HomeEverything ConcreteDIY Concrete Stepping Stones: Shaped Like Natural Stone

DIY Concrete Stepping Stones: Shaped Like Natural Stone

Make natural looking DIY concrete stepping stones or pavers. Color the concrete and mold it into the shape of real fieldstones or flagstones.

Finally, the DIY concrete stepping stones are finished!

It’s a project that desperately needed to happen because when we moved into this rental home, we couldn’t use the front door to go in and out of the house.

The reason for this was that the existing path from the driveway to the door was 6″ deep with pebbles.

make your own stepping stones with concrete

To walk on it, I kid you not, this so-called stone path was like trudging through quicksand or even walking in deep water.

Someone didn’t have their thinking cap on when they made that path. ;0) We truly needed functional stepping stones.

part of stepping stone path

To walk on it, I kid you not, this so-called stone path was like trudging through quicksand or even walking in deep water.

Someone didn’t have their thinking cap on when they made that path. ;0) We truly needed functional stepping stones. 

Now, if you aren’t looking to make your own concrete stones, you may want to check out my post on how to build a concrete paver patio, where I purchased the pavers instead of making them.

In the paver patio situation, it was cheaper to buy than to make.

Stepping stones are sometimes referred to as garden stones, paving stones, or pathway stones.

Regardless of the term, they have one important objective –to help get you from spot A to spot B.

So I decided to make stepping stones that would look like real fieldstone using concrete.

It’s much cheaper to make your own stepping stones using concrete than it is to buy stepping stones, especially if you have them installed.

Making my own concrete stepping stones and choosing a pour-in-place method required less prep work with the ground because the concrete is self-leveling.

If you make a concrete stepping stone mold and then install them separately, you’ll have to level the ground first.

This is because the bottom of the mold would have been flat.

This pour-in-place method saved me quite a bit of time and labor –especially considering how large these concrete stepping stones were.

You’ll still have to level the top of them, but it may not be necessary for you to do anything to level the ground beforehand.

The Best Type of Concrete Mix to Use for Making DIY Stepping Stones

The best type of concrete mix to use for stepping stones is going to depend on the thickness you are making them.

I made these stepping stones 2″ thick and so I went with Quikrete’s Sand Topping Mix.

If your stones are thicker, then this is not the proper mix for you –as Quikrete specifies only for thickness of up to 2″.

Just be sure to read the labels and always stick within the recommended thicknesses.

But don’t I need reinforcement for concrete stepping stones?

Quikrete’s Sand Topping Mix doesn’t need to be reinforced as long as you don’t go over the 2″ thickness. It does not need chicken wire, wire mesh, nor rebar. 

I verified this with Quikrete’s customer service department before starting the project. 

The cement itself is strong enough to hold up, even under freezing conditions. 

UPDATE  1 ½ years later : The concrete stepping stones have held up and look as good as when I first made them, except for a slight lightening and staining from leaf debris.

overhead view of diy concrete stepping stones

Of course, you don’t have to make concrete stepping stones that look natural.

You can follow much of this tutorial and make regular round stones, using the same stepping stone mold I used for these.

Also, many people like to make decorative stepping stones like garden mosaic stepping stones. They will be a little easier to make, but not a great solution for uneven ground.

The decorative stones are usually made by adding mosaic glass, tiles or other embeddable materials into the concrete.

If you’re not convinced about making your own stepping stones, then check out my article discussing all the pros and cons of making stepping stones vs. buying them and having them installed.

Pocket Guide to Concrete & Cement Mixes For Crafts
Grab the free pocket guide. It has a handy chart for choosing the right mix for your project.

I can say this has been my favorite DIY to date because of how amazingly practical the stepping stones turned out to be for us.

And using the materials we did, really ended up being the easy way to make these.

I’ve got a lot of information here because I really go into a lot of details, but don’t let the length of this tutorial intimidate you, it is a fairly easy project and parts of it are especially fun.

Some of the links on this page have been provided as a convenience for finding materials. These links may also be affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, at no extra cost to you.

I only recommend products I’ve used and loved, unless otherwise stated. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

materials for making concrete stepping stones

DIY Difficulty Level | Moderate

The techniques are actually quite easy, but since the concrete is heavy to deal with, and this project will require a lot of crouching and squatting on the ground.

