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Picture of 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.
 
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Step 1: Gather Materials

Picture of 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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Love this idea. Wonderfully creative. :D

diamar793 years ago
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
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.....
judy86455 years ago
I loved it and am eager to make these but where can I get this particular mold ?
DebsCrochet5 years ago
That's so cute
DebH57 (author)  DebsCrochet5 years ago
Thanks Deb, they are fun to do
Deewheat6 years ago
These are really cute. I may have to try this!
im4tooele6 years ago
Cute frog, Debra.
hsmomof26 years ago
The frog is cute! My son wants to make one.
juvinurse6 years ago
This is a cutie!
DebH57 (author)  juvinurse6 years ago
LOL Thanks I think so too
chauntee26 years ago
Super cute!
DebH57 (author)  chauntee26 years ago
Thanks Chauntee
vivianar6 years ago
Nice work :)
DebH57 (author)  vivianar6 years ago
Thanks Vivanar!
aunty6 years ago
Thats very nice.
DebH57 (author)  aunty6 years ago
Thank you
Bratillia6 years ago
This is cool.
DebH57 (author)  Bratillia6 years ago
Thank you
{tauney}6 years ago
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...
DebH57 (author)  {tauney}6 years ago
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.
{tauney} DebH576 years ago
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!
DebH57 (author)  {tauney}6 years ago
Oh Tauney I just love that site, I think I ordered about half of it LOL! Thank you tons and tons!
{tauney} DebH576 years ago
Haha! you're very welcome--glad I could contribute to your hobby! Enjoy!
BettyBoop16 years ago
This is just so cute, I would love several of these in my garden
DebH57 (author)  BettyBoop16 years ago
They are really easy to make Betty, you should give it a try.
He is so cute! I like your dragonfly one too. These are really nice.
DebH57 (author)  AmazingGracie6 years ago
Glad you like them Grace
CAWildWoman6 years ago
This one is so cute. You have so many talents.
DebH57 (author)  CAWildWoman6 years ago
LOL Thanks CA!
DIYDragon6 years ago
Very nice, but where did you get that mold you used for the stones? I rather like the little froggy. : 3
DebH57 (author)  DIYDragon6 years ago
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.
bethmez6 years ago
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.
DebH57 (author)  bethmez6 years ago
LOL that finny Beth. Thanks for your coment!