Making your own stepping stones for your garden is a great way to upgrade your backyard with an easy DIY. It doesn’t take too long and you don’t need to be a professional to make some impressive mosaic stepping stones.
As a whole, making stepping stones requires mosaic, concrete, a bucket, sealant, a template, a pen, some paper, and adhesive film. After putting the mosaic pattern together on a template, concrete and grout are needed to make a foundation and keep it in place.
In the following, you will learn how to make your own stepping stones by following a detailed step-by-step guide with pictures for every step.
What You Will Learn in this Guide
There are plenty of ways how to make stepping stones out of mosaic and concrete.
This instruction teaches you how to make stepping stones with your personalized mosaic pattern with an even surface and without any rush because of hardening concrete.
Other than some “quick and easy” instructions, you won’t have to rush, in order to get your mosaic pattern done because the pattern will be done before the cement is prepared.
You also don’t have to worry about mosaic sticking out and hurting your feet, because this technique allows you to create an even surface of the stepping stone.
Now enjoy your first mosaic stepping stone DIY!
Materials for Making Mosaic Stepping Stones
These are the materials you will need:
- Mosaic or tiles, shells, rocks, or coins
- A bucket to mix the concrete and the grout
- Adhesive film
- Two wooden templates in the size of the stepping stone (round or rectangle)
- Paper in the size of the wooden template
- A pen
- A transparent sheet
How to Make Your Own Mosaic Stepping Stones Step-by-Step
Before you start, you should prepare everything you need, wear comfy clothes that can get a little dusty or dirty, and make enough space for your mosaic pieces.
Step 1 – Gather everything you need
Mosaic or Tiles, Shells, Rocks, or Coins
You can buy mosaic stones. The ones you can buy are not sharp and can also be processed by children. Instead of “normal” mosaic stones, you can also use shells, rocks, coins, or other objects you want to use.
You can also make your own mosaic pieces by smashing tiles.
If you want to make your own mosaic pieces out of tiles, you need a sturdy cutting board, a rather strong plastic bag, and tiles in all the colors you want to use. You also need a hammer to smash the tiles, and maybe some earplugs.
Put one tile at a time in the plastic bag, put the bag on the cutting board, and hit the tile with the hammer. You can also do it without the plastic bag, but chances are high that the sharp shards fly around if you hit the tile.
The cutting board might be damaged during that process, so rather use an old and worn out one.
When you remove the shards, make sure to wear working gloves as the shards can be pretty sharp.
There are different kinds of concrete on the market. Use concrete that is ready to use and does not need any other material such as sand to be mixed with. It makes things quicker and easier. The concrete should also dry rather quickly and rather fine to avoid stones in the mixture. You can buy concrete that is specially made for crafting. It is usually more expensive, but the results are great.
Concrete can come in gray and white. You can also mix a color with the white concrete to create an even more colorful stepping stone.
In addition to the concrete, you can use grout for the top part of the stepping stone to avoid gaps between the mosaic stones.
Adhesive foil is used to keep the mosaic pattern together. You can use smaller pieces and stick them to the mosaic, once the pattern is done. It should be strong enough to keep the mosaic in place, but still easily removable.
I highly recommend using transfer tape (Amazon Link) for cutting machines as they are just perfect for the job!
Two Wooden Templates the Size of the Stepping Stone (Round or Rectangular)
The wooden template has to be the size of the stepping stone. You can either use a round or rectangle base and you need the exact same size twice.
One will be used as a base while you put the mosaic together on it, and the other goes on top of the finished pattern to turn the whole thing around after everything is held in place with adhesive foil.
Paper in the size of the wooden template and a pen
The paper goes on top of the wooden template and with the pen, you draw an outline of the pattern you want to make.
The transparent sheet goes around the wooden template, once the entire mosaic pattern is done. A plastic sheet is better than paper because the concrete will touch this barrier and paper might stick to the concrete.
Step 2 – Make a Sketch of the Pattern
There are plenty of possibilities for wonderful, colorful, creative mosaic patterns. You can do animals, plants, or forms such as circles, triangles, or rectangles.
Don’t try symmetrical, or extremely detailed pictures on your first try. You might get frustrated if they don’t end up the way you want them to.
Once you decided on the pattern, it’s time to bring that pattern to the paper.
Cut out a paper in the size of the base. It can be bigger than the base as long as you know where it ends.
Now draw your draft on the paper.
Step 3 – Start Putting Together the Mosaic Picture
Put the paper draft on the wooden base and stick it on the wood with adhesive tape.
Now the fun part starts: You can start putting together the picture. Make sure to leave enough space between the mosaic pieces so that the concrete can fit in the gap, and don’t use too small pieces, otherwise, the mosaic pieces might fall to the side when you use the concrete.
Step 4 – Use Adhesive Tape to Keep Parts in Place
Whenever you finished a certain area and you feel like to want to make sure it does not get out of place, you can fixate that part with some adhesive tape.
Step 5 – Flip the Mosaic Around
Once your mosaic artwork is done, make sure that the adhesive film covers all mosaic stones
Place the second wooden base on top of the adhesive tape with all the mosaic stones underneath and gently turn everything around. The mosaic stones are stuck to the tape and should not move around.
Remove the top wooden base and you end up with the bottom of the mosaic stones glued to the tape from the other side which is now the bottom.
Step 6 – Prepare the Stepping Stone for the Concrete
When everything is in place, you can wrap the transparent foil around the base and the mosaic. It should be at least 2 inches (approx. 5 cm) higher than the wooden base to make sure that there is enough space for the concrete. Fixate the foil with some adhesive tape and make sure that it stays in place.
Step 7 – Apply the Concrete to the Mosaic
Use fine concrete in the color you prefer for the first layer. Mix the concrete with water according to the packaging instructions.
Try to gently push it into the gaps between the mosaic stones without pushing them apart.
Once everything is covered and you have around 1 inch (approx. 2,5cm) of concrete, you can make the surface a little more even and let the whole thing dry overnight.
Step 8 – Fill in the Gaps and Smooth the Surface
When everything is dry, you can remove the transparent foil, the adhesive tape, and the wooden base and turn your stepping stone around. You can see gaps between the mosaic stones which will now be filled from the other side.
You can either use the same concrete again or use grout to close all the gaps. Don’t worry about getting the grout on the mosaic stones. It can be removed easily after everything is dry.
Step 9 – Clean the Surface
Once the grout is dry, you can take a damp piece of cloth and clean the mosaic stones. The grout should easily be removed from the mosaic pieces.
And your artwork is done!