Ok, so Dad might really enjoy a week away golfing in Vegas but let’s be real! When us Moms are juggling so much and finances are tight and a week in paradise isn’t a realistic option, we need to be more creative. I like to give my husband a token of my appreciation and a little something from all of our children, as well. After all, he’s their father, not mine! But finding something that six small kids can do or make for their father is a daunting task. This is the first in a series of Father’s Day ideas from the heart – creative, fun, inexpensive, and most of all, memorable Father’s Day gifts you can put together with your children this year.
Whether Dad has a green thumb or a brown thumb, stepping stones make a great addition to any yard or garden. They are easy to make, inexpensive and, best of all, they capture a moment in time forever. You can purchase entire kits for creating stepping stones from any craft store like Michaels or Joann ETC. The kits usually contain a mold, some quick-dry cement and cement colorant. The kids can be slightly costly for what you get.
Instead I recommend a do-it-yourself approach. It will cost significantly less and will produce many stepping stones.
- First purchasing the mold at a craft store. You can choose between a traditional polygon, a circle, heart and more.
- Head on over to your local home improvement store (Lowes, Home Depot, etc) and head on back to the cement area. You want to pick up a bag of quick-dry vinyl patch concrete. This is vital. It is the vinyl patch concrete that will make your stepping stones last long and resist cracks from weight and weather. Also, if you wish, pick up a bottle of colorant. It will be located right near all the concrete mixes and there will be a plethora of shades and colors to choose from. A little goes a long way. Also, if you don’t have a large mixing container at home, pick up a paint stirrer and paint bucket at the home improvement store and head on home.
- At home, you will need to prepare your mold by spraying the inside with regular vegetable spray or coating it with petroleum jelly or Crisco. Make sure you are working over a safe surface – newspapers or a tarp. Mix your concrete according to the directions on the bag. It should be the consistency of lumpy cake batter. Add your colorant and pour into your mold or molds.
- Now comes the fun part. Let your kids add their handprints, signatures, baby footprints, decorative stones, marbles, etc. You may have to wait a minute or two before adding words or handprints in order to allow the concrete to thicken enough to hold an impression. You don’t need to rush through this part because the cement does not cure all that quickly. Take your time and if you don’t like what you’ve done, just smooth over the surface (or gently jiggle the mold from side to side) and start over!
- In 2 days or so you should be able to release your creation from it’s mold (check concrete directions to be sure). It will need to set in a cool humid place (a basement works well and is usually a good hiding place) for another week. The longer you can let your stone cure, the better. When it is done, smooth edges with a file (if necessary) and present to Dad! These are also great gift ideas for grandparents, teachers, etc.