Due to the physicality of it I’m rating this project as moderate.

Materials For Making DIY Concrete Stepping Stones

*Reminder –In addition to reading the tutorial, I highly recommend watching my diy concrete stepping stones video before you make these.

Some of the steps and techniques I used, especially for molding and coloring are a bit difficult to explain in writing and even photos.

Use this written tutorial as a supplement to the video.

Information On Stepping Stones Thickness When Using Concrete: Size And Quantity Needed

You’ll need to figure out how much mix you will need for your concrete stepping stones project.

I used Quikrete’s online calculator before the project, but it didn’t end up being accurate, so the calculator is probably worth skipping- I’ve linked to it just in case you are curious. 

To simplify my quantities, I figured I had the equivalent of 9 large stepping stones.

Technically I had 5 large concrete stepping stones, but if I combined the small ones together, I could see that they would have made 9 large ones.

By “large”, I mean approximately 3’ x 2’ and they were approximately 2” thick.

Each stone used a little less than a full bag, and I think the existing pebbles that were already in the ground took up some of the space.

So it’s possible I needed slightly less concrete mix than you may need at the same size.

It’s safe to calculate 1 bag per large 3’ x 2’ diy concrete stepping stone.

rope placed in path to give sense of shape and size for stepping stones

So how do you know how many stones you will need for your chosen path location?

First I sketched out how I wanted them to look. Then I was able to get a pretty good idea by using ropes as temporary molds.

I placed pieces of rope onto the path and wrapped the rope into the shapes and sizes I planned my stones to be.

These basically acted as templates.

This method made it easy to see that I would have a mix of 5 large stones and several small stones –again, which if combined, would make 9 large stepping stones.

Hint: If you purchase the bags of concrete mix through a big box store, they are returnable. So I recommend buying 1 more bag than you think you’ll need.

The Best Mold To Use For DIY Stepping Stones

For making my reusable concrete mold, I used vinyl chair strapping.

These straps are replacement straps that are used to repair vinyl strap outdoor chairs.

However, there may be a cheaper alternative, such as vertical vinyl blinds slats.

With my vinyl straps, I was limited to making only three molds at a time.

However, since the concrete sets in an hour, it would have been physically difficult to work on more than three at a time, so the three molds sufficed.

Besides, you’ll see in the tutorial steps that you should actually be able to remove the straps after about 10-20 minutes and move on to making the next stepping stone.

All in all, these straps worked out great because of how easily you could mold it into different shapes.

concrete stepping stone curing

Information On Coloring Concrete Pathway Stones To Look Natural

My main goal with these stones was to make them look just like actual stepping stones. I wanted the shape to look natural, as well as the coloring –mostly like real fieldstones.

Fieldstones come in many sizes, shapes and colors, so what is natural looking to me, may not be natural looking to you.

You may want to do a Google image search on fieldstones or flagstones to see which ones float your boat.

When it comes to color, it’s important to know that this Sand Topping Mix cures to a frosted pale grey –almost a frosted white.

I actually included this Sand Topping Mix in the Cement Tests post where I compared the colors of various cement mixes.

Even in my tests, the concrete cured to a frosty grey/white.

But for some reason, when I made these concrete stepping stones, I didn’t think the color of the pavers would turn out light –like the bowl in my tests did.

Here are some other tutorials where I added color to concrete –Pink Cement Planter using a powdered pigment and Mini Cement Balloon Planters using a liquid colorant.

For this one I used a marbling technique with acrylic paint –Fall DIY Concrete Pillar Candle Holders.

darker grey colored stone

This was the shade of grey I had intended on.

I must have thought that maybe because the stones were so large, they would naturally turn out a more medium grey.

I was wrong. Just be aware that when the cement is wet, it looks quite dark, but will cure to quite a light shade of grey that almost looks white.

So to avoid having any surprises with color, I strongly recommend that you make two test pieces before starting this stepping stones project.

You don’t need to use your vinyl straps, just plop your wet mixture onto the ground where your stones will go and make them into any shape.

Make one test piece that is approximately 1’x1’ and 2” deep.

Test the coloring by brushing the colorant on top of one side of the colorant and leave the other side natural for comparison.

