It all started with an idea on a stick in a date night jar at my bridal shower last June. Now it’s evolved into something much larger involving many rocks, sealants, paints, and tools. Oh, and now it’s also moving into the high school where I work. What is it? Painting rocks to spread random acts of kindness.
I began painting rocks as part of a date night idea with my wife. We bought a few rocks from Michael’s, and some paint pens. Bethany found that she didn’t have the patience for painting rocks, but I found a new hobby.
Cue the buying of many, many pounds of rocks, acrylic paints, brushes, paint pens, and more. I tried out new ideas, listened to others, and joined the RVA Rocks! group on Facebook. I began exploring parks in the Richmond, Virginia area and finding rocks along the way.
Painting rocks is part of a spreading random kindness movement. When someone paints a rock, they seal it up with a sealant and then release into the wild. The wild could be in random parks, outside of stores, or simply just handing off a rock to a random stranger on daily errands. There are, of course, places rocks cannot be placed, but as long as simple rules are followed, everyone benefits.
Online groups on social media have popped up to share the rock love. When rocks are found, they often ask the finder to post online to a group or hashtag to share with others. I am part of the RVA Rocks! group, so any rocks I paint have instructions to post to this particular Facebook page if found. Rock groups are also used to share the progress of rock projects of members before these treasures are released into the wild. Different groups may do other activities, such as host painting nights or trading meetups. They help to build the rock community in an area.
There are a few key things to remember about rocking and spreading random kindness. First, and foremost, is that it is about spreading random acts kindness and brightening up another person’s day. Anyone participating should remember that rocks won’t always be posted online to give notice that they were found. Participants should also remember that the goal is not to “hunt” rocks. The goal is to enjoy the local community and explore. If a rock is found, great. If not, then folks still had a chance to get out and explore. Finally, be kind and take only a little. Sometimes, a lot of rocks may be found. Most should end up rehidden, and only favorites kept. This keeps rocks in the wild spreading around and around. Often, I will rehide most in the location where I found them, take a few to keep, and a few to rehid in other locations. If you can’t remember these key points as you participate, spreading rock kindness may not be the right hobby for you.
Do you want to get started spreading rock kindness? Here’s what you need to do:
- Find some rocks. You can purchase rocks from Home Depot, Lowes, or landscaping places. Some folks use rocks they find in the wild or their backyards. Make sure your rocks are cleaned off!
- Buy acrylic paint & brushes. If you’re just getting started, you just need a few bottles of acrylic paint. Walmart sells Apple Barrel brand for 50 cents a bottle. Your brushes don’t have to be expensive either. You can buy a package of random sizes.
- Don’t forget the sealant! You’ll need to seal the rocks after they have had time to dry. You can use a spray sealant (I like Krylon Triple Thick Clear Glaze for the shine), or something like mod podge. Follow the directions, but make sure the paint on your rock has had time to dry!
- Paint your rocks. Have fun, and paint to your heart’s content. If you want to sketch a design, it helps to paint a thin base of white paint on the rock first, let dry, and then sketch.
- Label the back of the rock. After the front of the rock dries, don’t forget to tag the back of the rock. If you’re part of a rock group on social media, use their tag. Not part of one? Search to find one in your area. I usually write “Post to RVA Rocks on FB”. I also tag with my artist name, TheChespinKid, and add the year. Write whatever you like.
- Share your work with your rock group. This is optional, but if you’re part of a group, it’s fun to share the hard work you put into making that rock before releasing it into the wild. It also helps others to learn to recognize your work and style when rocks are posted as found.
- Release into the wild! Time to let that rock go. I find local parks to be my favorite place, but rocks can also be dropped while on errands. Be careful dropping rocks inside of stores. Most stores do not allow this, especially near food. State parks also do not allow rocks to be placed inside. If you’re not sure, ask someone in your rock group.
- Keep an eye out for shared rocks. If you asked for your rock to be posted to your rock group, keep an eye out for posted photos after you release the rock. However, keep in mind that 3 out of 4 times, your rock will not be posted as found to the group. That’s okay! Painting and hiding rocks are not about you or getting recognized by others. Remember, it’s always about kindness first.
If you get started with painting rocks, respond to this post and let me know. If you’d like to see more of my rock work, check me out on Instagram: TheChespinKid. If you have questions about rocking with kindness, just let me know!