When I designed our vegetable garden I opted for stones instead of grass that would need to be mowed and weed whacked. My kids, and their little feet, would have much preferred grass. It’s a bit too late now because we’re not moving all of these stones! We decided on a compromise – stepping stones.
I found a DIY article courtesy of the Thrifty Fun blog for making homemade stepping stones. I went to Lowes and was able to find everything we needed to make the stones, including pint sized rubber gloves! It’s important for you and your little helpers to wear gloves because the concrete mix can irritate your skin.
Molds: I found some plastic plant bases at Lowes on clearance ($.84 for the 12″). You could also cut the bottom of a milk or juice container which would give you a fun shape. Aluminum pie pans would also work well.
Non-Stick Agent: You can use vaseline or cooking spray.
Quickrete mix: I accidentally picked a concrete mix with stones inside. This made adding the embellishments a bit difficult. Try using a sandy textured cement mix if you want to add embellishments.
Gloves: You definitely need gloves! The concrete mix can really irritate your skin otherwise.
Eye protection: Not pictured here, but it’s a good idea to protect the eyes.
Bucket & Water: You’ll need a small bucket for mixing and another for water.
Mixing tool: This is done in small batches, so I just used a paint stirrer to mix.
Chicken wire or hard cloth: This is used to give the stepping stone some extra strength. I forgot to get the chicken wire, so I opted instead to use some landscape cloth I had. I cut the cloth about an inch smaller than the mold itself. I filled half of the mold, laid the cloth down, then filled the rest of the mold.
Bling: You can get creative with embellishments on the stones. We used mosaic tiles someone had given to us for craft projects. You could use marbles, beach glass, hand or foot prints, leaves, etc.
- Get your supplies together
- Prepare your work area. I used a plastic drop cloth and a pizza box we had laying around.
- Grease your mold with the cooking spray or vaseline so it releases easily. I did this on only half of the molds we used. I ended up having to cut the molds off that didn’t have vaseline. So definitely use it if you want to reuse the molds!
- Mix the concrete following the directions on the bag. I prepared enough for only one mold at a time because it dries quickly.
- Fill half of your mold then gently tap it on a hard surface several times to work out any air bubbles. (This is where the eye protection would have been handy!)
- Smooth out the surface and place your chicken wire or cloth on the concrete mixture.
- Fill the remainder of the mold and gently tap on a hard surface several times to get air bubbles out.
- Smooth the surface and add your embellishments by gently pressing them onto the surface. This is the fun part for the kids!
- Let it cure for 3-4 days by storing it covered with plastic and misting with water each day. Thicker stones will require longer curing. (Check Quickcrete package for optimal temperature.)
- Gently turn the stone over and remove from molds. Allow them to finish curing for about a week before placing them in the garden.
- Place them in your garden so no more than 1/2 inch sticks out from the surface.