On the second test stone- this one can be 6 x 6” and 2” deep, but add charcoal colorant into the mix –rather than brushing it on.

This will give you a sense of how the techniques work and whether you need to adjust the amount of colorant. For a 6 x 6” piece, half a tablespoon (if using the liquid colorant) should be your starting point.

Please refer to Steps 4-6 for instructions on coloring to make the test pieces.

Let these test pieces cure a minimum of 3 days –a week is better. This will show you what you have to work with.

You don’t want to end up having to buy expensive stains or dyes, along with etching products and sealants, to correct the color if the color isn’t what you were going for.

This will save you time and money by doing some testing first.

Again, don’t let this scare you from the project, the stones are easy to make and ridiculously fun to color.

You also will have plenty of time to adjust the color as you are working on them.

Really the issue is just having an understanding of how much lighter they will look when fully cured.

Please click the button to subscribe to my YouTube channel and be notified when I have a new video tutorial!

Before starting the tutorial, it may be helpful to read my article comparing the different concrete mixes and sealers– Cement & Concrete Crafts Tests!

Another important article is Making Cement Crafts Techniques & Tips with info on cement materials, mixture consistencies, demolding, safety and clean up!

Tutorial Steps For Making DIY Concrete Stepping Stones

Step 1. Prep The Space

Prep path for DIY Concrete Stepping Stones

Now that you have a good understanding of the coloring, you can prep the space.

I didn’t have too much prep to do for this path.

The path was already there but was covered in pebbles, so I shoveled all the loose pebbles out the areas I would be placing the stones.

The ground was not in the least bit level, but I didn’t worry about leveling because I knew the concrete would self-level to some extent.

Plus I didn’t mind if they weren’t perfectly level. You can always do the leveling at the top of the concrete stones.

Step 2. Put Together The Stepping Stone Mold

mold for city concrete stepping stones on path

Use tape to join the ends of the vinyl straps together.

Depending on the size, I sometimes overlapped the straps rather than butting the ends into each other.

Toward the end of my stone making, I skipped taping the ends together. The reason is that the mold held its shape without the tape.

This is because I was able to push some extra pebbles up against the sides.

I even started pulling the mold off right away. It’s up to you and how comfortable you feel.

Take the garden stakes and push them into the ground. Place them around the outside of your mold wherever you feel it needs support.

These are what you will manipulate to get the general stone shape.

Step 3. Mix The Concrete

quikrete sand topping mix with peanut butter consistency

Using the hoe, mix the concrete with water. It will be easier and less dusty if you first add some water to your mixing bin or wheelbarrow.

Then pour in the dry concrete mix –but do this in small batches.

If you try to do it all at once, it will make it very difficult to mix in such a large amount.

Mix the concrete and adjust by adding more water or concrete. The right consistency to aim for is a peanut butter-like consistency.

It will probably be easiest if you mix what you think you’ll need for the whole stone, but separate a section that will be the top ½”.

Just don’t color it yet, you’ll do this after the base layer is in place.

Step 4. Cast The Concrete Stepping Stone Molds

concrete poured into straps mold

My methods evolved over time. I finally decided that just dumping the concrete into the mold was the best way to go.

If this is easiest for you then go ahead and just pour it directly into the mold.

Otherwise, you might find it easier to use a shovel to place the concrete.

Only pour in the mix that is reserved for the 1 ½” base layer.

Spread the concrete around with your gloved hands first, and be sure to get it right up to the strap edges.

mold filled with concrete being smoothed with trowel

Next, use the trowel to level the concrete. Keep the trowel at a slight angle and just sweep it back and forth.

Step 5. Coloring The Base Layer

Now go ahead and add the charcoal colorant to the remaining mix you had separated and mix it in well.

The amount you add will have been determined from the two pieces you tested before beginning the project.

Once the coloring looks even, pour it on top of the base layer.

Use the trowel again to get it level and smooth. Hold off on applying the brush on color for now.

Your timing will be more efficient if you start your next stepping stone.

Since I did most of this project by myself, I found it was easiest to go mix another batch and set up the next mold, pour it and lightly level it.

Then come back to the previous mold and remove the strap.

The reason for my timing on this is because the concrete will have started setting and will be moldable enough. The set time should be about 15-25 minutes.

