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Rock'n Humboldt

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

Latest News

The next rock drop will be around campus the week of August 19th in preparation for the students' return August 26th. Almost 500 rocks have been painted this summer for this fun project!

July 3rd is International Drop a Rock Day!  This year's word is "Harmony" - the ability to be in peace with others.

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. We'll be doing it again next Halloween so watch for more information. *You don't have to turn it in - just show it - you can keep the rock!*


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HSU Library
Cheryl Conner
(707) 826-4953

Themed days

July 3 - International Drop a Rock Day

October 3 - Drop a Rainbow Day

November 13 - World Kindness Day

Did You Find a Painted Rock with Rock'n HSU on it?

100 painted rocks

Congratulations and welcome to campus!  Over 500 painted rocks have been placed around campus, both outside and inside buildings, as a result of the very successful summer workshop series Rock'n HSU offered through L4HSU and some members of local rock painting groups.  We had fun painting designs, colors, and positive statements on rocks for you to find as you travel across campus.

You are welcome to keep the rock or rehide it (on campus) for others to find. You can also hold on to it to give to someone else who may need it during the semester.  If you would like, you can take a photo with it and post to the Rock'n HSU Facebook group (and join the group, if you are interested!).  We love seeing the happy people who find our rocks.  In order to make this fun and safe for everyone, please don't  don't trample the landscaping or search in unsafe locations.

Thanks for participating and we hope you have a good fall semester.

Paint Rocks with L4HSU!

8 workshops and almost 400 rocks produced to put around campus! YOU ALL ROCK!!!

Lobby display case with rocks

Rock'n HSU was an L4HSU workshop started in the Summer of 2018 at the HSU Library and continued through Summer 2019!  Students, staff, administrators, faculty, and community members of all ages came together to paint rocks with pictures and/or words. Last year more than 100 rocks were painted, some went home with their creators but others were donated to become part of the welcome to HSU project.  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!  This summer we painted over 400!!!

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

rock lady bugs
rocks painted with abstract images
rocks painted with silly faces
rocks painted with monster faces
rocks painted with emojis
rocks painted like minions
rocks painted like fruit
rock painted with colorful flowers
rock painted with branching tree
patterned heart rock
rock painted like frog
rocks painted with cat faces
rock flower
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
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 like fish
rock painted with Be a rainbow in someone else's cloud


  • rocks & pebbles, scrubbed clean & dried
  • paint brushes, eraser ends, pencils, q-tips
  • acrylic paints
  • oil-based sharpies, paint pens (easier for words & fine details)
  • spray varnish (to protect from the elements)
  • blow dryer (to help paint dry)
  • paper plates for palettes (or paint from the bottle caps)
  • paper towels for clean-up
  • rinse water for brushes

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