Easy Concrete Recipe – Easy To Make – Carvable – Long Lasting Results
If You Want To Make Really Smooth Stepping Stones, Try This Easy Recipe Using Fine Sand
This concrete stepping stones recipe is an excellent choice for when you want a really smooth result.
In addition, this recipe is carvable, so if you want to add a design to the stone (such as the example pictured above), or maybe you just would like to carve your signature, or add a saying of some sort onto the surface, then I’d say give this easy stepping stones recipe a try. 🙂
Before you get going, please make sure you’ve read over the Concrete Safety Guidelines and that you understand about the Curing How-Tos. (The curing information applies to both hypertufa and concrete garden art projects.)
Smooth Concrete Stepping Stone Recipe
1 part portland cement (sifted)
3 parts fine sand (sifted)
Optional: Concrete dye colorants
Enough water to make a mud-pie consistency
A form or mold of some sort with REMOVEABLE SIDES;
Carving tools (spoons, screwdrivers, etc. work fine);
Bucket for water; old sponge to wipe off surface of stone.
**You might want to use white portland cement if you want a colored stone. Regular portland is grey, so of course this affects the final outcome of whatever colorant you may choose to use. However, white portland cement can be harder to find, depending upon where you live.
Make sure you’ve read this information on how to properly mix the ingredients. As with any concrete project, a successful outcome when mixing up this stepping stone recipe is dependent upon the proper ratio of ingredients: Mixing Guidelines: Tips to Help You Avoid Unnecessary Mistakes
As far as combining the three ingredients, as I’ve noted sifting the portland cement and the sand is recommended IF you desire a super smooth result. Otherwise measure out the portland cement and sand in the ratios given and break up any lumps with your gloved hands.
Then … slowly add in some water; mix and stir (or blend it in with your gloved hands). Keep adding a little bit of water, mix it in, and add a little more until your have the mid-pie, or some like to say "peanut butter", consistency.
How To Make Your Stepping Stone
Step-By-Step Instructions For A Successful Outcome
#1) Ok, your mixture is ready! Now you can fill your form. Add it in increments, patting it down with your hands as you go along. You want to do your best to remove trapped air bubbles. Keep going until you have completely filled it up to the height you desire.
Also, many people pick up the edge of their form a few inches, and let it drop down onto the work surface, whereby helping to bring any other air bubbles up to the surface. This is just another way to "tap-tap" out the bubbles.
#2) Note: at this point there will be some excess water starting to collect on the surface. That’s OK … this is what is supposed to happen. (You’re doing great!)
#3) Using your gloved hands or a trowel, or if you are more particular a long stick to pull across the top … smooth the surface of your stepping stone.
#4) Let your stone cure. You do not cover the surface with plastic. It will take at least three (3) hours, probably closer to six (6) hours to cure enough before you can remove the sides of the form. Once hard enough (cured), you may carefully remove the sides of your form.
Now is a good time to wash off and clean up your form. You don’t want the concrete to set up on it!
#5) Now, you may begin carving. (If you see any white, flaky looking scale on the concrete, just scrape it off. This is a deposit that forms on concrete … you’ve not goofed up in the recipe. All’s OK!)
You can use just about any object or tool you can think of to do your carving. Try to keep the "waste" concrete collected in a bucket or container, as it makes your clean up much easier.
You can use a damp sponge to help smooth areas, or you can mist a little bit of water if need be (do NOT add much–just mist a little!).
#6) When you’re done with your carving, take your damp sponge, and gently run it over the outside edges, to smooth them off.
#7) Let your concrete stepping stone sit uncovered for 24 hours. Try to mist it 3 times during the 24 hours, if possible.
#8) After 24 hours, carefully turn over the stone onto something soft. An old towel or even piece of carpet will do. Using a flat edged item (piece of metal or even a trowel), or a damp sponge, smooth off the edges of the bottom of the stone. You can sign and date the stone now, if you want to.
#9) You’re almost done. 🙂 I suggest you take your new stone outside and hose it off to give it a good clean-up and to wet it down. Then, place it inside a plastic bag; close up the bag; and let it cure for a week. You may want to check on the moisture level in the bag every day or so. You can mist more water into the bag if necessary. Dampness is required for a proper cure, and a proper cure is what produces a good hard stepping stone!
#10) That’s it. Now you can remove your concrete stepping stone from the bag and place it where you desire. However, I would still not walk on it for another week or two, as honestly, the cure is still continuing and a full cure takes about a month. If it were me, I’d err on the side of caution, rather than not!