Friday, October 7, 2011

A Cement Craft

Last year, I taught art and music lessons to my siblings, and I wanted to do a fun, involved craft.  I wanted something more physical than just painting or drawing.  So we made our own stepping stones.  Now, you can purchase these kits at Hobby Lobby, Michael's, or other craft stores, and they'll run you at least $18 a piece.  If you've got a coupon, better yet.  Or, you can do it our way.

First, we went to Salvation Army and scoured their dishes section.  We looked for cheap dishes, especially one with the right color tag to be 50% off.  We looked for colorful dishes.  In the end, we spent about $10 or so on the dishes.

Next, we needed something in which to put the cement, so we did have to go to a craft store.  We looked at Salvation Army and Lowe's for some shallow pan, but we couldn't find anything other than a paint tray, and those have ridges.  The trays at craft stores should come in a few shapes and they'll run you a few dollars a piece.  We bought a square, a circle, and a flower.

Finally, we needed cement.  I was a complete cement novice (I still am) and had no idea how much cement costs.  We went with the cheapest one, which was really cheap - a few dollars for a 40 lb bag!  In retrospect, we should have used something else, because this one was supplemented with little rocks.  If we had known anything about cement, we would have known this, but we didn't.

And so our project began.  The really fun part was breaking everything.  We had a brown paper bag ready and then we threw things around in the garage.  Jacob especially loved this part.  We collected the usable pieces in the bag and swept everything else up.  I guess I should say something about "don't do this barefoot" or "wear safety glasses" but I think you're smart enough.

Our next step was to mix the cement.  This was when we discovered the rocks.  We actually ran the dry mix through a sieve first to sort out all the rocks.  This obviously makes for far less cement, but a much smoother cement.  For three stones, we used about half the bag.  We mixed it in an old 5-gallon bucket and then poured it in to the mold. Then we each got to press our designs in to the cement.  We put them on a flat surface out of the weather and let them dry and cure for several days and then my mom planted Chloe's and Jacob's in the garden.  Mine was too ugly to plant anywhere except the trash.

Our final cost was less than store price per stone, since we did three of them.  Plus, the store kit comes with pre-broken glass shards.  It was way more fun to break our own!

Here are a few pictures of the process:

A broken ugly cat plate.

The broken shards of a few plates.

Jacob with a less-than-effective mallet.

Chloe's broken heart.  :)

A picture of us breaking things.

The finished products.  Chloe's is the beautiful flower.  Jacob's is the simple-yet-adorable baseball.  Mine is the one that looks like a kindergartner vomited "art" on it.

Love and Glass Shards,

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