Wednesday, May 16, 2012

diy stepping stones

i have been making some fun outdoor diy projects to go along with my spring gardening. i love this one as it is extremely easy, the kids can help, and it gives me a fun keepsake for years to come.


start by taking a trip to your local home depot, lowes or other home improvement store. buy several plastic liners that are used as to catch water run off for potted plants. these can be purchased for about a dollar or so. you'll want a few of them. they can be reused but will only last about two or three times before you have to toss them.
coat your plastic form with something to keep the cement from sticking. i used vaseline the first time and then switched to a non-stick cooking spray. they both worked equally well and the cooking spray was much faster. 
while you are at your home improvement store, purchase some cement. buy the smallest bag possible but make sure it is a sand based mortar. if there are rocks in your mortar, the surface will not be as smooth as you will want it. mix up your cement in a container you don't mind ruining. cement will pretty much destroy your containers. i used a disposable ziplock storage container that i threw away afterward. it worked perfectly. 

fill up your container with the dry cement and add water a little at a time until you reach a brownie batter consistency. then you are ready to pour into your plastic container. fill up your container leaving a small bit of room at the top so your cement doesn't fall over the sides. smooth out your cement, creating a flat surface.

start adding your decorations. if you want to do a mosaic, you can purchase mosaic glass pieces at a craft store. the box below made about three stepping stones. start with your glass tiles in the middle and work your way out. 
if you are wanting a stone with your kids' hand or feet prints, try using some glass gems to create a border. these are easy to put into your cement and they stick well. decorate your stepping stone with the pieces of glass when it is still wet and press the pieces into your wet cement to ensure the pieces will stay in the cement as it dries.
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if you are doing your child's hand print or foot print, wait for the cement to dry for about a half an hour or so and test it. do an impression with your own hand and see if it will stick without the cement filling back in. if it does fill back in, wait a little longer. if it does not, carefully press your kids hands into the cement. make sure you are pressing deep enough that the impression will be noticed. 

if you want to add your child's name, you can simply write into your stepping stone or you can use plastic letter impressions. i found these at a craft store as well and i like how clearly they will stamp in the name. again, wait until your cement is firm enough for the letter impressions to stay.

wait a day or so before you try to remove your stone from the plastic. flip your stone over and gently remove the liner. you can then use your liner again. wipe off any cement debris with a wet cloth and you can display your stones in your favorite garden.