Gardens

Creating Garden Stepping Stones

33 - Anthurium.jpg

To make your own stepping stone path, the process is as easy as getting a mold, some gravel free cement or mortar and whatever you'd like to adorn it with for a decoration. Garden stepping stones are that much more charming when you make them yourself, especially if you add a creative touch like a footprint! To make stepping stones, you don't need many supplies or tools. You will, however, need a few hours and the patience to let them dry thoroughly. 

Tools and Materials 

  • Mold(s) for stepping stones
  • Gravel free cement or mortar
  • Crisco
  • Stir stick
  • Bucket

Step 1: Prepare Workstation

Before you start mixing the cement or mortar, set all of your tools and materials out on a workbench or the porch. Lay down some newspaper or paper bags to contain the mess. 

Step 2: Plan Pathway 

Many molds are designed in such a way that each piece fits with the others to make a perfect fit. If this is like your mold, you simply have to make as many pieces to cover the entire pathway. If the mold, however, is just a single piece, you should take a moment to plan out the walkway, figuring out how many stones you will need to fill the space. 

Step 2: Mix Up Mortar/Cement

Follow the directions on the mortar or cement, and mix up enough of it with water so you can fill one multi-mold or make a few stones. Mix it in a bucket and use the stir stick to combine the water and cement or mortar thoroughly. Add more cement or water until the consistency is like cake mix, smooth but thick. 

Step 3: Pour Mixture Into Mold(s)

If you have the type of mold that has many interlocking pieces, pour in enough cement or mortar to fill the entire mold. This will produce several pieces at once, of different shapes and sizes. They fit together quite nicely, though. This type of mold you can pull off of the hardening mixture before it's completely dry. Let it set for an hour or so before you pour in another batch. 

If you are using other molds found around the house, such as cake pans, make sure you line each one with some Crisco or shortening before you pour in the cement. Fill each mold halfway and shake it to remove any bubbles. 

Step 4: Continue Pouring

If you are using the multi-mold type, after an hour or so, pour another batch of mortar into the mold and let it harden partially. Make sure you don't try to move the first pieces. Let them harden in place. With cake pan molds, after you have removed the bubbles, fill in the other half, shaking in the same way. 

Step 5: Decorate Shapes

Once the cement or mortar has set for about 10 minutes, you can place decorations in it. These can be shells, tiles, smaller rocks, etc. You can wait until the cake pan molds dry completely to paint the shapes as well.

Step 6: Remove Stones 

If you are using homemade molds, you should wait at least a day before you remove the stones. When you do, turn them upside down and place them on a work towel. Gently but firmly press in the center of the pan, tapping it until the stone comes out. Now you can paint them or decorate them as you wish. 

Measuring and making your own stepping stones is easy and fun. Include your kids, for they will have a fun time putting their hand or fingerprints in the drying mortar (or writing their names). You can make a mold from many objects found around the house (just make sure you can get the dried mortar out of it).

33 - Anthurium.jpg

Photo copyright Wikimedia Commons (http://commons.wikimedia.org)