Gardens are the perfect place to display all kinds of memories. Maybe it’s a statue you picked up on a special trip or a memorial tree or shrub. But you can also create new memories by making your own garden accessories – and an ideal way to do this is by crafting homemade stepping-stones. It’s a great project to display your creativity, and it’s fun and easy for kids of all ages – including adults!

Finished stepping stone

A homemade stepping-stone is a fun and affordable way to decorate the garden.

Photo Credit: Lorraine Shannon

Stepping Stone Supplies

You only need a few supplies and a little creativity for this easy project.

Photo Credit: Lorraine Shannon

Stepping stone mix

Mix the dry powder with water until it’s well-blended.

Photo Credit: Lorraine Shannon

Pour into stepping stone mold

The mixture should be the consistency of cookie batter before transferring it to the plastic mold.

Photo Credit: Lorraine Shannon

Smooth stepping stone surface

Be sure the surface is smooth and level before adding embellishments or writing.

Photo Credit: Lorraine Shannon

Adding paw prints

I added my dog’s paw prints to my stepping-stone.

Photo Credit: Lorraine Shannon

Writing in stepping stone

Writing in the wet concrete is easy – just take your time.

Photo Credit: Lorraine Shannon

Drying stepping stone

Allow the wet concrete to dry for at least 24 hours after you’ve decorated the stone’s surface.

Photo Credit: Lorraine Shannon

Removing stepping stone

After 24 hours, gently remove the dry stone from the mold and display it in your garden.

Photo Credit: Lorraine Shannon

Your stepping-stone design possibilities are truly endless. You can place a variety of decorative materials in the wet concrete and add any words you’d like. Create stones adorning the names of family members or pets, or write an inspirational word on each. If you’d like to display a stone or two near your front or back door, make a “welcome” path, or write out the names of your favorite herbs for creative décor in your kitchen garden.

A stepping-stone also makes a wonderful homemade gift for newlyweds, as well as a nice housewarming present or a special remembrance of a person or pet who has passed. With a few inexpensive materials purchased at a craft store or found around the house or yard, you can create more than another garden ornament – you can make lasting memories.

Materials

  • An old plastic tablecloth or plastic sheeting
  • Prepackaged stepping-stone mix purchased at a craft store
  • Large bowl for mixing the concrete
  • Paint stirrer
  • Water (2 cups for making one 12-inch stepping-stone or two 8-inch stepping-stones)
  • Plastic stepping-stone mold purchased at a craft store
  • Putty knife or spatula
  • Items to decorate your stone (mosaic tiles, flattened marbles, beads, pebbles, seashells, buttons, etc.)
  • Wooden craft stick or pencil for writing in wet concrete
  • Old cookie cutters (optional)
  • Stone stamps purchased at a craft store (optional)

Instructions

Step 1: Prepare your work space by covering the area with an old plastic tablecloth or plastic sheeting. Mix the concrete by following the directions on the box. (Basically add 2 cups of water to the 8 pounds of powder, and mix by hand with a paint stirrer until it’s well-blended.) The mixture should be the consistency of cookie batter. Add additional water little by little if needed.

Step 2: Place the empty plastic mold on an old cutting board or piece of scrap wood if you’ll need to move the wet stepping-stone to another location to dry. Transfer the cement “batter” into the plastic stepping-stone mold and smooth the surface of the mixture with a putty knife or spatula. You may also hold the edge of the mold and wiggle it and/or slightly lift the mold and release it to free any air bubbles and to ensure a level stone surface. If using a cutting board, lift the entire board 1-2 inches from the work surface and let it fall back onto place.

Step 3: Now it’s time to get creative…and maybe a bit messy. Lots of kids like to get their hands dirty, so let them place theirs palm-side down into the wet mixture to form a permanent handprint. For a natural-looking stone, press leaves into the wet concrete. Only start writing if a craft stick or pencil makes a clean, dry-looking mark on the surface of the concrete. Push the writing tool into the mixture as opposed to dragging it along.

This is also the time to add embellishments to your stone. Choose from mosaic tiles, flattened marbles, beads, pebbles, seashells, buttons or any other objects that can be stuck into the concrete. Simply push the objects firmly into the wet stone. For an easy outlined shape, try an old cookie cutter.

Step 4: If you won’t be mixing another batch of concrete, clean up your tools and mixing bowl before the concrete dries to them. (Use a garden hose – don’t use the sink!)

Step 5: To avoid cracks, don’t move your newly made stepping-stone – unless you worked on a cutting board or piece of scrap wood, in which case simply transport the filled stone mold along with the cutting board or wood to another location. Otherwise, leave it right where you created it for at least 24 hours.

After that time, rub your finger along the top edge of the mold to “clean” the stone’s edge. Then remove the stone from the plastic mold by holding the palm of your hand on the decorated surface, inverting the mold, and carefully working the plastic mold so that the stepping-stone gently falls out.

Step 6: Put your stone in a special place in the garden or wrap it to give as a gift – just be sure to wait 2 weeks before actually stepping on it.

That’s all there is to it! My special stepping-stone is dedicated to my dog, Molly. When she no longer runs through my back yard, I’ll still have her paw prints on a stone in my garden – the same paws I wipe so many times when she comes in the house with muddy feet. No matter how you choose to decorate your stone, this project is a fun, easy way to create beautiful memories.