Well, it seems that they've turned out alright, so we'll share with you now. :)
For making these stepping stones, you'll need these ingredients:
vinyl concrete patch (it's substantially stronger than regular cement. The cost is about $15 for forty pounds... which will do about four large stones)
a frame-- I cut up a five gallon bucket with a hacksaw. You can also cut up your big black pots that your plants come in - it's much easier, but of course they aren't as sturdy a frame. (we used both.)
you'll probably want newspaper or a flat piece of cardboard
and pretties for your stones... think pretty rounded rocks, pinecones, sticks, broken pottery, coins, toys, broken glass, whatever suits your fancy. I bought plates from the thrift store to use.
note: You can also buy dye to stain the concrete itself, but I opted not to, as it's pretty expensive and we would have needed a lot of it.
And these tools:
A bucket for mixing the cement
a hand shovel, or trough
a hose nearby
For breaking the glass, we put plates in paper bags, and let the children go at them with hammers. They enjoyed that pretty well-ly. I suggest doing it on a hard surface, and not on cardboard over the soft grass. :) It would make the work much easier, I think.
On a flat surface, lay down newspaper or a piece of straight cardboard for underneath your frame. Put some sand in the bottom of your frame and make sure it is very flat and smooth. You'll be pouring your concrete directly on top of this.
At home today we used our large box that we use for our indoor sandbox.
Have the children figure out their designs or get the materials they want to use next to the prepared frame.
Mix the concrete patch with water and a hand shovel for a thick but workable and smooth consistency. It's easy to tell if it's right-- if it's too runny, add more concrete.
Pour two to three inches of concrete into your frames, and rinse the bucket and stirer immediately. You can just hose it out onto the lawn, it'll be fine, if there isn't much in there.
Smooth out the concrete - remember that if the surface is really rough and bumpy, it isn't going to be comfortable under tender feet.
Lay out your design, pressing firmly, but not so deeply that it raises the concrete around it and will give it sharp, uncomfortable edges.
Here's an important part.... let it dry!!
We had to learn this lesson several times.... let it dry, let it dry. If you move it or mess with it once it starts to set, it will crack and break. There's no fixing it, then.
After about a half hour or so, you can lightly tap the sides of your frame with your hand shovel to get the frame not so settled with the stone.
But still leave it!
We tapped ours, and even after sitting for several days, it came out of the frame relatively easily.
Leaving it where it sits for twenty-four hours would be best. It's dry after one full day, it's ready to be used after two.
Lovely for a Mama's or a Grandma's garden.....
Linking with Friday's Nature Table for April 22, 2011