Making stepping stones with your child’s hand or footprint is a wonderful way to create tangible memories of your child’s growth. Stepping stones can be customized to give as gifts to family and friends and can even include the family pet’s paw prints. Creating stepping stones can also be a fun family activity and kids love creating a permanent work of art they can proudly display in the garden or give as gifts.
Making stepping stones only requires a few ingredients:
Cement. Make sure the cement you purchase is safe to touch and work with. If you are uncertain, you can also use plaster mix and apply a weatherproof coat to it so it can be placed outdoors.
Mold. Almost any container can be used, but keep it as shallow as possible so that taking out the cement is easy. Cardboard boxed lined with plastic are great because you can simply lift out the stone and reuse the box.
Plastic container. The cement (or plaster) has to be mixed with water in order to work and plastic cleaning buckets work best. Use one you won't mind throwing out, since the residue will likely make the container unusable.
Latex gloves or a stirring stick for mixing.
Cooking oil. The mold has to be coated so it releases easily and you also have to coat the child's hands and/or feet for easy release and a smooth resulting print.
Stirring stick. For smoothing out the surface.
Extras. Help your children pick out little things that can be embedded into the stepping stones that will give it their personal touch. Food coloring or cement dye can also be added to the mix to make colored stepping stones.
Assemble all items you will be using for the stepping stones so that you can begin to work before the cement or plaster dries.
Mix the cement or plaster according to directions and coat the stepping stone mold with cooking oil. Pour the mix into the mold. Smooth the surface with the stirring stick.
Coat your child's hand or foot with cooking oil and gently press it into the flat surface. Make sure the fingers or toes are individually pressed into the cement so that you retain all the details. Add more prints as desired and wash child's hands or feet when done. The cement should still have enough give to allow your child to write their name and date on the stepping stone and then it’s time to decorate them. Allow your children to add marbles, tiles, trinkets (nothing sharp) to the surface and gently press them into the cement. If something doesn't seem to stick when the stepping stone is dry, you can always attach it with an epoxy.
You're done and you now have a beautifully crafted stepping stone that proudly displays your child's handprint or footprint. Create a new one each year to add a visual path of your child's development in your garden.