Is there anything sweeter than finding cute ladybug painted rocks hiding in a garden? This rock painting craft is perfect for adults and kids of all ages. Learn how to make your own lady beetle painted rocks in this DIY tutorial!
Did you know that ladybugs, also called lady beetles are not always red? That's right, these tiny insects can be orange, red orange, yellow, and even tan!
Many have black spots, but some do not have any spots at all! Learning about these cute insects is a great extension to this activity.
Head outside for an insect hunt to find real life ladybugs. Then use the bugs you find as inspiration for your own rock painting creations.
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- Acrylic Paint: Acrylic paint adheres to surfaces like rocks and can be cleaned up with soap and water.
- Plastic Paint Tray: This helps keep the paint organized while you are working. Plus, I love how you can mix different colors together using a tray.
- Paint Brushes: Small paint brushes work great for this project. They allow you to add details including wings, eyes, and spots.
- Q-Tips: These are optional, but you can use them to paint the black spots and the white eyes.
- Toothpicks: Also optional, but the small size makes painting the black of the eyes easy.
- Clear Sealer: A clear sealer protects the paint from the weather. For this project I used Krylon UV-Resistant Clear Coat. Gloss top coat from Rusto-Oleum is another great product.
- Rocks: Collect rocks from outside or purchase them for this craft. Either way, its best to wash and dry the rocks before applying any paint.
- Jar of Water and Rag: Having these things on hand make cleaning up easy. Kids can rinse and dry brushes in between uses.
- Cardboard: When sealing the rocks, you will want to place them on some scrap cardboard. You can also use the board as a work surface while painting.
- Blow Dryer: Optional, but you can use it to speed up the drying process.
Rocks can be collected outside or purchased from stores including Amazon.
If you are looking for an all in one kit with rocks, paint, and paint brushes, rock painting kits are a great option too.
If doing this project with kids, they can head outside and find rocks ahead of time.
Kids love being part of the process and letting them hunt for perfectly shaped rocks is a great way to get them interested in this project.
All of the rocks pictured in this post were found outside. I like how each one is different. Plus, part of the fun was seeing how to turn the rock to make it look like a ladybug.
Painting the Ladybugs
Now for the fun part, creating your ladybugs!
Start with some black paint and make the head of the insect. You can either wait for the black paint to dry, or start painting the body right away.
I'm impatient, so I did not wait for the black to dry. I just tried not to mix the two different paints together.
Red, orange, yellow, or tan are all great choices for the body of the bug.
For the next part, you will need the paint on the body to dry. I used a blow dryer to speed up the process. If doing this outside on a warm day, the paint will dry quickly.
Time to add the spots, eyes, and a black line for the wings.
Add a line for the shape of the wings using black paint. You can skip this step, like I did if you want. I thought some looked cute without the line.
Next, use a q-tip or paint brush to add the black spots. It is fun to mix up the pattern. On my rocks, I used a different number of spots on each beetle.
Now for the eyes. I have seen people online use googly eyes, but I like the look of using only paint for this project.
Make dots using white paint. Once the paint for the eyes drys, add a black dot for the center of the eye.
I dipped a toothpick into the black paint and used that to create the dot. You can also use the end of a small paint brush.
So cute, now, step back and admire your creations!
Sealing the Painted Rocks
If you want to protect your rocks then you must add a sealer. This clear coat keeps the paint from coming off over time.
Painted rocks make beautiful gifts and garden art. Adding this extra layer will help them look nice outside for years to come!
Leave the painted rocks to dry at least 12 hours before applying a clear coat.
Then place the rocks on cardboard bottom side up. You want to seal both sides!
Spray the sealer evenly across the whole surface. Let dry for a few hours. Then apply a second coat.
Let dry again for several hours. Flip the rocks over once dry. Then repeat the process for the top side of the painted rocks.
Applying 2-3 coats to each side is recommended. For specific directions, read the label on your spray sealer.
Tips for Crafting with Kids
If doing this project with young kids, making these is all about the process and less about the final product.
The goal is to have fun and be creative!
Remember, each one will be a unique piece of art. Its okay if the final product looks more abstract then realistic. Your kids will love the process of making these with you.
Painting clothes, aprons, and table cloths can all be used to protect clothes and surfaces from paint.
Its a good idea to keep a wet rag close by to clean up spills and splatters.
Of course, adult supervision is required for all parts of this project.
How to use Painted Rocks
- DIY Garden Art
- Handmade Gifts
- Kindness Rocks
- Learning Manipulatives
Painted rocks make great decorations. Once sealed, they can be left outside in the garden.
You can gift painted rocks to friends and family. Handmade gifts are treasured for years to come especially if made by a child.
Kindness rocks can also be placed throughout your community. Simply place a painted rock in a location such as a walking trail or local park.
More Crafting Inspiration
- Matte Acrylic paint
- Clear Sealer
- Piece of Cardboard
- Small Paint Brushes
- Paint Tray
1. Wash and dry rocks.
2. Use black paint to draw the beetle's face.
3. Paint the ladybug's body using a colored paint (red, orange, yellow, or tan)
4. Let paint dry.
5. Add a line with black paint for the wings.
6. Using a q-tip add black dots to the body.
7. Add white eyes using a q-tip dipped in paint.
8. Let paint dry.
9. Add black dots to the eyes using a toothpick or small paint brush.
10. Let dry for at least 12 hours.
11. In a well ventilated outdoor space place painted rocks on a piece of cardboard. Next, spray 2-3 coats of clear sealer on the bottom side of the rocks.
12. Once dry, flip rocks over and apply 2-3 coats of sealer to the top of the rocks. Then let dry before handling.
A blow dryer can be used to speed up the dry time. Wait 12 hours after you finish painting the rocks before sealing them. Always use the sealer outdoors and follow directions on the can.
If doing this project with kids, drop cloth and an apron is recommended. Acrylic paint can stain surfaces. Use soap and water to clean up paint before it dries.