Make a Stained Glass Stepping Stone
For Someone Special
When you need a thoughtful gift for someone special, a stained glass stepping stone might be the perfect gift. First, because you made it and that is a gift of the heart. Second, because you can make it very personal and unique.
The one we are showing you is for a dear friend. Dave and I included mementos that mean a lot to her: she loves horses, she and her husband loved boating. We included their initials and a sparkly heart.
You might want to include something your friend loves, like a metallic bird, a team jersey number, a key to your heart, their initials, rocks of their favorite color - you get the idea.
Your stepping stone could have a theme - like everything on it is red, or mementos from a school they attended, their house numbers, musical notes, tiny tools, knitting needles, hearts of all shapes and sizes, or the date of their wedding. If you are unsure whether something would stick to concrete, please research that.
Dave and I want to share how we made this special stepping stone for our friend
DIY: How to Make This Special Stepping Stone
Gather Your Materials
You may want to take a little time to gather the mementos and pretty stones or glass to make this stained glass stepping stone. While the list below might look long, much of it is just household items you already have.
Mosaic stained glass
You could use any kind of stones or glass, but colorful and sparkly are fun. We chose this colorful and shiny mosaic stained glass.
We only used a portion of the package so you could do several garden stones with one package.
Of course, if that is the only thing you are putting in your stepping stone, you will use more than we did.
We started with a round plastic mold like this.
Materials for Stained Glass Stepping Stone
It looks like a lot, but really it isn't. It's much easier done than said.
- A plastic mold like the one above. Any shape you like.
- Pretty rocks, glass or other decorative pieces for decorating the stepping stone
- Other mementos, if desired
- A sheet of paper, cardboard or flat sheet to layout your stones as in a rough sketch
- A bag of concrete mix
- Water, preferably from a hose
- Something to mix the concrete in - like a wheelbarrow or bucket
- A shovel for mixing the concrete
- A shovel or scoop for adding the wet concrete mix to the mold
- A screwdriver or plastic knife for gently adjusting the decorations in the wet concrete mix
- A level working surface
- Recommended: chicken wire to put into the mold for reinforcement
- Recommended: strong wire for any large mementos for reinforcement
- Recommended: pliers for twisting the wire to the mementos
- Optional: rubber gloves to protect your hands
Chicken wire will be used to reinforce the concrete
We'll add the chicken wire to the middle of the concrete mix to reinforce the concrete
Layout the Basic Design First
Layout your stones and mementos on a dry surface
Before diving in with mixing the concrete and all, it's good to first layout the pattern you want. It does not have to be exact but it will help to have a visual idea of how you want everything to look on the stone.
Our plastic mold came with a paper liner in it that was round, the same size as the mold. We laid out the stones on that first. You could make a template on a piece of paper if you don't have a liner like this.
For our stepping stone, we have horse shoes, a helm, a wrench, initials, a heart, an angel and lots of colorful mosaic stained glass pieces.
Optional: wire on the large pieces
We added wire to all the large pieces. The wire will not show as it will be pushed into the concrete. Just for reinforcement.
Time to Mix the Concrete
Mixing the concrete in a wheelbarrow
Once all your materials are assembled and you have laid out your pattern, it's time to mix the concrete.
Dave usually uses the wheelbarrow for mixing concrete. It cleans up well if you rinse it out afterward.
Dave has mixed concrete many times so he just eyeballs the amount of water to add, but we would suggest you follow the instructions on the concrete mix package. You don't want it too watery nor too dry.
Dave estimates how much to make and just so you know, he was also using the concrete in the wheelbarrow for two projects that day.
One way to measure the concrete mix would be to fill up the mold with the dry concrete mix and then add in some more for good measure. It's a starting point at least. Just use the mold as a measuring tool; don't actually mix your concrete in it. Use a bucket or wheelbarrow. Just not anything that you want to keep nice.
Sorry, we forgot to take a pic of pouring the concrete...
Please note: We forgot to get pictures of us pouring the concrete mix into the mold. But just so you know, we filled the mold about one third to one half full and then we put the chicken wire in. Then we added more concrete. Leave a bit of room at the top for your stones and all. We almost overfilled ours.
As Dave says, the chicken wire gives the concrete mix something to hold onto - a reinforcement. It's optional but serves a good purpose.
Once you have the mold filled with concrete, make sure it is setting on a level surface before you start placing anything in it. If you see water collect at the top, carefully pour some of it off, then level the concrete again.
Set in Stone
First step is to place your mementos
We did not wait long before we started to place the larger mementos. That included horse shoes, a wrench and a helm.
Next we began adding the colorful glass around the mementos.
After the largest mementos pieces were placed in the wet concrete mix, we started adding the mosaic stained glass pieces around them.
Sometimes we needed the help of a screwdriver
Occasionally the pieces will fall into the concrete and we used a screw driver to gently lift them up to the surface. In the above pic, you can see we also added the initials, heart, angel and the rest of the stones. Now we are just fine tuning the pieces with the screwdriver (or you could use a plastic knife).
Once everything is placed the way you like (don't try to make it perfect), then use the screwdriver to gently touch each piece to make sure it's embedded in the concrete enough.
Note: We've made stepping stones in the past where the pretty rocks fell out because they were not set deep enough in the concrete. So give each piece a tiny push to ensure it's going to dry "in" the concrete and not just "on top" of it. Make sense?
Be Patient: Your Stone Must Dry for 24 hours
We put our stained glass stepping stone on a table in our garden shed to dry for 24 hours. The drying time is important. Don't cheat and take it out of the mold sooner. You don't want it to crack. If you think it needs to dry longer, then please do.
During the drying process, be sure it is setting on a level surface or you will have a crooked stepping stone.
After 24 hours, we turned over the mold and the stepping stone easily released
We were surprised how easily the stone came out of the mold. The bottom of it was still looking pretty dark so we let it dry upside down for a few hours too.
Clean off the stone dust from the stepping stone
There was some dust from the concrete on the top of the stepping stone. A soft toothbrush worked well to clean it off. I even used my hair dryer to quickly blow off the dust, then water or window cleaner to shine up the stones with a soft cloth.
Time to Put the Stepping Stone in the Garden
Stepping stone in our friend's garden
Our friend was touched by this gift. The mementos meant a lot to her. She put it in her garden and we know it will bring back nice memories whenever she sees it.
Video: Watch Our Visual Tutorial of Making the Stepping Stone
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