Introduction: How to Make Lace-like Stepping Stones

When I found fifteen square stepping stones buried beneath the soil from
a checkerboard garden project of mine from years ago, it reminded me of
the wonderful creative things I used to do when I worked at home.
The gardens were beautiful, things were in bloom, and weeds were in short supply.

While strolling through a second-hand store, I happened upon a vinyl doily
for a mere fifty cents. Meh, I thought. Went home, plopped it on the dining
room table and sort of forgot about it. A few mornings later, hubby and I were
having coffee at the table. Where I sat, I could see where the plain stepping
stones were. My gaze shifted to the doily, then to hubby, and then...
a Eureka moment arrived!

Put on your work duds and let's make something nice for the yard!

And hey, when you are done with the stones, why not make a shirt to match!
A great idea by Instructables member Diaphane:

HOW TO DIE A SHIRT WITH BLEACH AND A DOILY



Step 1: Supplies and Materials Needed...

Material needed:
  • Stepping stones - Choose a stone color that is in contrast to your paint color
  • A lace doily, or better yet, a vinyl / rubber doily (See step 6 for other options)
  • Outdoor / Exterior Spray paint - You'll want the paint to stand out. Choose lighter or darker than your stone
  • Outdoor / Exterior Clear spray sealer
  • A large piece of cardboard. Even poster board will work just fine.
  • A pen, pencil, heck, even a crayon will work
  • A pair of scissors or a serrated knife.
  • A scrub brush
  • A source of water (bucket of, or garden hose)
One can of spray paint is typically enough to spray six or seven stones.
Take into consideration the size of your stone, and the amount of paint
required to cover the areas without 'lace'. While paper doilies are available,
they would not be a wise choice, as the slightest breeze or even the spray
of the paint would move the doily around.

Though most doilies are crocheted, it is easy to find vinyl table covers, place mats
and other items to use. Please don't use an heirloom treasure your grandmother
made by hand! Be sure to choose one that will give a pleasing result with a lot of
coverage. If you have a large project in mind, consider table covers by the yard, which
are found in many box stores.

Step 2: Let's Go Shopping! (Or Use What You Already Have)

You are not limited to square stepping stones. In fact, if you enjoy working with
concrete, you could even make your own, in any shape you desire!

Round stones, square, rectangles and so many other shapes are available in
large home improvement centers. Try to choose a stone color that will be in contrast
to the paint color you choose. Dark stone, light paint. Light stone, dark paint, and so forth.

You might even consider edging pieces. Lay them on their side, paint, and put into place. :-)

Step 3: Scrub the Stones and Allow Them to Dry...

The best weather for this project would be a nice, sunny day, maybe
even with a bit of a breeze. You'll likely want to scrub or rinse off your stones
to remove any concrete residue that may prevent the paint from adhering
properly. Please note, you don't have to purchase a specific scrubbing tool
for this, you could use an old hairbrush, a dirty old rag, an old toothbrush
or such. And no, not your significant other's toothbrush, even in a moment
of anger.

Rinse the stones off well and allow to dry thoroughly.

Don't be impatient. Let them dry.

Step 4: Trim Away Weeds Before Placing the Stones...

Because this project was completed using items I already had in the garage, afterthought
mentioned that weed barrier fabric would have been splendid, but...

We're used to weeds around here, but if you are not, consider laying fabric on the path where
you will place your stones. I actually enjoy the more natural look, and not one that is so refined.
We do, after all, live in the country.

Trim, yank, pull or do whatever is necessary to clear weeds from the area where your
stones will be. Keep in mind, you don't want to fight with things getting in the way when
painting. As for the Vinca major shown, take my advice. Don't plant it. We'll talk about that later.
Maybe.

An easy way to do this is to place the stones as you wish, then run a weed trimmer over
the tops and sides of the stones to clear away any plant growth.

Step 5: Make a Painting Shield...

If you have a work table available, a small stack of newspapers should suffice
to keep the paint off your table.

If you are working directly on the ground, a painting shield may come in handy.

Simply lay one of your stones on top of a large piece of cardboard or poster board, then trace
around it with a pencil. Remove the stone and cut the traced shape out of the board. The cardboard
should now fit snugly over the stone.

