Somewhere I saw where you can cover big leaves with concrete or cemet and use them for stepping stones..Does anyone know how to do this or is there a website that explains it?
Here's a method using rubarb leaves. Looks cool!
Here is a link that might be useful: Rhubarb Leaf Stepping Stones
I make these all the time. I use fig leaves but any large leaf will do. Use clusters of small leaves or even flowers for a different effect.
I use a 5-gallon plastic paint bucket for the form. I slice it with a saw into little hoops about 2" high. I use readi-mix concrete with some extra portland cement powder added for strength. I have left the extra portland cement out a few times but the paving stones are more likely to crumble and break.
You can use any flat surface to make the stones. I use some scrap painted plywood. Formica, plastic or sheet metal is also good. Put it on the ground where it won't bend from the weight of the concrete. Put the leaf with the veins up. Arrange the plastic hoop around the leaf. I like to have the stem going to the edge so I squash it down under the rim of the hoop.
Plop the concrete in the form. I put a few lumps around the edge first to keep the hoop from moving, then I fill it up. It is important to pound on the concrete to make sure there are no air pockets. I use a trowel but a big stick or flat board works almost as well. The side you see will be hidden when you place the stone so don't worry about the cosmetics of it.
Let it sit overnight. The next day take off the plastic hoop. The longer you wait the harder the hoop will be to remove without cutting it. Flip it over and dig out any concrete covering the stem. Don't try to remove the leaf and don't step on it yet. Stack up your stones and keep them wet for a few days. The concrete gets harder every day for years but they should be ready to use in a week. The leaf will turn brown and blow away in a few weeks.
A 60-pound bag of ready-mix makes a half dozen or more of these, depending on the thickness of your form.
You can also make these with pebbles, marbles, coins and rock salt. The rock salt washes out and leaves little indentations randomly on the surface. (I wouldn't wash it into my garden though!) If you are using river pebbles or money you need to flip the stone when it first turns hard and wash the surface of the stones or money with a wet sponge. Not too much or the stones will fall out. If you wait too long they get harder to wash. Practice on one before you do a lot.
I don't use wire mesh but I suppose it will be stronger with it. It seems risky with leaves because you need to pound the concrete down well, especially on the edges and it's possible to rip the fragile leaf with the wire mesh.
the rhubarb leaf idea is great!!!! Now if I can just find the time to do it.....
ok- wish me luck, I am going to attempt this with my kids this weekend. Just bought the concrete at lunch today.
Thanks Nora for sharing the rhubarb stepping stone site. I will be trying this idea over the summer.
I've made stepping stones in the past for my own garden. I used boxes from the grocery store that held four 6 packs of soda cans. I just mixed concrete poured it in the box and used broken pieces of pretty patterned dinner plates that I picked up at yard sales and the dollar store. This was a very inexpensive project and the results look just like those you see at garden shops. I've been using mine for 3 years now and they are even more beautiful as the concrete ages.
The boxes weaken after one use so I did not reuse them. The boxes are much easier to use than plastic forms because you can turn the stone over and if it does not pop out, just peel the cardboard away from the concrete. Marbles, colorful pebbles, handprints, etc. could all be used.
Hope you find this interesting.
GREAT INFO, ISK. HAVE YOU EVER ADDED COLOR TO THE LEAF? I SAW SOME GREAT STEPPING STONES ON ANOTHER WEBPAGE, BUT THEY WERE PRETTY EXPENSIVE GIVEN THE FACT I NEED ABOUT 50 OF THEM. (SEE BELOW FOR A LINK TO THE STONE I'M TALKING ABOUT) I'M NOT CERTAIN IF THEY PAINTED THE LEAF BEFORE POURING THE CONCRETE, OR IF THE STONES WERE PAINTED AFTER THE LEAF CAME OUT. ANY THOUGHTS?
Here is a link that might be useful: Stepping Stones