Pet Rocks


I remember when pet rocks came out in the 70's and my friends bought them. (See Education Notes below for more info) My parents did not buy a pet rock for me although I remember really wanting one... so I made my own pet rock with two wiggly eyes. I still have it packed in a box somewhere! This activity goes one step further and makes them into cute animals and creatures. See our new video below that the girls made to show the steps!
Make these cute painted rock pets.


  • Smooth rocks, you can find them at stores selling craft supplies like Wal Mart, Michaels and the Dollar Tree. They are usually located near the glass pebbles.
  • Acrylic Paint (Ceramcoat is great, washes when wet, permanent when dry.
  • Paint Brush, Q-tips are great for making spots.
  • Various decorations: wiggly eyes, feathers, felt, foam.
  • Craft Glue
  • Mod Podge or Acrylic Spray to seal the paint

Other Materials

  • Q-tips make great spots and the back of a thin paintbrush makes thin lines.
  • Newspaper to work on
  • Waxed or parchment paper to dry on.
  • Other Decorations: Permanent Paint in a Squeeze bottle, Glitter Glue or Paint, buttons, sequins.
Rocks to make Pet Rocks
Paint for pet rocks.


  • Choose a few different size and shape rocks to decorate.
  • Paint a base color. Let dry. Repeat for a darker color.
  • Make an animal or a silly creature. Add spots, stripes or other paint details next. Let dry.
  • Discuss what shape would make a beak or arm or foot...we kept to basic shapes like ovals, circles, squares and diamonds for beaks to make the pieces. Draw on foam with a pencil if your child can cut out small items.
  • Glue on wiggly eyes, foam, felt, feathers or other items with craft glue.
  • If you glued items on the back like arms, feet, dry on waxed or parchment paper to avoid sticking.
  • Add a couple coats of Mod Podge or spray with acrylic spray. This will help protect the colors from washing off if you place it outside and give it a nice sheen. If you are using the spray, spray outside for proper ventilation (adult step).

Tips and Suggestions

  • For decoration ideas for this toddler activity you might have your child select a favorite stuffed animal. One of mine brought her penguin to compare colors.
  • For fine lines and dots we practiced on newspaper first. For thin lines like whiskers I helped guide their hand. Spots I let them put where they wanted.
  • Be sure to let paint dry fully before adding sequins and other items.

Other Ideas

Pet Interview

For fun, write a few sentences on a sheet of construction paper for your child to answer. Add a photo of your pet rock and keep for a scrapbook item. Sample Questions:
  • What is your pet's name?
  • What is your pet's favorite color?
  • What does your pet like to do?
  • What is your pet's favorite food?

Paper Weight

Make a Paper Weight. Paint flowers or designs on it for variation.

Educational Note

In 1975, an advertising executive named Gary Dahl produced the first pet rocks which sold for US $3.95 each. The pet rocks, were wrapped in packing material and placed in a small cardboard box constructed like a pet carrier. Included was a "Pet Rock Training Manual", with instructions on how to properly raise and care for your new pet. The instruction manual contained several commands that could be taught to the new pet. While "sit" and "stay" were easy to learn, "roll over" required extra help from the owner.