What started out as a simple ask of 14 of Patty Hood’s “artsy” Facebook friends has turned into a fun and family-friendly activity for area residents visiting local parks.
Patty, who follows a Springfield, Il artist, saw an online post about Felicia Olin’s beautifully painted rocks and how they are showing up in parks. “I thought it would be kind of cool to paint our own rocks and ‘hide’ them in our parks,” Patty added, “I was tired of seeing the negativity on Facebook and thought wouldn’t it be nice to bring happiness to people instead.”
While the idea to paint rocks with inspiring messages and hide them around Mattoon was Patty’s idea, the activity originated in Ohio where rock painting is supported by a group of 2,000 members. Mattoon Rocks is now nearly 1,000 members strong and growing each day. “It has picked up a life of its own in a few week’s time,” Patty added.
In the hopes of brightening someone else’s day, the Mattoon Rocks group paints rocks of all sizes and embellishes them with words like ‘love’ ‘ peace,’ and ‘happiness.’ On the bottom of the rock is a tag that reads, “Hope this brightens your day! Please post a picture on Facebook at ‘Mattoon, IL Rocks’- Keep or Rehide.”
To alert others to new rocks in a park, Mattoon Rocks members post on Facebook when they have done a ‘rock drop.’ In Mattoon, colorful rocks have been found in all the parks and in some private gardens.
“It’s been fun bringing happiness to others. It’s turned out to be a fun family activity with kids asking to go to a park to look for rocks,” Patty added. “It’s like an endless Easter egg hunt.”
Patty welcomes newcomers to the group saying, “You can never spread too much happiness.” People interested in participating in the Mattoon Rocks can get started by looking for rocks, preferably 3 to 5 inches in length or diameter, on public property (not private property) or purchasing rocks from landscape supply stores. She recommends Smooth Beach Pebbles. A 35-pound bag costs approximately $12.
Instructions for making Mattoon Rocks:
• Clean the Rocks.
• Paint with a base coat of primer. (Patty uses spray
• Paint with acrylic spray paint, or brush paint acrylic paints,
can also use Sharpies (beware of running), Colored Pencils,
Chalk, Hot Rocks (crayons), Paint Pens are a favorite (can be
purchased at Wal-Mart -$2 each).
• Adhere a tag to it “Hope this brightens your day! Please post a picture on Facebook at “Mattoon IL Rocks” - Keep or Rehide!” This works best with Mod Podge.
• Spray with c lear coat spray paint or polyurethane.