Have you ever taken a walk through a park and stumbled across any painted rocks? Many of us have, thanks to this growing trend that has become extremely popular worldwide. The idea is to paint cool designs and characters on rocks and then hide them for others to find.
Rock painting is one of the oldest art forms known to man. Humans used to tell stories through rock paintings, telling the tale of their lives through symbols. As people evolved, words and paper replaced rocks and paint. Now, we may tell our stories through books, but rock painting isn’t lost.
Sweet Buffalo Rocks is the point of origin of New York’s rock painting trend, one that has caught on all over the country. Many of the people that do this are moms or arts and crafts enthusiasts. There are Facebook and Instagram groups you can join to be a part of this ever-growing movement. Moms enjoy this activity since it is a great, inexpensive pastime for kids.
The first step is to find some rocks, preferably flat ones. Grab some cheap paint and brushes and go to town. Paint a rock or 12. Write little sayings on them, draw a winter scene or maybe just a flower. Many have turned this into a family activity by going to a nearby park and hiding their painted rocks all over. It is up to whoever finds the rock to either hide it again or keep it and replace it with a painted rock of their own.
You don’t need any talent to do this arts and crafts activity. It is a simple, fun thing to do with family and friends. Best of all, it won’t break the bank. Kids get a kick out of being able to use their imagination to create new things, and they love to play hide and seek, so they’ll find it entertaining to hide the painted rocks. If painting rocks is also popular in your town, they may find others while hiding their own. If so, they get to hide them somewhere else for others.
As the trend continues to grow in popularity, some people are trying to figure out what all the hype is about. Well, for many it’s all about bringing happiness to others. Just think: You are having a rough day, taking a stroll through the park to relax, and you come across a little painted rock that says something like “Smile,” or maybe you see a rainbow-colored rock. Something so little could brighten your day.
A town in Albany, Georgia, started a rock painting group in 2016 and now has over 1,200 members that paint, hide and find rocks. The Northeast Ohio Painted Rock group on Facebook has over 100,000 members. Ridley Park in Pennsylvania has a rock enthusiast group that was formed by the Taziole family. There are over 500 rock painting groups across the United States. Take a look in your area and see if you can find a group to join — it’s easier than you think.
Some people leave a tag on the back of their rocks that links to their rock-painting Facebook group. Others have instructions for re-hiding the rock for someone else to discover. There are even people that take rocks on vacation and leave them for people to find. A lot of the groups suggest using chalks, acrylic paints or tempera paints. They also say that happy images are ideal, as well as good-natured jokes.
Think of rock painting as a community scavenger hunt — like Easter egg hunts, but any day, anytime. No clues are given; you just need your eyes to search out pretty and interesting rocks. Any age and any gender can participate; no specific skills are needed. Get some exercise, see some cool things and enjoy yourself.
Art can also be used in therapy. So, think of this as another form of therapy and relaxation. Rocks are usually hard and difficult to break. This means they will last and not get anywhere near as damaged as a canvas would.
Finding a hidden rock is almost like walking along and finding change. A little burst of happiness bubbles inside of you when you find these hidden gems. The decision is yours — keep that little piece of sunshine you found or leave it for someone else to find and experience that same joy you did. When you do decide to keep one for yourself, just remember to replace it with one of your own for someone else to find.
You should also keep in mind that when you do happen to find one of these gems, remember that it was made with love by someone special. It could be anyone from the neighbor’s 5-year-old to the creative teenager across town who needed an outlet for self-expression. No matter the artist, each rock is made from the desire to inspire happiness.
Rock painting kits are available everywhere now, too. Five Below and Walmart are just a couple of the stores that sell rock painting kits for kids and adults. There’s not a good variety of paints in these kits and only a few rocks are provided, so you may want to pick up your own rocks and get some paint from an arts and crafts store instead.
If you plan to participate in this interesting art trend, remember to look for a variety of rocks in different shapes and sizes. Even something as simple as a rock’s shape could spark your imagination. Typically, the best rocks to look for are ones with a smooth side that are easier to paint on. After you pick out some rocks and bring them home, make sure to wash them well. When they’re dry, they’re ready to paint.
Once the painting is done and dried, you should seal your rocks. A clear enamel is good, and spray-on sealants work as well as others. Hiding is the final stage. Don’t hide your rocks on private property or where they could damage property. Also, try to avoid hiding the rocks somewhere where they could ruin lawn equipment, or where they could get run over and cause more damage.
If the rocks are hidden too well, they may not be found, but that doesn’t mean they should be hidden in plain sight either. Remember that people of all ages will be looking for these hidden painted rocks, so a mixture of ones that are easy to spot and ones that are more difficult to find would be good. After all, the end goal of rock painting is one of not only artistic expression but of potentially providing a hidden gem of positivity for someone in need of a smile.