A couple months ago, I was walking out of a concert at the University of Exeter. It was quite late in the night and the heavens had opened. It was pouring down but because it was an indoor concert, I didn’t bring a coat with me because I knew I would be doing a lot of jumping around and dancing. So, I was getting soaked through and so was the rest of the audience who were filing out of the venue.
Everyone was running, including myself. I ran up to the crossing in the road. I stopped and rested my hand on the post and there I found something special.
I picked it up and looked around to see if I could see anyone who would have left it there. No one seemed to be paying intention to it or me. I turned back and looked at it again. It was so simple, but it was one of the loveliest things I had ever come across. I smiled and felt so grateful. It wasn’t a particular positive period of my life and the rain wasn’t helping, but this beautiful little rock helped me remember, not only that I am amazing but also how a simple little gesture can change someone’s whole mood and their whole day.
Now, this painted rock had no other instruction on it, and I loved it so much then I popped it in my pocket. It now lives on my desk as a daily reminder that I am amazing and of the importance of doing things for others.
It turns out there are whole communities who paint rocks and leave them in the world for people to find. It is a positive movement to get involved in. This article will explain the painted rock movement, the reasons behind it and how you can do it with a painted rock tutorial. If you are a creative who loves to spread positivity, this is the article for you!
What is Rock Painting?
There has been a growing trend of people painting rocks with beautiful patterns and colours to leave in various places for others to find and enjoy. Not only is it an exciting and creative hobby for the makers, but also a fantastic little thing to brighten people’s day.
The famous example of this movement is ‘The Kindness Rock Project’, started by Megan Murphy. Murphy experienced tragedy during her 20s but turned that tragedy into positivity. She took a pen with her to the beach and wrote messages on five rocks. These messages were full of love and light. Murphy than dropped them while she walked along the beach. Later in the day, a friend of Murphy’s texted her a picture of one of the rocks Murphy had written on. Her friend had found it on the beach, and it had made the friend’s day and was exactly what she needed at that moment.
Murphy was overwhelmed that her friend had discovered the rock and that they were moved by its simple message. This sparked inspiration in Murphy and she knew that she needed to do something with this powerful but simple gesture to spread hope and kindness. So, she started the Kindness Rocks Project.
The Kindness Rock Painting Project has grown to be a global organisation with their mission statement being:
‘One message at just the right moment can change someone’s entire day, outlook, life.’
Check out their website – https://www.thekindnessrocksproject.com/
However, it is not just The Kindness Rock project. All around the world, there are thousands of people realising their inner artists, professional and amateur, and decorates rocks before hiding them in public places.
There are now thousands of individual groups and online pages dedicated to this movement. Thousands of people are getting involved and the internet is blowing up with pictures of beautiful painted rocks. The UK Facebook group – ‘Love on the rocks uk’ has over 95,000 members and the Instagram hashtag #paintedrock has 57,464 posts (as of January 2020).
Go on into Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest and start your search for the trend of painted rocks to see how big this is.
How Rock Painting Works
The premise is quite simple. As a finder, when you are out and about in the busy world, keep your eye out for a splash of colour hidden in the brushes, on a wall or by a tree. You might find one of these painted rocks.
There might be a hashtag you can paint on the rock or you can just post it in the local area’s painted rock group on social media. This is so the creator of the rock can see where it ended up. Now, it might say to re-hide it or take it with you. If it does give you an instruction, please be respectful and do what it says. Especially if it says to re-hide it. Keep that positivity going.
It’s a delightful feeling finding one of these painted rocks. It can really brighten up your day.
The beauty of it is that you don’t have to be a professional or skilled artist to do this craft.
Why not join in the fun and paint some rocks for yourself? It’s easier than you may think. Here is a tutorial on how you can get involved with the painted rock movement.
Rock Painting Tutorial
Step 1 – Find some rocks.
Obviously, the first step of rock painting…is getting the rocks! First things first though, I have to say –
DO NOT TAKE ROCKS OFF BEACHES!
Pebbles are really important to our beaches as they act as a defence against the sea. Days where the winds are strong and the sea is powerful, rocks on the beach absorb the energy, stopping the waves crashing into the shore and causing flooding.
