Making your own DIY concrete stepping stones is a way to create functional art for the floor of your garden. Stepping stones are necessary for being able to move throughout the garden without disrupting the soil, but they also create focal points and structure, and add a little bit of personality! Learn how to use concrete to make six different kinds of DIY stepping stones for your garden pathways.
The Best Concrete to Make Stepping Stones
Not all concrete is created equal. Some concrete has large chunks of gravel to give it extra strength when creating large slabs, frames, or sidewalks. Unless your pavers are meant to be quite large, it’s best to choose a finer concrete mix that doesn’t contain large gravel pieces. The concrete you want is usually sold as “repair concrete.” This finer textured concrete will give you a smooth look and takes decorative imprints much better.
How to Mix Concrete
When you purchase dry concrete it will have instructions for mixing it on the package. You can find ready-made concrete in home improvement stores in smaller batches. Ready-made concrete is good for repair jobs or doing just a few stepping stones, but it’s much more expensive. If you want to make a larger number of concrete projects, then mixing your own is the way to go. You don’t have to use the whole bag at once. You can mix up as much concrete as you need for your project and store the rest in a dry area indefinitely.
- Repair concrete
- Large bucket or wheelbarrow
- Old trowel for mixing repair concrete or
- Concrete mixer
- Safety glasses, gloves, dust mask
Get started by collecting your materials. You’ll want to use a large bucket or a wheelbarrow to mix your concrete in. A trowel makes a good mixing tool, but you can also get a special concrete mixer. The items you choose to use when making concrete will take a lot of wear and tear and may never be completely clean of the concrete residue, so choose items that you don’t mind getting dirty. Also, keep in mind that concrete is corrosive and so it’s best to use proper safety protection when mixing. Safety goggles will protect your eyes from splashes, gloves will protect the skin on your hands, and a dust mask will protect your lungs. Safety first!
To mix your own concrete, measure out some of the dry powder in your bucket or wheelbarrow. Add water as per the instructions on the bag of concrete. I like to add a little less than the instructions suggest, then mix the concrete and adjust the consistency by adding more water for a looser mix, and more concrete powder for a dryer mix.
If you are pouring concrete into molds, the mix should be looser so that it pours and settles into the form. In most stepping stone projects, however, you’ll want the concrete mix to be the consistency of wet sand. It should hold together in your hands well but not crumble or spill.
DIY Concrete Stepping Stones
Now on to the projects! Here are a bunch of concrete stepping stone ideas to get you started. Follow the links for detailed instruction how to make each type of cement stepping stone.
1. Round Stone Mosaic Stepping Stones
These round stepping stones can be made with any mosaic pattern you can think of. I made them with numbers to become a hopscotch path in my backyard play garden. See How to Make Hopscotch Stepping Stones.
2. Square Leaf Print Stepping Stones
These stones can be made from the contents of your recycling bin! Choose plastic tubs or even pizza boxes for cement molds and make square stepping stones following these instructions: How to Make Leaf Imprint Stepping Stones.
3. Round Leaf Print Stepping Stones
Follow the instructions for making the Hopscotch Stepping Stones but use the Leaf-Imprint Stepping Stones to decorate them.
4. Monogrammed Stepping Stones
My crafty friend, Kimberly, came up with the idea to make these Monogrammed Stepping Stones when we were crafting together one day. Simply get a foam letter and oil it well, press into the form, and voila!
5. Store-Bought Stepping Stone Molds
If you have something specific in mind, you can probably find a stepping stone mold that is pre-made and ready for concrete. From sand dollars to butterflies to Celtic designs and even a giant paw print, there is sure to be one to fit your garden. Just remember that you can only make one at a time with each mold. If you are making only one stepping stone, this is a quick and easy way to go. If you plan to make a whole pathway, it could be a more expensive or lengthy task.
6. Large Leaf Cast Stepping Stones
Forget the form, you can just pick a big leaf from your garden and mound concrete on it! Okay, there is a bit more to it than that. Read all about How to Cast Large Leaves as Stepping Stones.
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What size bags of concrete did you use for these various recipes? I will be organizing a group project to make stepping stones and want an idea of how much concrete will be needed. Thanks so much!
Wow great post. I love it. your idea was joss.
Thank you for being specific on the type of cement best suited for this type of project. I had already been to the store once and was very surprised to see all the different bags of cement/mortar varieties
Can I use mortar for DIY stones? I’m so confused what to use. I want them hard but smooth finish. Please help.
The concrete listed in the materials list on the various projects is what I used.