Stepping stones are a decorative addition to your yard; they make a lovely path to your garden, gazebo or swing. They are especially useful when it has been rainy and you want to enjoy your hammock or sit and gaze at your flower garden without getting your shoes muddy. Making your own stepping stones is an inexpensive project for the entire family. Each person can personalise his own stone with hand prints, colourful glass or other decorative objects, such as seashells or marbles.
Choose a location that can withstand a mess. A covered patio area is ideal. On a windy day, a garage or a workshop may be better.
Lay down the newspapers or the dust sheet.
Select your moulds. You can use old pizza delivery boxes, large aluminium cake pans, aluminium pie plates or plastic planter saucers. The saucers are best type since they require no prepping.
Prep any moulds that are not plastic by spraying non-stick cooking oil on them and then sprinkling the sides and bottom with a little bit of sand. This is similar to coating a cake pan with oil and then flour.
Mix the concrete into a large bowl according to the package directions. Carefully add water a little at a time. If it is too dry, the stepping stone may crack. If the mixture is too wet, it will lengthen the drying time. The goal is to make the mixture the consistency of cookie dough.
Stir the mixture near one edge with a sturdy stick. It is difficult to stir around the entire bowl and may break the stick.
Scoop the concrete mixture into the moulds with an old spoon or small shovel. The mixture should be approximately 2 inches deep.
Tap the sides of the mould and shake the container a little to help the cement settle evenly and prevent any air bubbles.
Let the cement mixture set for about 30 minutes to an hour.
Use embellishments to decorate the stepping stones. Arrange decorations on top of the concrete in a pleasing design, then press firmly into place.Write your name with marbles, make foot or hand prints, or make mosaic designs with pieces of tile, colourful glass gems, or a broken plate. Pressing leaves, coins or anything with a texture into the concrete and then removing it will make an interesting print.
Let the concrete dry for two or three days, misting them with water once a day to create a stronger stone. Pop the stepping stones carefully from the containers.
Allow the stepping stones to dry for another week before placing them outdoors. Don't allow them to extend out of the ground more than a half inch to prevent anyone from tripping over them.
Don't add all the water to the concrete at once. The concrete will seem quite dry when you first start stirring it, but it will moisten after being stirred for a while. Make sure children wash their hands or feet thoroughly after making hand or foot prints in the wet cement. It can be dangerous if not all the concrete is removed from the skin. If you make a design and then change your mind, remove the marbles or other objects and then moisten the concrete again and flatten the area with an old spoon.
Never pour leftover cement down a drain; it will coat the pipes with cement and cause expensive plumbing problems.