ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Mosaic: Stepping Garden Stones

Updated on February 26, 2013

How To Mosaic Stepping Stones for a Garden

A wonderful easy lesson in making personalized stepping stones. Easy for even the beginner with a material list and lots of photos. This is the second of three tutorials on how to craft decorative stepping stones. The first tutorial detailed the steps of the "topper method", an easy quick way to make simple stones including "hand print" designs. This tutorial introduces you to the "glue n' grout method", a technique for crafting a more detailed stepping stone in four easy to follow steps. With this method you can create beautiful stones that can be used throughout your yard as eyecatching outdoor art.

Remember to check out Tutorial #1Make Stepping Stones the Easy Way and #3 Make Your Own Mosaic Stepping Stones for more stepping stone ideas and methods.

Walking Stones
Walking Stones

Making Stepping Stones Using a Mold

Part I

Step 1.Choose your mold.

There are numerous commercial stepping stone molds available in various sizes and shapes. If you are wanting to make a garden stone for decorative purposes only than a small mold (8") will be fine. If you are going to use it as a "stepping stone" than choose a 12" or larger mold.

Step 2. Set Up Your Work-Space.

Cement is very dusty and dried cement can be very difficult to remove from clothing and floors so choose a place (outside or a ventilated workspace such as your garage) to do your pouring. Lay down newspaper or plastic tarps on a level work table (an old shower curtain works great) . Make sure to set up your mold with all of your tools and water close by in easy reach.

Step 3. Preparing Your Mold

To keep the cement mortar from sticking to your mold lightly spray or wipe on vegetable oil. Depending on the size of your mold will determine how much cement and water you will use. To help determine your needs read below the section entitled "How Much Dry Cement Mortar Do I Use?"

Step 4. Mixing your cement mortar.

First, put on your dusk mask, gloves and safety glasses. Measure out your dry mortar into a large bucket. Add half of your measured water, saving the rest for adding as needed. Using a trowel, thoroughly mix the dry mortar with the water until it is like thick peanut butter. If the mix is too dry add a small amount of water until it is of the desired consistency. If is too runny add dry mortar. Make sure the slurry is thoroughly mixed before pouring. See mixing hints for additional instructions.

Step 5.Make it Smooth.

Scoop the mortar into your mold using your trowel. Using the back of your trowel spread the wet mortar evenly across the base stone and as level and smooth as possible. The total time you spend on mixing, pouring and smoothing should be no more than 5 minutes. Gently tap the sides of the filled mold with the handle of your screwdriver for at least 30 seconds to help burp the cement slurry of any air bubbles. This will also help level out the wet cement. Let it sit undisturbed overnight. Once the stone has hardened invert the mold and gently press on the back of the mold to release the stone.

Step 6. Drying Tips

Elevate the stone on wood dowels or pencils to maximize air circulation for even drying. For the first 24 hours after making your stone let it sit undisturbed. This is when it is the weakest. The following day you can move it indoors where it will need to fully cure for a couple more weeks before it can go outside.

Stepping Stones Mosaic
Stepping Stones Mosaic

Glue 'n Grout Direct Method

Use this easy 4 part method to create a beautiful mosaic stepping stone.

This is a fun and a bit messy way to create gorgeous stepping stones. If you love playing with clay you will enjoy crafting stones with this method.

The first part will instruct you in how to make a base stepping stone that you will use to adhere your tesserae (the decorative items used to create the mosaic design). If you prefer, you can skip this step and instead purchase and use a commercial precast stepping stone, your choice of size, shape, and color.

The next three parts are easy to follow videos to teach you;

Part 2. How to adhere your tesserae (the decorative items used to create the mosaic design).

Part 3. How to apply grout the fun messy way.

Part 4. And our most loved step (I am joking) how to clean your stepping stone of all the excess grout.

