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How To Paint Kindness Rocks

Now that you’ve seen kindness rocks, I’m sure you’re ready to make some of your own. This is a fun and easy project for people of any age. I’ve tried to break the process down into four easy steps to get you started!

Let's Get Started
Getting ready to paint some rocks

Step One: Find a Nice Rock

Rocks are naturally occurring items that are generally found outdoors. Hint: look down. Beaches and rivers are great places to find naturally tumbled rocks. I’ve started taking sealed baggies along on day trips to carry my finds with me. Once you start looking for rocks and picking them up, you will be amazed at how quickly they seem to congregate in your pockets and around your home.

Rock Stash
Once you start to collect rocks they just seem to pile up!

Try to find smooth rocks that fit in your hand. You can decorate any rock, but it’s harder to decorate rocks with ridges. Wash all the dirt off with a soft brush and warm, soapy water and rinse well. If your rocks come from beaches or wet conditions, you will want to add a small amount of bleach to a bowl of water to kill off any live matter that may be sticking to the surface of the rock. Let the clean rock thoroughly dry.

Find a Nice Rock
These nicely shaped river rocks from flower borders in my garden. Just be sure to resist the temptation of taking rocks from other people's landscaping!

Step Two: Get Creative

This is the fun part! Think about an image or words that you think will make people smile. It can be pretty colors and encouraging words, patterns or images. There are wonderful samples to be found online by searching “kindness rock ideas”.

Blueberry Rock Pie
My, my, I like pie!

Some rocks can suggest what they want to be by their shape.  Bay Area artist Arleen Virga looked at this rock and saw a hamburger. Doesn’t it look yummy? Arleen even made sure to add cheese and condiments. I love her idea, and have found a rock that looks a bit like a baguette. Hoagie anyone?

Hamburger Rock
Bay Area Artist Arleen Virga created this yummy-looking hamburger

Step Three: Paint Your Rock

Apply an undercoat of Mod Podge sealant, then paint with non-toxic acrylic paints or pens and let it dry.

Apply a Base Coat
Applying a base coat of Mod Podge sealant

Paint with non-toxic acrylic paints or pens and let it dry. Check out my step-by-step tutorial on Painting Octopus Rocks for more tips on tricks.  Seal your creation with non-toxic all-weather coating.

Painting Gnomes
Rock painting is a fun, no-stress activity

Step Four: Spread Some Kindness!

Place your rock in a nice spot in a public place for someone to find, or give your rock to someone you would like to make happy! Don’t make the rock too hard to find… remember the idea is for someone to discover it!

Hidden Heart in a Tree
I hid this Valentine's heart in a tree along a popular walk in a neighborhood park.
4th of July Popsicle in Benicia
Happy Popsicle waiting on the Benicia Pier for someone to find it!

The vast majority of rocks I set out to be found simply disappear. That’s just fine and to be expected. There have been a few notable exceptions when I was lucky enough to see the rock get picked up. I met a lovely couple on the pier in Benicia when they saw a rock and wondered aloud what it was doing there. I explained about the Kindness Rock movement. This was in the depths of the pandemic, and I think we were all feeling a bit isolated. That lovely couple are now dear friends of ours, and we have talked about our meeting as kismet.

Found Hearts!
These little girls found a heart rock with a dog paw print in the center that I placed by a bench in a Napa Dog Park. I happened to have another heart rock in my pocket, so I gave it to the other little girl. She told me it was her favorite color! Yay!

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