To make your own stepping stones by means of stepping stone molds, is fun and easy. You can let the creative artist in you run riot as you choose the molds and plan their decoration. Stepping stone molds can be of any shape and material like plastic, wood, thick cardboard, anything that can hold a shape firm enough until it sets.
Step 1 - Make a Sketch
Make a rough sketch of the place where you will be putting your stepping stones. Its width and length will determine how much concrete you will need for the number of stones you plan to put and the best shape mold to use.
Buy concrete that is exclusively used for stepping stones because ordinary concrete is not so smooth. concrete for stepping stones is slightly more expensive but worth the price; mortar mix also gives good results and costs about the same.
Step 2 - Prepare The Location
Gather all the items you are going to use and choose your working area which you can protect with plastic sheeting. Put on your protective clothing of which the most important are goggles and gloves. Concrete can burn your skin and damage your eyes, should an accident happen, so it is important that you have adequate protection.
Step 3 - Make The Concrete Mixture
Measure your concrete, put it in the plastic tub and add just enough water till the mixture has the consistency of cake batter. Be careful with the water as too much will spoil the concrete. Usually a ratio of 5:1 concrete to water works well, but it is best to follow the instructions on the concrete bag. Next, put in the dye of your choice following the manufacturer’s directions for the proportions you need.
Step 4 - Prepare The Molds
Before pouring in the measured concrete mix in the mold, you might need to coat it with a thick coating of petroleum jelly or cooking spray for easy release of the stone. If you are using molds for specific use with stepping stones, follow the instructions given. There you will find whether you need to use some kind of lubricant or not. A good rule of thumb is to use lubricant with molds which you might have found at home.
Step 5 - Pour The Concrete
Pour in the concrete half way up in the mold, using the spoon or ladle. Smooth it down and put in a piece of hardware cloth cut slightly smaller than the mold. Continue spooning the concrete till the mold is full, tap it gently to remove any air bubbles and leave it be for about one hour without moving it as the cement can crack up. Once the time is up, you can add any decorations like cut glass, beads, pebbles, shells, hand prints or paw prints. You can use a lollipop stick to write in your name or some verses you like.
Step 6 - Leave To Dry Completely
Leave the stepping stone undisturbed in the mold for about 2 to 3 days and then remove it from the mold and continue with the decorations, if needed. Give the stone time to settle for about 8 days or so and then you can place it at the intended location.
It is best to have more than one mold to make the stepping stones so you can make just one mixture and your stepping stones will be ready to be put down all together. You can also use different shaped molds to create different stones, which will give a touch of variety and unique charm to your garden path.