Photo Gallery: How to Make Stepping Stone

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Set up your work area using newspapers or a plastic tarp to protect your table.  Organize all of the materials and tools you will be needing so that they are easy to find and within reach.  Using either a vegetable spray or oil, lightly cover the insThoroughly mix your cement mortar with just enough water to make a slurry the thickness of peanut butter.Using your trowel scoop the slurry into your mold then smooth it out using the edge of the trowel until it is evenly spread.Using the handle of your screwdriver gently tap the edges of the mold for at least 30 seconds to burp the cement of any air bubbles.  Allow the stone to sit undisturbed for six to eight hours.Using pencils or wooden dowels make a drying area for your stone to sit to cure for a couple of weeks.  Put it inside away from direct sunlight with the temperature 50 to 80 degrees F.Carefully turn the mold and stone upside down onto the dowels.  Slip the mold off the stone and let thoroughly dry.  The stone will be very fragile in the first 24 hours after being poured.
Set up your work area using newspapers or a plastic tarp to protect your table.  Organize all of the materials and tools you will be needing so that they are easy to find and within reach.  Using either a vegetable spray or oil, lightly cover the ins
Set up your work area using newspapers or a plastic tarp to protect your table. Organize all of the materials and tools you will be needing so that they are easy to find and within reach. Using either a vegetable spray or oil, lightly cover the ins
Thoroughly mix your cement mortar with just enough water to make a slurry the thickness of peanut butter.Using your trowel scoop the slurry into your mold then smooth it out using the edge of the trowel until it is evenly spread.
Thoroughly mix your cement mortar with just enough water to make a slurry the thickness of peanut butter. Using your trowel scoop the slurry into your mold then smooth it out using the edge of the trowel until it is evenly spread.
Using the handle of your screwdriver gently tap the edges of the mold for at least 30 seconds to burp the cement of any air bubbles.  Allow the stone to sit undisturbed for six to eight hours.
Using the handle of your screwdriver gently tap the edges of the mold for at least 30 seconds to burp the cement of any air bubbles. Allow the stone to sit undisturbed for six to eight hours.
Using pencils or wooden dowels make a drying area for your stone to sit to cure for a couple of weeks.  Put it inside away from direct sunlight with the temperature 50 to 80 degrees F.
Using pencils or wooden dowels make a drying area for your stone to sit to cure for a couple of weeks. Put it inside away from direct sunlight with the temperature 50 to 80 degrees F.
Carefully turn the mold and stone upside down onto the dowels.  Slip the mold off the stone and let thoroughly dry.  The stone will be very fragile in the first 24 hours after being poured.
Carefully turn the mold and stone upside down onto the dowels. Slip the mold off the stone and let thoroughly dry. The stone will be very fragile in the first 24 hours after being poured.

How Much Water Do I Need?

The Rule of Thumb is for every cup of dry mortar you will need 2 ounces of water.

Glue 'n Grout Video Tutorial - Part 2 Gluing Your Tesserae

This tutorial gives the viewer easy to understand directions on how to adhere your tesserae (the decorative items used to create the mosaic design) to a pre-cast stepping stone.

Expert: Cooie Grey-Lavin

Bio: Cooie Grey-Lavin has been a mosaic artist for over twenty five years. She has a degree in horticulture. Currently, she teaches mosaic classes at her studio.

Filmmaker: Owen Roth

Glue 'n Grout Video - How to Grout Part 3

This is the "gooey" part of making mosaics....but fun!

Glue 'n Grout Video - Removing Extra Grout Part 4

Cleaning your mosaic is not an option! This is a great video showing the process.

Material List

For Making Your Own Stepping Stone Base You Will Need:

1 Stepping Stone Mold

Vegetable Oil to use as Mold Release, spray or liquid

QuikCrete Mortar

Water

Mixing bucket

Measuring cups (dry and liquid)

Gloves

Mask

Protective eyeware

Garden Trowel

Screwdriver (this is to use for burping the cement)

Paper Towels for clean up

Wood Pencils or Dowels for Drying

For the Glue 'n Grouting You Will Need:

Thin Set Mortar

Water

Plastic Mixing Bowl

Mixing Spoon

Old Butter Knife

Sanded Grout (your choice of color)

Water

Latex Gloves, Protective Mask, Protective Eyewear

Mixing Bowl

Mixing Spoon

Old Cloth (such as a t-shirt)

Sponge

Clean Water

How Much Dry Cement Mortar Do I Use?

A Suggested Guide to Estimating Cement Amounts

Following is a list of available commercial mold sizes available for stepping stones with a suggested amount of cement mortar needed to fill each. This may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. I have found some molds will state that they are say 12" in diameter but in reality they are only 11 1/2". If you want an exact size mold make sure you have a tape measure when you go to buy it!

Mold Size - Qty of Cement Mortar

8" Square - 7 cups

12" Square - 18 cups

16" Square - 25 cups

8" Round - 5 cups

12" Round - 12 cups

14" Round - 14 cups

18" Round - 25 cups

12" Hexagon - 10 cups

16" Hexagon - 24 cups

9" Heart - 7 cups

9" Butterfly - 8 cups

If you have a mold size that is not listed and you want to get an estimate for how much cement you will need do the following:

Fill your mold up with water to the level you would pour your stone. Measure the number of cups of water you used and multiply it by 1.25. This will give you an estimated amount of cement you will need. It is always better to make a little extra. If you don't have enough cement slurry to fill your mold you can always make up an additional batch and add it to your poured slurry. You have to make it immediately so as not to allow the first pour to set up.

