Unless you’ve been living under a rock (see what I did there? ), you’ve probably heard about the latest craze. Painting rocks for hide and seek in parks and public spaces is a craze that has grown and spread across Western Australia since the beginning of the year. It’s a little like geocaching or Pokémon Go, as families everywhere head to their favourite parks to share and hunt down rock creations.
It all started when Perth mum Connie Sirmans created a Facebook group called NOR Rocks, the second of its kind in Australia after Gungahlin Rocks in the ACT. The NOR Rocks group quickly grew and inspired others, with groups such as SOR Rocks, WA Rocks and Ellenbrook Rocks springing up soon after.
The artistic rock sharing phenomenon originally began in Port Angeles, Washington USA. The craze spread across the United States like wild fire, was then picked up in New Zealand, and finally began in Australia.
Similarly, the Pinjarra Rocks page began after a young girl called Dakota heard about people painting and sharing rocks from her aunt in Oakleaf, Florida, USA. The artistic lass quickly began painting and hiding rocks of her own around town to brighten the lives of others, and so Pinjarra Rocks was born.
If you’re wondering how you can join in the fun, it’s pretty simple. Start with some unpolished rocks from a garden centre. Avoid the polished rocks as paint and sealants won’t adhere and will peel off, and prepping them can be a little time consuming. Retailers such as Bunnings stock 10kg bags of unpolished river stones, or Smiling Rock in Wangara sell them in 18kg bags. Just tell the helpful staff at Smiling Rock (http://www.smilingrock.com.au/) you’re wanting to paint them, and they will bring you the ones you’re after!
Next up, you’re going to need some art supplies to decorate with. We have had excellent results using acrylic paints and colourising glue, and using sharpies. Others find nail polish works well as it comes in a variety of colours and finishes, and it dries quickly.
For toddlers or preschoolers, you may find gluing on glossy stickers with PVA glue, with an extra coat or two over the top to prevent them lifting, works better.
We’ve had similar success in gluing on shiny gems and glitter, and coating in PVA once or twice to prevent them falling off.
If you’re not sure what you want to paint, check out what other people are painting for inspiration. Think of something positive, a word or colour that makes you smile. Maybe a favourite superhero or cartoon character? Maybe maybe an animal or a flower? Or maybe your favourite logo? (Buggybuddys logo anyone? 😉 ) Pick something you love and just run with it.
On the reverse side of your rock, add the Facebook group you’re sharing with and a Facebook Logo so rock hunters will know where to go to share their find and let you know. Adding a hashtag to the rock can help with searching for the group as well.
To finish your masterpiece, you will need to seal with a spray-on weather-proof sealer or dab on a polyurethane-based all weather varnish. I’ve been using a polyurethane-based sealer by Jo Sonja. This can be found at stores such Riot, Bunnings or Spotlight. It costs around $14 and will cover at least two 10kg bags of rocks! Bunnings or Spotlight will be your best bet for a spray-on varnish.
What we have enjoyed most from being involved with rock painting has been getting off technology, away from the iPad and tv. We’ve met other rockers at the park when we go out to hide or hunt, and we’re getting outside in the fresh air and exploring parks we may not have been to before. The painting side for me has also been a little bit of art therapy, helping me to relax and de-stress.
The rock sharing side of things has been a great lesson for little Miss, too, teaching her to give to others in the community without the expectation of receiving a gift in return. If we find a rock, great! If we didn’t, oh well, we still had fun looking and playing at the park.
The rock painting craze has been about sharing joy and positivity. It has definitely made us smile!
Keep an eye out for upcoming rock painting events in the community. It’s a good way to try the hobby out without buying supplies just yet.
On Saturday 17th June, at Bunnings Joondalup, there will be a kids DIY rock painting workshop from 10am to 2pm assisted by rock painters from the community and the Bunnings Kids DIY Workshop staff. This event includes free children’s face-painting.
If you’d like to join a rock painting group near you, get some tips or just find some inspiration, check out these Facebook groups and pages.
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