Your workability time (the time before it becomes too difficult to mold or add colorant) for these stepping stones should be about an hour, depending on climate conditions.

Step 6. Fine Tune The Shape And Prep For Accent Coloring The Concrete Stepping Stones

After you have started the next stone mold, feel the concrete to see if it has some form to it. If so, then remove the vinyl strap.

Now use your gloved hand to shape the edges. Round them a little, and push them inward to create more of a curve if you want.

You may also want to slant to the edge.

Now you will want the following supplies near the stone you are coloring.

Plastic bags; a coarse paintbrush; a small bucket of water; a rag for clean up and various colorants of your choice, along with a bowl or cup for each. 

In addition, for each color you have, you should also have one cup of water, plus you may find it helpful to have one more extra cup of water.

Pour some of each colorant into its own bowl/cup. If your pigment is a powder, then mix some water in with it.

Place the extra bowl/cup of water next to each color.

Accent coloring the stones is kind of like painting watercolors, they require lots of blending.

This is why you have extra cups of water. The small bucket of water will be for cleaning up the brush and your hands.

The main colors I used for this brush-on coloring technique were charcoal, red and a little blue.

Step 7. Artistic/Accent Coloring Of The Top Layer

adding color to the concrete by brushing it on

Take the coarse paintbrush and dip it into the first color and then into the water.

Apply this in a brushing motion to the stone where you want to add color. Blend it into the top layer of wet cement and just play with it.

If you are using red, then go lightly with it because it tends to be highly pigmented and you only need a little to get the color to come through. 

Blend these colors into the stone and into each other the way you might with a watercolor painting.

You can dip your brush back into the water to help with blending. Don’t forget to get the edges.

You can play with this by adding water to help mute the color. 

Step 8. Add Stone Texture To The Concrete

shaping edge of concrete stepping stone after mold has been removed

Now you will use the plastic bag to achieve two things, one is to blend the colors more and the other is to create the stone-like texture.

Place the bag on your hands and pat the top of the concrete. Keep patting until you like the way the texture and blending look.

The bag really ended up being a great way to get a nice rippled texture of natural stone into the wet cement.

Step 9. Let The Concrete Cure

concrete stones curing

Now continue these steps with the rest of the stones. Technically, the stones will reach their full cure in 3-4 weeks- meaning their full strength.

I was able to carefully walk on them after about 24 hours, but you should wait 3-5 days before you allow any foot traffic. 

If you are wondering about needing to cover these with plastic while curing, per the concrete representative at Quikrete, it is not necessary.

You also do not need to water cure these. 

I had my concrete covered because it was the height of pollen season and I didn’t want the yellow pollen staining the stones.

I only left the plastic on for one day. They were dry enough that I wasn’t worried about color permeating them.

For detailed information on how to color/pigment concrete crafts, you may want to check out my Concrete Crafts Pigment Tests article.

You may also be interested in this post with 21 unique ideas on using rocks and stones in your landscape.

Step 10. Seal The Concrete Stones -Recommended

I didn’t seal these -in part because I didn’t want to add an extra expense for a home I don’t own.

They are porous, so you will likely encounter staining if you don’t seal them.

One month post-project I can see stains from berries and other foliage, and when scrubbing them, some of the stains go away, but not all of them. 

It would also help protect against fading.

Look for an outdoor concrete or stone sealer.

And be sure you do a test patch first to make sure it doesn’t change the color or darken the concrete stones in any undesired way.

If you want to make your own stone that’s personalized, consider adding decorative elements to the top. Items you can embed would be:

  • sea glass
  • pebble mosaic
  • glass beads
  • mosaic tiles
  • pieces of china

Also, here are 15 other ideas on different types of garden paths and walkways you can make.

FAQ for Making DIY Concrete Stepping Stones

How thick do stepping stones need to be?

For durability, concrete stepping stones should be 1 ½” to 2 ½” thick.

However, you will need to make sure the mix you use can cast to a thickness between those two numbers. Most mixes will support casting to a thickness of 1 ½”, but 2” is better.

The information on the bag of the concrete mix should provide this information, but if not, you can usually find that information on the manufacturer’s website.

Just look under the general instructions or the Data Sheet.

How do you mix a stepping stone?

