Have you heard about the painted rock craze yet?
Maybe you have Facebook friends talking about finding or hiding painted rocks around Tacoma or Puyallup? Or maybe you’ve found one on a recent park or playground trip? If you’ve been wondering about #PuyallupRocks or #TacomaRocks, I’ve got all the scoop!
The idea is a simple one: People paint designs on rocks and then hide them.
The idea is to spread a little joy and delight, and I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how fun it is for kids to go on a real life treasure hunt and find a painted rock.
Want to learn more? Here’s all you need to know to get started.
The Puyallup Rocks Facebook group is here. There are also several Facebook groups for Tacoma Rocks. This one seems to be the biggest. This idea seems to have started right around here, but it’s spreading like crazy, so if you’re not in Tacoma or Puyallup, feel free to try typing your town+rocks into Facebook to find a group near you. Or start your own.
I asked the lovely administrator of the Puyallup Rocks group if some of her members would share pics of favorite rocks and what they love about finding and painting rocks. All the pics in this post are from members of the group, and frankly, I just had to pick some randomly because they were all amazing, and I was so touched by what folks wrote about what this activity has meant to them.
I thought Melissa summed it up nicely:
Puyallup Rocks has given my kids and I a reason to get out more and explore local parks (even on days when the weather is less than pleasant). It’s amazing seeing all the happiness, talent, and sense of community this group inspires!-Melissa
I’m guessing if you’re not already avidly hunting for rocks, you’re ready to now! How do you find them?
How to Find Painted Rocks
Folks in the groups often post when they have, “Rocked,” a particular area so you know where to look. You can also just look for rocks when you’re out on your adventures. Parks, trails, and public places are popular spots. Wapato and Owen Beach are hot spots in Tacoma, and in Puyallup/South Hill, the Nathan Chapman Trail is probably as close to a sure thing as you can get apart from a rock wall. DeCourssey, Wildwood, and Bradley Lake are also popular places to, “Rock.”
Although some folks also hide them around the community, I would not hunt or hide them on private property.
If you need a sure thing, there are also several walls in the area where folks leave rocks. Read more about those here.
When you find a rock you can keep it or re-hide it for someone else to find! If you plan on hiding them again, make sure you’ve discussed this with your kids in advance! There are no rules about how many you can keep, so just use common sense here.
It’s nice to post pics of your finds on the fb page so the artists can see that their rocks have made someone smile.
If you find and keep several, you might want to make some of your own to hide. What a fun project with your kids, right? We have gotten way into this at our house, and it’s super cool to have an activity that we all do together. Yes, my 14 year old’s rocks look way better than mine or his brother’s. But we don’t care…..much. 🙂
Some of the rocks are true works of art, but don’t be intimidated. I think there is joy in every rock painted with love, and I love to find rocks painted by children. Some folks like to paint messages of encouragement or awareness. Others simply paint what they enjoy, or use the shape of the rock as inspiration.
How to Paint Your Own Rocks
How do you paint a rock? There are detailed instructions on each of the rock group pages, but the basic process is clean, paint, seal, and dry. The sealing-usually with a clear coat of something like Krylon Spray-is key because otherwise your lovely painting will wash right off.
I have all the basic supplies listed below. With the exceptions of the pens, you can find all these easily at any art store. The pens seem to be easiest to find on Amazon (my link below).
Flat stones-Find in Mother Nature (Not from a park or protected place, please or buy at a craft store or gravel/garden supply store).
Sealer-Krylon Clear Coat or similar
Fine tip markers or paint pens for detail. Posca Pens are the most popular. You can pretty much only find these on Amazon (my link below). If you don’t want to spring for them another option is to get the kind of detailing tools you use for fancy manicures to use with your paints.
There are lots of how-to tutorials around. We have found that the hardest part is waiting for different layers to dry before adding the detail.
And-that’s it! Don’t be surprised if you become a little addicted to finding and painting rocks.
Have you joined a rock group. yet? We’d love to hear about your adventures!
Thanks to the kind folks from the Puyallup Rocks fb group for their contributions to this post!