There’s two sides to the success of rock art abandonment projects. One is the surprise of finding a painted rock. The other is the joy of making one for someone to discover.You can do both of these alone, but throwing a rock-painting party is a great way to spend creative time with others, no matter how old you are.
Here are a few tips for holding an easy, fun and memorable party.
Collect some rocks
Collect different-sized rocks from river banks, alleys or roadsides. A smooth rock with a flat surface works best, but you can also work a design around a rock’s peculiarities. Don’t take rocks from parking lots or yards — people want to keep their landscaping. Gather a wide array and then wash and dry them before guests arrive. (If you don’t want to hunt for rocks, garden stores often sell them for landscaping, and some hardware stores sell rocks by the bucket.)
Acrylic paints, permanent markers, sparkly nail polish, stencils, stickers and different sized paint brushes or sponges are some things you could have on hand, depending on your age group. You can ask people coming to the party to bring any art supplies they might have.
Cover your work surfaces with newspaper to make clean-up quick. Fill recycled plastic cups or cans with water to clean brushes. Keep two large buckets nearby, one for emptying dirty paint water and one for filling cups with fresh water. Have rags or paper towels available at each table for cleaning up messes or mistakes.
Label and seal
Using a permanent marker, label your rock with “LC Valley Rocks,” “Moscow Rocks,” “Palouse Rocks,” or wherever you are. Wait for it to dry completely and then apply sealant. Modge Podge Clear Acrylic Sealer or clear spray paint usually cost less than $7. Spray far away from the surface with light layers so the color doesn’t run. Seal with several layers, front and back, to ensure your design doesn’t disappear in the rain. Have sacks available for your guests to take rocks home.
Last but not least, it’s not a party without food. Run with the rock theme and serve chocolate pebble candy, Pop Rocks or rock candy suckers (find recipes online, like this one from Spinning Cook, to make your own). Chocolate-covered dried fruit and nuts have a rock-like appearance. Another idea: cupcakes or cookies topped with sugar crystals. Walk off that sugar by hiding rocks together when you’re done — but remember, painted rocks are not welcome at state or national parks.