Introduction: Making 3D Garden Stones

Our Gardens are a place of therapy, solitude, a place where we can express our gardening skills, get our thoughts together and enjoy planting anything that suits our fancy. It is like our outdoor bedroom or office that is a soothing place to go to.

So why shouldn't we decorate these personal, sometimes private places as we do those same places in our homes to suit our liking?

I enjoy making stepping stones for my garden and have done many different styles from animals, to glow in the dark and even Memorial Stones for loved ones and pets. They are as useful as they are decorative and not too hard to make.

They do require o few days to make because of drying times but otherwise its a project you can involve the whole family, including kids around 6 years old and up.

Step 1: Gather Materials

You will need:

Cement Mix (I used 7 lbs. for this project)
Cement Colorant, optional
A Mold
Mosaic Bits or Broken Glass Pieces
Glue
Old Sponges
Old Bucket
Stirring Sticks or an old wooden spoon
Craft Sticks
Paper (disposable bowl)
Flat Head Screwdriver
Rubber Gloves if using a colorant
Eye Protection (Because of Dust)
Breathing Protection (Because of Dust)

Step 2: Color Your Medium

Pour cement mix and colorant into a bucket and mix well. If you have a large plastic container with a lid that you dont mind not being able to use again you can shake and roll it around to mix. This should take 3  5 minutes to mix completely.

Set aside 1/4 cup of the mixture in a disposable bowl to use later for grouting.

Note: 1/4 cup is usually plenty unless you will be grouting large spaces.

Step 3: Mix Your Medium

Add enough water to your mix in the bucket to bring it to a almost pudding like consistency. I used 1 3/4 cups of water here for 7 lbs of mix.

Place your mold on a board large enough to hold the entire mold securely and scoop up some of the mix then slap it into the mold with enough force to fill the intricate design area.

Step 4: Filling the Mold -1

Fill the mold about half full and then lift the edge of the board and bounce or slap it down on your work surface many times to help get air bubbles out.

Note: You need to bounce the board many times as the mixture is very thick.

Step 5: Filling the Mold - 2

Continue to fill the mold and repeat bouncing the board. Use an old sponge to wipe off excess around the rim, this makes trimming your rough edges much easier on the finished stone.

Move the mold still on the board to an area where it can sit undisturbed for 1 to 2 days.

After a few hours when the cement has begun to set up take a small craft stick and drag it across the surface to remove uneven lumpy spots on the bottom that will cause your stone to sit unevenly when it is done.

Clean up the rim again if necessary.

Step 6: Unmolding Your Garden Stone

After your mold has set and dried gently lift the whole mold (do not lift it by the edges) then flip it over onto the board.

Starting at the edges gently lift around the mold and let it pop loose until the entire mold is released.

Brush away any loose material with your hand and give your stone a few hours of open air drying and curing time for the area that was at the bottom of the mold.

Notice the darker areas that are dry to the touch but not quite all the way dry.

Step 7: Trim and Clean

Take a flat head screwdriver and use it to scrape around the edges to smooth and cleanup the lines around the base of the stone

Step 8: Prepare Your Garden Stone for Decorating

Here I glued the eyes in place because I wasnt putting anything else in this area. Then I began fitting in the Mosaic pieces (but not gluing them yet) like puzzle pieces.

Leave about 1/8 inch space between pieces to leave room for the grout that will be used to keep them permanently in place.

Step 9: Decorating Your Garden Stone - 1

Once you are satisfied with your Mosaic pieces arrangement add drops of glue to the pieces and set them back in the mold. I found that after gluing I needed to add a few small bits to fill in some places.

Give the glue time to set up, 30 minutes or so and you are ready to begin grouting around the Mosaic pieces.

Step 10: Grouting Your Garden Stone

Take the bowl with the mix you set aside and begin adding water by the tablespoon until you have the same consistency as you used earlier.

Using a gloved hand press the grout into the tiled area pressing it firmly into the openings. Dont be concerned about getting it on the Mosaic pieces; we will clean it up later. I also grouted around the eyes.

Step 11: Cleaning Your Garden Stone

Taking a very slightly damp sponge begin wiping over the Mosaic pieces from the inside out, brushing the excess grout off of your stone. You need to rinse your sponge out and repeat this several times. Be careful not to remove too much of the grout as more can be cleaned off later.

Note: Rinse your sponge outside using the spigot, you dont want to put cement down your inside drains.

Set the stone aside again and allow the grout to dry over night.

When the stone is completely dry wash it with a little dish soap and water to get the remaining haze off the Mosaic pieces on your stone.

Step 12: Add Some Personal Touches

I wanted to add a little more of a decorative touch to my stone so I used a stained glass medium to outline the mouth and nose so it would stand out better.

