Strawberry Rocks have been floating around Pinterest for a while now. The legend goes if you put these painted rocks next to your strawberry plants before strawberries start to grow you can trick those pesky birds who love to devour these sweet treats. They spot your big, plump red “strawberries”, fly over for a nibble or two, start to peck away and think to themselves “Man! This lady is a terrible gardener! These strawberries are hard as rocks!!” They go back with a tweaked-beak and tell all their feathered friends to not bother with your horrible crop this year.
So that’s the legend behind my madness of creating my own Strawberry Rocks. The birds got to my berries last year more often than I did and boy did it ruffle my feathers! This project is easy and really doesn’t take long if you don’t count the drying times between paint colors. My daughter loved helping me with this project and we just did a little bit each day. It was wonderful excuse to spend a little extra time making memories with her daily. I also think it would be fun to do on a camping trip to keep a group of kiddo’s active with a daily Art Project.
First thing to do is go on a rock gathering walk. Our seasonal creek was dry at this time so we walked along keeping our eyes out for any triangle/strawberry shaped rocks. Once we had a couple baskets full I washed them then laid them outside to dry to get ready for their first layer of paint. I had a bucket of white paint already so that’s what I used. Spray painting would be easier but my little girl really wanted to help paint. =)
Some of these rocks aren’t the best shapes, but why be picky? They’re for the birds, remember! Plus when your little one picks up a rock and shouts “This one is perfect Mom!” how can you argue? Painting the rocks white first allows the red paint to really shine. You could skip this part and start with the red, but your rocks will be quite a bit duller in color. Duller in color? Is that even a word? Oh well…you get it! Let sit until dry, or wait a day like we did before moving on to the next step. This time I spray painted them a bright red and let them dry for an hour or two. Then flipped them over and sprayed the back side.
Again, never-mind the shapes! The one on the bottom right looks more like a red pepper but hey! That big juicy berry just might be the one that all the birdies want to fight over! We let the rocks sit another day before decorating our rocks with ‘leaves.’ You could use green craft paint and a brush but being this was a project with my daughter I wanted this to be easy for her, and me. I picked up a box of Paint Pens at WallyWorld that contained green and black pens. I’ve seen some beautifully painted Strawberry Rocks on Pinterest, with like 3 different shades of green leaves and even white highlights on the black seeds but I was not going there. Feel free to Rembrandt-out your rocks if you’d like to. Or keep your bird rocks Strawberry Rocks simple.
This is the most time consuming part of the project. But pull up a chair, enjoy a cool breeze and listen to the birdies sing up in the trees where they are supposed to be. Remember the criteria we had when searching for our rocks in the creek bed? That we looked for triangle shaped rocks? Well pick up a rock and try to imagine it actually being a strawberry. Now take your paint pen and loopy-loop around the top of your berry. Fill it in so the whole top part is green. The paint pens dried incredibly fast and I was able to set them down almost immediately. When all the leaves were done we took the black pen and traced around the edge, drew little lines at the top and then polka-dotted for seeds.
I actually cheated and only traced and seeded the top part of the strawberries. Don’t judge me! You’re never going to see the back side anyway! =) Turned out better then you thought, huh? Good enough to fool the birdies at least!
I’m glad the paint pens dry so fast because we were WAY excited to put them around our plants as little tiny strawberries were already starting to grow. Fairy Berries as my girlies like to call them.
I placed a couple around each plant in my DIY Strawberry Gutter Garden.
We were even careful to place them just how the strawberries will grow with the leaves facing the plant. Doing our best to trick those pesky birds!
We also placed a few around our returning strawberries that we planted on the sides of the bales in our Straw Bale Garden.
It was fun to see the kiddo’s get excited about how neat the Strawberry Rocks looked! I’ll be keeping a close watch and see if the age-old legend holds true and indeed fools the birds. Don’t worry, I’ll keep you posted! Sound like a fun project? It is! And even more fun will be hearing the giggles when a Blue Jay flies over and pecks on one of our tasty, but hard, strawberries!
UPDATE: The rocks did help keep the birds away! It was pretty crazy. There was a few pecks here and there but I was able to actually eat some berries. However, these rocks did not keep the chipmunks away that discovered them. I had NEVER seen a chipmunk for 7 years until the one I saw sitting in my gutter enjoying his meal.
I’d love you to leave a comment and tell me what you think! Just no teasing about my 3rd grade level art work!