When it comes to mixing concrete for a stepping stone, ideally you mix it with a rotating concrete mixer.

But most of us don’t have one of those laying around and they are pricey to purchase for a one time job.

So the next most efficient way of mixing the concrete mix is to use a bucket and a drill with a special concrete mixing bit.

Otherwise, good ole fashioned hand mixing with a hoe and wide bin will work.

How do you make large stepping stones?

There’s not really anything extra to do to make large stepping stones. The most important thing is just to make sure you have the proper concrete mix.

You need a mix that allows for the largest size stone you plan to make and can meet the thickness you need.

For these natural looking stones, I went as large as 3’ x 2 ½’ and a max of 2” thick.

The Sand Topping Mix I used was specified for these sizes and thicknesses.

What kind of concrete do you use to make stepping stones?

The best concrete mix to use for path stones will be based on the thickness and size. The three types of mixes you can use are:

GFRC mix that contains fiberglass fibers, for reinforcement
Sand Topping Mix from Quikrete
Crack-resistant- fiber reinforced, this can contain either fiberglass or nylon fibers

Should I seal a stepping stone?

I definitely recommend sealing a stepping stone. Concrete is porous and is susceptible to stains like leaf stains.

The sealer will help prevent some of it and also make it easier to remove.

If you do end up with leaf stains, a pressure washer and some OxiClean, or perhaps tsp will help remove them.

Don’t forget to Pin it for later!

make your own stepping stones with concrete

Don’t forget to Pin it for later!

make your own stepping stones with concrete

DIY Concrete Stepping Stones That Look Natural

How to make your own DIY stepping stones that look natural, using concrete and coloring them. This is an in depth step by step tutorial- with a video for making these neat garden path pavers.

Active Time 2 days
Total Time 2 days
Difficulty Moderate


  • Sand topping mix- Quikrete
  • Vinyl straps for the mold
  • Concrete pigment


  • Please refer to the FULL materials list above the tutorial steps.


  1. Prep The Pathway Area
  2. Create The Stepping Stone Mold With The Straps
  3. Mix The Concrete
  4. Cast The Concrete Stepping Stone Molds
  5. Add Color To The Concrete's Base Layer
  6. Fine Tune The Shape By Molding It With Your Hands And Prepare For Accent Coloring For The Concrete Stepping Stones
  7. Now Color The Conrete's Top Layer For The Artistic/Accent Coloring
  8. Add A Stone Texture To The Concrete With The Plastic Bag
  9. Let The Concrete Cure
  10. Seal The Concrete Stones -Recommended

Did you make this project?

If you like this tutorial, please share!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. The detail and info you provide is unbelievable to me ! Great project . If I was in NH I would make the stepping stones , and of course I love the pebbles . Love, Mimi’s owner

      1. Thank you for your exceptional tutorial. You “own the space” on diy stepping stones. Truly well-done.

        I would say, though, that the charcoal colorant is meant to be mixed into the water that is used to wet the dry concrete. This might explain why your finished stones were not as dark as anticipated.

        I learned an incredible number of useful techniques from your written and video instructions that I’m using now to build a lava rock project in my front yard. A great big wheelbarrow load of thanks to you!

        1. Hi Bruce,

          I’m so glad you got some useful tips from the tutorial. The lava rock project sounds really cool!

          Yes true, when using the liquid colorant it should be mixed into the water and then the mix. It’s what I normally do if I make a planter and use the liquid colorant (but I use the powder form more often). But for the stepping stones, I just should have added it to the mix Period, rather than coating topically. ?

          I just got so used to using the off-white Cement All mix, that I was thinking the concrete would come out darker grey even without coloring it. But I know better than that, I just wasn’t thinking.?


  2. Hello! Thank you for taking the time to leave detailed instructions and for making a supplementary video! You are so thoughtful to have done this! I really want to try this project and follow what you did. I am wondering how your stones have held up. Have you experienced cracking? I plan on sealing mine, but I am curious how they have held up since you made them. Do you have any lessons learned that you didn’t already mention in the instructions/video?

    Thank you very much!

    1. Hi Sammie,

      Excellent question. Yes, a new lesson- which really isn’t new because I suspected this before I started, but since I wasn’t getting help paying for this from my landlord, I went the easier and cheaper route. The lesson is, make sure you have the path leveled properly and that you use packing sand or packing gravel to fill in every little dip before you lay the stones.

