Showing Mom how much you care seems to get harder every year. She tells you she has all that she needs, but you still feel a token of your affection is the best way to show how much you love her. Embellish a special stepping stone with a few of her favourite things, like flowers or birds, as well as her home address or a phrase like "Mom's garden."
• flat stone, such as shale or flagstone, of any size
• decal paper (available at office supply stores)
• scissors or utility knife
• craft or oil paints (available at hardware stores)
• paintbrushes or sponges
• clear waterproofing sealer
• duct or masking tape (optional)
Step 1: Create a design
Decide on your design. We chose a group of cattails and a house number.
If you're using words or numbers, open a new document in your word-processing or photo-editing program and find an appropriate font. Size your type according to your stone's dimensions.
For decor elements, search online for simple clip art images. Save a copy of the one you choose and lay it out with your numbers or words in your photo-editing program.
Our stone was an odd shape. It was 15 inches across at the top, three at the bottom and 12-1/2 inches tall -- like an inverted triangle with the tip cut off. So in our photo-editing program, we sized our canvas to 15 x 12-1/2 inches and re-created the shape of the stone using the line tool. Then we copied and pasted our design onto the canvas between the lines.
When painting, you can use a decal more than once, but if you plan on using mirror images (such as birds facing each other from each corner of the stone), it's best that you create a second reverse image in your program. To do so, simply highlight the original element, copy and click on the "flip horizontal" option.
Fill in your images with a dark colour before printing, so you can clearly see where to cut them out.
Test-print your design on normal paper before printing on the decal paper. If it looks like it will fit the stone, remove the lines in your photo-editing program. Print the images, numbers and/or words onto decal paper, according to the package instructions.
Cut out the images with scissors or a utility knife.
Step 2: Transfer the design
Peel off the decal's backing paper and then smooth the decal onto your stone (you may need to tape in place).
Using a sponge or brush, paint in the numbers, words and/or image. If you need to layer, wait until the first coat is dry.
When the design is completed and dry, coat the entire stone face with the sealer.
Step 3: Present the gift
Wrap the stone with a beautiful bow and accompany it with a floral-printed tote filled with seeds, bulbs and other gardening delights.
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