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What to Do When You Find Painted Rocks

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Did you find some painted rocks? Lucky you! This hobby has been a favorite pastime for a lot of years, but recently due to the current global situation, and people having to stay at home more and more people are becoming obsessed with this hobby. Myself included!

unicorn painted rock hiding in a bush

If you’re here to learn how to paint rocks, or wondering what are the best rock painting supplies, check out these posts instead.

But if you’re here because you want to know how to find painted rocks or what to do with them when you’ve found them, read on!

rock painted to resemble a dragon hatching

What’s the deal with painted rocks?

Painted rocks have been around FOREVER but more recently folks started picking this up as a “new” hobby.

The idea is to spread a little joy and kindness during these uncertain times. Things have been not so great on a global scale for the last few months especially, so some folks have done teddy bear walks or chalk messages of positivity on their driveways. The rock painting evolved much in the same way.

teal painted rock with the words spread kindness and painted rock with poop emoji

I personally wanted a way to spread a little happiness to my neighbors and fellow residents of my home town. So I started painting rocks with uplifting quotes, cute characters and fun designs to give people something to look forward to since everything else is pretty much cancelled.

Sure in the grand scheme of things, finding a painted rock isn’t going to solve all the world’s problems BUT it definitely brings some joy to those who find them!

You can check painted rock databases like if the rock has a tracking code to see where it originated.

Painted Rock Etiquette

Ok so you stumble across a painted rock during your daily stroll through the park. Or perhaps you’ve hit the jackpot and found a WHOLE AWESOME PAINTED ROCK GARDEN! What do you do with this awesome new treasure?

four painted rocks on a blacktop driveway.

There’s a few do’s and don’ts when it comes to finding painted rocks, and there aren’t always obvious “rules”. Sometimes the rules change as well depending on the preference of the artist.

But in general here’s the lowdown:

What to do when you find painted rocks?

First take a look around. Is this rock all by it’s lonesome or in a rock garden?

If the rock is in a garden or other arrangement of other painted rocks, the first thing you want to do is look for a sign or other information from the artist. This can be tricky because some painted rock gardens or displays are meant to have rocks taken from them while others are meant to be left to be enjoyed by others as a collection.

If there’s no sign, the next best step is to check the back sides of the rocks. Some artists will put a name, website or other identifying information on their rocks.

If there’s no instructions on the back of the rock and no information on the display, you should assume these rocks are not meant to be taken and leave them where you found them for others to enjoy.

small painted rock with kawaii ghost face on a tree stump

Some may have instructions that you can move the rock elsewhere. This is usually the case if you find a solo rock out in the wild, even if it’s not specifically indicated on the rock.

Some artists will write that is okay to keep or re-hide. This means the choice is yours! You can either take this rock home or hide it where you found it, or move to another location for others.

In general if you find a rock out by itself you CAN keep it, but usually the hope is that you will either re-hide it or enjoy it at home for a little while then re-hide for someone else.

If you do decide to keep the rock, it’s a great idea to paint one yourself to hide in it’s place! It doesn’t have to be fancy, even just a cute uplifting message is fab. You can check out this post to learn how to get started painting rocks.

When you find a rock, be sure to snap a photo and post on social media! If the artist included a rock painting Facebook group or a hashtag, be sure to include that in your post.

rocks painted with cubone and bulbasaur pokemon

Where should I hide rocks?

If you’re hiding rocks you painted OR re-hiding rocks that you found, there are a few recommended ground rules to follow:

  • Do not place rocks anywhere that they can get caught by mowers, like out in the middle of a park. Keep them close to objects like trees or fence posts or other objects so they don’t get hit and cause damage to mowers.
  • Do not place rocks on private property, unless it’s yours. Not everyone is cool with people trudging through their begonias to find rocks.
  • On that same token, don’t go trudging through anyone’s begonias to look for rocks.
  • Don’t place rocks too high off the ground. I try to keep them ground level whenever possible so that there’s no risk of a rock falling off of something and thwacking them in a head. Especially if it’s an unsuspecting child. This also makes it easier for the kiddos to find.
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