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The easiest way to make colorful stepping stones was taught to me by concrete artist, Terri Ryan, who make many, many indoor and outdoor ornaments from concrete.  Without a mold, she simply adds a thin layer of concrete to the top of a purchased round stepping stone and stamps a circle or two into the concrete before it sets.  She then uses stain for concrete floors--which comes in small bottles and bright colors--to paint her stones.  The tops of the stones are very smooth and rounded (no edges to break off) and look really nice in her garden.  The stain fades over time, so it needs a touch-up every 2 to 3 years.

Unfortunately, it's difficult to find round stepping stones these days at the large home improvement and hardware stores.  So I decided to make my stepping stones from scratch.  I was lugging home a 94 lb. bag of Portland cement anyway, so I had plenty to make a whole army of stones.

Step 1: What you need

94 lb. bag Portland cement
50 lb. bag of masonry sand (enough for six stepping stones)
12-inch plan saucers or stepping stone molds
plastic bucket or trough
cans from the recycling bin, various sizes
long stake for stirring and leveling
scrap plywood
cooking spray or petroleum jelly
rubber gloves
old towels
cement stain (Smith's Color Floor comes in bright primary and secondary colors)
brushes
distilled water
metal file
1 yard of 1/2-inch hardware wire
wire cutter
dust mask

For an impromptu work surface, set up two saw horses, place a large piece of scrap plywood or boards on top, then cover with  large garbage bags.
<p>Smooth concrete can be very very slick when wet. I'm retirement age, and I've learned to step in the mulch or on the grass, anything but slick wet concrete. Get creative with textures, too!</p>
Awesome ! I never knew staining cement was this easy. I will be doing this soon.
Can premixed concrete be used? If there is such a thing? I think there is--
Love the idea.thx4sharing.
How do you do it if you're using premade stepping stones? Do you make a mold around them or just use thick concrete that doesn't run?
If you mix the concrete so it is not too runny, you can just add it to the top of the pre-made stone. You can then shape rounded edges and a smooth surface. When you press the can into the soft cement, it will stop at the pre-made stone, so you have a consistent depth for your circles.
These are so pretty! Love the colors.

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Bio: I am the monthly DIY/crafts writer for the Santa Cruz Sentinel. You can access an archive of all my columns at tinabaine.blogspot.com.
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