How to Make Mosaic Rock Pavers!

About: I am an artist, builder and teacher living in Japan.

This is an easy and fun way to make your very own pavers!


- A tray/mold to make your pavers. Plastic is better

- Medium to large sized colorful landscaping rocks/stones

- Quikrete or mortar


- Cement mixing tub and pointed trowel

- Garden hose with shower attachment

Step 1: The Gardening Trays!

I found these badboys at my local gardening center and they work perfectly! Use a tray deep enough to be 25% rocks and 75% mortar. Plastic trays work the best, because the mortar won't stick to them. You won't need to coat or grease up a plastic tray. I have used the same trays for years! When deciding on a tray keep in mind it's just a form to keep the shape of the paver until it is dry enough to remove.

A silicone tray might work too just as long as it can take the weight inside without warping.

These pavers are made upside down. The rocks go in first followed by the mortar. The paver slides out like a big ice cube and the bottom becomes the top.

Step 2: The Designs!

The designs go in the bottom of the trays. Doing it this way gives you a flat paver and the mortar seeps into all of the little spaces around the rocks. It's also easier making a design!

It's better using medium to large sized rocks. Small rocks have a higher chance of coming loose from the paver.

Arrange the rocks in away that lets the mortar touch all of them. Don't stack the rocks.

Spray the rocks off gently to clean off dust and dirt before pouring on the mortar.

Step 3: Why Mortar?

I live in Japan and we don't have a large selection of ready to mix concrete and mortar available. What's the difference? Concrete is a mixture of water, cement, sand just like mortar. However concrete also has gravel and other coarse aggregates that makes it stronger and more durable.

I tested the concrete first and it didn't hold up in my drop tests. We don't have Quikrete in Japan, but I like it and recommend it.

Step 4: Smooth the Mortar!

Be careful not to move the rocks when you put on the mortar. It goes on easily and be sure to smooth the top with a pointed trowel or something similar.

This tray was a little too deep, so I didn't fill it to the top with mortar. Be sure you make this as smooth and level as possible, because it will be the bottom of your paver.

Step 5: The Finished Pavers!

I drop tested them and they hold up! If a rock does come out, glue it back with a landscaping adhesive.

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    12 Discussions


    Question 1 year ago on Step 5

    1) where did you purchase rocks, what type of rocks are they and cost?

    2) the rocks end up on top ,but are they smooth to step on?


    1 answer
    bryans workshoplisalash

    Answer 1 year ago

    I bought all of the rocks at my local gardening center here in Japan. These are lava rocks, river rocks, rainbow rocks, black rocks and white rocks. I'm not sure if these are the actual types of my rocks, but this is what was printed on the bags. My pavers are not smooth to step on. You'll probably scream if you're barefoot, but you can make these with smooth rocks. The black rocks I bought are incredibly smooth. 5kg bags of rocks are $6-20 over here. The nicer rocks like the black ones are about $20 and the river rocks are about $6. I hope this helps.


    1 year ago

    Hey man , i thought the instructable is awesome. You have my vote bro . I thought of doing it so just would like your thoughts. How heavy is the rocks based on the the biggest paver you displayed . 10 Kg perhaps 8-10cm size stones ??

    Thanks !

    1 reply
    bryans workshopHilalA7

    Reply 1 year ago

    Awesome and thank you! You're right, about 10kg and 8-10cm. The bigger the stones the better too.


    1 year ago

    At that size, I'd add in some wire mesh as reinforcement, to prevent cracking, in case a car wheel incidentally rolls across the middle of the tile, for example. Two layers, one maybe half an inch beneath/atop the stones, one another inch farther, with a total two inches thickness of the paver, I'd say.

    I'd also trim the trays at the same height, and instead of just smoothing it with the trowel I'd shave off the excess with a board, to ensure all pavers are exactly the same height - laying pavers of different height is a pain. And I would make sure the walls of my trays are strictly perpendicular to the bottom, not slanted - If I want a slant of the sides at all I want it so the upper edges stick out, not the bottom. If the bottom sticks out, I'll have ugly visible empty spaces between the pavers.

    1 reply