The Ultimate DIY Stepping Stone guide

Have you been to your local garden centre lately? The price of decorative stepping stones are shooting through the roof. I love the effect that a couple of stepping stones make when they are placed neatly together in a corner, but as a thrifty DIY mom, I try not to buy them from the store. Turns out you do not need to buy them at all. Instead have a look at these creative ideas to make  DIY stepping stones yourself. These DIY stepping stone projects are the perfect family activity for young and old.

To create the mold yourself, you will need:

Anything round (or whatever shape you prefer) and sturdy enough to throw the concrete in. Some awesome ideas are:

  • Cake pans. Make sure to line these with plastic wrap to remove them easily later on
  • Plastic or metal containers that you are no longer using. Again plastic wrap seems to help remove them
  • Cardboard boxes cut and shaped as you desire and stuck tightly around the edges and gaps with duct tape.

    DIY cardboard stepping stone mold
    DIY cardboard stepping stone mold found on makingthingsisawesome.com
  • Foil tart pans
  • Pot plant dripping trays
  • Silicone baking pans and trays

Supplies to make the stepping stones:

  • Cement – Read the description carefully when you buy this.
  • Gloves to spare your hands. No matter how tough you are, cement will burn your hands and dry them out like fish in a dry riverbed.
  • Water
  • Something to mix with.  A small shovel works well for this
  • Your DIY mold. Prepare your mold by lining it with plastic wrap.
  • Utility knife
  • Decorative tiles, glass, rocks, broken mirror, plates, large leaves to imprint, sticks to write and decorate with, etc.
  • Sandpaper or small drill to tidy the edges once dry
  • Varnish or sealant (optional)

Method:

Step 1: Make the mold using any of the above ideas.

Step 2: Mix the cement and water as per the bag instructions.

Pour into the mold carefully. Use your fingers to smooth the cement into gaps and corners. Flatten the surface once you are done pouring by tapping the side of the mold. This will allow the surface to even out.

Step 3: Decorate the stones as you wish then allow to dry for 24 – 48 hours.

Some cool ideas for decorating are:

  • Footprints of your children so you can keep track of their growth throughout the years. Make sure the print is deep enough to show and also make sure the cement consistency is correct otherwise the print will fade away.

    Footprint on cement
    Found on ACraftedPassion.com
  • Pattern imprints. There are loads of ideas that you can play around with. Iron gates, criss-cross wire, heart shapes, plastic animals all work well for pressing them into the cement to create a stunning design on the stepping stone.

    Pattern imprint on cement
    Found on Pinterest
  • Take a large leaf and imprint it in the wet cement. Large leaves like lilies and ferns work well, but smaller leaves look stunning when grouped into a nice design.

    Leaf imprints on cement
    Found on wayfair.com
  • Handprints of the family. A Precious Keepsake

    Hand print on cement
    Found on today.com
  • Stone letter stamps – These can be used to write anything neatly in the cement from just names to proper quotes or poems.
  • Glass beads, tiles and mirror

    Glass tiles on cement
    Found on pinterest
  • Broken tiles or other crockery

    Broken corckery on cement
    Found on overthebigmoon.com
  • Stones. Pack the stones in a flower design, into a number or other pattern. If you do not know what to do with all those stones that your kids collect, this is the perfect solution.

    Stones in cement stepping stone
    Found on Garden Therapy

Step 4: Remove the mold around the cement and tidy the edges with sandpaper or a small drill.

This step is not necessary if you smoothed out the edges while the cement was still wet, but it is likely that once the stone is completely dry, there will be some bits here and there which protrude a bit. Sandpaper should do the trick, but for larger uneven sections, a small drill will work wonders.

Step 5: Leave them to cure properly for a week before spraying them with varnish.

Plant them in the garden somewhere. When planting, make sure that you remove some of the soil. Also make sure that the area you lay them in, are flat and that the soil underneath is compacted. This will ensure that the stones lie level and do not crack due to air gaps underneath the stone. Fill up any uneven gaps with extra soil.

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