How to make an easy stepping stone

My friend crafty friend, Cheryl, and I have been at it again! We had a brainstorm! This stepping stone can be made in a snap using Ready-mix concrete and a plastic flat used by nurseries to hold ground covers. You can even reuse the mold to make more than one!

How many of us have a stash of these plastic flats with the built in pattern?

How many of us have a stash of these plastic flats with the built in pattern?

Materials:

  • A groundcover nursery flat
  • A dry cleaning bag
  • Concrete
  • A large leaf or leaves with thick veins
  • Old or disposable gloves
  • Large galvanized pan or plastic tub

Steps

  1. Lay down a tarp over your work surface. Lay your leaf or leaves upside down in a design onto the bottom of the flat.
  2. Cover the plastic flat and the decorations with one thin layer of the dry cleaning bag. This makes it easy to unmold. Leave the edges wide enough to fold up over the project.
  3. Mix your concrete in the tub with enough water to make the consistency like thick brownie batter. Spread or pack carefully into the mold, patting it down with gloved hands.
  4. Fold the plastic over the entire project and tuck underneath to hold in the moisture and not blow in the wind.
  5. Unmold after a day or two, discard leaves and let it sit in its plastic for about a week to cure. Prepare a flat place on firm dirt or sand to place your stepping stone
  6. Repeat!

I placed this one at an intersection in the path that gets a lot of traffic

I placed this one at an intersection in the path that gets a lot of traffic

Note: For added strength, you can spread half the cement mix in then lay down old metal coat hangers or a square of chicken wire.

You can also decorate the stone by packing the concrete in, then pushing stones or glass beads into the flat surface. Dry and cure the same way. The stepping stones come out in a nice big size and just the right thickness! Set them down in a square pattern or diagonally like diamonds.

I hope you try this easy project. Have fun!

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Categories: How to: Easy projects, Hypertufa or cement projects | Tags: , , , | 18 Comments

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18 thoughts on “How to make an easy stepping stone

  1. Karen C

    A great idea! But I will have to get several flats so the cement I use can all be used and not wasted. I will have to line them all up ready to go and then go for it quickly.

    • Karen, a nursery would gladly give you a few. We used hypertufa mix and used gloved hands to mix just enough, but it took some practice to see how much to mix.

  2. Great idea! I like the option of using the stone or glass beads!

  3. judy

    i do like these. i tried some on leafs, one caution is, too much water or too little mixing will work at first but crumble later. i wonder if there are any ideas around mixing if you aren’t super strong! would like to make many but fizzle out quickly.

    • Hi Judy, use the chicken wire square embedded in the stepping stone to make them extra strong. :-) Sue

    • Shari Allen

      You can buy a drill (I think 1 HP) that is made to mix grout and cement. You buy a big paddle that fits in the place you put bits and “stir” away. The thick mixture will ruin a regular cordless drill. I think the one I bought was around $50 at Harbour Freight.

      • Shari, with hypertufa mix, we just used our gloved hands, but with cement, it might be rougher on hands. A paddle of some sort would work and remember you’re using very little dry mix and water. We just used a big plastic tub like you use for picnic drinks and ice.

    • Kathleen

      You can mix the cement in a wheelbarrow with a hoe…very simple and doesn’t require much strength.

      • That’s true. It would be nice to have one person mixing and filling the molds and one to decorate them,….maybe TWO to decorate!

  4. debrasweeps

    I love your “recipe” for making these; I’m looking forward to trying it. I also picked-up your article for my magazine, Gardening Life [http://bit.ly/IIl5Ww] – hope you won’t mind a little more exposure (not that you need it!). ~Debra

  5. Noreen

    Was wondering do you have to press the beads or stones down through the first layer of concrete? Not sure what the directions mean. Do you turn if over and put the beads in? Thanks for any info.

    • Noreen, my beads got engulfed by the mixture and did not show up. Next time, I would press them in from the top. In other words, pour in the cement, pat it down then add the decorations. The leaf worked fine though!

  6. Reblogged this on Three Pea Homestead and commented:
    For those of you who liked my “buy it, or make it?” post, I think you’ll like this blog that I just stumbled across.

  7. Jeanne Sammmons

    My DHubby & I buy hand mixer ‘beaters’ at garage sales (a couple of them on hand, anyway) & he uses his electric drill to mix small amounts of cement when we make ‘mushrooms!
    This is such a clever idea using the plastic flat! Fun!

  8. kathy

    DEET – find a good insect repellent with at least 25% DEET and spray your socks/pants/shoes/hat. Then inspect yourself closely to find any interlopers. Laundering your cloths will NOT kill ticks, but a good HOT dry tumble in the dryer will. I live in Minnesota and typically refer to this publication from the UMN. I am sure that the information included on this publication is applicable in most of the US.
    http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/naturalresources/M1275.html

  9. aaron

    great idea — and simple at that

  10. Hi there – love your hypertufa projects, I had a look at your other ones too! I’ve got this post linked to my hyfertufa roundup – come on over and take a peek!

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