Christy Whitehead Photography » North Florida photographer and graphic designer

Rock Painting -the why, how and where #jaxrocks #jacksonvilleRocks

Hiding and finding painted rocks has become all the rage. I kept seeing Facebook groups and friends post about it. Then about a month ago I was at Dave and Buster’s and was walking over to the game side and I look over to my left and found this Aloha rock!:


Rock Painting -the why, how and where #jaxrocks #jacksonvilleRocks

Since finding that Aloha rock, we painted some and hid them in Oakleaf. My kids loved it. Hid some Minion ones when we went to watch the Minions movie. My daughter was SOOO excited when she saw someone found them. And she gets SOOOO excited when she finds some.

The Michaels by the Avenues had a sign up about rock painting and had some painted rocks in front of it.

One day, we went to the pizza place in Argyle. My daughter put one rock on a table out front and went in to order, another Jax Rocks person spotted it and put two in it’s place by the time we had got done ordering!!! My daughter was so amazed.

A lot of the local parks have them. The Aloha rock I found, I went to the group on the back that was hashtagged and posted a photo. The artist was from out of state and said she left it there for work 2 days before!!!

(If you want FREE stuff, read to the end!)

When I found that first rock I decided that was the sign and it was my turn to do it now. But, I wasn’t sure what to do or what to get. So I started researching and I also interviewed, Kristen Bloss, a leader of the local group #jacksonvillerocks community group on Facebook for pointers and info! Kristen founded the group in October of 2016.

How did you become interested in painting rocks?

I have always liked to paint, and I love being outside. So when I saw a friend in Washington State doing this I had to find out what it was and then after doing some research, I decided to start it here in Jacksonville.

Do you remember the first rock you painted? Found?

I remember the first group of rocks I painted. I still have the photo of them. The one that sticks out with me the most is a large frog face. The first rock I found was an American Flag, which was very fitting for me and my son loved it.

What was your favorite rock you found?

I would still say the American flag since it was our first find.

Why do you do it?

I enjoy painting and being outside myself, and my sons enjoy it as well. I started the group because I know so many people would enjoy it and it would get them outside seeing the beautiful areas that Jacksonville has to offer (and get people off of their phones, video games etc). I love that people are spending time as a family painting, walking, hiding and searching. For a lot of people it is a form of therapy and I think that is awesome as well, and I LOVE seeing people realize their artistic potential.

What words of advice do you have for anyone wanting to do it?


Where do you get your ideas?

For me, I mostly think of what my son would like to see. Lately I have started doing things I am more interested in. I also get inspiration from seeing what others are painting in the group.

Any funny or crazy stories?

Not particularly, except for my son getting paint everywhere and all my friends kids talking to me about rocks. Actually, it was pretty awkward in the beginning when I tried to explain this concept to places like Stones Plus (to buy the rocks) and other art places that I thought could help this get started. The art studio that I thought would be a great help brushed me off but I am sure they see it differently now.

Is there anything people shouldn’t paint or do?

Just try to keep kindness in mind, and not paint offensive things. We also don’t want to hide in businesses (without permission) or in lawns where mowers could toss the rock. We dont want to be a nuisance.

Anything else you want to add?

I am very happy this group has grown how it has. I think we have a wonderful group of people and I know that we still havent reached most of Jax but we will, one rock at a time.


This is a photo from the Jacksonville Rocks group. I love the Quilt Rock idea. Paint a square and then rehide for someone else do the same!!!

Rules & Tips & Places to Buy What you Need

Now the rules and tips on where and what to buy and where to hide! (This list comes from a post from Kristen that I have modified a bit and added too, but you can read all her info on her group page.)


You can buy rocks at Stones Plus (You can buy prebagged or pick your own for like $5 for A LOT! And they have free bottles of water in the lobby if case you get hot out there picking through the rocks. I personally like supporting small businesses with a great product, great price and awesome customer service!)

You can also pick some rocks up at Walmart, Lowes/Home Depot, and Earth Source to name a few. OR, use seashells or rocks you find.

