Make mosaic cement foot prints and hand prints

This is a great activity which creates wonderful memories of babies & children’s footprints at various stages of life – you can go to town and do the whole family, including your pets!

We have just done them as a memento of when Isabella started school. Her footprint will be a stepping stone. Toby’s hand print was done in a smaller container and will become a paperweight. You can also do them as doorstops, bookends…whatever creative function for a lovingly adorned bit of concrete you can find! Think Christmas presents for grandparents, mother’s and father’s day etc..

A friend of mine left recesses in her patio especially for this and I recently went round and did them with her children (see pic at the top). They loved it and mum says it looks ‘magical’ having their footprints immortalised in the garden.

Don’t be intimidated by concrete if you have never used it before…its easy peasy as you will see here.

What You Need
  • Mortar (a mix of cement and fine sand) easily and cheaply available from DIY stores (I have tried this activity with both rapid set cement and cement adhesive (thinset) and it didn’t work so well, so best avoided)
  • Containers to cast the prints into. We used an old spring form baking tin (where the side can be loosened and removed) and an old Tupperware tub. You can use anything with sides (old take-away containers, foil trays, plant trays etc…)
  • An old bucket to mix the mortar in
  • Something to mix and smooth like a decorators palette knife – or a stick and an old credit card!
  • WD40 or petroleum jelly (Vaseline) for lubricating the container
  • Water to hand
  • Gloves (it can be a bit messy and cement can make sensitive skin sore)
  • Mask (for pouring cement powder – you don’t want to breathe it in)
  • Things to decorate your stepping stone with if you wish (we, of course, used mosaic tiles)
What to do

1. Get everything ready and to hand as you need to work methodically.

2. Line the inside of your casting containers with WD40 or petroleum jelly so that you will be able to easily release the cast when it is dry.

3. Pour mortar powder into an old bucket (use your mask)and slowly mix until you get a peanut butter consistency.

4. Pour the mixture into your casting container, pressing and smoothing it with your palette knife / credit card (should take a couple of minutes) until it is level.

5. Clean your child’s hand or foot (and put a bit of oil on to act as a barrier for sensitive skin).

6. Rather than letting your child step into the cement (which will be their instinct), hold their foot and gently (but firmly) push it in yourself. This will help make sure you use the right amount of pressure (if they step right in it will squish too much). Babies will have a tendency to grab the cement so its best to push the hand / foot in firmly and then remove it quickly. If you end up with too much squish or not enough of an impression, simply smooth the cement out and try again until you are happy with it. There is plenty of working time with the mortar mix.

7. If you want, you can now decorate the cast. You can also add name and age using a pencil nib. If you are embedding objects into the cement, make sure you push them in firmly so that the surface doesn’t have jagged edges and the pieces stay put when dry.

8. Cover it and leave it to dry for 2 weeks – it takes this long to cure. You can spray it occasionally with water to help the cement cure, especially if it is very hot.

9. After 2 weeks, turn the cast upside down – it should pop out of its container easily – and voila! If at this point, a bit  of decoration falls out, you can stick it back in its place with PVA (Weldbond) glue.

10. If you want to use your cast as a paperweight or doorstop, you can stick some felt underneath to make sure it doesn’t scratch surfaces.

We also added some iridescent glitter glue into the imprints of ours – for a bit of extra sparkle. Why not do a stepping stone a year and create a great garden path? I wish I had started doing this when my two were babies, but its better late than never!

15 Responses to “Make mosaic cement foot prints and hand prints”

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  1. Dana Barbieri says:

    i really wish you lived here concetta, would love to have you do this for my kids.. 🙂 it looks great.

  2. Jo says:

    Fantastic idea! I've always wondered how it was done but felt more confident using plaster rather than cement which seemed such a scary proposition! Not so now though… thanks for sharing.
    hugs xxx

  3. Kerri says:

    such a great idea!

  4. Concetta says:

    Hope you all give it a go…it really is easy (and quite quick!). xx

  5. Suzanne says:

    That's a great tutorial. I want to try that with my kids.

  6. blue sky butterfly studio says:

    Wow this is such a wonderful idea, I am going to have to give it a go. My little one has just started school too. Love your words.

  7. Concetta says:

    Thanks Katie, just been over to your blog too – very very lovely 🙂

  8. Kelly says:

    Fantastic idea!

  9. Rebecca says:

    Thanks for this Concetta! One our dogs passed last month and we had planned to make a stepping stone In her memory for our garden. The vet gave us a plaster cast of her paw print but wanted something that would withstand the elements. Maybe I could go a reverse casting….hmmm. Love how simple it is… I think we have a lot of stepping stones in our future :0).

  10. Jennifer Wall says:

    Can you tell me if there is something that I should put over the footprint/stone once it is all dried to seal it? I want to use them as stepping stones and don’t want the little footprints fading/wearing over the years. Thanks!

    • Concetta says:

      Hi Jennifer
      I haven’t sealed mine and they are fine 🙂 It’s cement so you can give them a scrub if mud goes over them! Good luck! Concetta

  11. Jenn Hernandez says:

    I am planning birthday party for my kiddos and had wanted to do something like this as a party favor for their friends. How much in advance can I prepare the mixture and pour it into the container and expect it to still be soft? For example, can I pour all the kids’ containers before the party and they can do their handprints at any point throughout the party? Or I need to pour it pretty much immediately prior to them impriting? Thank you so much for this info! Can’t wait to try it!
    Jenn

    • Concetta says:

      Hi Jenn

      you probably have about 10-15 mins working time. You can do a small test run.

      Lovely to do it for a kids party! Good luck!

      Concetta

  12. Linda says:

    This is an old post, so I hope you see this question. I want to do this with a group of children, but all the cement I see in stores says it’s caustic and to wear gloves and to avoid contact with skin. None of the blog posts or other directions ever address this. Is there a special kind of cement that is safer (I’ve seen all different kinds recommended)?

    • Concetta says:

      Hello there
      as with all these things the best source of specific advise is the helpline often on the back of the product. Cement is very alkaline. When I have done this I have put vaseline on the bottom of feet to create a barrier. I also recommend students wash their hands with vinegar (acid) if they get lots of cement products on their hands (ie when grouting). In this case the feet are touching the cement for seconds only. Obviously, you need to decide for yourself within your setting but if you do a test run, you will see what I mean 😉 Good luck!

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