Perfect Kids DIY Project-How To Make a Mosaic Garden Stone

This post is sponsored by The Home Depot.

Have you ever wanted to get your kids more involved in the gift giving process or teach them the joy of making something by hand and gifting it to someone? If so, then today's DIY project is for you! This Mosaic Garden Stone project is a quick and easy DIY that kids of any age can participate in. It can be personalized in so many ways, it's a great opportunity for the kids to express themselves. AND…It's a perfect holiday gift for kids to make for their Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Teachers, etc. (You know, the people we love most, but never know what to give them).  

This Saturday, I will be at The Kids Workshop at The Home Depot store located in Walker, Michigan along with Team Depot helping over 200 kids create patriotic themed Mosaic Garden Stones to gift to our Veterans. I can't wait to share all the details including the location where the stones made by the children at the workshop will be placed. It is going to be very special, stay tuned for details in my post on Veterans Day!  In the meantime, I'd like to share the "How-To" for this project by using this Mosaic Garden Stone as an example. It's a stone that my kids worked on and will be giving as a Christmas gift this year.

Plain Concrete Stepping Stone (any shape)
Decorative River Pebbles or Stones
Thin-Set Mortar
Pre-Mixed Grout (any color)
Cement Stain (optional)
Detail Paint Brush (if using Cement Stain)
Rustoleum 2x Painters Touch Spray Paint (in assorted colors)
Rustoleum 2x Clear Coat Spray Paint
Sharpened Pencil or Skewer Stick
Bucket, Sponge, Thick Rubber Gloves
Clean Cloth

*Before you begin, find a place to work where it is safe to make a little bit of a mess. I found out through this experience that the kitchen table was not the best location. The garage was better. 

The first step is to plan out your design. If you would like to do the kids' hand prints, trace them on plan paper and cut them out. Arrange them in a way that they will fit on your paver. 

Open the river pebbles, rinse them off and place them in the sun to dry. Once they are clean and completely dry, paint them using the Rustoleum Spray Paint and allow them to dry. 

Using a notched trowel, apply 1/2" layer of thin-set mortar to the top of the concrete paver. 

Once the mortar is in place, use the pencil or skewer stick to etch out your pattern or design. In my case, we placed the hand print cut-outs on the mortar and traced them. 

The next step is the fun part. Press the pebbles gently, but firmly into the mortar and watch the design come to life. The thin-set mortar begins drying as soon as it's applied, therefore it's important to keep this step moving along quickly.

Once the stones are all in place, remove excess mortar and allow to dry overnight. 

Once the mortar has cured overnight, it is ready for grout. Using the trowel or a spatula, spread grout across the top of the stone pushing it gently into the crevices. Remove excess grout and lightly skim the sides of the stone with a smooth layer.

Using a wet sponge, wipe away the thick layer of grout rinsing the sponge often along the way until the pebbles begin to show through. Be sure to wear gloves during this step. Try not to remove too much grout, as you don't want the mortar to show. Remove just enough that your design comes through. Allow to dry 24-48 hours until grout is completely dry and then buff grout residue from pebbles with a soft cloth. 

At this point, you may decide that your project is finished. If that is the case, give it a quick coat of Rustoleum 2x Gloss Clear Coat spray paint and it's done! If you want to add more depth and contrast before you call it finished, hold off on the Clear Coat for now and grab a bottle of Cement Stain and a small detail paint brush.

Mix a few drops of Cement Stain at a time to 2 cups of water until you reach your desired color. Then apply cement stain to the areas in which you would like to add color to the grout. In this example, we used a small paint brush to fill in the area around the hand prints. 

Once the stain has dried overnight, give the stone a coat of Rustoleum Clear Coat, allow it to dry and your stone is finished! There are so many variations of this project, I chose to use river pebbles to keep this project cost effective and kid friendly. If you are not as budget concious, you could easily substitute ceramic tiles or decorative glass stones to create your design. If your children are older and able to handle sharper materials, broken china can be used to create something really extraordinary.

This project obviously requires adult supervision and assistance. The amount of your childs involvement will depend on their age and skill level. However, putting the pebbles in place, choosing the colors, and drawing or designing the pattern are all steps that kids can do. These are also the steps where they can be creative and allow their personality to show through in the project while making it with their special family member in mind.

For more information on The Home Depot Kids Workshop or to register for a workshop near you, please click here.

The Home Depot Kids Workshop

Online Design Services are now available. Please click here for details. 

 * I acknowledge that The Home Depot Foundation is partnering with me to participate in this Celebration of Service program (the “Program”). As a part of the Program, I am receiving compensation for the purpose of promoting The Home Depot Foundation and its non-profit partners. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words. My post complies with the Word Of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics Code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.

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