You may think taking one or two wouldn’t cause any harm, but it is a habit that we as a society need to break. To read more on why we shouldn’t take rocks from beaches, check out this article – https://www.visitcleveleys.co.uk/environment/beach-care/please-dont-take-pebbles-from-the-beach/
Don’t fear however! You can still buy rocks to paint at your local garden centre, craft shop or good old trusting Amazon! Click here to view.
Step 2 – Get your painting materials
Now, you need to collect your decorating materials. It is recommended that the best paint to use on rocks is acrylic paint. This is due to its thick texture, so it is easier to apply and doesn’t take many coats to get a strong pigment. Acrylic paint ranges in price points but you do not need the most expensive brand. Any set from your local art shop will be great.
You will also need some brushes to paint your rocks. Because you are working with a small surface area, you will need small brush sizes. This is so you can achieve great details in your rock designs.
Alternatively, you do not have to use acrylic paint. Here is a list of some other materials you can use:
- Paint markers pens – Vew on Amazon.
- Chalk paint markers – View on Amazon.
- Marker Pens – View on Amazon.
Step 3 – Paint your rocks
This is where your creativity finally gets to come out and play! You can design your rocks however you like.
You can paint:
- Fairy tale creatures
- Mandala patterns
- Dotty patterns
- Swirly patterns
- A House
- Inspiring Quotes
Inspiring quotes is the main trend of this movement. Here are some ideas for short quotes to fit on a rock.
- Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year – Ralph Waldo Emerson
- Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence -Vince Lombardi
- Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible.’ – Audrey Hepburn
- Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear. – George Addair
- It is never too late to be what you might have been – George Eliot
- You are beautiful!
- You are amazing!
- You have a beautiful smile!
- You are loved!
- Have a great day!
- Be the person of you always wanted to be!
- Don’t be afraid to dream
The sky is the limit! You don’t have to be the greatest artist. You can just fill your stone with as much colour and detail as you like. Maybe your stone could be a reflection of who you are or a positive message you want to put out into the world.
However, it is recommended to keep your decorations to paints and drawings. You may see trends and images online of people adding plastic eyes, buttons, glitter and other materials to their rocks. These are a wildlife and environmental hazard. Animals may be attracted to colourful creations and there could be hazardous results if they ingest any of these plastic materials. Read this article for more information – View Article.
Step 4 (OPTIONAL) – Putting your details on the back
Some people find joy in placing their rock into the world, not knowing who finds it and where it ends up. They just take pleasure in the creation of the rock and knowing they have added some light into the world. This is perfectly wonderful and a great option for you.
However, others like to know their rock’s journey, so they place some tracking information. Not like a Royal Mail tracking number, but maybe a personal hashtag for Twitter and Instagram.
Other options include:
- Links to a Facebook group
- Email addresses
- A website
Please stay safe and don’t put down your address or phone number. You don’t want your information ending up in the wrong hands!
You also have the option to add an instruction of telling the finder to hide the rock again for others to find or you may want the owner to take it home for them to keep as a positive reminder.
Any way you want to do it, you can find out where your rock is. You can paint/draw the information on the back of the rock or create a label to can glue down using super glue or Mod Podge.
Step 5 – Sealing the rock
Once you have finished, it is important to seal the design in, so it doesn’t chip or fade away.
The easiest solution for sealing your rock is a clear gloss spray, such as this one here – https://amzn.to/2GxLgEl
This sealant will add a nice shiny finish over your design, and it will not smear your design. However, to ensure no smudges, leave your rock for a while (maybe overnight) so you can ensure it is dry before spraying.
Spray your rock outside so you are in the fresh air and you won’t get any sealant on your furniture. Place your rock down on the ground and spray the front. Don’t touch it and leave for a while until it is completely dry. Then turn it over, spray the back and leave for a while once again. This is to ensure your design doesn’t get smudged and it’s beautifully protected for the outside world.
Alternatively, you do not have to use spray. Here is a list of some other materials you can use:
- Clear nail varnish
- PVA glue
Step 6 – Take it out into the world!
Now, here’s the exciting bit. Take your rock into the world and find a spot to leave it for some others to find.
You can hide it at –
- The park
- Waking path
- On the high street
- Shopping centre
- By a bin
- On the bus
- If you are a student, on campus or in the library
- If you work in an office, in a cupboard of filing cabaret
- At a landmark
- Bottoms of trees
- If there is an opening, inside tree trunks
- Resting on low lying branches but secure it so it won’t fall on people’s head.
