A few months ago I joined a group on Facebook that’s all about painting rocks and hiding them in our town. And it’s not just in our town, it seems to be happening more and more across the U.S. And I was seeing people post about hiding rocks in parks, playgrounds, and trails that me and Lachlan would visit during the week. So at first I was trying to find some rocks. Instead, I got inspired to paint my own to hide. As usual with new found “obsessions” everything happened really fast. I got a bag of rocks, some acrylic paints, brushes, paint pens, dotting tools, and outdoor sealant and got started! I have to say, I LOVE it. I’ll search Pinterest for really simple ideas of things to draw, quotes, and lately, I’ve been into mandalas.
Read on for info on supplies, steps, and ideas!
Here’s a list of basic supplies you’ll need to get started painting your own rocks:
- Bag of smooth rocks – I recommend getting a bag of large garden rocks from your local garden supply store like Home Depot or Lowes. Or if you have any in your yard, those are good too. Just don’t take any from your neighbor’s yard or public places!
- Acrylic paint – I bought a set of acrylic paints from Michael’s with a coupon.
- Brushes – Get a bunch of brushes in a variety of sizes.
- Outdoor spray sealant – I like to use Krylon sealant in clear satin finish (use in a ventilated area!)
If you want to take it further than the basics:
- Dotting tools are great for mandalas – You can use nail art tools you may have on hand, or buy some on Amazon.
- You can also use wooden dowl rods in different widths for dots too!
- Paint pens – Posca paint pens are my favorite and you can buy them on Amazon. They are great for writing or painting smoother lines on your rocks and have great coverage. They come in different sizes. Extra fine tips are perfect for writing words, while medium tips are great for filling in larger areas.
- Mod Podge – Good for sealing a label on the back of your rock with hashtag information (not necessary). Mod Podge is also recommended for sealing on top of art made with Sharpie markers before spraying with an outdoor sealant because Sharpies will bleed if sprayed directly with an outdoor sealant (necessary).
- Sponges – They make great textures in the paint.
- Painters tape – Great for making straight lines.
- Chalk or pencil for sketching on your design before painting.
Steps for painting rocks:
- Wash your rocks with warm soapy water and let dry.
- If your rocks are dark, you may wish to prime them with a white or light color first. If your rocks are already white, you don’t have to do this step. But white paint on dark rocks looks pretty cool too!
- Draw your design on your rock in pencil or chalk if necessary.
- Get painting!
- If you use Sharpies in your art, make sure to seal with Mod Podge first to prevent them from bleeding, then spray with an outdoor sealant. The spray sealant will cause the Sharpies to blur if unprotected by Mod Podge first.
- Mod Podge alone will get sticky if it rains or is really hot outside, so it’s best to use an outdoor sealant on top of it.
- Acrylic paints don’t need to be sealed with Mod Podge, but they must be sealed with an outdoor sealant to protect them from damage and to protect the environment from running paints if it rains.
- Search for a local Facebook group to post pics or hints of where your rocks are (not necessary, but it’s fun to see who finds them!)
- Some groups will have a printable sheet of labels you can adhere to the back of your rocks so you don’t have to write the hashtag info on each one.
- If you are going to add a label to the back of your rock, use Mod Podge to stick the label to, put another layer on top of the label and let dry completely. Then spray with an outdoor sealant.
- It’s really important to seal your rocks to prevent paint from leaking off into the environment if it rains. I like to put my rocks on a piece of cardboard in my opened garage and spray the back completely, wait for them to dry, then turn them over and spray the front. That way, if the spray isn’t totally dried on the back while you’re spraying the front, the back will be the side with the damage and not the front.
Where to hide your rocks:
- Anywhere really!
- But some fun places are the park, library, playground, parking lots, outside stores, on a random bench, in a shopping cart, on a hiking trail, in a tree, under a bush, in a restaurant’s drive-through.
- I like to hide my rocks in plain view so anyone who doesn’t know about this rock thing and isn’t hunting rocks still has a chance at finding one and feeling special.
- Plus it’s easy for little kids to find rocks that way and have fun too.
- Hide rocks where you would want to find them because most people who find a rock, will be inspired to make their own and hide them too.
- National Parks don’t allow you to take or leave rocks behind so make sure you read your local Facebook group’s page with info on this so you won’t get in trouble.
- And some stores might not want you to hide rocks inside.