By Dee Archibald
This idea came about while we were putting a new garden bed in at my mums place. She decided a pond was needed and what better way for the grandkids to investigate the fish inside…. Some personalised stepping stones for character (and practicality!)
You will need:
- Plastic Moulds (I used some 30cm plant pot saucers)
- Cooking oil spray
- Ready mix concrete
-Option 1: Hard leaves with strong veins or textures
-Option 2: Sea glass (collected from the beach) shells, marbles, coins etc.
Decide on what option you want to create (or make both!) Have everything at hand and ready to go before you start to mix your concrete, it sets fast and you need to be prepared before it does! Spray the inside of your mould and the side of your leaf you want to imprint in the concrete, with a coat of cooking oil spray. If choosing the sea glass option, have your pieces ready to go. Separate the colours you want to use and have an idea of what kind of design you want to make with them. Make sure there are no sharp pieces and they are relatively clean and dry.
Mix your concrete in an old bucket. I’ve used ready mix here, but you can also use a mix of 1 part cement to 3 parts sand. (You can also tint the colour of your concrete with an oxide if you wish). Use enough water to get it to a thick consistency and pour it straight into your mould. Ideally the thickness should be at least 3 cms to make it strong enough for walking on. You will need to judge the amount of concrete to be made depending on the size of your mould. Carefully pick up the mould a few mms off the ground and then bang it down a few times to remove any air bubbles and create a nice smooth surface to work on. If you are making the botanical style stone, press your leaf into the concrete firmly (you may need to use a few small rocks to hold it in place while it sets)
If you are making the sea glass style stone, start to press your glass pieces into the concrete to create the pattern you desire. I chose to make a koru design on one and a random mix of colours on the other. You could even use other precious items here to personalise your stepping stone like shells, marbles or coins.
We wait! Ideally overnight, before you carefully peel off the leaf. For the sea glass, use a cloth and a hose to polish the glass and take any cement off the top of it. The stone should slide easily out of the mould if you tip it upside down but you may need to use a blunt knife to get it started on the edges. Give them another 24-48 hours to set fully before you pop them into the ground.
Happy Crafting and planting! X