Make Oriental Paver/Stepping Stones for the Garden





Introduction: Make Oriental Paver/Stepping Stones for the Garden

About: Retired, doing art work now. Great. Have the time and the money to spend doing what I want to do.

In this instructable, I show how to make unusual decorative pavers or stepping stones with an oriental flair.

Step 1: Materials Needed

1. Form(s) for the stepping stone
2. Cement, mortar, sand, water, usual concrete items.
3. Buckets
4. Trowels, spreaders, etc.
5. Sponges
6. Cans or measuring cups to measure the various ingredients.
7. Styrofoam or EPS foam (To make letters for the name, message).
9. Hotwire machine...Mighty Goliath! (See my instructable: making the mighty goliath).
10. I Use regular white glue or the tacky kind....either works fine.

Step 2: Design the Paver You Want to Make

I use stencils found in any craft store. It's possible to go online, search and find asian flavored lettering as well! For this instructable, I have chosen "Love" as the project, with others shown to supply details.

Step 3: Making Letters

A. Make a stencil in the usual way, i.e., stencil brush, paint, etc.
B. Enlarge the stencil you made on a copier...check to see that it fits your mold.
C. Use a craft knife/scalpel to cut out letters to make a new, larger stencil. Use care in cutting this stencil, as the "cutouts" will be used to make styrofoam letters.
D. Glue (or pin as I have done) cutout pieces to foam blank-let dry...
E. Cutout foam pieces/letters on hotwire machine.

Step 4: Making Form for Cement

I found a plastic container at a thrift shop which is exactly 6" x 8"-the size of many paver stones. This is a good size to use. You can easily make a form with 1" x 2' lumber, and a bottom piece of plywood or other material. This bottom piece is cut to 7.5" x 9.5". (Assuming you use the previous dimensions).

Step 5: Use Stencil in Mold

In the bottom of the mold, use the stencil you cut to place your design (REVERSED!). This will make it easy to line up your oriental "letters" correctly.

Step 6: Glue All Pieces in Place.

Glue the pieces we cut out on the hotwire machine to the bottom of the mold. Use mirror to check alignment, as all pieces are REVERSED! As you look in the mirror, the lettering should appear as it will on the final paver. Let these glued on pieces set over night if possible.

Step 7: Prepare Mold for Pouring

I use a very slight amount of vegetable oil, brushed into the corners of the mold, around the edges and out into the flat parts. If done before gluing on the letters, they won't stick very well, and they might float up into the concrete.

Step 8: Mix the Cement

I use a standard mix of 3 parts sand to 1 part cement. If colorant is chosen, add to the water, and not the dry parts. How much colorant to use? I use about 2 tablespoons to 1 and a half cups of water, more or less. This is not critical. For the dry mixes, I use a regular 14oz. can, and for the oriental stepping stone it takes about 2 cans of mix to complete the pour.

Step 9: Start the Pour

I pour in 1/3 of my mixture, gently move it around all the letters, and then gently bounce the form and mixture up and down to release any trapped air bubbles. Take care at this step, as you don't want to dislodge any letters! Finish pouring the rest of the mixture. Let cure 24-48 hours.

Step 10: Remove From Mold at 48 Hours

The paver/stepping stone should come out very easily. I just turn it upside down, and use thumbs to press on the back of the form. If you have made a wood form, simply unscrew, and the paver should release.

Step 11: Remove Foam Lettering

I like to wait as long as possible: even a week later is best, as concrete keeps on curing for some time after it has set up. "The longer the better."

Step 12: Place Stone in Garden or Place of Your Choosing

These would go good in a zen garden, don't you think? I took a couple of pictures of what that might look like. Or, of course, any place in the garden, the path, walkways, waterfalls, etc. Enjoy! Love, peace and energy! Sounds good to me!



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    23 Discussions

    Just a thought. Should you fill the lettering area with something so that it doesn't fill with water in the winter and crack the lettering or possibly the whole paver? Maybe clear or contrasting colored silicone?

    1 reply

    I think the freezing water would be an issue. Since I live in so. Calif., I'm not concerned with that. I did think of the issue and was thinking about putting a stone in the freezer with water in the depressions and see what would happen...interesting thought, eh? Thanks for your comment.

    If I make the letters out of something more durable, like cut wood or plastic, could I re-use the mold over and over?

    1 reply

    May be. but it would put in danger the edges of the letter.

    Thanks for the awesome instructions! Excellent 'able!!

    I must be missing some information, altho I've looked twice. Can you explain about the hotwire machine and how to use it? Thanks, Timbuctoo


    I would just use a gravel path so it is harder for the ninjas to sneak across.

    爱,从你的字看,"爱"可以才拆成一颗心永久爱一个人。 From the word "Love" in your stepping stone is conclude "one" and "heart" and "forever",in China it means to be love a person forever use your real heart. Interesting!

    I don't care what it says all of these are simply beautiful to behold and would have a proud placement in my garden anyday. Fantastic job CMan. V+5

    Chinese characters are polysemous and polyfunctional, it means that every character could have several meanings or functions (as verbs, adverbs, adjectives, conjunctions, etc.). What CM wrote in his stone is not wrong, that's because 平 (ping) itself means "flat", "level", but also "peace", "peaceful", "make peace", etc. For its part, 和 means "peace", but in other contexts it functions as the conjuntion "and". Why in modern language we see two characters together? In its evolution, every character had to incorporate an "extra" word to distinguish itself from other words with similar pronunciation, to give a more precise meaning or to reinforce a signification. In Chinese language, 和 ("he", harmony, peace) and 平 ("ping", peace, peaceful) have similar meanings, and that's why those two characters appear together in one of the modern words for "peace". The more you learn about Chinese characters -about meaning, composition, proportion, etc.-, the more you'll enjoy your work. This site could be useful for you in order to know more about Chinese characters: Greetings!

    2 replies

    しつれしました! As I explained to Misemono17 above, I am a begining student. The more you learn the more difficult it can be to keep from seeing and making mistakes. I often see the center character above in other contexts in daily life, so you might understand my confussion.

    Very cool! Jeff-O I think you are onto something... if you could make the mold reuseable you could really crank out the paver stones!

    Awesome! I want to try this.

    Depending on the type of foam that you use, normal gasoline will just eat it up in a few seconds. Wash everything off right after that to keep it from staining.

    Awesome job CM. You are my favorite subscription. I love your stuff. Look forward to more.

    1 reply