Rock Painting

Someone else’s rock waiting to be found at the local park.

So, I discovered rock painting a couple of weeks ago. Apparently, it’s a thing.

While I have decorated a few rocks I didn’t know there was this “rock initiative” that existed. The idea is you paint rocks and leave them outside for people to find. It’s a random act of kindness initiative. The hope is someone will find will your rock and it will make them happy. It’s like a perpetual easter egg hunt.

I have been having a bit of artist blockage lately and doing a small painted rock seemed like a good way to work through it. I decided I would paint a month worth of rocks and see how I feel. I think I’ve done 25 so far and it really has helped.

Rock painting seems to be really catching on. My local group was at 2500 members two weeks ago. When I looked the other night it was over 5000. I imagine this is a fad that will calm down when school starts or when people get bored. But, I’m enjoying it for now.

Here are some questions that get asked a lot about rock painting…

Where do I get rocks?

If you live in Florida you know we have crummy rocks. While you might be able to find them around – you’ll probably need to go to Home Depot, Lowe’s, or a garden center. You can also find a local rock place that sells rocks for driveways, countertops, etc. You can get a 5-gallon bucket of rocks for about $20. The local one here that everyone likes is called Stones Plus.

What can I paint on them?

Anything you want. I’m not the boss of you.

I prefer nature themes. Some people like cartoon characters or pop-culture references. A lot of people are painting rocks with their kids. Kids seem to like to paint Jackson Pollock abstracts. One of my favorite series was from an artist in Port St. Lucie that painted rocks like different kinds of cereal (Count Chocula, Captain Crunch, Froot Loops, etc.). They were brilliant. I also see a lot of rocks with just encouraging words.

I try to keep in mind that I want someone to have a better day if they find my rock. So, I stay away from controversial themes.

How do you decorate them?

I started by decorating with clay because that seemed interesting. Then I started painting them and that was more interesting. At least for now. I like taking the different shaped rocks and figuring out what they look like.

Decorating with paint:

  • Any kind of acrylic paint will do.
  • Markers will often run if you seal your rocks. You can coat them with Mod Podge first and then seal them to keep it from running.
  • I bought some Posca Paint pens. They are to die for. They are opaque and when dry you can go back over them with other colors if needed. I bought the medium ones and a fine black one. I may go back and get the extra fine in color one day. The best place to get these is from Amazon.
  • You should seal your rocks since they will be outdoors. Clear-coat Krylon/Rustolium type spray works well. A light spray a couple of times is better than one heavy spray. You don’t want it to run.

If you decorate with clay here are some tips:

  • Use a good quality polymer clay, like Premo. Sculpy is cheaper – but it is also brittle.
  • Condition the clay well before using it.
  • Use Bake-and-Bond or Liquid Sculpy to “glue” the raw clay on the rock before baking.
  • Bake for one hour at the recommended temperature to make it strong. The suggested baking time isn’t as strong.
  • No need to seal your clay unless you add powders or paint.
  • If you do need to seal your clay DO NOT use any kind of aerosol sealer. It will react with your clay and make it sticky.

Do you write anything on them?

  • People that love to paint and hide also enjoy seeing their work paid off. So, many people will write something on the back like “Post a photo on Facebook” or “Keep or Rehide”.
  • I started writing on them, but decided it was more Zen of me to just be creative and let them go. I have no idea where the rocks end up.

Where do you hide them?

  • Hide them safely outdoors. Don’t hide them somewhere a lawnmower or weed-wacker could it one.
  • City parks seem to be good places for now. National parks do not approve and consider it garbage.
  • Don’t hide them inside businesses or private property (unless you have permission).

Here are some of them from the last couple of weeks…

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  1. August Rocks | Angry Martini on August 8, 2017 at 4:58 pm

    […] More painted rocks. Click here if you want to find out more about rocking painting (why, how, etc.). […]

  2. Rebecca West on August 3, 2017 at 11:42 am

    Love ’em! My favorites are the 3D leaf with ladybug, the salamander/gecko, frog, Octopus, and cats.

    Good to know professionals get stuck sometimes too.

  3. Barbara on July 29, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    Hi Lena,
    I enjoyed your article. I am currently painting rocks to put in my herb garden to tell what kind of herbs are there. But I wanted to get my grandchildren envolved. What a perfect way. Thanks for the ideas.

    • Lena Shore on August 1, 2017 at 7:46 pm

      That is a SUPER cute idea!!! I could use rocks to identify all the plants I’ve killed. The kids seem to really love painting rocks. One of my friends heats the rocks and then writes on them with crayons. I’ve got to try that.

  4. Richard Robertson on July 29, 2017 at 10:33 am

    What an interesting article. I did not know. I wonder if I might find a special rock here in Deep East Texas? I will be on the lookout. Thank you so very much. I enjoyed the read.

    • Lena Shore on August 1, 2017 at 7:47 pm

      People hide them everywhere. You might find one in the Wal-mart parking lot. (:

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