Homemade stepping stones are a great way to personalize your garden. You can also use them on a walkway or path in your yard. Not only are they interesting hardscape elements to have around the garden, but they also make great gifts and keepsakes for family and friends. Make one of these stepping stones and use a child's handprints or footprints or mementos to make them extra special.
While you do have the option of purchasing a kit, you can save a lot of money by picking up your own supplies. In fact, you can make a whole set of DIY stepping stones for the cost of a single kit.
Supplies for Making Stepping Stones
Basically, stepping stones are made by mixing concrete, decorating it, pouring it into a mold, and allowing it to dry. What could be simpler? Here's what you'll need:
- A mold. Yes, you can purchase a plastic stepping stone mold at a craft shop—and if you like unusual shapes such as hexagons, that's a great idea. But if you're going for something simpler such as a rectangle, square, or circle, there are cheaper mold options. Old cake tins or baking tins work well, and even a cereal box is great for one-time use.
- Quick-setting concrete. You have a couple of options for where to find your concrete. If you're creating a set of stones for a large garden, your best bet is to go to your local home supply shop for 4 or 8-pound bag. If you're just making a few small stepping stones, you'll find "stepping stone concrete" at your craft store.
- Bucket and paint mixer. You'll need something to mix your concrete in—an old bucket or bowl is ideal, so long as it can be discarded after use. An old spoon or paint mixing stick can be used to stir.
- Rubber gloves, old newspaper, and a drop cloth. All of these supplies will ensure that any mess can be easily cleaned up.
- Nonstick cooking spray or petroleum jelly. You'll use one of these to line your mold. When hardened, your stepping stone will slide out of the mold with no trouble.
- Mix-in and embellishments. To personalize your stone, you'll want to add an interesting and colorful embellishment—and, if you're working with children, you'll want to offer plenty of options. Possibilities include broken bits of pottery, marbles, small toys, tiles or dice from board games, dried flowers or plant matter, sea glass, sparkles, etc.
How to Make Stepping Stones
- Start by putting newspaper and/or a drop cloth on the ground, ideally outdoors.
- Line your mold or molds with cooking spray or petroleum jelly.
- Mix up your concrete according to instructions on the bag, guesstimating the quantity you'll need.
- Pour concrete mix into mold or molds.
- Add embellishments to the top of the concrete. In addition to adding objects to the mold, you may also want to create concrete "casts" (impressions of objects that are then removed from the concrete). One option is to wait until the concrete starts to set, and then have children make hand and/or footprints in the drying concrete. Other interesting impressions can be made with leaves, shells, and other natural objects.
- Allow your stepping stone to dry for at least 24 to 48 hours. Remove from the mold and place it in your garden!