Making Concrete Stepping Stones

22 06 2010

For some time now, I’ve contemplated making my own stepping stones for use throughout the garden.

As you may recall, I purchased some recycled rubber ones a while back which are working out well leading off the deck.

I still need additional stones though, which I can use to create access pathways through some of my larger flower beds.

As luck would have it, the local craft store had a stepping stone display right by the front entrance the last time I stopped by. All the materials to make you own stepping stones, and then some.

I came away with:

(I passed on the pink and purple sequins, the glow in the dark marbles, and the floral and letter stamps to imprint the concrete with a “personal” touch.)

Although I usually don’t get around to doing craft projects in the Spring/Summer because I’m too busy in the garden, the persistent rainfall has thrown some roadblocks on outdoor activities. Perfect time to keep dry in the garage and mix concrete!

And that’s what I did last week.

To one bag of concrete mix, I added 2 1/2 cups of water in an old bucket and mixed until it resembled thick pancake batter. Next, I sprayed the plastic mold with some Pam cooking spray, layered the pebbles on the bottom, and then poured the “pancake” mixture into the mold, making sure the mixture spread into the corners and did not contain air bubbles. (A metal skewer is a good tool to eliminate air bubbles.)

The mold sat in my garage for 2 days, without being moved. Waiting and not moving the mold was the most difficult part. I really wanted to see how things were shaping up but didn’t want to risk cracking the cement.

Then, 48 hours after pouring, I unmolded the stone. (Pam worked like a charm.)

Not  exactly what I wanted. I didn’t anticipate the concrete would ooze around and over the pebbles as much as it did. (Duh!) I should have followed the instructions that came with the mold which had you placing any decoration on the top, not the bottom. (Double-duh!!)

Take II:

This time around, instead of using stepping stone concrete mix, I bought a 60 lb bag of Quickrete Concrete Mix, which is astronomically more cost-effective. ($5.99 for the stepping stone mix which makes 1 stone, $3.49 for the Quickrete which should make up to 10 stones!)

To 6 lbs of Quickrete, I added 2 cups of water and mixed to a thick pancake batter consistency. I poured this into the mold, waited 20 minutes or so for the concrete to set a little, and then decorated the top of the stone with colored glass stones, leftovers from another craft project.

The result was better this time:

According to the instructions that came with the mold (and I am diligently  following those instructions now), I need to wait 2 weeks though before putting weight on the stones. That gives me plenty of time to consider where to place them.

And now the mold is “free” for other creative endeavors.

A mosaic stone using some broken blue and white pottery I’ve been collecting for years? Some concrete colorant in a slate gray shade, perhaps?

Hmmh…this is fun! I can deal with our crummy Spring/Summer now.

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6 responses

22 06 2010
Laura

Fun! I love a good craft! I got a mold set for making small garden signs, but I always get to busy in the summer to make them. Then I forget in fall.

Hmmm, maybe I’ll give them a go with the kiddo’s. Preschool is over, and ‘summer fun’ (aka my inevitable downfall) begins. I’m going to need to fill the days!

I like the idea of what you did on the first one, too bad about the seepage. Your second one is cute! I love the red glass stones!

23 06 2010
Linda

Definitely a good craft project with kids. You can have so much fun decorating; old buttons, marbles, even bits of lego! If you want colored stones, Home Depot, Lowes have concrete colorant which is way more economical than the craft stores. Enjoy!

23 06 2010
Vanessa

Thanks for the tip on the Quickrete. The boys and I want to make stepping stones for the back yard this summer too.

23 06 2010
Linda

I’ve got plenty of ideas! We should plan on making a few when you’re here in July.

24 06 2010
Amy/goawayimgardening!

Love it! I always try to do things without directions and I always end up reading them. That is really cute and will add a lot of personality to your garden. I am going to have to check into making these. Great post!

25 06 2010
Linda

Thanks Amy for stopping by and commenting! I hope you have as much fun making your stepping stones as I’m having. The possibilities are almost endless; I’m thinking of “weeding out” my button collection from Goodwill (thrift store) and adding a few to the next stone.

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