At least a month ago I saw a headline suggesting that the fidget spinner craze was over, and kids all over the world were now painting rocks! It caught my eye, but not enough to go and read the article.
The fidget spinner craze is still in full swing here (a huge thank you to those who made sure our recent birthday boy has enough spinners and cubes to last a lifetime lol (actually, he does play with them all…really!)) and besides that, I’ve done ‘pet rocks’ before. You know, back in the old days when it was first a ‘craze’ – was it the 70s, or maybe early 80s? And I didn’t think it was really going to make a come-back, especially for kids these days…
But my attention was piqued again, when someone posted in a local facebook group asking if anyone had done any rock drops. And another member kindly directed them to our state’s special rock page. And then my whole world opened up! There were so many people posting about the rocks they had dropped, where and when, and sharing photos. The designs and ideas were amazing!
I showed my son the page, and he scrolled through the photos. Yes, he would love to have a go! I think seeing some Pokémon-influenced designs probably helped in that regard.
If only I’d seen this at the beginning of our recent school holiday break. We’d have painted this suburb by now! But it was not until right at the end, so we had no time to get this activity up and running. But we did actually go and buy a bag of rocks, just so we had some ready for when we had a bit of time to get started. Back in my day we would never even have thought of buying rocks to paint on…!
Oh, and if you were wondering what we did get up to in the holidays, I posted a few things on Instagram.
Anyway, we are now back in the swing of the new school term, so we’ve had to wait until the weekend to do anything with our rocks.
I joined our state’s facebook page. I did hesitate for a moment or two, because the page is called NSW Rocks. And I’m a Queenslander. And State of Origin season has only just passed. But that won’t mean anything to you if you are not a Queenslander or New South Welshman!
From what I can see, there is a facebook page for each Australian state and territory. And no doubt for other countries too. See if you can find one for your area.
You can follow my Pinterest Painted Rocks page here. I’ve added a couple of links with some rock painting tips, as well as some design inspiration 🙂
Before we got started I washed our rocks, to remove any loose dust, and make it easier for the paint to stick. You can add some soap or detergent as well if you like.
We painted one side of each rock white, as a base coat, because our rocks were a dark colour.
When that was dry, we started painting…
For our first go we just used water-based acrylic paint.
We found a random tin of sealer in the garage, and used that to seal the paint when we were done. You might have to experiment with sealers, as some seem to smudge the paint. Many people recommend a spray sealer. I’m not sure a thin spray will really protect your design from weather, even with a few coats. But I haven’t tried, so I don’t really know.
On the back of our rocks we wrote ‘NSW Rocks’, the facebook symbol, and noted our postcode and the date. When someone finds our rocks, this directs them to the facebook page (hopefully!) where they can post that they have been found. It’s up to the finder what they want to do next. They can take the rocks home to admire, they can re-hide them at the same park, or drop them somewhere else! It’s interesting to see on our facebook page when all this happens.
Our next lot of decorating got a bit more serious. I collected some craft supplies from my stash
I found googly eyes, glitter glue, and random sequins and other shiny bits. Other people seem to have success using permanent markers, or other decorative pens.
Pikachu was left over from our first painting batch – he was waiting to have a bit more detail added! Hopefully using the sealer will keep the sparkles etc on 🙂
Here are a couple of our extra decorated rocks
So, painting rocks is pretty fun. But hiding them is even better! Our first lot were hidden in a local park, around the play equipment. When we checked a couple of days later, only one remained, perhaps he was too well hidden
Our second lot were randomly left along the road on our way to school. Beside a tree, in the bus stop, on a fence post…
It took a lot longer before we noticed that these had been collected. And certainly no-one has posted on the facebook page that they have found them. But that’s ok! Hopefully finding them made people’s day. And we’ve had fun making and ‘dropping’ them!
We collected a whole lot more rocks from the park, which are waiting to be painted and decorated this weekend. I’ll add some more photos here when they’re done!
This is a great activity to do with your children, grandchildren, nephews or nieces, or getting a group of kids together to get their creative ideas going. But you don’t need to do this with children – it turns out plenty of mums are painting while the kids are not around! And if your rocks turn out so well that you can’t bare to part with them, keep them in your own garden 😉
And, while you can go and spend lots of money buying primer, pens, paint, decorations, and sealer, you can really make do with what you already have around the house. See if there’s a facebook page for your state or area, and they will probably have lots of tips. Certainly there will be plenty of inspiration!