Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Stepping Stones

I am a little late with this one. These are the stones we made for Father’s Day. We usually make them for Mother’s Day but this year we were too busy adjusting to our new daughter. They are a lot of fun and can use up items that would otherwise go to the dump, like broken pottery, bottle tops and the bubble blowing sticks. We also sometime put leaves in them for a fossil like effect.
I started doing this project with my son when he was 2 years old. We make a couple every year. I try to get him to do a hand print every year so he can compare them later. I hope to cover the whole front yard and maybe a path around the north end of the house someday.

Moulds – you can buy some or use plastic serving plates or other found items, just be sure you can twist them slightly to pop out the finished stepping stone
Cement – enough to fill your moulds 1 ½ to 2 inches thick. I found the 25lb. box made 4 stepping stones
Bucket - exclusively use for cement
Old paint stirrer
Stuff to decorate top – flat marbles, tiles, thrift store or broken china, tiny dinosaurs, old party favors, toy meal toys…

Place tiles or china in a bag. Child can use hammer to lightly tap until cracked into about 1 inch pieces.
Adult mix the cement with water in the bucket as manufacture recommended.
Pour into mould
Spread out evenly with paint stirrer
Child can arrange decorations on top and gently press in. Be careful with sharp edges. When my son was young we used mostly flat marbles and store bought mosaic tiles. Last year, we had him were garden gloves. This year we used a plastic fork for him to stir the box of broken pottery to pick his perfect item.
Be sure the item is at least halfway submerged but not touching the bottom of the mould. If items fall out later you can glue them back with cement adhesive if desired.
Leave room for a hand print. Cover cement with single layer of plastic (to keep cement off little hands and out of eyes and mouth). A produce bag cut open works nicely. Press hand until clear depression appears. Remove hand. Remove plastic.
Decorate around between fingers and around hand print if desired.

Leave stones flat overnight to dry (some cements dry in hours – follow manufacture recommendations – ranges from 2 hours to 2 days to dry)
When completely dry, turn stone over. Gently flex mould until stone pops out.
For walking path, bury stone so only surface shows.

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