Here's a step-by-step guide to making your own stepping stone, part of the Do-It-Yourself Decor Ideas.
Design a Stepping Stone
Printable Version: Do-It-Yourself Decor Ideas
|Step 1: Gather Your Supplies|
|What You'll Need:
— Some sort of concrete mix. I used an 8-lb. stepping stone mix purchased at a craft store, but you can use building concrete, too. ($5.99)
— Sticks or scrap wood for mixing the concrete and decorating your stone. (free)
— River rocks or other decorative items. ($3.97 for a 5-lb. bag)
— Stepping stone form. I used a 9-by-9-inch cake pan. (free)
— Plastic wrap or wax paper to protect the form—especially if you want to use it again!
— Bucket or container to mix your concrete in. I used an empty laundry detergent container with the top cut off, which worked fine. You won’t be able to re-use the bucket (except for mixing more cement), so keep that in mind. (free)
— Measuring cup.
|Step 2: Determining Your Design
|The concrete mix will set quickly, so if you don’t want to be on the clock when coming up with the design for your stepping stone, it’s a good idea to map it out first. I just took the form and eyeballed the size, coming up with a design that I thought would work well.
I selected the flattest and smoothest stones I could find so the end product wouldn’t shred bare feet in the garden. I arranged the stones I liked the best in the middle of the design. Take as long as you’d like to come up with a design you’re satisfied with. But remember: If you mess up, you can just pluck the rock out, smooth the concrete over, and try it again.
|Step 3: Prep Your Form and the Concrete|
|Cover your form with either plastic wrap or wax paper. This will make the stone come out easier and protect the form if it happens to be something you also use for baking. I used plastic wrap, but the concrete hardened around some of the crevices.
This isn’t a huge deal, since the bottom will be on the ground, anyway, but you might want to stick with wax paper for a more uniform finish.
|Mix the concrete according the instructions on the bag. I had to add more water than was called for, but you should definitely start with the recommended amount, especially in humid areas.|
|Keep mixing! The mix should be the consistency of thick brownie batter.
Honestly, I thought mine was a bit too thick, but once it was in the form, it seemed to spread out pretty well. Also, try to find a mixing bowl without any square corners—my concrete mix kept getting stuck in the crevices.
|Now it’s time to pour your “batter” into the form. Get as much in there as you can.|
|I put on some rubber gloves and spread it out using my hands, but that’s not necessary if you have some craft sticks or wood scraps that can level the mix out for you.|
|Step 4: Create Your Stone|
|Work quickly but don’t panic. You’ll have about an hour to work with the mix before it hardens too much. You can start embedding items right away, but wait a few minutes (about 15 or so) before attempting to write anything using a craft stick.
Start transferring the rocks from your draft design to the wet concrete mix. Push the rocks in at least halfway. I tried to make them level so the rock would be easier to step on. I worked down the left side and then across the top to give myself a guide.
|I actually ended up not needing a whole row of rocks from my draft, but I was able to adjust as I worked. It’s really easy to correct a mistake: Just take the rock out, smooth the spot over and start over.|
|Let the stepping stone dry for at least 24 hours before moving and 48 hours before removing from the form. The instructions on my mix also recommended avoiding walking on it for 2 weeks.
Now, just find the perfect spot for it in your garden or present it to an outdoors lover as a gift. They’ll think you rock!