You are walking along someplace in Downtown Gettysburg, maybe the Giant parking lot, maybe Historic Lincoln Square, maybe even down the main strip of Biglerville. All of a sudden, you find something bright catch your eye on the ground. As you get closer, you see it’s a beautifully painted rock treasure that has been left just for you to find. You pick it up, smile to yourself, flip it over to see #GBurg-Rocks painted on the back, and drop it in your pocket. What are these Gettysburg Painted Rocks?
Where are all these Gettysburg Painted Rocks coming from?
A local Facebook group called “Gettysburg Rockz PA” is the central location for sharing, discussing, and announcing rock drops. Here, people can share images of rocks they’ve painted and give hints to where they’ve hidden them and finders can post pictures of their rocks and where they found them. Anyone can join, and anyone can participate. The goal is to find rocks, hide rocks, you can keep rocks, or redistribute rocks. The point is to have fun and appreciate the positivity behind receiving rocks, and spreading positive vibes and messages by distributing rocks.
The rules from our local group are fairly simple:
- Do not paint nasty, offensive or vulgar rockz..no no no!
- Do not hide rockz within business establishments.
- Do not steal peoples ornamental rocks to paint them!
- Do not throw rockz because that is just not nice!
- Do not put rocks on monuments or memorials
- Do not hide or search Nerd Herd Gifts & Games!
- Please no selling on group
- Please no advertising of other groups.
- Do not hide rockz on battlefield. The National Park Service put out an announcement for against the rock painting game on their lands. They have a strict “Leave no footprint” policy.
- Absolutely NO negative posts!
Where did this painted rocks craze start?
This new art and kindness collaboration started with the Kindness Rocks Project at the inspiration of Megan Murphy after she lost her parents. You can see the start of her journey on YouTube. It slowly began to spread and with each new group came more word-of-mouth. There are currently hundreds of groups around the world, and growing! How awesome for us to have our own group right here in Gettysburg!
Even Businesses are getting in on the action.
Members 1st Credit Union creates and distributes rocks around their branches occasionally. Other businesses are starting to jump in and have their own painted rocks to distribute. Several businesses encourage residents to hide rocks at their location, but check with them first!
How can I particpate in Gettysburg Painted Rocks?
Participating is easy!
- Join the Facebook Group
- Walk around Adams County and keep an eye open everywhere for rocks
- Pick up a rock you find, take a picture of it and post it to the group where you find it
- Rehide the rock somewhere else, or keep it if you really love it. Some people even take their rocks to other states and countries to hide them! It’s pretty neat when someone from that state or country joins the group to say they found one of our Gettysburg rocks!
- Get some unpainted rocks and put your creativity into them to create your own rocks!
- Take a picture of your created rocks and post them to the group
- Hide your rocks and watch other people find them excitedly!
You don’t have to paint rocks if you don’t want to. Just be conscientious about your participation. If you only take rocks, and you take a lot of them, it’s less for others to enjoy. If a rock makes you happy though, keep it! Personally, I keep 1 rock at all times, but once I find a new one, I replace it with the new rock and hide the other. That way I always have that 1 rock to make me smile 🙂
Where to get rocks
Occassionaly on the Facebook group, someone asks where they can get rocks. Obviously you can get them out in the wild, especially by streambeds. You can also buy river rocks from local businesses such as:
- Nolt’s Mulch Products for $5/bucket
- Countryside Gardens for $1/bucket
- Hanover Concrete (ask for #2 river rocks)
- Lowes or Walmart
- A.C. Moore in Hanover
- Tractor Supply in Gettysburg
- Home Depot in Hanover
- Dollar Tree
*Keep in mind, we always encourage supporting local businesses first 🙂 Also never ever remove rocks from state parks.
What’s the best method and tools for painting the rocks?
- Use acrylic paint (The G-Burg Rockz admin recommends Apple Barrel Acrylic, which is found at Walmart)
- Look out for paint pens for more detailed work, also at Walmart!
- Mod podge clear acrylic sealer, also found at Walmart
- Find regular brushes for decorating and sponge brushes or spraypaint for base colors. Very fine detail can be done through toothpicks and even q-tips
- Rinse your rocks first and set them out to dry, even store-bought ones as they can have an oil overlay on them
- Apply 3 coats of paint, letting each coat dry
- Five Below also has rock painting kits available
The biggest goal with the Kindness Rocks Project is to have fun. Enjoy searching, enjoy finding, enjoy painting and enjoy seeing other people find your creations. Give someone a reason to smile, and appreciate the beautiful color and art out there whether it is natural or painted. It’s there for you to admire and be happy.