Step 13: The Finished Product

This is how my Garden Stepping Stone turned out.

Note: You should let your garden stone set at least one week to cure and firm up in a place where no weight will be placed on it.

Comments

author
elizabethingham1 made it!(author)2014-03-02

Love this idea. Wonderfully creative. :D

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diamar79 made it!(author)2011-08-11

I looove frogs and this is very creative, but it ways it reminds me of the strange pipa or surinam toad bc all the pieces are places only on the back..lol..still very
nice;)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCayq56wHSA

author
spark+master made it!(author)2011-08-11

looks nice, wear rubber gloves even if you do not use colorant, plaster AND cement are caustic and can blister or cause skin issues, I know this from experience.

he dust if exposure is once and never repeated and not a lot is not good but if you are workig close (you are) and working with kids, (maybe) it is both caustic and contriutes to silicosis, think emphazema, or lining your lungs with a coat of hard thin cement.

safety precautions always, not because a "nanny govermental agency" tells you to, but because it may keep you from painful issues, sickness or maybe bindness and death.

cheap cake pans and chocolate molds as well a sand box molds work great. Generic pam or just oily rag using cheap crappy tasting canola oil will work as a release agent. Used Motor oil is a no no, it smells has metals nasty chemicals in it, fresh motor oil is too expensive.(for me)

this is one of the two instructables that is getting me to make something, I am carving it now.....

author
judy8645 made it!(author)2010-02-16

I loved it and am eager to make these but where can I get this particular mold ?

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DebsCrochet made it!(author)2009-08-08

That's so cute

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DebH57 made it!(author)2009-08-10

Thanks Deb, they are fun to do

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Deewheat made it!(author)2009-07-27

These are really cute. I may have to try this!

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im4tooele made it!(author)2009-07-22

Cute frog, Debra.

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hsmomof2 made it!(author)2009-07-22

The frog is cute! My son wants to make one.

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juvinurse made it!(author)2009-07-20

This is a cutie!

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DebH57 made it!(author)2009-07-20

LOL Thanks I think so too

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chauntee2 made it!(author)2009-07-20

Super cute!

author
DebH57 made it!(author)2009-07-20

Thanks Chauntee

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vivianar made it!(author)2009-07-20

Nice work :)

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DebH57 made it!(author)2009-07-20

Thanks Vivanar!

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aunty made it!(author)2009-06-23

Thats very nice.

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DebH57 made it!(author)2009-06-24

Thank you

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Bratillia made it!(author)2009-06-22

This is cool.

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DebH57 made it!(author)2009-06-24

Thank you

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%7Btauney%7D made it!(author)2009-06-20

My mum's doing things like this right now...she bought a Green Man mold somewhere and made me a pair of sweet book-ends, not to mention that she's made plant markers for the gardens of everyone she knows...

author
DebH57 made it!(author)2009-06-20

Thanks for commenting Tauney. If you could ask her where she found molds for plant markers at? I would love to be able to do that.

author
%7Btauney%7D made it!(author)2009-06-20

She bought them from Lee Valley tools--

http://www.leevalley.com/garden/page.aspx?c=1&p=50900&cat=2,43319,33281&ap=1

I think they come with cement dye, too, which makes things a little more interesting!

author
DebH57 made it!(author)2009-06-21

Oh Tauney I just love that site, I think I ordered about half of it LOL! Thank you tons and tons!

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%7Btauney%7D made it!(author)2009-06-21

Haha! you're very welcome--glad I could contribute to your hobby! Enjoy!

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BettyBoop1 made it!(author)2009-06-17

This is just so cute, I would love several of these in my garden

author
DebH57 made it!(author)2009-06-18

They are really easy to make Betty, you should give it a try.

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AmazingGracie made it!(author)2009-06-14

He is so cute! I like your dragonfly one too. These are really nice.

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DebH57 made it!(author)2009-06-14

Glad you like them Grace

author
CAWildWoman made it!(author)2009-06-14

This one is so cute. You have so many talents.

author
DebH57 made it!(author)2009-06-14

LOL Thanks CA!

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DIYDragon made it!(author)2009-06-10

Very nice, but where did you get that mold you used for the stones? I rather like the little froggy. : 3

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DebH57 made it!(author)2009-06-10

I believe I got this one at Michaels Crafts but the manufacturer is called Milestones you might want to check them online for a better price deal.

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bethmez made it!(author)2009-06-10

Looks very nice - have a friend who really likes frogs. Started whenever we were around a pond on the golf course - they sing (croak or whatever) to her.

author
DebH57 made it!(author)2009-06-10

LOL that finny Beth. Thanks for your coment!

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Bio: I am 51 and hail from sunny Southern California but originate from back east. I am a Web Designer by trade and own a small ... More »
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