I LOVE a good mosaic! This gorgeous picture of the broken-beautiful, of seeing things I would otherwise throw away find a new life in the most beautiful way!! And after many, many failed attempts (woohoo learning!) I’ve finally found a way that works! So here you go, my (finally-got-it) findings!
- Bucket (for mixing the cement)
- Stirring Rod (sturdy enough for mixing when it starts hardening!)
- Cement Mix
I picked this one up from Hobby Lobby & have had the best success with it.
Here’s another good alternative you can order online.
- Measuring Cups (preferably not ones you’ll eat from)
- Cooking Oil (preferably a spray)
- Stepping Stone Mold/Tray
- Mosaic pieces: tiles, glass pieces, glass gems, or even broken plates!
(Been saving that gorgeous china that’s broken but you just can’t part with??)
- Sponge or Rag (for cleaning up the design once it’s done, if needed)
Step 1: Prep your workstation.
You want some place even, where you can leave your stepping stone to dry overnight. If you want to protect the surface, set out a waterproof cover/tarp.
Step 2: Get your tray ready.
Set out your tray, and spray a light layer of oil over it, to help your stone release later.
Step 3: Let’s mix!
(They say to use gloves & goggles….)
Alright, so measure out your cement mix, and (ahem) carefully toss it in your bucket. Then, while mixing, slowly add your water.
If you’re using the same mix I am, here’s a mixing table for reference:
8 inch round:
4 cups cement + 1 1/4 cup water
8 inch square:
4 3/4 cups cement + 1 1/2 cup water
12 inch round:
12 cups cement + 3 1/2 cup water
12 inch square:
16 cups cement + 4 3/4 water
Mix until you get the consistency of pancake mix (which is what the directions said, but I get that’s it’s a pretty big range!). (I made pancakes the next day, just to help myself with the reference.) If it’s not quite how you want it, just add a teensy bit of water at a time (I mean, like tablespoon.)
Step 4: Pour!
(Still say to use gloves & goggles….)
Slowly pour into your prepped tray! Once it’s all poured out, gently tap the side of your tray for a couple minutes, to knock out any air bubbles. Watch in awe.
Step 5: The fun part
(If I’m making these with babies/toddlers/young kids, this is the part where I let them start participating (not just watching). With the older kids I let them join me for the mixing part.)
Start to drop your mosaic pieces into the cement. You can push them down gently to help them sink in, but with the babies I tell them to just drop it (because otherwise they push them in way deep!). Go whatever way you’d like, make a picture, or just fit the pieces together into a gorgeous abstract color mix!
Step 6: Wait….
That’s it! Leave your stones overnight to let them harden! If you want, you can come back and check hardness levels just for fun— if you are as impatient or curious as we are!
Then, when they’re all hard & dry, turn them over, and carefully extract them! (This is where the oil helps, if you remembered to do that part.)
I’d give them another day too, before you set them out in the yard.
Step 7: Clean Up
Oh! I guess I should say: as soon as you’ve finished, I’d start your clean up right away! Wash any little hands that got cement on them, then wash out your bucket & your mixing rod before the cement hardens on them! If you forget this step, it’s pretty tricky to recover, ha!
*Bonus: if it’s warm out, this is the perfect distraction from the waiting, and a great transition into water/hose play!
Ahhh!! Aren’t they amazing?!? (Not gonna lie, I’m a little addicted. We’re gonna have them everywhere before too long.) Thanks for making with us!! Tag us on instagram (@ellachattanooga) so we can see your beautiful (broken-beautiful!) creations!