DIY Embossed Stepping Stones

July 24, 2020Allison Murray
Curious how to make stepping stones? These gorgeously embossed stepping stones are deceptively simple to make and create the prettiest paths!

Curious how to make stepping stones? It’s so easy! These gorgeously embossed stepping stones are deceptively simple to make and create the prettiest paths!

Curious how to make stepping stones? These gorgeously embossed stepping stones are deceptively simple to make and create the prettiest paths!

It’s kind of amazing to think that I’ve been crafting up stuff for this blog since 2012. And in that time I’ve made and remade a whole bunch of things that never graced this site because I was never happy with the quality of them. A long, long time ago my dad and I made some stepping stones and we really didn’t like how they turned out. So they were placed around my mom’s garden. Though not as pretty as we had imagined they would be, they were still functional stepping stones, after all.

Then when I moved down to South Texas I decided to once again try to make stepping stones. And they turned out PERFECT! But when I moved to Southeast Texas my old stepping stones were left behind. Simply put I had a bunch of stuff and only so much room in my U Haul. And heavy as all get-out stepping stones didn’t make the cut.

Fast forward a year and a half later…

and I’ve got a new yard and a new need for stepping stones. My backyard has the most amazing grass that I walk around in bare feet ALL OF THE TIME. But I’ve got dog trails, like you do, when you have pups. It’s such a shame to have muddy lanes and so it’s time pave their path with stepping stones so that lovely grass can return.

Curious how to make stepping stones? These gorgeously embossed stepping stones are deceptively simple to make and create the prettiest paths!

Supplies Needed to Make Embossed Stepping Stones:

Rubber Doormat

To form the design on our embossed stepping stones we use a rubber doormat. The good news is we will cut out stamps that can be used over and over for multiple stones. The price of these doormats can vary wildly. On Amazon I found an affordable option in a nice and simple geometric design for about $16. Then there is a really cool leaf print doormat on Amazon but it runs closer to $40. I opted to kind of split the difference and used a pretty floral doormat that I paid about $25 for. With this mat I was able to cut out stamps to create 1 small and 2 large stepping stones at a time.

It’s a good idea to shop around. In store at Walmart I later found a perfectly reasonable rubber doormat that was only $7. When selecting your doormat, pay attention to the shape and the size of the doormat prior to purchasing to ensure you’ll get enough cut outs from it to make it worth the cost for you.

Stepping Stone Molds

You can use a lot of things for this project but I strongly suggest reusable plastic stepping stone molds. They have a little bit of bend and give making it easy to pop the finished stones out (whereas a round cake pan, for example, might not flex well). They’re also inexpensive. Wanting to make a bunch smaller and larger circle stones I got one 7.5-inch round stepping stone mold from Hobby Lobby for $2.99 at regular price. I also purchased 2 larger 11-inch round stepping stone molds for $3.99 apiece at regular price.

Cement, Concrete, Sand/Topping Mix? What’s the difference?

A lot of people (including myself) use the terms cement and concrete interchangeably but they aren’t the same thing. Portland cement is a very common building material. It is a fine powder that you add water to to form a paste that hardens like a rock. Adding pebbles or stones to Portland cement makes concrete that is very strong. Sand added to Portland cement makes sand/topping mix that is often used for concrete repair and shouldn’t be used any thicker than 2″.

I suggest using sand topping mix for homemade embossed stepping stones as long as they will be 2″ or thinner. Because the consistency is super smooth the details from your rubber doormat stamps will stand out so well.

Note * Out of one 60-pound bag of sand/topping mix I was able to make 7 large and 4 small stepping stones.

How to Make Stepping Stones

First things first, we’ll need to turn our big doormat into several rubber stamps to emboss our stones. Luckily, it’s an easy task…

Creating Your Casting Stamps

Before doing any cutting, lay your stepping stone molds on top of your mat.

Before doing any cutting, lay your stepping stone molds on top of your mat. Move the molds around to maximize the number of stamps you can create while keeping in mind that you might want to have certain parts of the designs utilized in the stamps. Because my mat is a semicircle as opposed to a rectangle and because my design is simple and repeating, I didn’t worry so much about where the design went as I did maximizing to get as many stamps out as possible.

*Note – these rubber stamps are not single use. If you don’t mind making 1-2 stones at a time you can cut out less stamps to get the best parts of the design.

Once you’ve chosen where to create your rubber stamps, trace each mold onto the mat using a paint marker.

Using a utility knife with a new, sharp blade, carefully make shallow slices along your drawn shape.

Using a utility knife with a new, sharp blade, carefully make shallow slices along your drawn shape. Don’t worry about cutting all of the way through the first pass. Instead concentrate on making multiple, clean cuts that will result in a straight (not jagged) edge.

If necessary, gently pry the are you are cutting apart by hand to help your utility knife reach further down into the mat.

If necessary, gently pry the are you are cutting apart by hand to help your utility knife reach further down into the mat.