This method allows you to spray only the stone, and not the surrounding materials
and plants. It also helps to keep the spray from landing on stones you have already
completed if you are working on a walkway that is already set in place.

Step 6: Decide on a Doily or a Stencil...

As a very devoted fan of the doily, I would like to mention that I don't necessarily
approve of the damage and / or destruction caused to crocheted doilies should you
choose to go that route. However, if you simply must, try to sacrifice one that is stained
heavily, torn, etc. and not a nice one. If hand made, quite a bit of work went into it.
Personally, I do not know how to crochet (yet) and am envious of the talent.

If you can't find a vinyl doily, don't fret. There are so many other options!
Some of the larger box stores sell lacy plastic or vinyl tablecloths or table runners
in rolls or by the yard.

Plastic stencils work great, too, and can often be found in hobby stores in
so many shapes, and even alphabet stencils are a thought, too!

Consider using word stencils to spell out one of your favorite short quotes,
placing one word on each stone. Or choose a quick and easy project and
make three stones with "I Love You" or "Live, Love, Laugh". You have already
thought of ideas, haven't you?

Step 7: Paint the Stones...

After you have placed your painting shield over the stone, lay your
doily of choice on top of the stone and give it a good coating of spray paint.
Be sure to focus on the tiny holes, but don't hold the paint too close, or there
will be blobs seeping underneath. A light mist around the edge, then the center,
then back around again, giving good coverage, but not too heavy.

Allow the paint to dry a bit, then carefully lift the doily out of the way, draping it
over something to allow any residual paint to dry on the doily.

Paint each stone, being careful not to step on them until they are completely dry.

Step 8: Paint, Dry, Then Seal the Stones.

After you have sprayed the stones with the lace, allow them to thoroughly dry.
Using an exterior sealer, spray the tops of the stones to protect the paint finish.

If you have the funds available, opt for a small can of outdoor polyurethane. Your
stones will look twice as gorgeous and the paint will last a lot longer, not to mention
the cool beading effect rain will have on them.

Step 9: Add Mulch for Effect...

Mulch really does wonders for the garden. Consider adding some around
and in between the stones for a wonderful effect!

I chose a nice pine bark nugget, which looks lovely next to the white stones.

Step 10: Before, During and After...

Although the lace stones provide quite a decorative effect, the dark
mulch really sets it all off. I cannot wait until the rains come, which
will darken the mulch even more, wetting the stones, enhancing the look.

This is a favorite place for our cats to hang out, so now that it is
photo-worthy, we'll probably be likely to find one of the stinkers on
a stepping stone. In fact, if you look at the top of the photo below, you
can see Libbie walking on the stone I have yet to paint. But would she
take a moment to pause, posing pretty? Nah.

For those with a keen eye, yes, Libbie is sitting on a stone yet to be painted.

Step 11: And Finally...make Them Glow in the Dark!

Oh, but you thought this project was over, yes? Not so.
One final idea. Make your stepping stones glow in the dark!

Once your stones are dry to the touch, place the doily back
onto the stone in the same location. If you used a doily with
a specific pattern and contrasting color paint to the stone, this
should be an easy feat.

Spray just as you did before, only this time, spray over the
sections that have already been painted. The neat thing about
this paint, you can't really see it in the daytime that well.

Come night time, grab a flashlight, charge up the stones and
then turn out the lights. Lovely!

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial, and perhaps garnered a few
ideas of your own.

Happy gardening!

Karen

Comments

author
JoelN41 made it! (author)2017-05-20

I can not wait to do this. It is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you!!

author
Mjtrinihobby made it! (author)2016-10-28

I love this instructable. Truly ingenious. Has such an idea ever been marketed before? I know I never saw any glow in the dark stepping stones yet. The closest I ever got to glow in the dark was taking pics of my doggies with my thermal camera. Too bad my doggies would be unwilling stepping stones. Great work wuvie!

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author
WUVIE made it! (author)WUVIE2016-10-28

Hi there!

Thank you for your wonderful compliments! I would garner there have been many people who may have thought of such a project before, but it was new to my train wreck of a brain. LOL.

I believe there are glow-in-the-dark products out there, but they are likely not within my budget. I tend to make a lot of things from what is lying around the house, and I just happened to have some leftover paint from a project when my kids were younger.

