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DIY cement stepping stones can add a personal flair to your garden. This article is a step-by-step guide on how to make stepping stones at home. We will be using limited resources so that it is easy on our pocketbooks but still looks beautiful. DIY stepping stones are a quick afternoon project that can be completed within a few hours. This is sponsored by connected to the land, the perfect resource for all things outdoors in Canada.
DIY Stepping Stone Supplies
- DIY cement stepping stone mold: This can be a very simple object. The goal is finding something that can hold its shape under the weight of the wet cement. For some this may be as simple as a pie plate or a cereal box lined with Saran Wrap. If you want to get a more intricate and detailed mold look online for a plastic mold kit. The average cost for these is around $10. The height of the mold regardless should be over ½ inch to ensure it is durable enough for the outdoors.
- Quick-setting concrete: It’s important that you get the quick-setting concrete. A popular name brand found throughout Canada is called Quikrete. The bags you get will be around 50 lb and cost you less than $10. With a 50lb bag you can expect to get approximately 10 Stepping Stones. Another alternative to this would be the craft store single stepping stone mixes. These are identical to the larger quick-setting concrete bags but at a higher price point due to its convenience.
- Trinkets: This is completely optional but I personally enjoy the added touch. This can come in the form of marbles, glass pieces, metal pieces, or something more natural such as rock.
- Bucket and mixing item (shovel or wooden dowel).
- Cooking grease or any sort of lubricant.
DIY Stepping Stone Instructions
Step One DIY Cement Stepping Stone
Step one of the entire project is to start in an area outdoors that will not be affected by the concrete. It may be in your best interest to place this project on top of a large area covered with cardboard. Avoid other concrete areas along with the front lawn. After you’ve determined your area to start you will want to change into old clothing. If the concrete mix gets onto your clothing it will not come out and it cannot be put into the washing machine.
Step Two DIY Cement Stepping Stone
Step two will involve figuring out how much concrete you need per mold. One of the easiest ways to figure this out is by pouring the dry concrete powder into the mold. This will give you an idea of the amount of mixture you will need. Pour this pre-measured powder into your bucket or mixing container.
To determine how much water you need for the concrete powder you have, try adding the water slowly. As you add water, begin to mix the powder and water together. continue to add water until the cement mixture is the consistency of a thick cake batter. If you notice that it is too runny simply add some more concrete powder into the bucket. If you run out of concrete powder and it still seems runny, wait for a few mins and the water will rise to the top. From there you can simply pour off the excess water.
Step Three DIY Cement Stepping Stone
Step three involves coating the mold with your cooking oil or other lubricant. You can use practically anything you find for this process. For example petroleum jelly or baby oil would even work. Once the mold is coated you can begin to spoon or pour your concrete mixture into the mold. Make sure it is on a level surface so that it is equally covered across the template. Once the mold is filled with your concrete mixture feel free to gently tap the mold on the sides or if the mold is sturdy enough lift it up and drop it down gently. This taping or dropping motion will help release any air bubbles inside the stone. This will help with both drawing and the overall sturdiness of the stepping stone in the future.
Step Four DIY Cement Stepping Stone
Step four is optional but typically yields the best results. You will want to allow your freshly poured cement mixture to sit untouched for around 30 minutes. If you’re using a 50 lb bag of concrete this is especially true. The cement mixture initially after mixing will be relatively runny and any sort of decorations you place on top may sink into the stone. If we allow it to sit for 30 minutes it will give us a working surface that is a bit more firm.
Keep in mind the benefits of this project is that any mistakes that you make are completely reversible. If you make a mistake simply add a bit of water to the top of the mixture and blend it out with your finger. This will give you a fresh clean surface to work with and allow you to correct any mistakes you made along the way.
Step Five DIY Cement Stepping Stone
The fifth step is the final step in the process of making stepping stones at home. The last step is probably the most important when it comes to the durability and longevity of the stepping stone itself. This involves the drying process. Now while the stones may seem finished they can take anywhere from five to seven days to fully dry. If you try rushing this process with a hair dryer or by placing it in full sun you may end up with cracks. These cracks initially may not seem large enough to cause any issues however overtime it will eventually lead to the demise of your stepping stone.
Be patient and simply allow the week-long dry time to take place. During this time you will want to place it in an area that is not in full sun and not in high heat. Room temperature is ideal so somewhere such as a shed or garage where it will be undisturbed is ideal. Once it is fully dry you can now remove the stepping stone from it’s mold. If you like there are special all purpose water sealants you can apply to help add to the longevity of both the colour and the structure of a stepping stone itself.
It’s official you are finally done with your DIY cement stepping stones for the garden. I personally chose to take prints of all my pet paws, this was a surprisingly difficult adventure as my dogs were less than impressed with the process. Be sure to post your photos of DIY cement stepping stones on Instagram and tag connect to the land in it. We would love to see what colour combinations you have tried and what types of imprints you decided to place in your cement.