Remove your cut shape from the doormat and test the fit inside of your stepping stone mold. Trim where necessary for an easy fit.

Remove your cut shape from the doormat and test the fit inside of your stepping stone mold. Trim where necessary for an easy fit.

Casting Your Embossed Stepping Stones

If using the same stepping stone molds as mine from Hobby Lobby you’ll use 6 cups of sand/topping mix for one small round stone and 10.5 cups of mix for one large stone.

Prepare your rubber stamp by lightly spraying with cooking spray.

Prepare your rubber stamp by lightly spraying with cooking spray and set aside.

Note* when you pick up the stamp it should be damp but not dripping with oil.

In a plastic mixing bucket combine your sand/topping mix and water until you form a mixture that is similar to a very thick milkshake.

In a plastic mixing bucket combine your sand/topping mix and water until you form a mixture that is similar to a very thick milkshake. I was successful adding 1/4 cup of water per cup of cement but that can vary. You can test the water to mix ratio that works well for you by placing one cup of dry mix into your bucket  and adding a small amount of water from a measuring cup until you get the right consistency. You can also just wing it from batch to batch :)

Once you get a thick but pour-able consistency, transfer your mix to the mold. Tap the mold on your work surface several times to break any air bubbles in the mix.

Once you get a thick but pour-able consistency, transfer your mix to the mold. Tap the mold on your work surface several times to break any air bubbles in the mix.

Gently push the mold into the wet mix as deeply as you can without completely embedding the stamp.

Gently push the mold into the wet mix as deeply as you can without completely embedding the stamp.

If the stamp tries to sink, your mixture is too wet and will need to be thickened up. If your stamp meets a lot of resistance and it’s difficult to push it down, you’ll need to add more water to thin the mixture out a bit.

Once the stamp is in place set on a flat surface (very important!) and allow to sit for 12 hours.

Note * Your stones will cure much more quickly if you can place them someplace very warm. I lay my stones out on the garage floor because in the summer it gets dang hot in there. My stones cured in the hot-ass garage were ready to unmold on 14-16 hours compared to the ones in my room-temperature craft room that took closer to 26 hours.

Removing the Rubber Stamp

You’ll need to remove your rubber stamp halfway through the curing process so that it is easily removed in one piece. This is especially important if you plan on making multiple stones with each stamp you created.

After curing 12 hours gently pry one of the pieces of your rubber mat around the edge of the stone up and out of the mold.

After curing 8-12 hours gently pry one of the pieces of your rubber mat around the edge of the stone up and out of the mold. Do your best to pull the mold straight up to prevent any damage to your design. If the stamp comes away and the stone is firm enough to easily hold its shape, completely remove the mold. If this test section does not come away cleanly, push the stamp back into the mix and allow a few more hours to cure.

Once the stamp has been removed, but before unmolding your stone, clean up the design using a piece of very rough sand paper or a chunk of dried cement.

Once the stamp has been removed, but before unmolding your stone, clean up the design using a piece of very rough sand paper or a chunk of dried cement.

Any time I sand anything by hand, I prefer to use a generic sandpaper that is made for mouse or orbital sanders. They’ve got a fuzzy backing that prevents your hand from getting hot from the friction!

If a lot of the design comes away with minimal pressure, wait until the design is more firm and can stand up to being smoothed out.  You don’t want the stone to be super soft because you’ll mush up the design. But you also don’t want to wait until the stone is totally dry because sanding dried cement is a pain in the neck. There’s kind of a sweet spot for cleaning up the design that you’ll come to find if you create a couple of stones.

Remove any dust or chunks sanded away by gently brushing off using an inexpensive chip brush.

Remove any dust or chunks sanded away by gently brushing off using an inexpensive chip brush.

Unmolding Your Embossed Stepping Stones

Curious how to make stepping stones? These gorgeously embossed stepping stones are deceptively simple to make and create the prettiest paths!

If cured somewhere warm you can attempt to unmold around 14 hours. In room temperature environments it is best to wait and try to unmold around 24 hours. To remove, flip the stone, mold and all over. Hold as much of the surface as you can with your hand to keep the stone together and in the mold. If the underside is mostly dry or a lighter gray it is most likely ready to remove from the mold. If the back has a dark center it will need more time in the mold so that it won’t break apart as you’re removing it.

Once out of the mold flip the stone over so that the bottom is facing upward. Allow the stone to cure in this position until it is dry to the touch.

Curious how to make stepping stones? These gorgeously embossed stepping stones are deceptively simple to make and create the prettiest paths!

Like anything that goes from a liquid to a solid the more time you give it to cure and harden, the less likely it will be to become damaged or break apart. After about a week of stone making I got antsy to see how mine would work out in the grass. So I snapped some pics when they were just a few days out of the mold. (Which is why I’m standing BESIDE them instead of ON them in the photos :) To be super strong try to lay stones flat to cure for about a week before they get regular use.

