I've been asked a lot lately about what I use on my #rockcandy. If you don't want to invest in a bunch of pens, a simple way to decorate rocks is to pick up some small acrylic craft paints and brushes. For more detailed projects, I personally love using paint pens and gel pens. Paint pens, in particular, are easy for little hands to use if you are painting with kids.
I use the paint pens first and then once dry, I add the detail on the top of that with gel pens. Gel pens can be tricky on rocks. You have to be really patient and almost let the ink pool and then push it. If you have a base coat of paint, it is easier to apply on that rather than directly on the rock. For kids, trying to use gel pens directly on the rock surface may not work well because they are used to using them on paper and may not be able to achieve the results they are looking for.
The POSCA brand has been my favorite so far. They have a matte finish and dry quickly. You can also 'pump' the pen to pool ink and spread it all around the rock if you want fast and easy coverage for a base coat.
The BERIC brand fine tip have been my second 'go to' option. They have a nice fine tip for thin lines and they are a little bit glossy and thick, so you will want to wait a little bit for it to dry before moving on to another layer.
The ARTIQO brand is my newest purchase. As an oil based pen, you can really tell the difference. These are much more glossy and I have found that they don't dry as fast. I've thought they were dry, thinking they were just shiny because of their glossy appearance, and have ended up smearing my patterns. I can see where they would work better for larger rocks with bolder lines.
*As a bonus, they do include a cute little e-book along with your purchase (on Amazon) and I felt good knowing I bought them from a small business seller. ----- purchase here.
I haven't been as particular about gel pens because they all seem similar when applied to rocks. Some of my pens are just from my daughter's collection that she uses for coloring. Some gel pens, however, include a little sparkle and it's a really cool addition as a detail on a rock. I like how the sun catches the sparkle and usually I use one next to a matte color for some contrast.
Here are a few gel pen brands I've used. I would have to say that the GELLYROLL brand has been my favorite because it acts more like a very fine paint pen, but it just depends on the look you are trying to achieve. They have a matte finish.
I hope this helps you begin your rock painting journey. Like I said, craft paint, spray paint, acrylic paint...it doesn't matter when you are creating fun rocks! There is no right or wrong! Just be sure to wash them first and seal them after.
I have used Minwax spray in a glossy finish, or Krylon.