We have been wanting to make stepping stones for our bird garden all summer! As we finish up our study of the Romans, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to “kill two birds with one stone” (shh! Don’t tell my bird-loving boys that I used that phrase! They prefer to say “hatch two birds from one egg”!)
We purchased our mosaic glass from Rainbow Resource (one pack of primary colors and one pack of earth tones), and we used ready-to-mix stepping stone kits from Walmart. I had originally planned to purchase concrete, but when a friend gave the boys these kits as a birthday gift, I knew this would be perfect for our project!
Here is what we did:
1) Since these stones were for our bird garden, the boys’ vision was that each stone would represent a different bird. I printed off simple images of our chosen birds online. You do NOT want detailed drawings for this project. Instead, choose simple line drawings. I found most of what I needed at Enchanted Learning. I printed the images on cardstock instead of paper, to give a little more weight to the paper for the later steps in this process.
2) Lay out the mosaic glass on top of the coloring page, following the pattern as best you can. This was delicate work that called for patience and a steady hand. My 7 year old was able to do it, though it took him longer than the older boys. Our four year old had no patience for this process, so he just made a free-form snake.
3) Once you have laid out your pattern and you are satisfied with it, carefully take masking tape or painters tape and lay it gently over the top of the glass, overlapping the strips of tape until every part of the pattern is covered. Once you have the tape in place, press down firmly to make sure it sticks to the glass, trying to avoid sticking it to the coloring sheet underneath.
If you printed your images on cardstock instead of printer paper, it will be easier to peel the tape away from the paper later should it stick. Also, you will definitely need a not-so-sticky tape for this, so don’t try it with Scotch tape!
4) Take a few more strips of tape and layer them on top of the first pieces, going in the opposite direction. This will help ensure that your image does not separate into two or three pieces when you try to transfer it.
5) Once your mosaic image is well taped, gently turn it over onto your hand or onto another piece of cardstock. Now the tape will be on the bottom and you will be able to see the glass tile again. Set the mosaic tile image aside while you mix up your stepping stones.
6) Follow the directions on your stone kit (or find directions online if you are doing this the “old fashioned way”, from scratch!).
7) Once you’ve mixed up your plaster of paris or concrete mixture and formed it into a stone, it is time to transfer the mosaic pattern onto your stone. Carefully turn it over and use the tape to gently press the glass into the soft concrete. Once the mosaic image is stuck to the stepping stone, carefully peel away the tape. Check the mosaic glass carefully to make sure each piece was pressed firmly into the stone so that nothing will fall off when the stone hardens. You’ll only have a few minutes for this process, so work quickly! We found that pressing on the mosaic glass with our fingers transferred some cement to the top side of the glass….trial and error taught us to use a thin instrument like the end of a paintbrush or a pencil to gently work the glass into place.
Set your stones aside overnight to dry and enjoy your new mosaics!
We made eight different stones in this fashion and it was really very easy and quite fun!