Introduction: In Loving Memory - Garden Memorial Stones
For Fathers Day I thought I would share what Hubby and I do to honor our Fathers on this day since both our Dads have passed away.
A few years ago we planted trees to honor our Dads since my Dad was a farmer replenishing what he had taken from nature was just a given. Hubby's Dad was in the military and a member of the Arbor Day Foundation and every year since Hubby was a boy he and his Dad would always plant a tree.
This year we decided that we wanted to have Memorial Stones under those trees that we planted in their Memory so I began the first Memorial Stone and I thought that maybe others whose loved ones have also passed away might want to do something similar.
Our theme is Let The Stars Guide Them Home
Step 1: Materials
Since Hubby's Dad was in the military I knew I wanted something blue and I chose blue glow in the dark stars on a background of charcoal (the stone)
I made the stone with these materials:
A Hex Shaped Mold
7 lbs. Dry Cement Mix, fine grade
Charcoal Cement Colorant
8 Glow In Dark Glass Stars (blue)
Plastic Raised Letter Stencils
A Wooden Spoon
A Board to hold the Mold
A Flathead Screwdriver
Step 2: Prepare Your Template
First prepare your template. Lay out pieces of heavy paper and place your mold on top. Remove the stencil and tape the papers together. Because I would be laying this on a wet surface I used a card stock paper for extra durability. Trace around the bottom of the mold.
Cut out the pattern piece and lay it in the mold. If it does not lay flat trim any areas away needed to make the pattern fit the mold.
Here I traced an inner portion 1 3/4 inches in where my main design area would be, using the outer area for placement of the glow in the dark stars. Next I decided what I wanted to put in the main design area and drew guide and placement lines for my lettering.
Step 3: Prepare Your Medium
As you can see I messed up in one spot so I covered the area with masking tape and redid the lines. Then I cut away the areas where the glow in the dark stars would go leaving just enough of the pattern piece to touch the outer edges and keep my pattern centered.
Now it is time to make the cement medium for my stone. You do not want to make this in advance as the pattern can be time consuming and the mix sets up fairly fast.
Mix the Colorant Agent well with the dry cement mixture. Since this is a Memorial Stone I am using a charcoal colorant.
Step 4: Mix and Spread the Medium
You want your medium to be very stiff when you insert your lettering so I used 1 3/4 cups of water instead of 2 1/4 the medium calls for then added it to the mold.
Instead of being able to smooth the medium once the project is done it has to be smoothed first since you won't be able to bounce the board or smooth it once the lettering is in place. I used a wide spackle spatula first then covered it with waxed paper and finished the job with a fondant smoother using an ironing type motion.
Once you are satisfied with how smooth the top is you are ready to begin decorating.
Step 5: Decorate
Lay the pattern piece gently on top and place your border decorations in the cut out areas.
Lift the pattern off and press your outer decorations firmly into the medium until it is level with the surface.
Step 6: Add the Lettering
Cut away the top portion of your pattern to the first line of where your lettering will go and press in your desired words.
Continue repeating these two steps until you have all your lettering and any other design objects you want to add in place.
The image below shows how my Memorial Stone came out when I was finished with the pattern.
Now it needs to sit for 24 hours in the mold to dry and cure. The stone is very fragile at his phase and needs to be moved on the board to a place where it can sit undisturbed for twenty four hours.
Step 7: Unmold the Stone
Unmold the stone by gently lifting it from under the mold, do not lift it by the sides.
Flip it over onto the board with one hand on top. Gently lift the mold off of your stone.
Using a flat head screwdriver trim and clean any rough edges.
Wash the stone off with dish soap and water then polish up the stars with Windex.
Step 8: The Finished Product
You should wait one week before placing the stone outside as it finishes drying and curing. Keep a wet paper towel over it for a few days to give the stone added strength.
This stone was laid at the base of the tree we planted for Hubby's Dad on Father's Day.
This photo below shows how it looks at night. The stars glow for about 6 hours after sundown.