Have you heard about the newest fad spreading around the US lately? People of all ages are painting rocks and hiding them at parks and other public places around their towns for people to find. I began seeing the fad shortly after Pokemon Go became popular. It was a n0n-electronics version of the game giving kids a chance to get outside and hunt for things. It’s also a similar activity as geo-caching but without special coordinates to help you find the hidden treasures. You can find hidden rocks all over your town and you never know when or where the next one will show up.
There really aren’t many rules, just have fun and be respectful. Here are a few things that will make your rock hunting and finding more enjoyable:
- Find a rock, hide a rock! Keep the movement going, try not to be “that person” who only collects without giving back. If you find a rock you don’t want to keep, rehide it! Even if you didn’t bring your own rocks with you, try not to take them all. Keep a few behind for others to find.
- No stalking! If you happen to run into someone else hiding rocks, keep your distance and don’t stalk them to see what they’ve hidden. Let them hide in peace and then go back to see what they hid once they’ve left the area.
- Snap a picture! One of the fun parts of the movement is going back to social media and sharing your painted rock finds. Most cities have Painted Rock Facebook groups and maybe even their own hashtag. Ex. My city has Palm Harbor Rocks, #PalmHarborRocks. Another popular hashtag is simply #paintedrocks plus the #city and/or #state. It’s really fun to see what others are finding and you never know when someone will post a picture of the rock you’ve hidden.
- Have fun! Hiding rocks can help brighten someone’s day and the art of painting rocks can relax me after a stressful day!
- Protect the wildlife and the local resources! If you’re hiding in a public park or nature preserve be mindful of the animals that live there. Some paints may not be safe if an animal were to ingest the rock because it looked like its prey or diet.
- Painting in public? That can be fun too, but remember to clean up your mess! Public places will start to discourage rock hiding if we can’t pick up after ourselves.
How do you paint rocks? Where do you buy blank rocks at? Do you seal them?
You can find smooth river rocks at the home improvement stores in their garden section. They are usually around $7-10 for a 10-20 lb bag of rocks. You don’t want to buy super shiny rocks that will be hard to paint on. Rocks can come in all different colors; I’ve found grey or white at my local store. If in doubt, just ask someone who works there. I’m sure they know what others have been buying.
Most people use acrylic or water-based paints on their rocks. You can use leftover wall paint, craft paint, or even paint pens/markers. For painting the background or priming a rock you could use a water-based primer, gesso, or even a water-based spray paint. I’ll often just use the acrylic paint for the basecoat, just remember you may need 2-3 coats if you like a nice solid background. Just let the paint dry between coats, or dry them with a hairdryer to speed things along.
Depending on what I’m painting, I’ll use a pencil to draw my design. Just draw lightly and most paint will cover the pencil marks.
Once your design is done and dry you can seal the rock with a clear coat or varnish. I just use a water-based clear spray paint and they come out nice and shiny! There are no rules here, just have fun!!
Here are a few of my favorite paint pens and painted rock supplies that you may like. (Amazon referral links)
Not sure what to paint? I created a fun painted rock challenge with a different theme or topic each day. Don’t worry if you’re not a painter or an artist, there are lots of fun things you can paint if you just take your time. Plus, the quality of the painting doesn’t really matter. Just finding the fun painted treasure will bring a smile to someone’s face! My kids love to paint and you’ll find a lot of painted rocks that have been painted by toddlers, young children and all different levels of creative people! If you participate I’d love to see your creations! Just share it on Instagram or Facebook with #PaintedRocks hashtag. You can see a few of the rocks I’ve painted on my Instagram page; Back to Calley. #PaintedRocksByCalley
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