Stepping stones add a decorative touch to the garden and other outdoor spaces. Letting kids design and make their own stepping stones adds a personal touch to the garden decor. The materials are all easy to find at any craft store. The craft works well as a family project during the warmer months. The child-designed stepping stones work well as gifts for relatives. Adding a handprint to the design also documents the child's size at that time.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Things you need
- Cooking spray
- Quick-setting cement
- Stirring stick
Choose a mould for the stepping stone. Craft stores sell stepping stone kits, but they also sell individual stepping stone moulds so you can customise the project. Other items, such as cake pans and flower pot trays, also work as moulds.
Prepare the cake pan if this is what you choose as your mould. Spray it with cooking spray. Sprinkle sand on it in a way similar to what you'd use when flouring a pan to bake a cake. If using a stepping stone mould from a store, read the directions to determine if any preparation is needed.
Mix the quick-setting concrete according to the package directions. Reserve some of the water it calls for to make sure you need it. Stir it well to determine if it has enough water. Look for a consistency similar to cookie dough so it will retain imprints made in it.
Pour the mixed cement into the prepared stepping stone mould. Let the kids smooth the cement into the mould. Lightly bang the mould onto a solid surface to make sure the mixture is even and bubble-free. Allow the concrete to rest about 15 to 30 minutes.
Press the child's hand in the middle of the stepping stone. Press it deeply enough so the imprint will last.
Let the kids press the embellishments into the stepping stone around the handprint. Mosaic tiles, marbles, broken plates, seashells and stones work well for the embellishments. Press them in about halfway so they don't pop off of the stepping stone or create a rough surface.
Let the kids make imprints in the stepping stone using items with distinct textures or shapes. Leaves, coins, pine cones or cookie cutters work well. Press the items into the cement to leave an impression.
Write the child's name and date using a pencil point or sharp stick to preserve the memories.
Leave the stepping stone for two to three days to dry. Avoid moving it until it is set so it doesn't crack.
Remove the dried stepping stone from the mould. Keep it inside another week before putting it in the ground. This will ensure that it is completely dry.
Tips and warnings
- Dump any extra cement in the trash. Rinse the bucket outside rather than washing it down the sink drain as it might clog the pipes.
- Craft stores sell special stepping stone mixes if you prefer it to using concrete.
- Concrete dyes allow you to change the colour of the stepping stones.
- Cement that is too wet will take a long time to dry. Cement that is too dry might crack.
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