C is for Crafts: Homemade Handprint Garden Stones
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Do you have someone in your life who uses their hands to care for others in all they do? When I reflect on this question, I instantly think about my mom. She loves to nurture her friends and family, plants and animals and all living things. This is especially true with me – her only daughter – and her grandchildren. She is an avid gardener and creates beautiful gardens and planters for herself and others. To honor her and her caring, loving hands, I decided to help my girls make grandma some darling homemade handprint garden stones. I have partnered with SoftSoap® Hand Wash Plus Lotion™ and Target stores to bring you this fun (and messy!) tutorial. Are you ready to learn how to make your own homemade handprint garden stones? Here we go:
9 inch round cake pans – recycled, thrifted or disposable
Plastic garbage bags
Beads, shells, marbles, stones, sea glass, etc for decorating
Gather your supplies. Be prepared – this project is messy! I covered the kitchen table with several layers of newspaper, made sure the kids were wearing play clothes, put a roll of paper towel within arms reach and ensured the sink was accessible for lots of hand washing.
Look through your old cake pans to see if anything can be retired for craft projects. If not, check local thrift stores, rummage sales or garage sales to find some old cake pans to stick away for this project. You could also look for some disposable cake pans as a option as well.
I placed all of our decorative stones and materials in bowls on the table to be ready to use as soon as our handprints were made. The smooth glass stones that are used in flower arrangements made great shiny decorations. These items are inexpensive, easy to find and are usually available in several different colors and sizes. Be creative – there are many materials that can be used to embellish your homemade handprint garden stones.
Cut a square of plastic garbage bag to line each cake pan. Be sure to cut the plastic large enough to allow for it to be smoothed out along the bottom of the pan, still cover all the edges and wrap over the top edge of the pan slightly. This step makes removing the finished garden stone from the pan a piece of cake (no pun intended) and allows you to reuse your cake pans for future craft projects.
Be prepared to work quickly as the cement will set up fast depending on how wet you mix it. Follow the directions to prepare your concrete in a disposable bucket or container. Although I thought that I had measured exactly, my first batch of concrete set up almost as soon as I spread it in the pan and we were not able to make a handprint at all. I learned that the consistency of the cement needed to be a little wetter to give us more time to imprint and decorate. Be careful also not to make it too wet or the cement will be soupy and won’t hold the shape of your print well. A little trial and error is all it takes.
Once your cement is mixed, spread it in the cake pans filling it almost to the rim. I used an old metal paint scraper to scoop and spread the cement. After you have filled your cake pan, smooth the top surface the best you can using the edge of the scraper.
Have your child spread their fingers out wide and make a single handprint in the middle of the pan. I encouraged my girls to press down and then helped to push each of their fingers down to make sure we got a good clear print. My girls loved this part – it was messy and sticky and tons of fun.
As soon as the prints were made, we went directly to the sink for thorough hand washing. The Shea & Cocoa Butter SoftSoap® Hand Wash Plus Lotion™ had our hands soft and clean again in no time.
After our hands were washed and dried, we returned to the table to add the decorations. My girls loved picking out the embellishments and pressing them gently into the wet cement. I used a plastic knife to carefully write their names in the cement as well. I intended to also add the year or their ages, but they insisted that they needed all the rest of the space for decorating. Who am I to interrupt tiny creative geniuses at work? Wink, wink.
When the decorations have all been added, it is time to let your homemade handprint garden stones dry thoroughly. I noticed that one of our stones had some extra liquid pooling in the handprint and letters. I gently dabbed it up with a clean paper towel a few times to ensure that none of our imprints would cave in. Place your garden stones in a cool, dry spot and allow them to dry for 24-48 hours. Avoid placing them in direct sunlight to reduce the chances of them cracking during the drying process.
Once your stones are good and dry, gently remove them from the pan by lifting up on the edges of the plastic garbage bags. Our stones came right out with no problem and no cracking. Brush off any loose debris, shine up the decorations if need be and your homemade handprint garden stone is ready to be gifted or placed directly in the garden. How fun is that? Grandma is going to love them!
As a mother and a craft/DIY blogger, I wash my hands many, many times throughout the day. My skin is sensitive and dries out easily so picking a hand soap that is moisturizing is very important to me. SoftSoap® Hand Wash Plus Lotion™ comes in three amazing varieties – indulgent Shea & Cocoa Butter, refreshing Aloe Water & Lime, and luxurious Orchid & Coconut Milk – all of which are proven to lock in moisture and leave your hands feeling clean and soft. Better yet, they can easily be found at your local Target store for an affordable price. Learn more about these great hand soaps with a touch of lotion HERE. You will love how these products feel and smell. My family has had a hard time picking a favorite scent because they are all so great!
I hope you have enjoyed this fun and messy tutorial. Can you think of a special someone in your life who would love to receive a homemade handprint garden stone as a gift? Someone who shows care for the people they love by using their hands? I think these stones would make a perfect Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, birthday or “just because” gift for a treasured friend or family member. Let me know how your homemade handprint garden stone turns out for you and if you used anything else creative for decoration or embellishment. As always, I love to hear from you in the comment section. Happy crafting, my friends! Xoxo, -Cristina
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