Want to make a "permanent" valentine? One that will last for years and forever be a reminder of the bond you have for one another? With this instructable, a few tools, some concrete mix and a little work, you can do just that. Easy to do, this stepping stone size heart with names should last for many many years. A mold is made for the heart itself, letters are cut out of styrofoam packing material on a hotwire instrument, and cement is mixed and poured into the mold, around the letters.
Step 1: Gather Materials and Tools
Materials needed to make these stones: plywood or mdf for base, cardboard of various sizes, acrylic caulking compound to use around edge of mold, plastic grocery bags, cement or concrete mix, various wood working tools, a bandsaw is especially nice to have, a hotwire machine, and cement working tools. See this instructable on more information on materials used: http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-Oriental-PaverStepping-Stones-For-The-Garden/#step1
Step 2: Cut Wood Base To Size
I made my heart about 12 inches in height, so I made my cardboard template to that size and outlined the shape on the plywood.
Step 3: Cut Cardboard For Edgeing Material
Yes, for this mold, we will use cardboard. It is easy to shape around the heart edges as shown, and when covered with the plastic grocery bags, it is impervious to moisture, although the cardboard could be used alone...it would not last as long as the protected edge however. I cut mine to 2 and 1/2 inches as shown.
Step 4: Cardboard Is Stapeled or Nailed to Edge of Heart Mold
The strip of cardboard is shaped around the heart mold base, then stapeled to the base as shown. Alternatively, wood pieces are cut, holes drilled in them and then screws are used to attach and hold the edgeing material. I have used both methods, both are fine.
Step 5: Cover Mold With Plastic
Using regular plastic grocery bags, I spray the interior of the mold with spray adhesive, cut the bags into useable shapes, and them glue them in place much the way you would do paper mache. This plastic will protect the mold and cardboard edges and make for a better product.
Step 6: Use Acrylic Caulking Compound to Fill In Edges
As per the pictures, I have used white caulk in one project, and black in another. Color doesn't matter, you just want to be able to have rounded edges to the heart. I let this sit at least 24hours to insure it's stability.
Step 7: Cut Letters Out On Hotwire Instrument
I have made other instructables demonstrating this step. See: http://www.instructables.com/id/Hotwire-magic-The-Art/
Pick a font you like, print the letters out on cardstock, cut out the letters with scissors and either glue these letters to the foam or use pins to pin in place.
Step 8: Glue Letters In Place In Bottom of Mold
Please note, letters are placed in the mold in a reverse mode...see pictures. The mold will be turned over when completed to show the proper orientation of the names you have chosen.
Step 9: Mix Concrete and Pour Into Mold
OK, the caulk and letters have dried sufficiently after 24 hours or so, so we can go ahead and mix and pour our concrete. Several admixes of different colors are available, so these can be added at the time of mixing to color the concrete. One of my examples is plain concrete, and the other is a terra cotta color.
Step 10: After Sitting For 24 to 48 hours, Demold Your Heart.
Twenty four hours is generally enough, but it doesn't hurt to allow longer. Allow to sit in the shade, and cover with damp burlap or other cloth material...keep moist during the curing phase, but don't let it sit in the direct sunlight. After you are satisfied that the concrete is set up sufficiently, remove cardboard from around edge, or just turn mold over, and gently jar heart out. On the heart with Lonnie and Cheryl, as soon as it came out of the mold, I brushed the top while washing with the hose. This exposed the aggregagte and gave the appearance as seen. And there you have it...a permanent reminder of your valentine! Place your heart where it can be displayed or even use it as a stepping stone in a garden path.