Wow, I love the thermal images, that is so cool!

author
Mjtrinihobby made it! (author)Mjtrinihobby2016-10-28

The passion you put into your projects. No chance your mind is a wreck.

author
WUVIE made it! (author)WUVIE2016-10-29

LOL, funny you should say that. My mind actually IS a wreck. It switches from one thing to the next, and it doesn't take much for my brain to be on high, full of excitement. Try as I might to sleep, ideas and projects are always in a traffic jam in the middle of the night. :-)

author
Mjtrinihobby made it! (author)Mjtrinihobby2016-10-29

Its the same with me. We are definitely not wrecks.

author
WUVIE made it! (author)WUVIE2016-10-29

You know, I actually ran across another one of 'us' on Instructables. He even mentions taking medication for his incessantly bountiful mind of ideas. I'll try to find him again, but can't remember his name right off the top of my head. It will come to me in the middle of the night, likely. Ha!

author
Mjtrinihobby made it! (author)Mjtrinihobby2016-10-29

My medication is heavy weights and hard exercise. After that at night I'm out but do solve problems in my dreams.

author
SusanR96 made it! (author)2016-04-23

What an amazing idea. I need to try this.

author
WUVIE made it! (author)WUVIE2016-05-17

Susan, thank you so much!

author
Buddyfly1980 made it! (author)2016-05-15

I have a question? Are they slippery after they are painted? Could they be used as a pathway to a swimming pool?
Thanks!

author
WUVIE made it! (author)WUVIE2016-05-17

Hmm. Well, in the case of my stones, the tops are not overly smooth to begin with, and there is only a light coating of paint. I would imagine there is a type of paint that could be used near a pool that might offer a bit of texture, which might help to prevent slips and falls. If I was going to place steps near a pool, though, I would use larger stones, which might steer potential hop-scotchers from jumping stone to stone. :-)

author
DidiS2 made it! (author)2015-10-21

This just gives me another choice to make stepping stones. I love what you did! Thank you for sharing :)

author
samgo44 made it! (author)2013-05-31

I'm amazed!

I told some people about doing this right after I saw your work. They had just put a walkway and they were skeptical to the idea because they thought it would look corny,

So I showed them your pics. They were sold on it because they used the same stone in your examples.

I am looking into the glow in the dark paint. I was even thinking of painting the address number on the driveway with the doily design and glow in the dark numbers over it.

My issue is finding an assortment of vinyl/plastic doilies at a fair price. I also don't want to ruin those really nice lace ones. Any retailers you are privy to for doilies?

Thanks again for sharing..

author
BarbD2 made it! (author)BarbD22015-07-25

Dollar stores, free cycle, Salvation Army are good starts to find vinyl mats.

author
WUVIE made it! (author)WUVIE2013-05-31

Hello Samgo,

Thank you so much for such kind compliments! Oh, indeed, if I had doily sources, I would surely share them. Unfortunately, I only 'happened' upon this one at a second hand store, which I frequent. :-)

You might watch out for them at yard sales, dollar stores and such. Our Walmart used to carry an assortment of lacy table covers, but now they are rather plain and ordinary.

Keep in touch, and let us know how your house numbers go.

:-) Karen

author
lbwilliams2018 made it! (author)2014-12-29

Great idea and looks fabulous! Here's my 2 cents for the pot: One Halloween we used glow in the dark paint to paint faces on fake pumpkins. Of course we didn't use a shield while painting so got paint on the front porch. My 8 year old was helping and I didn't realize until later we also ended up with paint footprints the length of the sidewalk. We didn't have any solvent handy so just scrubbed the front porch spots as much as we could with a brush. The night of Halloween the trick or treaters all raved about the cool footprints leading them to our front door! LOL We decided not to wash away the footprints. After two years, the unscrubbed footprints on the sidewalk wore away but the scrubbed spots on the porch remained for more than 5 years. Scrubbing the wet paint made the paint sink further into the concrete and eliminated any paint sitting on top. The sidewalk footprints were all sitting on top of the concrete and wore away quickly.

author
jprentice1 made it! (author)2014-08-24

What a great idea' Have to try it ' Thank you (:

author
coinegue made it! (author)2014-05-31

very nice!

