In a world of technology, there is something quite nice about making things with your hands and getting outdoors. Especially if it’s going to make someone else smile. This is why painted rocks is a craze worth being part of!

The craze started in the US and has kids around the world getting outdoors and away from technology to play hide and seek with hand painted rocks. And now it’s here! Yep, right here in Parramatta.

Parramatta Rocks! was created in the hope of spreading positivity around Parramatta. It is simply a game of hide and seek….with painted rocks! If you find a rock, post a picture in the group. You can then keep the rock or ‘re-hide’ it. If you choose to keep the rock, please pay it forward by painting another rock. You can paint a picture or a positive message or both on a rock. Hide the rock somewhere it will be found. Like walking tracks, picnic areas, parks, playgrounds or near footpaths. Hopefully finding it will brighten someone’s day.


Getting Started

What You Will Need

  • Rocks: These can be purchased at gardening supplies stores (like Bunnings) or found when you are at parks or bushwalking. Smooth rocks approx 10cm – 20cm in length with a flat top and bottom will be easier to decorate. Rocks found near rivers are more likely to be smooth and flat. Bumpy rocks will still work they are just a little harder to handle when painting/writing. Be sure to brush off any dirt before you start painting.
  • Paint: There are a few options. For a quick way to paint rocks, Posca paint pens are the best. But they will set you back $5 each. You can also use acrylic paint that is $1-$2 a tube from Aldi and Kmart. Depending on the rock and quality of paint you might need to do two coats when using acrylic paint and it takes longer to dry.
  • Permanent Markers: I use permanent markers to write the group info on the back – find it much easier then using paint. You can grab them at Kmart, grocery stores and newsagents. Did you know that permanent markers now come in every colour of the rainbow? Our favorites are Sharpies and Posca paint pens.
  • Clear Coat: The clear coat is to seal the rock so that the paint won’t run in the elements. And the Rocks look great once the layer of clear coat goes on. You could use a clear spray paint such as British Paints – Spray Easy Paint and Prime, which costs about $8. Spray sealant dries really quick, which leaves more time to paint more rocks and for rock drops. I purchased a tin of Cabot’s exterior clear from Bunnings. It cost about $30 and the tin will last for over a year.

Painting

Time to get creative! You can paint a picture or pattern, write a positive message or both. I like to paint about 10 rocks at a time.

Here are the steps I follow:

  1. Paint one side of all the rocks.
  2. When it drys, paint the other side.
  3. Once the painted rocks are dry, decorate them with a picture or a positive message. Keep your messages clean and positive. Then it is more drying time.
  4. Write the (F) Parramatta Rocks! on the back:
  5. Add the clear coat to each side and leave to dry.

It may sound like a lot but it’s just 10 minutes here and there throughout a day. One way to make it even easier is to set up a ‘rock painting station’ in your home or on the back deck/ balcony. Mine consists of a piece of cardboard, rocks, paints, paintbrushes and markers. One day I might get them 3/4 finished but then it could be a week til I actually get back and finish them. Or you could have a little rock painting play date/ party.


Let the Fun and Games Begin

Rock painting, hiding and finding can be enjoyed in a group, with family or on your own. Anyone can paint. Any age and any skill level. There is no competition.

Hiding Rocks

When you ‘hide’ the rocks, you actually want them to be found. Good places are at the base of a tree, near other rocks at a park, next to the footpath at a bus stop or on your favourite bushwalking track.

Finding Rocks

The Parramatta Rocks! Facebook group is about spreading positivity in and around the Parramatta district – painting and hiding rocks to bring someone joy. As the group grows, you might even be fortunate enough to find a rock. If you do, post a pic on the Parramatta Rocks! Facebook page. You can include as much or as little info with the photo. It would be great to include if you were already a member of the group and/or where you found the rock. And the hashtag #parramattarocks.

Parramatta Rocks
(photo credit: Sophia Russell)

If a rock you painted was found but no picture posted, please don’t be offended or discouraged. Just paint another rock and hide it to bring joy to someone else. The more rocks you paint, the greater the chance they will be found.

I love that this group encourages people to get outdoors and enjoy picnics, bushwalking, parks and exploring our city.

If you’ve always wanted to give back to the community but you’ve been unsure how to, painted rocks is a great way to, and with no time constraints.


Another Way to Play

Decorate rocks with positive messages and leave them for a stranger to stumble across in the hope it will brighten their day.

That person might find their way to the facebook page to let you know it’s been discovered. But they probably won’t. All that you hope for, for these special rocks, is that they are found at some point in time. And in some small way, bring a moment of warmth to someone who could really use it. It could be a new mum needing that ‘I believe in you’ message from a stranger to keep her going with the cluster feeding for another night, or an elderly gentleman waiting for the bus feeling nostalgic wishing for a sense of community.

Thanks to everyone who gets involved. Have fun enjoying this activity because Parramatta rocks!

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