DIY: Make-It-Yourself Stepping Stones

By Lori Wondra, Farmington-Lakeville-Apple Valley Publisher September 20, 2016

Looking for the perfect personalized gift or a great way to preserve the memories of how small your child's hands are? My sister and I made these as gifts for the grandparents several years ago, but we loved the idea so much that we bought enough supplies to make one for each of us too!

We can repeat this project every year. We can re-use our tools and create a timeline of sorts for the yard. As these sit in our home until it's time to gift them, my little guy is enjoying tracing the hands and feet and naming the child who the prints belong to — how sweet!

If you are interested in trying your hand at a stepping stone, it's definitely worth the effort. Experts we are not, but after our experience I have a few tips to share.

What You Need:

  • Stepping stone mixing kit (available at any craft store)
  • Plastic mold (in shape of your choice)
  • Water
  • Measuring cup
  • Large putty knife/paddle
  • Large bucket for mixing
  • Paint stir stick or other tool for mixing
  • Gems and/or mosaic tiles and/or letter stamps — whatever you'd like to help personalize your stone
  • Paint shirts or smocks for you and the kids
  • Bucket of water and towels for washing and drying of hands and/or feet
  • Boards or some other flat surface that the stones can sit on (in their molds) for 24 hours or until set

The stepping stone mixing kits are definitely the way to go — the only measuring involved is the water! After they're mixed, they fit a standard-size mold perfectly. No fuss, no muss! Complete, easy-to-follow instructions are included as well.

Choose your mold carefully, or at least based upon your child's level of patience. We found the square molds far easier to work with. The round molds took much more time and attention to smooth, as they required more than a vertical and horizontal swipe or two with the putty knife.

Have water and towels nearby for kids to dip their hands in immediately after making hand/footprints. I think ours might have had as much fun with the bucket of water as they did making their prints!

Let your kids have fun with the design! Ours added gems and tiles. While we let them have their choice of where to place these, we did our best to direct them away from the handprints and footprints that we were trying to preserve. If you are really particular about this, don't turn your back. That's when our kids let their creativity shine! Thankfully the stone mixture is really forgiving — you can smooth it out and do the prints again, if necessary (like if a wandering finger, stick, or toy car finds its way onto the surface).

Finally, if you want to write a phrase, name, or date, we highly recommend letter and number stamps. They are incredibly easy to use and small enough to fit in tight spaces.

Love handprint and footprint crafts? You'll want to make these too: