- If you make a mistake, you can simply remove the items, flatten out the top with the side of a popsicle stick or spoon, tap the sides to smooth, and start over again!
- When gathering items for embellishing your stepping stones, steer clear of wooden items because they don't stick into the concrete very well.
- Get creative with your embellishments! Try seashells, marbles, beach glass, mosaic tiles, buttons, small toys, and mementos of any sort.
- Make prints in the cement after it has set for between 30 minutes to an hour.
- Besides handprints and paw prints. Try making prints with other items such as dog biscuits, leaves, cookie cutters, etc.
From Stonemaker: "Hello all, I make stones for a living. I use cake and pie pans that I get at yard sales. I put contact paper in the bottom cut the same size as my pan. I attach my decorations to the contact paper by pressing down hard on them. I then spray a light coat of WD 40 on the inside of my pan. I let sit over night and they will pop right out the next day."
- From Debra in Illinois: Use glow in the dark items as embellishments for your stones!
- From Mel in WA: "When my parents' 50th anniversary was approaching, friends and relatives were asked to contribute a 12X12 quilt block for an anniversary quilt. We decided to do a hand and paw print block with my wife and I and our two akitas. We learned right away that having the dogs sit and dipping their paws in water and pressing them on a piece of paper became a game for them - hence no cooperation. Secondly, with no weight on the paw, you got a print that was smaller than the foot normally looked. So, here's how to get around that. Lead them around in some wet grass or through a puddle of water (even if you have to make one on the kitchen floor) and then immediately across a sheet of newspaper. Quickly out line the wet print on the paper with a marker and you have the makings of a pattern that can be used for stepping stones, applique, whatever."
- From Amy C: "Make sure you push pebbles and decorations down in the wet concrete well or they'll fall out easily after they dry."
- From Whetstone: "I like using stencils after the stone is dry. Take a pencil and trace the design onto the stone. I use Patio paint to paint over the design and then spray them with Thompson clear spray for cement. They are holding up marvelously in the rain."
- From Diana V: "I have just a small little tip that my uncle told me since he has his own cement laying business, I asked him what are the steps I need to do in order to add some color to my cement stepping stones? He explained that when adding color to cement ALWAYS wait until it sets a little while (around the time when you add gems or beads) but add the color by using a float (scraper or spreading like tool) and just spread it into your steeping stone, the harder you push the more color you will get. Of course you have to push somewhat to get the color mixed in. You could add it to the cement mix but it will cost you twice as much because you'll have to add double the amount of color (which is not cheap) to the cement mixture to get the same if not better results by adding it later or stenciling the color on later."
- From Diana V: "A neat thing that I did with my stepping stones was too add some copper embossing pieces (copper foil or even pennies) to my stepping stones and they look pretty neat and the BEST of all I put them around my garden where I have a snail/slug problem and guess what? snails will NOT touch my plants anymore!!! YA!!!!!! because they don't like copper. I know this may sound strange but try scattering some pennies around your garden and you'll see (snails come out at night so check with a flashlight ok) Have fun!"
- From MJ about making hand prints: "I do it just a little different by filling my pan, box, etc. with moist sand. I have the child put their foot or hand to make a print in the sand. I then fill this with the concrete, plaster of paris etc. When it is hard, I pull it out, blow off the extra sand, and flip it over. Now you have a hand or foot made with what appears to be sand. A great memory of the beach time."
- From Terry: "If you are worried about hands or feets coming in contact with the cement, try laying a piece of plastic wrap down on top of the concrete before you press a hand or foot in it and then lift off the plastic wrap after."
- From Chicamonga: "A neat way to do lettering or write dates on the stones is to buy those decorative glass gems that are flat on one side (also can be found at the dollar store or craft stores)... Because they are clear, you can write on the flat side with a permanant marker and then press it into the stone and see the letters from the other side. The only trick to this is that you have to write your letters backwards! Another idea we have done with the kids is to use the plastic magnetic letters kids play with on the refrigerator."
- From Chicamonga regarding hand prints in concrete: "Regarding hand prints and burning... I have never had this problem. I am assuming maybe you can get burns if the concrete stays on your hand very long and starts to harden? We press the kids' hands in and then wash them right away and have never had a problem with burning."
- From Maurinea: "I used glass stones from the dollar store to decorate them and bought a set of the letters from Michael's for $6. Make sure your mix is good and set up before pushing the letters in. Cookie cutters work great for decorating too."
- From Sandy: "I went to thrift stores and picked out old, colorful ceramic plates. I broke them up to use to make mosaic stepping stones."
I hope these tips help you and you have fun making your own stepping stones. Remember, if you have a helpful hint or tip about making stepping stones, please take a moment to post them for all to read.