author
tflippin made it! (author)2014-05-09

Fantastic! I want to try this now! :D

author
Happy2Think made it! (author)2013-08-31

Great Project, I loved it

author
the great gardener made it! (author)2013-07-30

Looks really professional.

author
Wowie3 made it! (author)2013-07-14

Pretty!

author
WUVIE made it! (author)WUVIE2013-07-16

Thank you so much, Wowie!

author
dirtdawg10 made it! (author)2013-06-30

Great idea and a neat look. Haunt thrift stores, Goodwill, Salvation Army stores for lace curtains, doilies and lace fabric.

author
Pinkroses made it! (author)2013-06-23

Such a great idea!!! Thanks!!

author
Creativeman made it! (author)2013-06-12

Congratulations! Your creativity is astonishing!

author
WUVIE made it! (author)WUVIE2013-06-12

Wow, that is quite a compliment coming from you, Creativeman!
You make my head swell! Thank you!

author
Rune Cutter made it! (author)2013-06-04

Well Done!

author
WUVIE made it! (author)WUVIE2013-06-10

Rune Cutter, thank you! I truly appreciate the compliment!

author
depotdevoid made it! (author)2013-06-09

Wow, FANTASTIC project! We've been talking about doing something with paving stones in our back yard, and I think we may have to adopt this technique for some of it. The final result is very striking!

author
WUVIE made it! (author)WUVIE2013-06-10

Thank you so much! It has really changed the look of the corner of our yard. I've since incorporated the idea into several places about the gardens. It is so much fun deciding on colors, shapes, etc.

author
bajablue made it! (author)2013-06-06

High-FIVE Wuvie! I love everything about this instructable!!!

author
WUVIE made it! (author)WUVIE2013-06-09

Baja, Wow, coming from you, I am beaming with happy! Thank you so much!

author
Greasetattoo made it! (author)2013-06-03

How do you get 36000 views in only 7 days???
Wow, baffles me!

author
WUVIE made it! (author)WUVIE2013-06-04

Oh, that's easy. Just post the Colonel's eleven secret herbs and spices in the text somewhere...LOL. ;-)

author
Greasetattoo made it! (author)Greasetattoo2013-06-05

I did do that, with no luck!
I must have missed a ingredient!

author
directioner4eva made it! (author)2013-06-03

Ooooh........pretty.....

author
WUVIE made it! (author)WUVIE2013-06-04

Hi there! Thank you so much!

author
foobear made it! (author)2013-06-02

cool idea, I like it. I'm thinking you could use leaves and vegetation instead of a doily also maybe.

author
WUVIE made it! (author)WUVIE2013-06-02

Thank you so much! Love the mention of leaves and vegetation - fern leaves would be gorgeous!

author
simpleman01 made it! (author)2013-05-29

Great idea, lookf fantastic! How about using old lace material, curtains, etc. Auto paint customizers have used this for effect for years!

author
WUVIE made it! (author)WUVIE2013-06-02

Hi Simpleman, thank you so much!

author
Beergnome made it! (author)Beergnome2013-06-01

had todig through the comments to make sure the old school airbrush art thing was covered. ;)

author
WUVIE made it! (author)WUVIE2013-05-30

Oh, yes, lace material, curtains, etc. would be wonderful. Anything you are willing to sacrifice, as the item will become coated with paint. I'm very curious as to whether I can soak the vinyl placemat to remove the paint, though. I think it will work. :-)

author
Silver Buttons made it! (author)Silver Buttons2013-05-30

Be careful of what solvents you use. The same ones that dissolve paint sometimes also have a chemical reaction with the vinyl.

author
WUVIE made it! (author)WUVIE2013-05-31

Hi Silver! Oh, definitely. I'm just going to use hot, soapy water. :-)

author
Tex Arcana made it! (author)2013-05-30

So why not plant vinca major?? It's a nice groundcover! ;-)

author
WUVIE made it! (author)WUVIE2013-05-31

LOL. Oh, it is nice. It is pretty. It is determined.

Very determined.

author
dlebrun made it! (author)2013-05-30

My husband uses Simple Green to soak paint off of his plastic and resin miniatures when he doesn't like the paint job.

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Bio: Let's skip the pretentious titles. At present, I am a paper pusher for a manufacturing plant. In the remainder of my life, I am ... More »
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