A quick and easy tutorial…. Cement keepsake garden stones with your child’s hand and foot prints!
You will need…
-a bag of quick setting concrete mix ($4.48 @ Lowe’s)
– aluminum pie tins (3 for $1.24 at Wal-mart)
-a can of spraypaint in any color of your choice. We used metallic copper by Valspar™ (around $5 at Lowe’s)
-large bucket for mixing (any old bucket will do, but we bought a 5 gal heavy duty one at Lowe’s for around $3)
-water and a broomstick (for mixing the concrete)
Step one- Following the directions on the bag, mix the concrete with water to the proper consistency. We used a broomstick to stir, then just rinsed it off when finished.
Step two- Lay your pie tins out on a flat surface and fill them to the rim with the concrete mix.
Step three-Smooth out the surface of the mix (while still wet) with a wooden spood or a garden spade.
Step four- Wait about 15 minutes until your concrete begins to firm up and hold shape. (You can test the edge with your finger. If it holds an indentation, you’re ready to print!)
Step five- Carefully press your little one’s hand and foot into each tin, pressing on each finger and toe to make sure a full print is made. This takes 2 pairs of hands, which is why I have no photo of this step.
(Let set over night to dry and harden fully.)
Step six- While prints are still in the pie tins, spray the top surface with the color of your choice. I like the metallic copper because the garden stones turn out like big fat shiny pennies! Plus the metallic hues keep snakes away. (FYI)
Step seven- When paint is dry, turn pie tins over and pop out the stones. You can also snip the edge of the tin and peel it off if that seems easier.
Step eight- Lay the stones upside down on a disposable cup to spray the other side and edges.
Step nine-I used an Elmers™ paint pen to mark Zac’s name and the year on the stones. Scratching it into the surface with a pencil works well with plaster, but not concrete.
The best part about these is that they last forever and you can make several of them for a low cost, although it is slightly labor intensive for the stirrer and pourer. It was a fun project we all got to participate in. Success!
Ok so let me tell you how this bullshit really went down…
I was very excited to begin this project because Pinterest™ made it look so easy. Fucking Pinterest.™ Things were going swimmingly up until about step one– Thank God Newman was there to help me stir the concrete, because it takes the strength of a grown man, and even he was grunting and sweating. (And not in the good way.)
So within about 15-20 minutes (yes that’ll be Newman’s cardio for the day), we achieved the right consistency, got the mix poured in and smoothed out– now just have to wait for it to begin to set. The bag says 30 minutes… well we came back outside 20 minutes later (to be on the safe side), ready to press our little cherub’s hands and feet in, and we had pie tins full of set concrete. No prints. FAIL.
So Newman headed back to Wal-mart for more pie tins. We still had enough concrete mix left to just try this again without incurring any more cost than just the replacement tins. No biggie. 30 minutes later, hubby is back with new pie tins and ready for another stirring workout. But instead of following the directions on the bag this time, he thought he’d speed up the stirring process by putting water in the bucket first, then dumping in the last of the bag of concrete mix. Ok, now I feel comfortable eyeballing flour to water, or let’s say salt to soup, but not concrete. Waaaay too much water. We had concrete soup. FAIL #2. Back to Lowe’s for another $5 bag of concrete. But here’s the clencher… it is now 7:38, rapidly approaching bath and bed time, and Lowe’s closes at 8. GO!
8:12, let’s try this a 3rd time. I’ve put off Zac’s bath because I’m planning to dip him in concrete as soon as daddy has it mixed…. again. At this point, I’m not even participating. Zac and I are inside watching cartoons and eating ice cream while Newman is outside making his own Father’s Day gift. Fuck it. I say he owes me one. (Click HERE if you don’t know why.)
The third take goes well (enough), although the moon is out and we are working up on the porch by the lights now. Zac and I reappeared for the fun part… and he really liked placing his hand and foot in the yucky mud. He seemed to understand right away “Slow and Easy,” which is unusual for him– he doesn’t typically operate at “Slow & Easy.” He must have known mommy was so totally over craft time. As soon as we finished the hand and foot placement, I handed Zac off to Newman to go bathe him while I did a little careful print editing. As it turns out, my thumb print is exactly the same size as Zac’s big toe. And the tip of my pinky, the rest of his toes. I had to keep carefully lifting off excess moisture with a paper towel and reinforcing the prints, as water was rising to the surface while the concrete was setting. This was super annoying and seemed to take forever, but no one can say we didn’t work really hard on our Father’s Day gifts this year. Next year, they’re all getting World’s Best dad mugs.
The overall finished product looks great and I am glad we stuck it out and finished the project. Together. And I highly suspect all those “Simple” DIY tutorials out there on the web are fudging on the details a bit…
Any ideas for what to do with my blank stones from the first FAIL? Comment below!