stepping stones

gardengirl_tx(9 TX)August 16, 2004

Does anywho know what is a good pre-mixed bag of cement to use for stepping stones? I didn't want anything with too much gravel, but this is what I keep running into.

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Portland cement is the best for stepping stones I have found. But you will need something for support...So my Idea is go to Lowes or Home depot and get 3/8 rebar and cut so it will fit into your stones w/o being seen. Otherwise your stones will crack while being stepped on or in the winter.
Try it it will work.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2004 at 12:23AM
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Crafty_Canuck(W Canada)


I am usually hanging out over at Garden Junk but thought I would 'poke' my head into some other forums!

I am from western Canada so the cement we have access to here may not be the same as you have but I use the heavier cements for my regular stepping stones, ones we will actually be using to 'step' on and for my 'character' stepping stones, these are the ones I make from Wilton cake pans, I use a finer cement for a smoother paintable finish.

I use scraps of screen to put in my stepping stones for strength which I think would be similar to what Grace mentioned (?) I cut it to the shape of the pan before I pour any cement in, then I pour half the cement in lay the screen down and pour the other half in. It definitely gives the stone extra strength and if cut properly cannot be seen at all in the finished stone!

Della :)

    Bookmark   August 19, 2004 at 12:26AM
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I have been reading so much on this forum and have not written, but, Della had the very neatest idea for stepping stones. I think I might can get mine to look well and last well!! Thanks!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2004 at 6:13PM
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gardenrose(5b ont)

My suggestion is to use concrete instead of cement. You will definitely need something with an aggregate (stones, pebbles) if you want to walk on it. If you don't like the look of concrete - use one layer of mortar or portland cement and the rest concrete. I'm just speaking from experience 'cause there's nothing more frustrating than to have the perfect stone only to step on it & "CRACK"!

Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2004 at 8:21PM
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julie_mn(z4 MN Henn)

Use quick-crete! Best there is!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2004 at 4:24PM
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Can you color the cement before pouring? I don't know anything about working with cement or concrete, so forgive me if this is a stupid question! But I have thought of making my own stones and want them to be bright, vibrant colors. How could I do that? What different things do you use for molds? The Wilton Pans is a great do they come out? Obviously, I need some step by step instructions...Thank you, Debbie

    Bookmark   September 23, 2004 at 2:25PM
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Hop on over to the Hypertufa forum (see link below). Clever bunch there too, with an abundance of bright ideas. There are recent discussions about colouring concrete.

I would think for simplicity you could use a redi-mix concrete, just sift out the really large bits of rock. That should leave you with a strong and somewhat smoother product. Add reinfocement as the others have suggested.

FYI, 'cement' is a raw product, the addition of aggregates, etc. result in 'concrete'.


One more thing - be careful! Playing in the mud is addictive...

Here is a link that might be useful: Tufa forum

    Bookmark   September 24, 2004 at 10:04AM
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frankentrina(z8b TX)

Yes, you can buy lots of different concrete/cement colors. Most of them that I ahve seen are "natural" stone colors, reds, browns, that type of thing..but I'm sure you can find others. The screen scraps are a good idea, and you can also use any other type of chicken wire. An idea I have thought of doing myself was mosaics to make them more colorful. You can use broken ceramic pieces and old dishes (the thrift store is a great place to find old colorful mis-matched dishes for mosaics), and they even sell tiles and bits in many hobby and craft stores to make mosaics, but old dishes will work fine for stepping stones. I make my own ceramics, so I am able to make pieces in any shape, size or color I want.

Any why limit yourself to just stepping stones? after a little practice you can even make small outdoor tabletops and benches. My parents have an old cement garden bench with a ceramic mosaic top. You may have to buy a special mold for that, if you want a nicer more decorative piece, or make one. You could even make custom molds in the dirt or sand, with a little practice (probably want to perfect this method with the stones first)...I've seen instructions on pouring candles ina mold made of damp sand. just dig out your pattern in the dirt or sand, makeing sure its smooth and level, add your mosaic pieces, and carefully pour the cement. After it dries you pull it out of the ground, clean it off a little, and you have your finished piece!

    Bookmark   September 25, 2004 at 3:14PM
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annsb(zone 6)

You can also make bricks from concrete using the red dye.
I mosaiced a few to intersperse in my front walk and also have some for the flower garden.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2004 at 9:23AM
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Wow , that's neat, thanks for shareing.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2005 at 10:09PM
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limhyl(z8 NC)

you can also dig a stepping stone shaped hole in the ground and pour the cement directly in the hole. No mold required. you can then add little tiles, leaf impressions, whatever. What could be simpler?

