I am the proud mother of two and when school is finally out for the summer; it’s time for me to find a few things for them to do so they do not drive me crazy with their occasional bouts of boredom. One craft project we’re going to tackle this summer is stepping stones; we’re going to make some to go in the yard, maybe around our little fire pit.
Stepping stones are really quite easy to make and with a little adult supervision your children should be able to do most of the work themselves. This fact is good news for me as my two are reaching those ages where they don’t want that much help, they want to do things themselves. There are two different ways to make these stones, you can buy a kit from a store or you can use basic supplies from a home store.
Most craft stores have many different types of stepping stone kits; the main store in my area is a “Michael’s” and the store stocks at least ten different kits to choose from, there is even one for paw prints if your dog or cat wants to get in on the act. The kits are all around $20.00 and include the concrete mix, the mold for the stone, tools, patterns and design ideas, paint and any decorative objects needed for the stone. You can also purchase these kits online at .
If you want to forgo the kits and go the home store route, then you’ll need a bag of quick-setting concrete and a plastic form. A 50-lb. bag of quick-setting cement will cost about $5.00 at most home stores. Any flexible plastic container should work; this method will give you a greater choice of size and shape. While the kits usually have a 12-inch round or square form, you can choose to use a plastic garbage can lid, a rectangular or oblong plastic storage box; the possibilities are endless. Another advantage to this method is that for the price of a bag of concrete, you can make quite a few stones depending on the size; kits usually make only one stone. Decorating the stone will also be up to you or your children; stones, shells, glass beads, tile pieces, sticks, leaf prints, handprints, paint, hand-drawn pictures. You supply the options and let your children go to work.
The steps are the same for either method:
Mix your cement, pour it into your mold and smooth it out.
Add your stones, shells, sticks, etc. to decorate the stone and push them about halfway into the cement to set them. If using leaves for prints press them gently but firmly into the cement and leave them in, peel them out when the cement is dry. Make sure you have your child sign his or her work of art and don’t forget to date it.
Most cement needs about 48 hours to cure, and make sure the form is not moved during this time or the cement may crack.
After the cement has cured, flex the mold to release the stepping stone. If you want to paint the stepping stone do it after it has cured and make sure the paint is completely dry between coats or it may pull off the stone.
This summer craft project is inexpensive but the rewards are priceless; your children have fun, use their creativity, and get to do most of it themselves, you have a lasting record of the day the stepping stones were made, you have a beautiful piece of art for your yard and you’ve gotten an hour or two or peace.