Making stepping stones yourself is a fun project that allows you to show off your creative side. Some ready-made stones can be pricey and they are not unique to your tastes. Make a stone your way to accent your garden and save some money at the same time. You can even get the kids involved so everyone has their own special part of your garden design.
You can make your own mold or you can purchase mold that suit your style from various places. One great place to find molds is GardenMolds.com. Not only do they have a wide variety of stepping stone molds, but they also have very helpful tutorials on making stepping stones for your landscape.
Recently, LoveToKnow Garden was able to speak with Catherine Failor, founder of GardenMolds.com, about how you can make your own stepping stones. She also shared a little bit about her background and her company.
Interview with Catherine Failor
- LTK: What is your background?
- Catherine Failor: I owned a soap making business for seven years and wrote two soap making books: Making Transparent Soap and Making Natural Liquid Soap. In 1998, I looked at the increasing number of soap makers and the dearth of soap molds on the market and decided to design a soap mold line-Milky Way Molds.
I'm an avid gardener and aside from growing things I do lots of mosaic work that goes into my garden. In 2003 I wanted to grow my business and design molds for other markets. I looked on the Internet for stepping stone molds and didn't see much that was of interest.
My love of gardening, coupled with my desire to grow my business in different directions was the perfect segue into GardenMolds.
- LTK: How many designs do you carry?
- CF: We carry about two dozen stepping stone molds, seven border trims and a dozen or more totem stakes and planter feet molds.
There are also instructions on our site for making hanging votive sconces and hanging wall plaques.
Making Stepping Stones Yourself
- LTK: Can anyone make decorative stepping stones?
- CF: Absolutely! If you can bake a packaged cake mix, you can make a stepping stone. Instead of a pound cake mix, you're looking at 15 to 20 pounds of concrete mix.
Materials needed include:
- A small utility tub or wheelbarrow for mixing the concrete
- Rubber gloves
- A dust mask
- A shovel or spade for mixing
It takes 15 or 20 minutes to mix and pour the stepping stone and another week to allow the stone to cure sufficiently before placing it in the ground. Here are the basic steps:
- Purchase a 60 pound bag of Quickcrete or concrete mix. This size bag will make about three stepping stones making the cost at a little over a dollar per stone.
- Prepare a work area in your yard or garage.
- Following the instructions, add water to the concrete until a brownie batter consistency is reached.
- Pour the mixture into an oiled mold
- Tap out air bubbles by lightly vibrating the mold and then cover with plastic.
- After 48 hours the stone is ready to unmold. It will need to cure for an additional week before placing it into the ground.
- LTK: What are some other uses for stepping stones?
- CF: Stepping stones make gorgeous wall hangings. Simply fill the mold halfway up instead of to the top as you would for normal stepping stones. Now insert a wire for hanging and there you have it.
Decorative washes can then be applied to the stone for further accents. Stones can be made more unique with decorative finishes using iron oxide pigments or acrylic patio paints.
- LTK: What styles are popular?
- CF: The most popular styles are:
- Celtic Square
- Gothic Square
- Fish in Water
- Compass Rose
Anything Celtic is always popular. The same applies to the soap mold line
- LTK: Any other tips?
- CF: Grey concrete can easily be colored by adding iron oxide pigments directly into the wet mix. This is the easiest way to decorate a stepping stone.
Mixing concrete isn't rocket science. So many people are nervous about mixing concrete. Try it once; you will see how easy it is and how much fun it is. It's such a versatile and inexpensive material, even if you mess up on a stepping stone you have little more than a dollar invested in it.
LoveToKnow would like to thank Catherine Failor for taking the time for this interview. Visit her web site at GardenMolds.com, find a mold that you love and start making stepping stones yourself.