You can use a pencil, colored pencil, oil pastels, or crayons. Sharpies work well and can be used for writing, outlining, and drawing. Be careful when sealing sharpies. They can run if you spray too much sealant on at once or spray too closely.

I bought some Sharpie Paint pens on Amazon and they worked pretty well, didn’t have any bleeding. Buy fine point for easier writing! Sharpies were also easier to use with toddlers who wanted to help!

Posca paint pens are amazing paint pens. They cover well, dry quickly, and don’t smear.

Acrylic craft paint, enamel paint, and spray paint are all great choices too.

The most important thing is that you SEAL your rock, covering the art and the writing on the back, before placing it. You can use any clear spray paint, gloss or matte, your choice. Modge Podge Sealant Spray or marine safe spray called Moeller Clear Coat. I am sure there are others. If you are not sure if it is sealed, try washing it in the sink and see how it holds up. That is how we tested the durability of the colored pencils.



Besides checking out the group for inspiration….

I found a book at the public library with ideas and a how to, but I’m a big fan of Amazon and found these as well:

Rock Painting Book & Kit

Rock Art: Painting & crafting with the humble pebble

Hide & Seek Rock Painting Kit


This was posted to the group. Michael’s is really getting into the rock game!


If you find a rock with a hashtag, post a photo to that group so the artist can know that their art was found and well received.

If you find a rock with a nasty message or one that is in need of some tlc (writing needs to be touched up or resealed),considered repainting it instead of leaving it behind or before hiding it again.

If you have a paint party at one of our parks, bring something to pace over the picnic tables so that there won’t be a mess left behind.


Please be respectful of painted rocks on private property or if there is nothing written on the back of the rock it may be part of a more permanent art/beautification display.

Please be thoughtful of others and the environment when placing rocks. Please do not hide rock inside of buildings and please do not hide your works of art in the grass where they may cause damage to mower blades and other equipment. This should also be considered if you are hiding rocks along trails or display garden beds. We want to be a blessing to the community not a nuisance. Also be respectful of private property and businesses. It is a good idea to ask permission.

National parks are off limits and do not want rocks hidden on their property. Disney has also banned it.

Tree Hill, Jacksonville Arboretum, and the Jacksonville Zoo welcome your art (no advertising though).



Feel free to re-hide rocks wherever you think they may belong. We have had quite a few rocks travel to different states and it is exciting for the artist to see all of the places that they go. That is something to keep in mind when you are traveling. You can bring your own masterpieces or someone else’s along on your journeys and take the fun outside the community and inspire others.


Make sure you write share a photo to the Facebook group Jacksonville Rocks,#jaxrocks, or #Jacksonvillerocks on the back. You can also write keep or re-hide, or a special message if there is room. Writing on the back of the rock lets others know its purpose and gives you an opportunity to see your art again.

Don’t Get Discouraged!!!Your beautiful creations are a gift and a blessing to whoever finds them. Don’t get discouraged if your really awesome beloved work of art is never shared but you know has been found. Just remember how special it is to unexpectedly find a work of art or message on a rock and the joy that it brought. You can be certain that your art has been a joyful blessing to the finder even if they didn’t share to say so.

Just have fun and keep creating and sharing your beautiful creations with us. Jacksonville Rocks ROCKS because of you.

Now for the freebies!

I’m a photographer, not a painter or artist, but I couldn’t help making some camera ones. They have the #jaxrocks as well as #jaxphotographer on the back of them.

If you find them, feel free to bring it to my studio at 514 Chaffee Point Blvd #9 (at Chaffee & 10, I’m usually there 9-5 Mon-Friday, you might want to email to make sure!) for your choice of a gift card to use towards photography OR a gift card to use at Florida School of Holistics/Green Lotus in Riverside for a free class (soap making, perfume, etc, over 200 classes!)

But I’m not the only one giving away free stuff. I saw in the group the other day that Jimmy Johns in Fleming Island made their own rocks and if you bring them in you get a free sub.


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