Thursday, May 8, 2014

Mother's Day Stepping Stones

So this year while I was trying to think about what to give my mom for Mother's Day, I was flipping through a catalog and saw some stepping stones personalized for moms and grandmas. I thought to myself- "That's perfect for Mom! She loves her garden and her grandkids! JOB DONE!" But they were like 30 dollars a piece and I didn't want to spend that so I decided we would make our own.

1. Gather your materials.

2. Lay out your mosaic pattern. The first one that I did, I laid out the design inside the mold and then moved it in order to the ground. This is very inefficient. The next one, I traced the mold dimensions on to a piece of cardboard and laid the design out inside that. It worked much better. 

Makayla did her own design

3. Prepare the stepping stone mix. The stepping stone mix that I used said "Dump this in a bucket, add 2 cups of water and stir until mixed". I found that the amount of water is CRITICAL to the end result. You need the mix to be consistently moist, but not fluid. It should dump into the mold and sit like cookie dough, not smooth out on its own like cake batter. When you dump the cement in to the mold, jiggle it back and forth to settle the mix in to the mold. It should even out and form a smooth, slightly liquidy surface. You do not want a lot of water sitting on top. This destroys the integrity of the cement and makes it impossible to write in legibly.

4. Press your mosaic tiles in to the mix about halfway. Once you have all of the tiles in the cement, jiggle the mold back and forth to settle them in. 

5. Make impressions of the kids hands/ feet if desired. *Note* One month is really too young to do this. Liam was exceedingly pissed about his hands and feet being pressed in to concrete, no matter how briefly. 

6. After about 30 minutes or so (it took me that long to get the tiles settled and the hand and foot impressions, so there was really no waiting time for me), you can either stamp letters in the concrete or write words using a stick. The stamps really worked well for me and the end result was great.

7. Let cure for 24 hours before trying to unmold or even move the stones. Doing it sooner will cause it to crack. The stepping stone mix said to let cure for 2 weeks before stepping on them. 

Our finished stones!
That's it! Grandma is going to love them!