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Spreading Kindness with Painted Rocks

UPDATE: Painting kindness rocks has found a resurgence during the Covid-19 pandemic! Painting and hiding rocks is a great way to relax and pass the time. When you are hunting rocks, make sure you carry a sack and some hand sanitizer. We all know how important it is to wash your hands! 

Painted rocks are popping up all over the place. Some with inspirational sayings or words of encouragement, others with cute drawings on them.  Maybe you’ve seen them and wondered what they are.  They are part of the kindness rocks movement.

The movement started as a way to anonymously let others know that they matter, that they are loved.  The painted rocks are a small way to spread kindness to others in a world that oftentimes feels disconnected from one another and full of negativity.  Seeing the joy on the faces of those who find the rocks makes it all worth it.

My family and I have enjoyed every aspect of this movement.  We have spent many hours laughing and sharing as we’ve painted the rocks.  We have hosted our own neighborhood rock painting party.  We have explored new parts of our city as we’ve hunted for rocks and hid rocks.  We’ve even been pleasantly surprised when randomly finding rocks.

If you would like to join the movement but aren’t sure how to get started, here are my tips:

How to Paint Kindness Rocks

Materials needed:

  • Rocks
    • See below for places you can buy rocks in Wichita for the #kindnessrocks project.
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Sealant
  • Dotting Tools
    • I use the end of a paint brush.  However, if you want perfect dots in a variety of sizes, there are several places where they can be purchased.
      • Amazon
      • Hobby Lobby (in the quilling section)
      • Sally Beauty (nail art dotting set)
      • Michael’s (in the painting supplies section)
  • Paint Pens
    • Some of the less expensive paint pens have a tendency to bleed when sealed with the clear coat.  The most popular paint pens seem to be the uni-Posca paint marker pens which write smoothly and don’t bleed when sealed.
  • Gel Pens 
    • Gel pens are great for doodling on rocks.  Neon gel pen colors, such as the Sakura Gelly Roll pens, really show up well.

Steps to Paint Kindness Rocks

  1. Find or buy rocks to paint.  The smooth rocks are easier to draw on.  The irregular shaped rocks can inspire fun ideas, such as an m&m with a bite taken out of it.  If finding rocks to paint, make sure it is not part of landscaping.  It is also illegal to remove rocks from railroad tracks, state parks and national parks.
  2. Wash and air dry rocks prior to painting so the paint will stick.
  3. Use acrylic paint or spray paint to paint your rocks. They seem to work the best.  To really make the colors pop, add a base layer of white or another light color of paint before painting your design.
  4. Paint pens, dotting tools and gel pens may also be used to add fine detail to the rock.  If you don’t have dotting tools, the end of a pencil or paintbrush will work too.
  5. Tag or label back of rock after paint has dried but before it is sealed.  This way when it is found, the person can take a picture of it and share it on social media with one of the local kindness movement rock groups.  There are several in Wichita and the surrounding area, including ICT Area ROCKS! (Wichita) and 060ROCKS (Haysville).
  6. Seal rock with spray on sealer after the paint has dried.  Do not use modge podge as it will not protect the rock from the elements.
  7. Hide the rock! When hiding rocks, do not hide where lawn mowers will get it.  Also, do not hide in national parks or on walking paths where someone may trip over it.  If hiding at a business, get permission first.  Hiding near statues is popular but do not hide on statues as it may cause damage.  Common hiding places include libraries, public parks and splash parks.  More specifically, the Keeper of the Plains, Great Plains Nature Center, Sedgwick County Park, Wichita Art Museum, and the ICT Pop-Up Urban Park are all popular locations for hiding and finding rocks.
  8. Take a photo.  Once hidden, you may choose to take a photo hint of where the rock is hidden and post it on one of the rock group social media pages or leave it as a surprise.
  9. Keep or Re-hide the rock.  Once you have found a rock, take a picture of it and share it on the social media page tagged on the back of the rock.  Then you may choose to keep it or re-hide it for others to find.  Oftentimes my children keep the rocks for a while to enjoy and then re-hide them at a later date.

Where to Buy Painting Rocks in Wichita

In Wichita, you can purchase rocks at:

Andrla’s Landscaping Supplies *PERMANENTLY CLOSED 
1501 W. 55th St. S.
316-522-0634 Bring your own 5 gallon bucket and fill it with smooth river rocks for $5. Regular store hours are Monday-Friday 9am-5pm and Saturday 9am-1pm. Winter store hours start after Thanksgiving or when the weather gets bad. During the winter or bad weather call to make sure someone is there. The store is open about 3 days a week during the winter and those days vary so call ahead.*They accept all forms of payment.
Sod Shop
3601 N. Hillside St.
316-838-5888 Mention the rock movement and get a discount. Regular store hours are Monday-Friday 8am-6pm and Saturday 8am-2pm. Winter store hours start after Thanksgiving and are Monday-Friday 8am-4pm.*They accept all forms of payment except American Express.
Kansas Natural Stone Co.
1550 S. Seville
Wichita, Kansas
316-831-9507 Bring your own 5 gallon bucket and a shovel and get 2-4 inch egg river rock for $10.  No picking through it for specific rocks. Only available by the shovelful. 3-8 inch and 6-12 inch Colorado granite is discounted to for rock painters, just ask for their current rates when you arrive! Summer store hours start mid-March and go until beginning of October. Summer hours are Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Winter hours start at the beginning of October and last until mid-March depending on the weather.  There are no regular winter hour days and times of operation, so call before you go.

Home Depot

Wichita has 2 locations: 3350 N. Woodlawn and 8444 W. McCormick. Home Depot carries a variety of bagged rocks that work great for painting and hiding. The most popular ones are the Beach Pebbles. These locations carry the rock year round, but it may be a good idea to check with the specific location before you make a special trip just for rocks.


Lowe’s carries bagged large white river stones that work great for painting. Find a store near you. 

The most important part of this movement is to remember to have fun while spreading kindness to others.  So what are you waiting for?  Let’s start spreading kindness one rock at a time!

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