*Five years ago, I was given the title “Stepping Stone Ideas” for publication on eHow. The article was originally published on March 16, 2011. It is no longer published on eHow or anywhere else so I am free to publish it here.
Stepping stones provide garden visitors with the first glimpses of the garden, or perhaps with a first impression of a home as they approach it. Welcome visitors to your garden or your home with unique stepping stones created from materials that reflect the character of your surroundings. Stepping stones may be simple but welcoming, or they may be decorated with a variety of items.
Create The Mold In The Ground
Decide where your stepping stone or stones will be placed. Use a shovel to dig holes into the ground which will become the stepping stone molds. The holes should not be deeper than three inches. Mix cement according to the directions on the bag. When the mixture is ready, pour the cement into the holes. Allow the cement to set for approximately two hours. Then decorate the stone by pressing beads, mosaic tile pieces, and other decorations suitable for outdoor decorations. Press the decorative pieces into the cement mold so that the pieces form a smooth surface. A smooth surface allows guests and garden admirers to safely walk on the stones without injuring themselves or damaging their shoes.
Create a memory stone with items that represent past experiences or special memories. Add a favorite toy from your toddler or childhood days or a charm from an inexpensive piece of jewelry. Items should be small enough to be pressed neatly into the stone and form a smooth surface. The stone could also represent a particular year. Use a narrow object to engrave the year into the stone before the cement sets. Create a memory stone for a child by writing the name of the child on the stone and add objects special to that particular child. Use objects that withstand weathering. If the objects are fragile and will not withstand various weather patterns, place the stones under a covered area or on a porch or deck where they will be protected from the elements.
Use Marbles for a Stained Glass Look
Press marbles into the stone for a stained glass look. Randomly place the marbles into the stone so that they cover the entire surface. Be sure to press them down into the cement before it dries to create a flat, smooth surface. You can also use a narrow object such as a small stick or pencil to sketch a scene onto the cement. Then add marbles to color the scene. For example, to make a small tree image, press all green marbles into tree leaves and brown marbles to fill in the trunk. Press all red marbles into the image of a brick house. Once the cement sets, the marbles create a stained glass scene.
Painted Stepping Stones
Allow cement to completely dry. Then use oil or outdoor paints to paint the stones. Use a different motif for each stone or create a theme for the pathway. Paint a different bird on each stone for a bird motif or paint a different butterfly on each stone to complete a butterfly theme for a pathway through a butterfly garden. Allow children to paint one stone each to be placed in a family garden.