Introduction: Step Into a World of Creativity by Creating Your Own Stepping-stone.

Interested in sprucing up your garden or backyard? Stepping-stones are a great way to add your personality to your garden or backyard! Craft stores sell stepping-stone kits. However I have discovered that the quality of the materials do not last. Additionally, rather than spending up to twenty dollars on purchasing a stepping-stone at your local nursery, you can create your own masterpiece for less than five dollars each.

• Concrete mix (from craft store)
• Metal or aluminum cooking pan or mold
• Large mixing spoon
• Large mixing bowl
• Plastic gloves
• Protective eye-wear (optional)
• Non-stick cooking spray, such as Pam (vegetable oil will also suffice)
• Water

Step 1: Find a Mold

Find a metal or aluminum mold at your local grocery or craft store. You can get creative by using irregular shapes and sizes, seeing as there is a large amount of options. In fact, even cake and pie pans will suffice. If this is your first time making a stepping-stone, I recommend using a mold no larger than 9x13 inches.  

Step 2: Decide on Tiles

Find the tiles you would like to use to decorate your stepping-stone. You can purchase all types of mosaic tiles at your local craft store. Another option is to use shards of glass from plates. Unlike mosaic tiles, plates possess patterns and unique designs. For this stepping-stone, I purchased a small bag of assorted mosaic tiles for a mere $1.50.

Step 3: Select a Working Space

Decide on your preparation area. The ideal area is free from distractions and complications, such as pets and children. This space should be secluded area with little or to no traffic. For example, I usually resort to an empty room or porch. 

Step 4: Prepare the Area

Place sheets of newspaper or an old bed sheet to cover the carpet and/or furniture to prevent permanent stains. Also, it will make the cleanup easier and faster! 

Step 5: Cover Mold in Non-stick Spray

Pam non-stick cooking spray or vegetable oil will prevent the concrete from clinging to the mold. Thoroughly coat bottom and all sides of the pan with non-stick spray, to ensure the stepping-stone can easily be removed. Additionally, wipe the bottom and all sides of the pan with a paper towel so there is a thin layer of non-stick spray. 

Step 6: Dress Down

Before mixing concrete, be sure to put on old clothes and plastic gloves. Additionally, put on your protective wear eye to shield your eyes from any.

Step 7: Prepare Concrete

Mix the concrete according to its instructions. Personally, I prefer to use Jennifer's Mosaics Indoor and Outdoor powdered concrete. Each mix has a different set of instructions. Use the large spoon to mix the water with powder in the mixing bowl. Generally, you’ll know when the mix is ready when it is thick and free of lumps. If you don’t want to bother with creating the mixture, there is premixed concrete available at most craft stores. For example, I have used Mosaic Tile Craft Concrete, which is premixed. However, from my experience, powder concrete provides the best results for this particular type of project. 

CAUTION: If the mixture touches your skin, wash it off immediately with warm water and soap. Small amounts of concrete can quickly dry on the skin, causing irritation and sometimes infection. 

Step 8: Pour Concrete Into Mold

By tilting the mixing bowl, pour the concrete into the pan. Additionally, you can use large cooking spoon to scoop the concrete in the pan.

CAUTION: It’s very important to dispose of excess concrete properly. Do not pour any excess concrete down any water drain, such as a kitchen or bathroom sink. The best way to dispose of concrete is to pour it into a trash bag and place it the garbage.

Step 9: Smooth the Surface

Grab the opposite ends of the mold and shake back and forth gently. This should create an even layer of concrete. The top surface of the mix concrete mix should be flat and even. If it’s concrete is still not flat, you may use the large cooking spoon to smooth out the top surface. 

Step 10: Position Tiles on Surface

Place tiles to create a mosaic. Get creative and have fun! You can use as many or as little tiles as you would like. The sides of the titles should be submerged into the concrete, to guarantee they do not fall out later. You will know that the tile is secure when you can only see the top. You should not be able to see the sides of the glasses. 

Step 11: Wait

Once you arranged all of the pieces of glass to your liking, wait for it the concrete to dry! Leave the mold to dry in a safe place, free from harm. Drying time will depend on the concrete mix and the size of the mold. However, a rule of thumb is to wait at least twenty-four hours.  

Step 12: Clean Up

Now that you're stepping-stone is complete, clean up and dispose of your materials properly.

CAUTION: Again, do not dispose of excess concrete in any type of water drain.

Step 13: Separate Stepping-stone From Mold

When the concrete to dry, it is ready to be separated from the mold. First, place the mold on your open palm. Second, place you other open palm on the top surface of the stepping-stone. Holding the top and bottom on the mold, flip the stepping-stone onto your second palm. If you covered the mold thoroughly with non-stick spray, it should easily slide out of the mold.

TROUBLESHOOTING: If you are experiencing trouble separating your stepping-stone from the mold, use a screw drive to loosen the sides of the mold. This will free the stepping-stone from the mold.

Once your stepping-stone is complete, you're now able to ready to place it wherever you would like. I placed this particular stepping-stone near some plants in my backyard. Once you're comfortable with creating simple stepping-stones, you can get even more creative with large, 3 dimensional stepping-stones.