    Bookmark   March 8, 2005 at 8:34PM
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I have used quick create to make my stepping stones. they have been in the yard for about 4 or 5 years now. I had each of my kids put their hand prints and their name on them. they also decorated them with the flattened marbles. For the mold, I used the clear plastic plant trays. They worked perfect.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2005 at 3:38PM
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Does anyone know how to make stepping stones that appear to be real rock? I'm interested in making my own garden path but all that fieldstone is too pricey for me. I have a huge yard and huge plans. I've never done a tufa project before and am clueless about it. I've been reading along on the forums and have learned a lot! My head is spinning by now with all this new info. I'm excited to get started. We're in Oregon and our winters are not too bad tho' there is frost at times. We rarely get down to 0 here,(if it's 10 degrees we're really amazed).
A slate or bluestone effect would really be nice. Can anyone help?


    Bookmark   April 18, 2005 at 12:52AM
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Sorry to intrude. This may be a silly question but could someone please explain the difference between concrete and cement.

Also, are the stepping stone set that you can buy at the craft shops good, that is, will they break when you step on it. What type of material do they use?

Many thanks in advance. P

    Bookmark   April 18, 2005 at 6:03PM
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Cement is one component of "concrete". Others are sand , gravel and water. Cement is the "bonding agent" that allows the concrete mixture to harden up. Cement is produce by burning lime (from limestone, CaCO3). Lime has been used in construction since the early Egypcians, Romans and Mexicans. Portland cement is he most common type of cement used nowadays.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2005 at 3:12PM
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heymarilyn - I've done what you're intending to do. I used regular cheapo bag concrete mix and some of the dye's the big box stores sell. I kinda blended them unevenly to make it look more like a natural stone. What I did is set up an area (mine was right in the space I wanted the finished rocks to be so I didn't have to move them much) by raking away all the leaves and grass blades. I wet the sandy soil and tamped it down to make it sorta smooth. Then I mixed the concrete according to the bag's instructions and streaked in the dye. Then I dumped it on the ground in a large flat blob. I took sand and small pebbles and threw them at the blob at an angle to get a natural texture on the top side. After the blob had cured I used a shovel to lift it up around the edges and it would crack into pie plate sized chunks. I then evaluated which side I liked the best - sometimes it would look better on the soil side other times on the top and textured side. I just roughed up the dirt in the area and layed the faux flagstones down and sprinkled more dirt on top and in between. They only cracked when I walk on them if they are very thin.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2005 at 3:17PM
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I have used Diamond Crete for making stepping stones. It was a great product. Came in different colors and set up in 1 hour. I bought it in a craft store but can no longer find it. The URL goes to a different product. Does anyone have any info on this product

    Bookmark   January 21, 2007 at 3:32PM
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I hope this is not posted twice. I don't do much DIY. I've followed that it's possible to lay a few plain concrete stepping stones across a lawn by pouring them in situ. I've guessed that this is what you do. Use some template to gouge out an appropriate number of circles in the lawn - is depth of an inch and a half sufficient?. Then then pour in some concrete mix (purchased from a DIY store and mixed in a bucket?) into all the holes - and that's it. Could those of you who know about such things tell me what I should or should not be doing? Please keep it simple. Thanks

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 7:50AM
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I would like to put a name on the bottom of a mold so that when I take it out of the mold the name is on the top. I was thinking about mosaics or an engraved brass plaque. Does anyone have any helpful ideas on how to stick them down so they don't move in the pour or any other helpful hints?! Thanks!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2007 at 2:51PM
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I like to use contact paper in the bottom of the mold to hold an object that I want to be on the topside of the finished project. Just cut it to the exact shape of the mold and peel the paper away, placing it in the mold sticky side up. Then place your item face down on the sticky paper and pour away.....gently. Leave in the mold for 24 hours and turn it out. I use portland and sand for a smooth finish.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2007 at 11:23PM
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I'm new to the forums here and to making stepping stones so please forgive my ignorance. I've read that using Pam spray will allow your stone to come out of the mold easier. I've also read that you can use a spray adhesive to hold down your items on the top of the mold so they don't move when you add the concrete or cement. My question is which do you do first? Spray the mold with Pam or the adhesive? Thanks for any help you can give me.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2007 at 9:48AM
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I want to use old cake pans to make stepping stones, I have
read to apply cooking spay, petroleum jelly and wd40 to pan.
Does anyone know which if any will work to make sure my stepping stone will come out of pan. I will be useing
portland cement for stones.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 12:16AM
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Hi, I recommend Pam. You can wash that off with just hot soapy water once the have set hard. Also for anyone using molds never use petroleum products as they can rot away rubber/latex molds.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 7:43AM
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I don't know if anyone is still reading this thread, but has any one used Wilton Cake pans to make stepping stones, repeatedly... what I am getting at here, is I have make 2 stones, and the clean up afterward is a bit much. The concrete has come out, but there is a concrete residue on the pan afterwards. I used oil to make sure that the concrete did not stick, but has anyone here done this repeatedly out of the same pan, and if so, how the heck do you clean the pan up? I have used steel wool, but it only goes just so far.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2014 at 3:12PM
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