We just encountered painted rocks for the first time on our Spring Break road trip, when my older daughter found two separate painted rocks hidden in two separate national parks. The message on the back of each rock stated that you could keep it or re-hide it, so my daughter decided to keep each rock, but replace it by painting her own and hiding them for others to find around our hometown.
Thanks to Art on the Rocks, we’ve finally figured out how to keep that promise!
On the one hand, the procedure for painting on rocks seems kind of obvious: you get a rock and you paint on it, Bro! But on the other hand… do you have to prime it first? What kind of primer and paint even stick to rocks? Can you use markers? Craft acrylics? Do you seal it? And how on earth do people do all of those elaborate little paintings?
The prep work for the rock painting seemed a little much–yes, I did dutifully soak my rocks in a bucket, and then stand at the sink and scrub them with a brush, and finally, Jesus help me, I gently dried each one with a fluffy towel–but the paint went on like butter and stuck like glue, so there you go.
I also appreciated the materials section of the book, which introduced me to my new most favorite art supply–these paint pens. Holy smoke, those paint pens! They’re brilliant. They’re paint… IN PEN FORM!!! THAT’S how people do all those elaborate little paintings–they use paint pens! They’re expensive enough and just fiddly enough that I wouldn’t offer them to a small child, but my eleven-year-old is well used, by now, to treating my best supplies with respect. It’s been a loooong time since she’s had to give me three bucks out of her allowance to replace a Prismacolor marker with its cap left off, although she still does have to give me the occasional buck for a glue stick–leaving the caps off of glue sticks appears to be a personal weakness of hers.
Although the book has instructions for painting on rocks that are left natural, I also gave several of our rocks a base coat using water-based spray paint. My kids, especially, really liked painting on these, although I prefer the natural colors of the real rocks as the background. Either way, though, by following the suggestions in the book, both my younger kid, who is an artist for real, and my teen and I, who don’t fancy ourselves artistic, were able to paint several rocks that we’re extremely happy with.
So if you’re out hiking one day and you find a rock that looks like one of the ones above, keep it or re-hide it… or keep it and paint your own to replace it out in the world!
I received a free copy of Art on the Rocks, because I can’t write about a book unless it’s got me standing at my sink and washing rocks.