      Since my path was anything but level and I let some of thoselarge pebbles remain underneath in some spots, one of the stones had air gaps underneath and was thinner than 2″ in that spot and has cracked. I just saw the crack the other day. However, I’m confident that if the stones are 2-3″ thick and the ground is level that they won’t crack.

      Quikrete recommended the Sand Topping Mix that I used for this project, but using a glass fiber reinforcement would surely be an even safer bet. There are concrete mixes with GFRC in it that would make it more durable, or you can buy glass fibers and add it yourself, which would probably be less expensive.

      1. Thank you for your reply! I’m sorry to hear of the cracking! Hopefully only one stone will crack and the others will stay intact. Bummer you didn’t get your landlord’s support for this project! The stones look a million times better than the quicksand path.

        I will make sure to remove all gravel in my area beforehand, and I will try to level as much as possible. Thanks for the tip!

        Regarding the concrete, do you think something like this would be better: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Quikrete-80-lb-Crack-Resistant-Concrete-Mix-100680/100318448? I own my home, so I am happy to invest the extra money to ensure my stones don’t crack.

        One last question, you mentioned early in the video that you were estimating about two days to complete the job. Did everything take you the full two days? Or, roughly how many hours do you think you spent on the project? I have some other yard projects I’m trying to do on weekends within the next month or so, and I’m trying to plan accordingly so I don’t bite off more than I can chew. I feel so empowered to do this project, though, after seeing you do it. Thank you!

        1. Hi Sammie,

          You crack me up. Lol, you’d think he’d be happy the quicksand was gone and willing to invest.

          I know the crack resistant mix does have synthetic fibers in it, so probably it is better. But, Quikrete has really good customer product support. They have a 1-800 number and you can ask them directly. They told me to use the Sand Topping, but I’d be interested to know why they didn’t recommend the crack resistant mix. I wonder how different the coloring would be.

          Yes, the stepping stone portion did only take me two days. It took me a bit to clear out the existing large pebbles, I did it in small doses and there was as much as 6″ of pebbles to deal with in some spots. I did this mostly alone and I think it ended up being two full afternoons. try to get some help if you can, mixing the cement and then carrying it without a wheel barrow was where I suffered.

          I’m so glad you feel empowered to do this. Good luck on this and your other projects! And let me know how the crack resistant mix works, if you end up going with that.

          1. Hey there, Ellen! I ended up finding some beautiful flagstone to fill my 100 sq ft walkway area. I got such a good deal and paid $200 for it! So, I will not be doing your project afterall, but I wanted to thank you so much for the tips and guidance! I appreciate you!

  3. Many thanks Ellen for the great video and detailed instructions. I’m now inspired to take on this project in my back yard.

  4. Hi! Your tutorials are very informative- thanks! I thought I’d share this with you as it might be something that you’d like to investigate!
    Part One: I live in Ontario, Canada, in what is known as the ‘snowbelt’- so you can imagine the cold and snow we get! Things (posts, etc) generally need to be dug down 3-4 feet to avoid shifting with freezing & thawing.
    So on the flagstone path I’ve started, we dug it out and put 4 inches of ‘A’ gravel. Then we packed down about 2 inches of stone dust (the small ground-up gravel, that you wet and pack down and it gradually turns really hard (almost like concrete) but allows good drainage. Then I lay a few stones and level them together using loose stone dust, packing it around the stone, misting it and packing as I go.
    Part Two: Now…I live on a floodplain, and when I installed my above ground pool I was considering pouring a concrete base, but was worried about the frost line and cracking. The solution pool guys use for this is to add Vermiculite (there are different grades, & I think they use food grade but I can’t recall for sure). It is primarily used in potting soil- (looks like little styrofoam balls) . (And it’s not Permiculite – that is different). What the vermiculite does is that it allows the concrete to have a tiny bit of ‘flexibility’ so it can ‘move’ without cracking! If you want more details, I’m sure you can find mix ratios etc online if you Google ‘concrete/cement pool bases for above-ground pools’).
    I would like to do two test rocks – one with & one without vermiculite and see how they compare under daily use. It would also be interesting to use a mold for one and free pour directly onto the ground the way you did.
    If I did that here- especially without any gravel and stone dust for a base underneath, I’m pretty sure they would be cracked within a couple of years, so It will probably take a few years observing the test rocks to see if there is any difference. But if it does save stones from cracking, it would be worthwhile to try it out! (Btw, If you can’t find the info online, message me and I’ll dig mine out and forward to you! Patti ?

