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Posted: May/24/2007 8:51 AM PST
I've been thinking about garden accessories... I found some reasonably priced molds for stepping stones, planters and edging. The site is called History Stones
You can make a lot and brighten up your garden for next to nothing, compared to how much they charge for stepping stones in the stores.
If you don't buy the special mold you could use something you may have already, see below...
Making Your Own Garden Stepping Stones
What you will need:
Plastic Planter Saucer - for round stepping stones. Reusable.
Old Cake Pans - you should coat the pan with cooking spray or petroleum jelly. Tip: Try using a layer of sand on the bottom of the pan. When the mold is hard it pops right out, just brush the sand off the bottom and its ready.
More Mold Options - small pizza boxes, aluminum pans, ice cream buckets, plastic storage boxes.
Cement Tips: Quick-Setting Concrete - Quikrete, under $2 for a 60-pound bag. - a little pebbly - makes at least a dozen stones.
Stepping Stone Concrete - find this at crafts stores - made especially for use in stepping stones. The average cost - $5 to make 1 stone.
Decoration Ideas: Marbles, Pebbles/Stones, Shells, Beads, Flat Marble/Gems, Small Mosaic Tiles, Beach Glass, Stained Glass, Special Mementos/Souvenirs
Things to use to make prints/designs on the stones: Cookie Cutters, Handprints - Paw Prints, Leaves, Popsicle Stick (to write names or verses), Patio Paint (or other outdoor paint), Stencils
Step by Step - How to Make Your Stepping Stones
1. Protect your work surface and yourself. Lay down some newspaper, plastic sheeting, an old tablecloth, etc. Weather permitting, you can make these outside. Always wear eye protection and rubber gloves.
2. Set your mold on your work surface. If you are using a special stepping stone mold follow any special directions it came with.
3. You can use clear, plastic planter saucers. You don't need to do anything to prepare them. If you use a cake pan or other household item, you should try coating them with a liberal layer of cooking spray or petroleum jelly.
4. Mix up the concrete. Follow the manufacturers directions on the bag of concrete you are using. For Quikrete you can use a mixture of 5 parts concrete to 1 part water. You should have the consistency of soft cookie dough.
5. Fill the mold about half full and smooth it down. Lay your cut piece of screening or hardware cloth into the mold and then finish scooping the cement into the mold until full.
6. Gently tap around the outside of your mold to help remove any air bubbles and also to help even out the top. Now leave your stepping stone to set up for 30 to 60 minutes before you add any embellishments or decorations - this is more important if you are making handprints or other prints in the cement.
7. Once the cement has been given some time to set up, you can start decorating it. If you make a mistake, you can simply remove the items, flatten out the top with the side of a popsicle stick or spoon, tap the sides to smooth, and start over again!
8. Leave stepping stone to sit for 2 - 3 days without being disturbed - do not move it. Once it is dry, you can gently pop it out of the mold.
9. Now, you can finish decorating it if you are planning on doing any painting. You can seal the top of your stepping stone with a clear acrylic sealer if you do use patio paints.
10. Let your stepping stone sit for another week before putting it outside.
If you are using cement dye, remember that the wet product will always be a shade or two darker that your finished product.
For best results, your stepping stones should be at least 2 inches thick.
Let your stepping stone set in the mold for about 3 days.
Wetting the cement daily will help make the cement stronger.
Allow the stones to cure for a week before placing them outside or stepping on them.
When gathering items for embellishing your stepping stones, steer clear of wooden items because they don't stick into the concrete very well.
Get creative with your embellishments! Try seashells, marbles, beach glass, mosaic tiles, buttons, small toys, and mementos of any sort.
Make prints in the cement after it has set for between 30 minutes to an hour.
Besides handprints and paw prints. Try making prints with other items such as dog biscuits, leaves, cookie cutters, etc.
If you want to try making stepping stones with pans or other household items, buy them at garage sales or thrift shops.
Your cement should be the consistency of cookie dough. You want to have to scoop it into your mold, not pour it.
When you place the stones in your garden they should not be raised above ground more than about 1/2-inch for risk of people tripping and falling and also so the stone doesn't break.
Once the cement is poured into the mold, do not move it! This can cause cracking
Location: NE Ohio, deck chuckin' fool
Posted: May/24/2007 3:56 PM PST
If you make some be sure to post pictures. I'd love to see them. They sound like they'd be fun to make, too.