Making Stepping Stones: Another method I have used.

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Making Stepping Stones

By dave
October 14, 2011

At the Whitinger Farm, we are busy making stepping stones for a walkway between our driveway and the house. It's an ambitious project and we've already made dozens of stones. By popular request, here is the tutorial on how we're making them.

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Name: Jan
St. Pete,FL
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Budgielover
Oct 14, 2011 4:38 AM CST
I used the plastic store bought molds. I cut a piece of contact paper to fit the bottom of the mold. Use the clear contact paper. Draw your design with permanent marker. Remove the paper backing to reveal the sticky side. Put it in the bottom of the mold with the sticky side up,
Now use your glass, stones, etc. to fill in your design outline. Mix your concrete and slowly spoon over your design and gradually fill to the top,
Let it cure 24 hrs or so and then remove from the mold. Turn over so the contact paper is on top, Slowly pull off the contact paper from the concrete and like Dave, clean up any concrete film that may have seeped onto the design. Finish curing in water as per Dave's instruction.
I have lots of scrape stained glass and plan to make more mosaic stones when I have some spare time.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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dave
Oct 14, 2011 7:08 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

That's another great technique, Jan! I like it!
Name: Jan
St. Pete,FL
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Plumerias Dog Lover
Region: Florida Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Seed Starter Seller of Garden Stuff Tropicals Hummingbirder
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Budgielover
Oct 14, 2011 8:54 AM CST
I tip my hat to you.

The advantage to using your mold Dave is that you can cut the contact paper a bit larger and use the weight of the mold to hold down the edges. I have found that sometimes the contact paper wants to curl up on the edges. If that happens, i spray some PAM cooking spray in the mold before putting in the contact paper. It acts as a temporary glue to hold the contact paper in place until the concrete is put in. Off course it also helps to release the stone after curing.
[Last edited by Budgielover - Oct 14, 2011 4:22 AM (+)]
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Oct 15, 2011 11:49 AM CST
What a timely article! Like Jan, I have quite a bit of scrap stained glass and have been wanting to make some stepping stones with it for my garden areas... I'm planning to use the contact paper method, which I read about somewhere or other in the course of researching this project, and Dave's mold-making technique. Dave, your stones look beautiful, and I suspect the photos can't really do them justice -- your article has inspired me to stop thinking and start producing! Smiling
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Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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dave
Oct 15, 2011 4:25 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

I'm glad you're inspired!

I'm going to try this contact paper next time we make stones. I bet it'll work great. Thumbs up
Name: Carl Boro
Milpitas, CA (Zone 10b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2015
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coboro
Dec 6, 2014 4:21 PM CST
When using glass, remember that the pieces of glass have to be mechanically held in place, like Dave said. If you are using rocks or shells or broken pottery it is not as critical.

The reason for this is in how concrete works. Concrete hardens by growing microscopic needle shaped crystals that stick into the rocks and stones and holds them in place. Rocks and stones have tiny holes or pores that the crystals grow into. Glass doesn't (or has very few). That's why the glass eventually comes loose. The tumbled glass has had the surface roughed up so the concrete has a little more grab

If you want to use flat pieces of stained glass, bevel the edges of the glass so that concrete can grab it. Leave some concrete in between the pieces of glass.

Why soak the stepping stones before using them? Concrete continues to slowly grow the crystals as long as the concrete stays moist.

Why a month? Concrete gains the main portion of it's strength in 28 days.
Carl

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