Cutting Rock into a Stepping Stone

What You'll Need
Stone chisel
Hammer or mallet
Safety goggles
Angle iron (a long metal rod with two flat sides perpendicular to each other)

You’ve decided to use stepping stones to put the finishing touches on your garden landscaping. Not only are rock stepping stones organic-looking, but they designate a path for foot traffic through your landscaping. Homemade stepping stones are simple to make and require very few tools. 

Choose the Rocks

The first decision you have to make is what kind of stones you will use. Some popular choices for homemade stepping stone are flagstone, limestone and sandstone. All of these can be purchased from a local rock yard, home improvement store or garden center and they come in a variety of colors. 

Make a Pattern

The next step is to decide what shape you want the stepping stones to be. Since you will be using a stone chisel to cut the rocks, you are limited to a shape with straight edges. Keep in mind that the less edges you need to cut, the faster it will be to cut your stepping stones. If you want the stones to be a uniform size, then make a pattern out of fiberboard to make the process easier. 

Prepare Your Materials

Before you cut the rocks, use your pattern or a yardstick to measure the size of your stepping stone. Draw out each line with a piece of chalk, then score the lines with the edge of the stone chisel. Now place the angle iron underneath the center of your rock. If you don’t have an angle iron, you may have a three-sided metal stake that will work just as well. 

Cut the Stepping Stone

With the angle iron underneath the center of your rock, hold the stone chisel at a 90-degree angle on the scoring line. Tap the end of the stone chisel with the hammer or mallet. Hit the chisel no harder than it takes to break the rock because the edges can crumble if you hit the chisel too hard. Tap the chisel all along the scoring lines of your rock. Then, turn the rock over and finish tapping on the opposite side. The rough edges will fall away, leaving the neat shape of the stepping stone. 

Another Option

There is another option for cutting homemade stepping stones out of rock. Instead of the stone chisel, use a masonry saw or a skill saw with a masonry blade to cut along the chalk lines. This is a good choice is you are using a harder rock like granite or if you are cutting a more complex shape like an octagon. 

Stepping stones are an attractive and functional way to finish your garden landscaping. They are also relatively easy to make yourself using a few simple hand tools or a rented masonry saw. After you pick out the rocks for your homemade stepping stones, decide on the size, make a pattern and cut out the desired shape.