For Your Information

A 10lb bag of Mortar has approximately 12 cups.

A 25lb bag of Mortar has approximately 30 cups.

A 60lb bag of Mortar has approximately 72 cups.

For Best Results Read This Before Starting Your Project

Mixing Cement and Other Tips

Click to go to the first tutorial to read.

I would love to hear from you....

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • maryseena profile image

      maryseena 4 years ago

      Beautiful lens on practical projects. Thanks for sharing.

    • lindarose92 profile image

      lindarose92 4 years ago

      Great lens, thank you for the instructions!

    • pyngthyngs profile image

      pyngthyngs 4 years ago

      Using the Pam is a great idea. I would have never thought about doing that.

    • LauraHofman profile image

      Laura Hofman 4 years ago from Naperville, IL

      Another great lens! I've always wanted to make stepping stones for my garden. Thank you for sharing!

    • Pumpurelis profile image

      Pumpurelis 4 years ago

      Wonderful

    • Jeri Baker profile image

      Jeri Baker 4 years ago

      These are always great fun. Also a super project to do with the kids:)

    • Steph Tietjen profile image

      Stephanie Tietjen 5 years ago from Albuquerque, New Mexico

      I've wanted to do something like this for a long time. I'm bookmarking and pinning it. Thanks!

    • BestRatedStuff profile image

      BestRatedStuff 5 years ago

      So cool, looking forward to my first project.

    • bbsoulful2 profile image

      bbsoulful2 5 years ago

      This is so helpful! I love the videos. I have JUST the items to use as part of a mosaic, too!

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      I'd love to give this a try. So pretty!

    • profile image

      klaird 5 years ago

      This is a great idea. I love mosaics, but I've never thought of making a mosaic garden stepping stone before. Thanks for sharing. I've featured your lens on my "50 Craft Ideas for Adults". Great Job!

    • seanjennin profile image

      seanjennin 5 years ago

      Love it, awesome mosaic art work!

    • profile image

      neptunesdreams_Tarot_Card_Readin 6 years ago

      Hi RitaK. I have been toying with the idea of trying mosaics for a long time. Your lens, with its interesting video tutorials is inspiring me. Good work!

    • profile image

      csgeek 6 years ago

      that is soooo .. cool .. will have to get the girls to try this.. we have a path that can definitely use some touch ups that these stepping stones would look great in. great lens thaks

    • profile image

      MySnellvilleBlog 6 years ago

      Very cool! You have everything anybody should want on this page if they want to make stepping stones!

    • profile image

      whirlwind 6 years ago

      Hello RitaK. I like your "Mosaic: Stepping Garden Stones" lens; You present an easy to follow tutorial, supplementing your text instructions nicely with a well seasoned blend of supporting graphics and videos. I'm giving you a a thumbs up!

    • AbigailsCrafts LM profile image

      AbigailsCrafts LM 6 years ago

      They're beautifuul - can't wait to have a proper garden so I can try this out! Thanks for the tutorial.

    • Jeannieinabottl1 profile image

      Jeannieinabottl1 6 years ago

      This is a very helpful lens. I live in an apartment, but if I had a yard, I would give this a try. I also like how you designed the lens itself. This is really thorough and with plenty of helpful hints.

    • profile image

      TWOnline2 6 years ago

      nice

    • CrossCreations profile image

      Carolan Ross 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      SO glad to have found this, made some stepping stones once upon a time...fun but mostly by trial and error. Never knew the items one uses to decorate are called tesserae...like that word. At that time I had piles of old costume junk jewelry, fun tesserae. Made a heart-shaped stone as a wedding gift and 'engraved' their names and date with old beads. The butterfly shape is my favorite.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 6 years ago

      I love this crafty idea -- and will most likely be TRYING it myself real soon ... I will keep in touch!

    • MirandaBrooks LM profile image

      MirandaBrooks LM 6 years ago

      This is such a good idea and sounds really fun! I think I will make one for my mom!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 6 years ago

      This is great. My stepson made me one of these and now we want to design a path for our garden. Thanks for the step-by-step instructions.

    • WhiteOak50 profile image

      WhiteOak50 6 years ago

      I just cannot wait to see more of your lens. Be sure to send me the links so I can take a look.

    • jimmielanley profile image

      Jimmie Lanley 6 years ago from Memphis, TN, USA

      A lovely tutorial! We live in an apartment, so we have no yard to make stepping stones for, but I still love this practical and pretty craft idea.

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 6 years ago

      wow, another great stepping stone instructional!

    • Gamganny profile image

      Gamganny 6 years ago

      very informative lens on making step stones.

    Click to Rate This Article