To Purchase a Kit or Not
Kits are widely available. Some are meant for children, who will craft a cut stone to give as a gift. These are not as durable as many would think, though. If you want a simple kit to produce one stone, head to your local craft store to find it.
On the other hand, to create a true pathway of stones with natural coloring and non-uniform shapes, you may want simply to make your own. You can incorporate a child's handprint or a cute message on these handmade varieties still, but you can also create stones that are much more aesthetically pleasing if you do them yourself without a craft kit.
What You Will Need
The first step is to find containers the right size for your stones. You can use anything plastic, wooden, or even a durable cardboard. Choose just one container for uniformity or mix it up with several shapes. You can also take pizza boxes, shape them into the freeform style you like, and use these for molds.
Aside from that, you will also need:
- Quickcrete mix
- A bucket
- Mixing tools
- A trowel
- Protective eyewear and masks to wear during the project
- Any decorative items you plan to use.
Once you gather these materials, you can begin the project. Dedicate at least a few hours to the process so you do not feel rushed. If necessary, add more support to your molds using masking tape. The concrete is heavy and can push past a cardboard base easily.
Mix the Mortar
Most products offer instructions to follow. It is best to simply place the mortar in the bucket and then mix with water (at the right measurements the manufacturer offers.) You are looking for a thick consistency, much like that of frosting. At this point, you can add coloring. Many home improvement stores sell dyes meant for cement.
Creating the Stepping Stones
Pour the mortar into the mold slowly. Use your gloved hands to work through the cement to ensure no air bubbles are present. Once you get an even, thin layer (aim for one to two inches depending on the strength of your mold) you can then use the trowel to smooth over the top.
Once this is complete, you can decorate it anyway you would like to using various gems, colored glass, or even other rocks. You do not have to do this, but you can to give it more of a unique finish. The decorations should sit right on the surface. If they sink in, start over and add more mortar mixture to the mix. It should be thicker.
Once the stepping stones sit for several hours, you can move them. Check the instructions from the mortar manufacturer to know when it will completely harden. At that point, you can begin using them. It's best to level the surface under the stone, add a bit of sand, and then place the actual stone down. This ensures the stone will not crack from an uneven bottom.
Create a pathway from one location to the next or perhaps one running through your garden with the stones. This is the perfect project to do with the kids or grandkids on a summer afternoon.