Decorate rocks with magical Christmas silhouettes and a snowy sky! Santa Claus in a sleigh, reindeer, a winter forest and children playing in the snow – it’s a great selection for a festive rock painting project. Don’t feel confident doing freehand drawing? Get the template and learn how to transfer the designs onto the rocks by watching a video.
These rocks are the continuation of the fantasy silhouette series I made a few months back – with unicorns, fairies and castles. Except now it’s time for a winter wonderland, and so new kinds of creatures appear on the rocks. Santa Claus is taking his sleigh for a spin across the twilight sky, while the forest animals are greeting the change of scenery, and the children are having fun in the snow.
There are all sorts of jokes about finding a chunk of coal in a stocking, but what about a rock? They can actually make pretty nice handmade gifts if presented as paperweights or supplemented with a strong magnet on the back. And of course, it’s never too cold for a little rock treasure hunt, as per the new tradition of hiding rocks for strangers to find and thus making the world a little more fun and artistic.
Materials for Painting Silhouette Rocks
- silhouette designs (you can read about how to transfer them onto rocks – minimum drawing skills are required!)
- rocks: the ones found in nature are best, since the store bought ones are often too polished for paint to stick. If you do buy rocks, you might have better luck using heavy body acrylics
- acrylic paints
- copic ink markers/sakura ink pens: I find them very useful whenever I do any painting or drawing. If you don’t have any, you might want to start by getting two or three pens – 005 is a useful size for really fine details, 01 or 02 is good for general outlines, 08 is tolerable for covering big surfaces – obviously, when you’re working on a rock, it’s all pretty small scale. While I find it overall easier to work with pens, you can make silhouettes with black acrylic paint, thinned with water and applied with a fine brush, just as well!
- sealant, like outdoor spray varnish: It is essential if you plan to hide the rock in nature, but if you make it as an indoor decoration like a paper weight, it’s optional.
How to Paint the Silhouette Rocks
1 — Paint the gradient of a sky at twilight. Start with the darkest colour at the top of the rock and paint a little further than where you want this particular colour to end. Immediately, without letting it dry, start painting with the next lighter colour below, making sure that the two are blending together where they overlap. Then add the next colour – and the next.
2 — Let the rocks dry completely. With acrylics, it usually just takes a couple of hours. Once the rocks are dry, you can use an ink pen or a thin brush with diluted black acrylic paint for drawing silhouettes on them. Draw outlines first, then colour inside. A 005 ink pen is great for adding details!
For transferring my designs onto rocks, use carbon paper. Once the background is completely dry, tape a piece of carbon paper and a printed design together. While holding them in place, next to the rock, go over the silhouette lines with a ball-point pen, transferring the designs onto the rock. You can also watch the video below to see the process.
3 — Dilute white paint with water. Then take a small brush and something else – an old wooden block, another brush or a pencil, anything. Flick the brush against the other object, and it splatters little white dots everywhere, creating the impression of falling snow.
Test the technique on a piece of coloured paper first to make sure that the paint has the right consistency. I had it a little too thick for the blue rock, so the snowflakes are heavier, as you can see on the picture. I thinned the paint out and tapped the brush lighter for other rocks.
The design for this project can also be found in our Silhouette Christmas Bundle. The book is a collection of various ideas for Christmas-themed silhouette crafts—ornaments, lanterns, cards, tags and toys. Altogether, there are fifteen silhouette crafts with over sixty pages of printable silhouette designs. Print and make—it’s that easy!
Watch the Video
A few close-ups of the rocks?