Personalized Stepping Stones
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Personalized Stepping Stones

Create an eye-catching garden path with colorful, handmade stepping-stones from Better Homes & Gardens' Garden Shed.

Getting Started

If Dad is a gardener, follow the directions exactly. Or, use our options to make a stepping stone that's as one-of-a-kind as your father.

What You Need:

Let the world know who's
beautiful garden it is with
this personalized stepping stone.

  • Sturdy but disposable flat container with 1-1/2- to 2-inch sides (Large plastic plant saucers and disposable aluminum baking pans work well; remember that the concrete will leave a residue that's nearly impossible to remove.)
  • Alphabet cookie cutters
  • Water-based paint, any color
  • Paper the size of stepping stone
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Quick-setting concrete mix (available at hardware stores)
  • Container for mixing concrete
  • Trowel or short length of 2 x 4 lumber
  • Colored aquarium gravel
  • Flat decorative marbles
  • Paper towels
  • Glitter

Before You Begin:

  • This is a messy project. Wear old clothes.
  • Plan to work outside or in the basement in a location that's close to water for mixing the concrete and cleaning up.
  • Cover the work surface with a thick layer of old newspaper.
  • Wear rubber or leather gloves when mixing concrete. Wet concrete will wash off hands, but it's abrasive on the skin.
  • Supervise children under 12 closely, at least one adult for every two children.

Create Your Stone

Instructions:

For more decorative ideas,
see bottom of page.

1. Plan the arrangement before you begin. Trace around the plant saucer on paper. Test the layout of lettering by dipping the cookie cutters in water-based paint and stamping on the paper. For a neat border, trim about 1 to 1-1/2-inch off the edges of the plant-saucer tracing; set the paper aside.


Step 2

2. Coat the inside of the plant saucer with a thick layer of petroleum jelly. Mix the concrete according to the instructions on the package. Pour the concrete into the plant saucer. Shake side to side and tap sides of pan to settle concrete into container. Smooth off the surface with a trowel or short length of lumber.


Step 3

3. For a border, center the trimmed paper on the concrete. Sprinkle the uncovered concrete with colored aquarium gravel. Press the gravel gently into the concrete until it is just imbedded. Then, press flat marbles into the wet concrete. Use paper towels to wipe away any concrete that oozes over the edges of the plant saucer.


Step 4

4. Allow the concrete to settle but not harden before imprinting letters. This may take an hour or more. Test occasionally to see if a clean imprint can be achieved. If the concrete is too soft to hold a sharp imprint, smooth the area with the trowel or 2 x 4 lumber and continue to watch until the concrete is at the right stage. Water will probably continue to rise to the top of the concrete. To remove the water, carefully place a paper towel flat on the top and lift away or use a hair dryer. After imprinting letters, sprinkle with glitter if desired.

More Ideas:

  • Instead of "Dad's Garden," use his name, for example, "Pete's Garden."
  • Change the trims to reflect your father's interests -- golf balls and tees, sea shells, natural stones, pieces of stained or colored glass, old coins, buttons, fishing lures, or jewelry.
  • Press leaves into firm concrete and leave them in place. They'll wear off in a short time, leaving only an impression.
  • Experiment with other tools for making impressions.
  • Sign your name with a sharpened stick.
  • Make a stone from each member of the family.
  • Add a child's handprint and the date.
  • Instead of making a stepping stone for Dad, gather the materials and spend part of Father's Day crafting stones with him.

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