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Rock'n HSU

Rock painting is a popular activity among young and old and this guide is just a start to inspire your interest and creativity.

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Library 317 will be set up for rock painting during the semester break, December 17-January 18, times to be determined but most likely during lunch time. Bring your lunch and a friend to paint rocks for yourself or to drop on campus.

The Halloween rock drop was a huge success! Thanks for everyone who participated in hiding and finding and sharing the joy of finding the beautiful painted rocks. There's still Halloween candy left, so if you find a rock that has Rock'n HSU on the back, bring it by L316 for a treat while supplies last! *You don't have to turn it in - just show it - you can keep the rock!*

The next rock drop will be around campus before spring semester starts. Watch this space and the FB group for more details.

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HSU Library's picture
HSU Library
Cheryl Conner
(707) 826-4953

Themed days

July 3 - International Drop a Kindness Rock Day

October 3 - Drop a Rainbow Day

two rocks painted with rainbows and hearts

November 13 - World Kindness Day

Found a Rock?

100+ painted rocks

Rock'n HSU was an L4HSU workshop presented this summer at the HSU Library. Students, staff, admins, faculty, and community members of all ages came together to paint rocks with pictures or words for themselves or others. Then a project was created as the collection of rocks grew. At the end of the summer, as we approached 75+ rocks, the goal became to have 100 for spreading around campus when the students returned to classes. We made it with 106 rocks as seen in the photo above!

If you come across a rock with "Rock'n HSU" on the back, feel free to take a photo with it and post to the Rock'n HSU Facebook group. You are welcome to keep the rock or re-hide it (on campus, please). If you re-hide it, you can post a photo of where or you can keep it a secret. We want to make this fun for everyone involved so be safe and don't trample the landscaping.

Painting Rocks

Painting and hiding rocks is a fun and easy way to spread happiness, make connections, and you don't have to be artistic! Ranging from a complex scene to a simple message or graphic, your found rock can brighten someone's day. This summer we shared ideas and supplies needed to create fun painted rocks for you to keep or hide. Watch for workshops during the school year to create your own rocks or use this guide to get started on your own. 

"One message at just the right moment can change someone’s entire day, outlook, life!" -- The Kindness Rocks Project

Websites with ideas

There are oodles of rock painting ideas online. Search Google images for rock painting and then you can narrow it down to easy, hearts, animals, abstract, even Star Wars and Harry Potter! Paint as detailed or as simple as you want, add words or just have a design of your own.

Video Tutorials

There are so many video tutorials on YouTube! Just search rock painting and have fun!  Here are some to get you started:

Examples and Ideas

patterned heart rock
rock painted with branching tree
rock painted with colorful flowers
rocks painted like fruit
rocks painted like minions
rocks painted with emojis
rocks painted with monster faces
rocks painted with silly faces
rocks painted with abstract images
rock flower
rock lady bugs
rock painted with You can move mountains
rock painted with life is beautiful
kindness rocks
rock painted with courage
rock painted with flowers and smile
rock painted with you rock
rock painted with Be a rainbow in someone else's cloud
assorted quote rocks
thought bubble rocks
rock painted with Life is short, eat the cupcake
rock painted with Love
rocks painted like owls
rock painted like cute pig
rocks painted with cat faces
rocks painted like fish
rock painted like frog


  • smooth rocks/pebbles, scrubbed clean and dried
  • paint brushes, eraser ends, pencils, q-tips
  • acrylic paints
  • oil-based sharpies (easier for words)
  • spray varnish (to make them last outside)
  • blow dryer (to help paint dry)
  • paper plates for palettes
  • paper towels
  • jars for water

Fun Rock Projects

Facebook Groups

Dos and Don'ts

These tips have been collected from various websites and Facebook groups and I hope you find them helpful.


  • sketch something out, if needed
  • use your words if you think you can't draw
  • if you buy shiny rocks, you may need to boil them to remove the coating that will keep paint from sticking


  • be afraid to turn the rock while painting
  • be afraid to make mistakes - you can always paint over
  • trample landscaping when hiding or seeking rocks
  • take rocks or leave painted rocks in National Parks