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October 28, 2016

A Stepping Stone with a Thrifty Secret

If you’ve ever been locked out of the house and you haven’t given a neighbor your spare key, then you know the panic that can ensue. I decided to create a “key hider” for our yard, but of course I wanted to repurpose something with a unique idea. What if I created a DIY mosaic stepping stone with a pill bottle cap embedded in the concrete??

So I decided to give my theory a try- but first, a trip to Goodwill was in order so I could find an inexpensive secondhand cake pan. And no surprise, they had exactly what I was looking for!


With cake pan in hand, I gathered some other necessary ingredients: a push-down child-safe pill bottle (it’s gotta be push-down and not the pinch-from-the-sides type); clear laminating sheets (or clear contact paper); a pencil and scissors; and mosaic “bits” like seaglass, broken pottery and/or ceramic tiles, or glass gems.


To create my mosaic design, I traced the bottom of my cake pan on a laminating sheet, cut out the circle, and made sure it fit easily into my pan.


Using mosaic bits from the craft store, I created a design on the laminating sheet- making sure to stick the colorful side to the sticky side of the sheet.


I then set my mosaic design aside for a moment because my next step was crucial- and cannot be forgotten! Using non-stick cooking spray, I gave my entire cake pan a good coating- bottom and sides.


Then, I placed my mosaic design pretty-side down in the pan. I mixed up some inexpensive Quikrete from a home improvement store and began adding it to the cake pan.


Because I never intend to actually step on this stepping stone, I didn’t add any metal mesh re-enforcement inside the concrete (but you’d want to if it’s to be stepped upon). So I simply filled the cake pan nearly to the top lip and then I tapped it on our work bench to get bubbles out (just like you’d do for a cake- how ironic!). Lastly, I simply twisted a closed pill bottle into the wet concrete, making sure to not go deeper than the edge of the cap.


After about 24-36 hours, my stone was set and ready to go! But now I had to test my theory…did the concrete grab the pill bottle cap so that I could open the bottle with ease? And guess what, y’all? It sure did! So, I carefully turned my pan over and the stepping stone came out clean as a whistle. Hurray for non-stick spray! All I needed to do was peel off the laminating sheet and voilà- a perfect mosaic stepping stone (with a secret underneath)!


Before putting it outside, I gave the top, sides, and bottom of my stone a coat or polyacrylic so it could brave the outdoor elements. Once it was dry, I dug a shallow hole for the pill bottle and set the stone out in the yard. Looks pretty innocent like that, doesn’t it?


Seriously, it’s the perfect key hider! And the project is a double repurpose- the cake pan and your pill bottle. And if you don’t want to buy mosaic bits, you can purchase cheap dishes from Goodwill and create your own mosaic pieces with nippers! Then it would be a repurposing triple play- can’t beat that!


Craft on! (And never get locked out again!)