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FATHER’S DAY: Awesome Kids’ Gifts #3

By Jackie Burrell
Tuesday, June 16th, 2009 at 8:11 am in Crafts, Dads.

stepping stone DIY stepping stones are a wonderful craft for kids and teens, and the creative possibilities are endless. You can do handprints, add mosaics, broken tiles and all sorts of embellishments. Here’s how:

YOU’LL NEED:
1 12-14″ plastic plant saucer, the cheap kind you stick under a potted plant

Newspapers to cover your work surface plus one extra sheet

A bucket that will likely get trashed

A cheap ruler, paint stirring stick or trowel for mixing

Water

Quikrete mortar mix

Mosaic tiles, glass marbles, and other embellishments

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Make a few holes in the bottom of the plant tray for drainage. The mortar dries amazingly quickly, and you won’t have time to design anything once the stuff is mixed in, so draw the outline of the tray on a piece of newspaper and arrange your mosaics and other elements on the paper.

2. Following the directions on the mortar bag, pour water into the bucket and start adding the mortar a cup at a time while stirring. Keep your face well away from the bucket – or wear protective gear – so you don’t inhale the dust. The mortar is ready when it’s the consistency of cake frosting.

3. Pour the mortar into your mold and shake it gently to distribute it evenly. If necessary, stir the mortar to eliminate the bubbles – the Home & Garden Network experts suggest donning protective gloves and actually kneading the mixture to eliminate bubbles, but we never found bubbles to be much of a problem. In any case, work quickly and make sure you get the top as smooth as possible.

4. Working from the outside in, start embedding your mosaics. The surface should be wet, with enough give so that the bits of tile are securely embedded, but they don’t sink beneath the surface. Do the border first, because that area will dry first. If you are using a lot of little mosaic pieces, marbles and pebbles, you may find yourself racing against the clock to get everything embedded in time. (Start with the border, then do the center, so if the stepping stone dries out before you finish, at least you’ve got something.)

5. Let the stepping stone dry for a few hours or, better yet, overnight. If you think you might need to move it before it’s fully dry, slide a cookie sheet or stiff cardboard underneath it for support. Once it’s dry, carefully pop it out of the mold.

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