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How to Waterproof Painted Rocks?

how to waterproof painted rocks
Why do you need to learn how to waterproof painted rocks? Well, you don’t need to, especially if you do not mind making temporary works of art. However, you might want to do it if you do not wish for the art that you have worked on for hours to just fade after one rainy night.

By waterproofing (also called sealing) painted rocks, you are providing the paint underneath with a protective layer. This coating prevents water from seeping through, thus preventing fading. This will help the painted rocks you meticulously placed in your garden last for many more years to come.

What to Prepare:

  • Your painted rock or any other item that you have to place outside and expose to the weather
  • Your choice of sealer – There are spray-on and paint-on sealers. Choose whichever one you like.
  • An old paintbrush – This is if you will be using a paint-on sealer.
  • Cardboard or sheets of newspaper to protect your work surface

Here are the steps on how to waterproof painted rocks. You don’t have to worry as it is quite a simple task.

How to Use a Spray-on Sealer?

Step 1: Prepare the work surface. It is highly advisable to work in a well-ventilated area. Ideally, you should do this outside. Place a sheet of newspaper or piece of cardboard large enough for your stones.

Step 2: Position the stones on your work surface. If you will be working on multiple stones at once, place them on the work surfaces with around 3 to 5 inches of space in between them. This will allow you to angle the spray can to reach the undersides of the stones.

Step 3: Spray thin coats. Hold the spray can around eight inches away from the stones and start spraying away from the stones and then go over them in a gradual, smooth motion. Don’t spray the stones individually. This will only cause uneven coats.

The first coat should be quite light. Just two or three passes should be enough. Wait for the first coat to dry completely before hitting the rocks with a second coat. Make sure to rotate the cardboard work surface so you can spray the rocks from another angle.

Step 4: Spray the undersides. Once the waterproof sealer is completely dry, turn the rocks over and repeat the previous steps on the underside of the rocks. The second coat does not need to be quite as thick as that on the top.

Step 5: Let the stones dry completely. Allow the stones to air-dry in a well-ventilated area. Make sure that there are no falling leaves or debris that can fall on the stones while they are drying. After the drying process, you can proceed to place the stones wherever you plan on putting them.

How to Use a Paint-on Sealer?

what not to do waterproofing painted rocks

Step 1: Gather the stones you will be painting. It is best to waterproof several stones in one sitting. The main reason is that you won’t need to wash the brush every time. Also, make sure that you will be using an old paintbrush. It should ideally be something that is an inch wide for uniform application.

Step 2: Apply the first coat. When applying the sealer, you should not brush over the stone. This might cause the paint underneath to streak. Dip the brush in the sealer and then gently dab it on the rock’s surface.

Be careful not to apply sealer on the same area twice. Doing so may only result in the smudging of the paint. The first coat should be light. Do not use so much sealant that it starts to run down the sides of the rock.

Step 3: Apply the second coat. Once the first coat dries completely, apply the second one by dabbing it with a brush. You can put on a thicker coat this time. However, make sure that it is not too much that the sealant would run.

Step 4: Put sealant underneath the stone as well. You will need to put sealant on the entire surface of the stone because it is slightly porous and water might seep in from the underside. The waterproofing does not need to be quite as thick as the one you used on the painted side. It should be just enough to prevent some water from seeping through.

Step 5: Let the stones dry completely. Don’t put the stones on the ground immediately after painting them with waterproofing sealant. Allow the sealant to dry completely, ideally for an entire day, before you place them on their permanent spot.

What NOT to Do When Waterproofing Painted Rocks?

  • Here is a list of the things that you should not do if you do not want your art projects to get ruined:
  • Not letting the paint dry thoroughly – If you apply waterproofing on paint that is still in the process of drying, the sealant will cause the paint to smudge or run off the surface.
  • Holding the spray can too close to the stones – You need to hold the spray can a good distance away from the stones because this will provide an even coating. Holding the can too close can cause uneven paint coating. It can also make the sealant run down the sides.
  • Brushing the sealant instead of dabbing it on the surface – This might smudge the colors of the piece.
    Not testing the product first – Sealants are not all the same. You should test the product first on a test rock to see how it will react to the paints that you use for your projects.

Helpful Tips

  • Always apply sealant in a well-ventilated room – Do it outside if it is not too windy. Sealants usually have a strong odor, so you should at least open the windows to keep you from suffocating.
  • When painting your rocks, lay the paint on as thick as you can. Even with sealant, you cannot avoid the fading of the paint. A thicker layer of paint will ensure that the colors will stay vibrant longer.


Now that you know how to waterproof painted rocks, you can start preserving your tiny art pieces. Just remember to use multiple coats to ensure that no water can get through the protective layer.

You might mess up the first couple of times, but after a while, you will get the hang of it.

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