerous.

Step 3. PAINT your rock

Acrylic craft paint works the best (e.g. those 2 oz. bottles of acrylic paint at any craft store). Paint pens work well for when you want to add fine details or words. Be creative and experiment!


  • Depending on what color you’re painting your rock, priming the rock (all white, or all black) might help so you’re not painting layer after layer to achieve a solid color.
  • Try using a toothpick for adding small detail to your design, or if painting dot mandalas.
  • As tempting as it might be, try to avoid using spray paint - a water-based, non-toxic acrylic paint is friendlier for our environment.
  • Short on ideas? Use the shape of the rock, think about your interests from present and past, focus on your favorite colors, or check us out on Pinterest to get inspiration.

Step 4. GET AN ID for your rock

Visit and become a member so you can get a rockID. The rockID from (unique to each rock) is how the journey of a rock is tracked on a map and what makes it easy and interesting for people to post when they find your rock.

Select Get an ID to be assigned a unique rockID. This is the ID you’ll write or include on a label that’ll be sealed on the back of the rock.


  • When entering the rock’s location when you create a rock, use the location where the rock is painted and not where it’s initially hid. You can use a specific location, or something more generic like a street or even city. Keep in mind that this location will be visible to visitors who are viewing your rocks.
  • If you’re handwriting the ID on your rock, make sure it’s legible - this is how others who find your rock will identify the rock when they enter the ID on

Step 5. ADD THE ID to your rock

Once you have received an ID from, add the ID to the back of your rock. This can be simply done by hand writing the ID along with something like this:

"Visit to see where this rock has been. Then, re-hide it! This rock’s ID: XXXXXXX"

This is how others who find the rock know what to do with it, and how the rock will be tracked.

So, when you’re done, your rock might look something like this:


  • If you’re handwriting the ID on your rock, make sure it’s legible - this is how others who find your rock will identify the rock when they enter the ID on
  • If in doubt, print it out! We've provided these labels which may be printed and adhered to your rocks.

Based on the size of your rock, you may want to use one of these two formats*, large and small: - rock labels (small) - rock labels (large)

*Clicking on the link will download a .doc file.

The best way to adhere the label to the back of the rock is by using a decoupage medium (for example, Modge Podge). Simply brush the area of your rock where you’d like to adhere the label, then brush a little more on top of the label to ensure you get a good seal.


  • Try adding the label to a part of the rock where the label will lay as flat as possible. This allows you to get a better seal around the label and reduce the chance of water seeping underneath the label and, over time, increasing the chances of the label peeling away from the rock.
  • You may have to repeat the process of applying your decoupage medium to ensure a nice, clean seal. Just let your rock dry completely before brushing on more decoupage, otherwise it’ll get tacky (and, no one likes tacky, unless you’re trying to win an ugly Christmas sweater contest).

When you're finished, you'll rock will look something like this:

Step 6. SEAL your rock

You’ve just spent time painting your rock and are getting ready to set it on a journey - protecting it will be key to its ability to weather the elements outdoors.

Once you’ve added a label to your rock, you’ll want to seal the entire rock.


  • Remember, your rock will travel and will endure a variety of weather conditions - wet, extreme heat or cold, etc - so, it’s important to cover the entire rock, including the label.
  • Any clear enamel spray or brushable clear varnish works. Try several light coats with drying in between vs globbing it on in one pass. These are some of our favorite rock painting supplies
  • Make sure the rock is fully dry, otherwise it’ll get tacky and risk the label pulling off when the rock is set down. Depending on the humidity in your area, this could take a few days, so be patient!

Step 7. HIDE your rock!

Now you'll get notified when your rock is found and you can visit to watch it travel!


  • Be patient. Sometimes it can take a little while for your rock to be marked as found.
  • Hide many rocks to see how they all travel to different places. Tips on where to hide rocks (and, where not to hide them).

Have questions? Check out our FAQYoutube channel, or get an overview at How it Works. Or just send us a message.