Happy Father’s Day!

Here’s wishing you a wonderful celebration of dads, granddads, and even dads-to-be this weekend!  And if you’re looking for a fun family project to do—that’ll hold lots of special memories for years to come—you’ve come to the right place. So get ready to make one-of-a-kind stepping stones for your garden! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Tape measure
  • 5-gallon plastic bucket with straight sides
  • Band saw or sharp utility knife
  • Plastic drop cloth
  • Lubricating oil
  • 60-pound bag of concrete mix
  • Wooden stirring paddle
  • Straight edge
  • Old pencil or sharp stick
  • Decorative material (such as marbles or ceramic shards)

Measure the height of your bucket, and divide that number by five. (It should come out to roughly 3 inches.) Make a mark on the side of the bucket at each of those intervals, and repeat the process at three more places around the bucket’s circumference. At each of those intervals, cut or saw through the bucket crosswise, to produce five rings. Spread the drop cloth across a flat surface (like a patio or sidewalk) and lay the rings, a.k.a. molds, on top of the cloth. Spray lubricating oil on the inside of each one to make the stones easier to slide out. Then mix the concrete according to the instructions on the bag, and pour it into the molds to a depth of roughly 1 inch (or a third of the way up the side).

Now comes the fun part—use a straight edge to level the surface of each stone, and add whatever embellishments you like. For instance, write messages, place handprints, draw designs, or push ceramic shards or marbles into the soft concrete. When the concrete has hardened, push the stones out of the molds. Then, either fill ‘em up again to make another batch, or stash them away for a later pouring.

Enjoy your Father’s Day 2012 memories!