On a pathway in the Botanical Gardens, under the shade of an old mangrove tree and even along a shabby wrought iron railing, something colourful and bright is popping up all over the Sunshine Coast and hinterland. Have you found any? Rocks of all shapes and sizes, lovingly depicting tiny works of art that somebody, somewhere has carefully created and hidden, in the hopes of being found.
The idea is simple. When finding a painted rock -
Take it home to keep; or
Re-home the small work of art to be found by somebody else
Spreading the joy with rainbows! Image: Kyla Hudson via QLD ROCKS FB
It's kind of like playing hide and seek with painted rocks.
I love the idea of putting inspirational messages on the tiny rocks, hopefully, to be found by somebody who is needing a lift in spirits on that particular day. One just never knows. One kind message or pretty picture, at just the right moment, can change someone's entire day, outlook or life!
My very first attempt!
And, oh my gosh, I'm addicted. But, to be fair, I was warned.
First off, one needs rocks! Smooth, flat and unpolished rocks are the best and can literally be found anywhere - along river banks, on the beach, in your garden. Or … one can buy smooth, clean rocks from art supply stores or even retail outlets that stock floristry items. Bunnings Warehouse have a gardening section that also sells small bags of rocks.
The rocks need to be cleaned before painting them, so if you have sourced them out in nature, they will have to be washed and dried before painting even begins. Rock devotees will soon see the sense of buying the rocks straight from an outlet source as they are already clean and ready to go.
Seal the rock before painting on it as rocks are usually porous and will naturally absorb the paint.
Paint your design on top and let dry between layers. I found many useful youtube clips on how to succeed with painting on a rock. At first, it appears to be quite daunting, using a small rock as a blank canvas, but once the first rock has been painted, voilà, the bug will have bitten and you will be eager to try a second one. Paint will need to be waterproof for outdoors, ensuring they survive Mother Nature's elements as well as quick-drying, so you can get them out into nature as soon as possible.
How clever are these pics, pinpointing the exact spot that a painted rock was found! Image: Jo Anne via QLD ROCKS FB
Oil-based paint pens - I was advised that Uni Posca paint pens are the easiest to use - or Sharpies, which are all permanent markers. The permanent paint pens are a fantastic alternative to painting with brushes as they don't need to be washed after every use. Small brushes (if you're using paint) or a stylus can be used to make dots or small details in your pictures.
Once your rocks are dry, a quick spray or two with a semi-gloss spray will ensure they are sealed and ready to go.
5 Grugs hidden at the Gold Coast Airport in Coolangatta! Image: Maree Reesy via QLD ROCKS FB
Rock painting is a fun, easy and relaxing craft to do, that everyone in the family can enjoy. From the hunt for the perfect pebble to the satisfaction of finding it, from painting the first layers of paint on the stone to seeing your rock turn in to a frog, a butterfly, or a puppy, rock painting is an enormously satisfying interactive experience. You can use your own powers of creation to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary and … help to spread the joy in the community!
Thank you to our firies, who have been working tirelessly! Image: Jill Valliere via QLD ROCKS FB
No prior painting or creative skills are necessary for first-time rock painters, as there are lots of great artists and craft bloggers who have put together painting tutorials for beginners on the internet, all of which are very easy to follow. If I can do it (the painting part), anybody can do it!
We have some very talented rock painters out there! Image: Erin McBean via QLD ROCKS FB
Playing hide 'n' seek with painted rocks is the new fun activity, taking the Sunshine Coast by storm. I have come across two different facebook communities, in my quest to find out more about rock painting - the one is Sunshine Coast Rocks and the other is QLD Rocks. Members of these two communities post where and when rocks have been hidden and when found, photos with the lucky 'finder' and their new 'find' are usually posted too. It is totally fascinating to see the distances that some rocks travel - I have seen some that have crossed continents and even been moved from one hemisphere to another.
Local wildlife - very talented! Image: Jill Valliere via QLD ROCKS FB
Please bear in mind that certain locations are specifically no drop zones, especially, cemeteries, state and national parks and war memorials. Luckily there are plenty of 'other' very good spots to hide painted rocks.
Besides the sense of achievement, one feels when painting rocks, playing hide and seek with painted rocks is an exciting and totally addictive hobby, with the added bonus of spreading community joy. Of course, the walking aspect naturally contributes to a healthier lifestyle for the whole family, so, it's a win-win all round!
The little guy in the main pic just before drop-off at Mt Ngungun - Image: Simöns Tommy via Sunshine Coast Rocks FB
Great article Elaine. I think I'm going to have to go to Bunnings to get me some rocks. My mind is in overdrive thinking of uses for them. They'd be great for a scavenger hunt at a children's birthday party or simply as paperweights.