Handmade concrete stepping stones can be an attractive addition to your garden or yard and they are fun to make. Concrete is a very economical and versatile medium that can be used for many artistic projects. Concrete is also extremely strong, readily available, and weatherproof, so it is a good medium to experiment with. Each handmade stepping stone can be simple or intricate and as unique as you would like to make it. Here are some instructions for making your own concrete stepping stones:
1. Purchase Flower Pot Saucers – Purchase several terra cotta 12-inch flower pot saucers. These saucers will be the forms for the stepping stones. Coat the inside of one of the flower pot saucers with cooking spray to facilitate easy removal of your stepping stone.
2. Mix the Concrete – In a 1-gallon bucket, mix 2 cups of powdered Portland cement with 6 cups of masonry sand and blend these 2 ingredients until mixed. Add 2 cups of water and blend with a wood paint mixing stick until smooth. If the mixture is too difficult to mix, you can add a splash or two of water to loosen the mixture.
3. Cut Hardware Cloth – Cut pieces of hardware cloth into small strips approximately 2 inches by 1/2 inch. These will be used to strengthen the concrete.
4. Pour the Concrete – Once the concrete has been thoroughly mixed, fill the flower pot saucer half full of the mixture. Tap the mold several times on the side to eliminate air bubbles created by mixing. Add a layer of hardware cloth strips on top of the concrete mixture. Fill the rest of the flower pot saucer with the prepared concrete and level the top surface with the side of a wood paint mixing stick.
5. Draw In the Concrete – Allow the concrete to cure for about an hour. Use an empty tin can to stamp circles into the wet concrete. You can also draw directly in the wet concrete with a pointed or blunted wooden stick. Draw only as deep as half of the depth of the concrete in the flower pot saucer.
6. Cure the Concrete – Allow the concrete to dry in the flower pot saucer for 6 to 12 hours. Press the top of the curing concrete with your finger to verify that it is becoming firm. When the concrete is firm to the touch, place a board on top of the flower pot saucer and invert the concrete onto the board. Use a palette knife or steel file to smooth the edge of the curing concrete. Cover the concrete form with plastic wrap and allow it to cure for 24 hours.
7. Mix Color Concrete – Using the above proportions, mix up some small batches of concrete and color each batch with a concrete colorant. When thoroughly mixed, fill in the drawn lines that you made in the concrete form with colored concretes. Smooth the top gently with a wood paint mixing stick being careful not to drag the colors across the top surface.
8. Paint the Stepping Stone – After the stepping stone has cured for 24 hours, mix powdered concrete colorant with water and paint the colors on top of the stone with a pointed or flat brush. You can blend the colors and use many different colors on the top surface as desired. Allow the paint to thoroughly dry.
When making these cement stepping stones, it is best to wear rubber gloves and a dust mask. In that way, you will not breathe in any airborne dust particles and you will save your hands from becoming dry and irritated. Make as many of these stepping stones as you need for your yard. You can be sure that you will have created unique and colorful concrete stepping stones that no one else will have.