It's Spring and it's time to decorate your garden with some fun stepping stones personalized by your kids! These are also a great gift idea for Grandparents (unless you have to ship them of course)!
I just love any project that is creative, fun, but still productive with my kids. Now I get to see the stepping stones every day when I go out to the garden.
There are many different stepping stone kits you can buy at craft stores or online. I priced it out and for 3 children, it's actually cheaper to buy the parts and do it yourself.
First you need a stepping stone mold. I have seen them shaped as stars and hearts. I preferred the simple round mold. They also come in different sizes. I chose the 12" size at Michael's for $4.99. You might even be able to use a non-stick cake pan that you don't want in the kitchen anymore.
Next you need some cement mix. I read online that you can use a more standard cement but you will have to read about it to make sure you don't need to add anything to it. I bought some "Stepping Stone Cement Mix." One box said it filled 2 - 9" stepping stones, but I used the whole thing to fill a 12" stepping stone to the top. I wanted a thicker stone so I don't have to worry about it breaking. The box of cement is sold at Michael's for $5.99.
The only other things you need are a bucket and a wood stick to stir the cement mix and water. I used a paint stir stick (free at any hardware store).
You'll need some things to decorate your stone with. The most popular are mosaic tiles, which you can buy online or at the craft store. I chose the glass beads/rocks that are usually used to decorate glass vases. They come in all colors and sizes and are also sold at Michael's and the Dollar Store. We also used some of my daughter's beads, some rocks that my son had collected, and some shells from our last beach trip. I have also seen people use small plastic toys and photos in a plastic or glass bubble. Really anything will do, but it's always good to use something colorful and shiny.
Now all you need is a child ready to get their hands dirty! I have 3 of them so we had a great time making them at our house!
Mix the cement according to the directions, add more or less water as needed to get a thick brownie-like consistency. You don't want it too watery or the water will pool up to the top and it will take a lot more work to ready for decorating. You don't want it too dry or it will be hard to spread into the mold and if there is any dry cement left, the stone may crack.
Spread it into your mold and smooth out the top. At this point I waited to start decorating until some of the water pooled up and I could soak it up with a paper towel. You also don't want the cement to be too wet still or any hand or footprints will just disappear. Wait for the right consistency. And start decorating!
We did handprints, my childrens' names, the year, and then decorated around the perimeter. Wait even longer to write words in the cement or it will close up. I used a chopstick for the letters/numbers.
Move to a level surface at room temperature to dry. It takes at least 48 hours for it to dry, but at least 2 weeks before you can walk on it safely. I waited 72 hours before removing it from the mold. I have also seen people paint them to add more color!
Voila! A beautiful stepping stone to remember those sweet little hands that helped you make it. Enjoy!