- In a playground. On top of slides, on a merry-go-round.
- Under park benches
- Shop windows/outside shops
- On the ride-on toys outside shops/in shopping centres
- Hidden between books in a library
- Small alley ways in your local town
- At a bus stop
- On a bus
- Public walls
- Poking out public shrubbery
- Along the popular footpaths
- On top of public gate or fence posts
Absolutely anywhere! The goal is just to leave it somewhere people will find and have their day brighten when they do.
Step 7 – Enjoy!
If you put the option of people contacting you, check the hashtag daily, your email or whatever you put to see where your rock ended up.
Whether you choose this option or not, just take pride in the fact that you have expressed your creativity and have put some positivity out into the world.
It sounds like great fun doesn’t it? If you are keen to give it a go, make it an occasion! Check these out!
Five Occasions to Paint Rocks
Rock painting is a great solo activity. When you have an evening (or morning or afternoon) all to yourself, you may want to do more than just lie on your sofa and do nothing. There is nothing wrong with a movie marathon and having a few or a hundred snacks or just doing nothing. But it’s nice to let out your creativity. Clear yourself a space in your room, living room or the garden (depending on the weather obviously), gather your materials, grab your favourite drink and snack and have a quiet hour or so painting some rocks.
If yourself, child or loved one really loves getting messy and taking part in arts and crafts, why not have a rock painting party to celebrate? Whether it’s for a birthday, holiday or anniversary, you can break out the paints and rocks to come together to make magic. You can set up tables with paints and rocks as well as food, drinks and maybe some other craft activities. You could have a list of ideas of painting, have friendly competitions, or let people paint what they want. As your guests leave, put their rocks in a party bag along with instructions on hiding their rocks.
Why not bring your community together and organise a community rock painting event? Events like this are a great way to bring communities closer together. You can raise funds for a worthy cause, celebrate something special or simply get to know your neighbours. Most places have a local facility which will allow you to organise a community event like village halls, churches or leisure centres. You can spread the word through social media, flyers and word of mouth. Just like the parties, you could have a list of ideas of painting, have friendly competitions, or let people paint what they want. You can make this a weekly or monthly event in your community and even combine it with walking days to go hide your rocks.
You can also organise a treasure hunt day as well for your community. You can organise a collection of painted rocks. Ask the people of your hometown to paint rocks and drop off at a collection point. Then organise a group of volunteers to hide the rocks within a public area or venue. It would be just like an Easter Egg hunt, but you wouldn’t want to eat the prizes!
If you and your friends are used to going out to clubs, pubs or eating out together as your way of hanging out, then you can change it up a bit and save some money too. Head over to one of your houses, bring paints, rocks and a bottle of wine (or fizzy drink if you are underage!) and have yourself a crafty night in!
Spending Time with Your Kids
Encourage your kids to explore their creativity and get involved with the fun. There have been studies that prove doing arts and crafts with your children can help them have better academic outcomes and they can practice with self-expression, which is great for emotional health and happiness in general. So, gather some rocks and paints and have a rock painting session with your children. You can do finger painting, paint their favourite TV characters and the best part is – it doesn’t have to be expensive for you! Rock painting is a simple and low-cost activity to make art a part of your family’s everyday life.
Make a Day of it
Whether you decide to paint rocks by yourself, with a group of people or with your children, why not make a day of it? If you have a free day and want to make it exciting and special, you can have a rock painting adventure. Gather together your supplies or your pre painted rocks and head on out into the world. Go to your local park, out into the woods or even into the city. Take a picnic and your camera and wander about. Find a quiet spot to eat and, if you want, paint your rocks. Then walk about to find the perfect hiding spots for your creations.
The great thing about making day trips with your loved ones and having these painted rock sessions with your children is that you are encouraging creativity, adventure and spreading kindness.
It’s a fantastic activity to get us off our screens, spending quality time with your loved ones and neighbours or with yourself. Rock Painting is a great wellness practice as well if you want an activity to improve your mental health. Also, it encourages us to get out the house and explore our local area or new places. You don’t have to be an artistic person or the best painter! All you need is some materials and a little spark of positivity.
So, I hope you enjoyed this post and it has inspired you to try out a new craft in your homes. Hopefully, it has also inspired you to spread more colour and kindness out in the world. Remember to keep your eyes peeled for one of these beauties next time you are out and about.