    1. Hi Patti,

      I grew up near Rochester NY, so I understand the snow belt!

      Your packing and sublayer/bedding material types sound perfect. I’m doing a patio now and doing the same- but this time I’m actually using pre-made pavers.

      I don’t think you need to worry about cracking. I know people in Canada who made stepping stones 2” thick and haven’t had cracking years later- using Sand Topping Mix.

      The pool foundation is a whole different story as it’s such a large slab and it would make sense that you need movement in large slabs. That’s the purpose of line breaks in sidewalks, but stepping stones are different and don’t require space for expansion and contraction. I see your thinking on this, but I would advise not using vermiculite for this.

      If you want to be safe, call Quikrete’s help number and confirm that the best mix for your climate is the Sand Topping Mix and that you won’t need reinforcement.

  5. Has anyone tried this with water preamble concrete? I live in the Pacific Northwest of the United States so water/rain is an issue

    1. Hi BD,

      If I’m understanding your question correctly, I don’t think the concrete from the stepping stones themselves is the issue, it’s the way you do the gravel and slope for drain off that will be important. We don’t get the rain you do in here in the Atlanta area, but we do get tropical amounts all in one sitting and it’s not an issue with this concrete, but it’s only because of the gravel around it and then the fact that the path is immediately adjacent to a hill.

  6. Hello!

    Love love LOVE your page! I’ve learnt so much. Thank you so much!

    May I ask if your stones ended up being slippery? Or does the plastic bag bit give them enough texture? If you have made any with a rougher finish, do you have any tips?

    Thanks in advance!

    Fremantle, Western Australia

    1. Hi Anna,

      Thank you!

      The stepping stones aren’t slippery whatsoever. The texture is quite rough and it’s not because of the plastic bag texturing. When concrete isn’t cast up against something- like a mold, it’s always going to rough. I live in the southeastern US where it’s very wet and these stones are under lots of trees where it retains moisture, yet they are as stable of a surface you can ask for- like sand paper. Open cured concrete will always produce a rough surface. Concrete cured against smooth surfaces (like silicone or plastic molds) and left to cure in them will be slick. I also removed the vinyl straps after the concrete started to set, so the sides were rough too. I hope that helps!

  7. Thanks for this great tutorial. I used cardboard for my forms (no vertical blinds lying around). The nitrile gloves saved my hands — I use them now for all sorts of projects. I did a 25′ x3′ path for a fraction of what pavers or real stone would have cost and I got a lot stronger from mixing all that concrete, too, as a bonus!

  8. Thank you so much for sharing! I have been making concrete boulders to add to my landscape and will be incorporating some of your techniques into my next ones. I also plan on doing the stepping stones some day! Thank you again!

  9. I read your tutorial before laying my cement “flagstone” pathway and it gave me the confidence I needed to proceed. I am thrilled with the results and so is my husband! Thank you!

  10. I can’t wait to try this as collecting free broken pavers,bricks etc is taking a really long time. Especially getting all the same thickness. If you have some going on grassy areas without packed gravel under them, will they sink?

    1. Hi Bev, I think that will depend on the type of soil underneath. I have flagstones I placed directly on soil that haven’t moved, as well as pavers in a separate location. However, in the location where these DIY stepping stones were, there’s a small chance there’d be some movement. I think you might experience a small amount of movement, but probably not enough to cause a problem.

      1. Creating your own DIY concrete stepping stones shaped like natural stones is not only a fantastic way to enhance your garden but also a fulfilling project. I found the concrete calculator mentioned in this blog incredibly helpful for precise measurements, ensuring my stepping stones turned out perfectly. The step-by-step guide provided valuable insights, making the process easy even for beginners. Now, my garden path boasts custom-designed stones that mimic the beauty of nature. Kudos to the blog for simplifying the DIY concrete process and incorporating a useful tool like the concrete calculator: https://concrete-calculator.org/