Mosaic Seashell Stepping-Stone Craft

By Mary Love

Handcrafted stepping stones add a focal point to your garden. You can combine the simple elements of cement and seashells to make an innovative mosaic. Use the seashells you collected on your vacation and combine them with the pieces of beach glass you also discovered on the beach. The other materials you need are inexpensive, and even a novice can produce beautiful results.

Starfish

You can purchase a starfish from a craft store or a souvenir shop to use as a focal point and use a round metal cake pan for a mold; spray your mold with cooking spray. Mix quick-setting cement in a bucket with water, following the manufacturer's directions, and pour it into your mold to just below the rim. Let your cement set up for about an hour. Lay your starfish in the center and apply gentle pressure so that the bottom third of the starfish is embedded in the cement. Add flat-backed marbles in a pleasing design around the starfish. Mist with water several times a day, and wait two days to remove the stone from the mold. Smooth the rough edges with a rotary tool fitted with a grinding tip accessory.

Scattered Shells

Another good idea is to use a recycled pizza box for your mold. Remove the lid and reinforce the outside corners with strong tape. Line the box with a plastic grocery bag. Mix cement and water in a bucket and pour it into your box to the rim. Scatter small shells on top of the cement. Add pieces of beach glass. Apply gently pressure to push the pieces slightly into the cement. Mist with water a few times each day for two days. Remove the stone from the box and peel off the plastic bag. Smooth rough edges with a rotary craft tool with a silicon carbide grinding stone accessory.

Scallop Mold

Your craft store will have a scallop shell-shaped mold you can use for stepping stones. Spray the inside of your mold with cooking spray. Mix cement and water in a bucket and pour it into your mold. Place a large scallop shell in the center of the cement. You can purchase these shells at craft stores or at souvenir shops. Place chips of beach glass in a pleasing design around the shell; apply pressure to your shells and chips to embed them slightly into the cement. Mist the cement with water several times a day, and remove the stone from the mold after two days. Use a rotary tool with a grinding stone bit to smooth sharp edges.

Abalone Chips

You can also use a round baking pan for your mold. Cut a piece of contact paper to fit in the bottom; peel off the protective paper and place it with the adhesive-side-up in the pan. Place a towel over the abalone shells and hit them with a hammer. Place the chips, pretty side face-down, onto the contact paper. You can add beach glass chips for color. Mix cement with water in a bucket and pour it into the mold; let the mold dry for two days. Remove from the mold and peel the paper off the shells, then sand the edges down with the rotary tool.

© Demand Media 2011