Happy Valentine’s Day!
Before the great Icepocolypse of 2014, we created a “new” section of yard for the girls to play by moving our side fence out and reclaiming some overgrown landscaping as yard.
Now that Austin is no longer under a sheet of imaginary ice (that’s right, in Texas we get snow days even without the snow/ice), we are starting to thaw out ourselves. We’re gearing up to enjoy the great outdoors again! It has turned out to be a great space, but we needed to create a pathway from the slide back to the ladder for the girls.
We started an annual tradition our first year as a family of 4 to create stepping stones each year. Trouble was, I don’t think I even had my face on straight my first year of having my infant and toddler Irish twins. Our first attempt at this project was pathetic at best:
Last year, we seriously upped our game with the handprint/footprint butterfly stepping stone we made in the fall:
We’ll need more than 2 for a pathway and plan to make more than 1 this year. Our first stepping stone this year is a heart for Valentine’s Day:
I love now this turned out! Each girl contributed a handprint to create a heart. Then one girl was in charge of creating a pile of red glass and the other created a pile of white glass while I layer out the design. They are newly 2 & 3 and had a BLAST with this project!
It wasn’t totally smooth sailing. While distracted with some silly fight the girls were having, I added way too much water. Let’s back up for a second to point out that this year I did this project without any other adult help with the girls. We’ve come a long way!
All is not lost of you mix in too much water, here’s how I dealt with it:
After shaking the mold a bit, a ton of water would come up. I wicked it up with paper towels until it seemed to be the right “sour cream” consistency like the instructions said.
While it was drying, there was still a ton of water coming up that was collapsing the design a bit. I filed paper towels and weighed them down with stamps. They are light enough that they didn’t press down too hard and let the paper towels do the work.
Here are some general tips for creating these stepping stones sine we’ve now done 3 of them:
- Add the water SLOWLY.
- Press down HARD for handprints & footprints. They need to be pretty deep to really turn out well.
- Use glass mosaic or other decorative elements around handprints and text to make them stand out.
- Buy the stamps if your kit doesn’t come with one! These are soooooo much better for making text.
- Keep your mold, stamps, and extra mosaic bits. You can buy the cement separately and save a ton of money. This 3rd stepping stone cost my under $5 by buying just the mix at Michael’s with a coupon for around $3.45 and re-using glass mosaic that I bad bought at a garage sale for $1. I had the stamps on hand from the kit I bought for the 2nd stone.
I’m intentionally ignoring the last stepping stone in these photos. Since it’s not much to look at, it’s been designated the spot next to our pool overflow. Anyway, here’s the start of our path:
Because I added too much water and then wicked some back out, the handprints didn’t end up as clearly as they should have. Be careful with your mix to get the clearest handprints and footprints!
You can see our shameful 2012 stone peaking out back there!
Here’s a current photo of last year’s stone in it’s new spot:
As I get ideas, I’m planning to add to the pathway. If you’re looking for ideas for stepping stones, don’t forget to search for general handprint and footprint art. I got the heart handprint idea from a DIY Valentines Day card.
If you’ve done stepping stones, I’d love to see them! You can post them to the Facebook page or contact me here. I’m happy to do a brag post with reader projects.