Curious how to make stepping stones? These gorgeously embossed stepping stones are deceptively simple to make and create the prettiest paths!
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Embossed Stepping Stones

These gorgeously embossed stepping stones are deceptively simple to make and create the prettiest paths!
Active Time20 mins
Curing Time1 d
Total Time1 d 20 mins
Course: Crafts
Cuisine: Concrete Crafts, Gardening
Keyword: embossed stepping stones, stepping stones
Cost: -

Materials

  • Patterned Rubber Doormat
  • Sand/Topping Mix
  • Rough Sandpaper
  • Cooking Spray

Instructions

  • Place your molds on top of your mat to determine how to cut out your stamps. Trace the shape of each mold. Carefully cut out each shape using a utility knife with a sharp blade. Trim as necessary to fit within the mold.
    If necessary, gently pry the are you are cutting apart by hand to help your utility knife reach further down into the mat.
  • Lightly spray rubber stamp with cooking spray and set aside.
    Prepare your rubber stamp by lightly spraying with cooking spray.
  • Mix sand/topping mix and water until you achieve a thick but pour-able milkshake-like consistency. Transfer mix to plastic mold.
    Once you get a thick but pour-able consistency, transfer your mix to the mold. Tap the mold on your work surface several times to break any air bubbles in the mix.
  • Gently push the stamp into the cement. Set someplace warm to cure for 8-12 hours.
    Gently push the mold into the wet mix as deeply as you can without completely embedding the stamp.
  • Gently pull the stamp upward. If it removes cleanly continue to remove. If the cement is still too wet/loose, push the stamp back into the mix and allow a few more hours to cure. Once the stamp is removed clean up any rough edges using rough sandpaper or a chunk of hardened concrete.
    After curing 12 hours gently pry one of the pieces of your rubber mat around the edge of the stone up and out of the mold.
  • Remove stone from the mold approximately 24 hours after pouring. Set in a warm place for several days to fully cure and harden.

Notes

For more detailed information on making DIY embossed stepping stones please visit the original post here: https://www.dreamalittlebigger.com/post/how-to-make-stepping-stones.html

And THAT is How you Make Stepping Stones that are Gorgeously Embossed!

Curious how to make stepping stones? These gorgeously embossed stepping stones are deceptively simple to make and create the prettiest paths!

This post was updated from the original published on April 21, 2016. You can visit the original post here.

Comments (33)

  • Pat Schwab

    April 21, 2016 at 9:36 AM

    Allison, Loving your stepping stones. Bravo! Pat S

    1. Kristen

      May 14, 2018 at 6:42 AM

      I love your idea. I’ve seen a lot of different ways to do stepping stones but yours is very unique. I love trying new craft projects and I think this will be the one i try next. Thanks for the inspiration and the very specific but easy to follow directions.

  • Janice West

    May 12, 2016 at 12:10 PM

    Luv the stepping stones AND your shoes! Are they Tom’s? I’ve never seen that color. I’m all into the rainbow designs for versatility.

    1. Allison Murray

      May 12, 2016 at 1:07 PM

      Thanks so much! And I got them at Target and they are SO comfy. I’m down with the rainbow color scheme too :)

  • Kat

    May 14, 2016 at 10:06 AM

    These are adorable. Instead of kits, you probably could use foil baking pans. Plus, they come in round and square shapes. I have also seen stepping stones made with pizza boxes for a larger size. I think you would carefully line them with plastic wrap. Your designs with the rubber mat rock! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Allison Murray

      May 14, 2016 at 5:29 PM

      Ooh! The pizza box idea is pretty darn genius! And baking tins would make this so much cheaper, too!

  • chris aka monkey

    May 14, 2016 at 10:25 AM

    came over from hometalk, i looked at the stepping stone kits and thought i could buy plastic serve ware from the dollar store and cement from big box, but i would never have thought to use the mat, love this xx

    1. Allison Murray

      May 14, 2016 at 5:29 PM

      So glad to have you over, Chris. Thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment :) Very glad you like the project!

  • Barb

    May 14, 2016 at 12:53 PM

    How do u get the concrete out of the forms when theyre dry? Can u use pie tins for forms also?

    1. Allison Murray

      May 14, 2016 at 5:30 PM

      Others have mentioned they have great success with baking tins as well as plastic molds. Once the concrete is dry you just pry them out a little bit and then they’ll slide out the rest of the way.

      1. Pixie De Villiers

        February 14, 2019 at 2:30 AM

        Hi Allison. Just love your stuff. Been making some stepping stones lately and it’s great fun. I love your idea of the door mat, it’s brilliant! As for getting stones out of the molds, Vaseline and Spray & Cook works well for me. Thank you for sharing.

        1. Allison Murray

          February 20, 2019 at 5:51 PM

          Good to know, thanks for the tip!

  • Jo

    May 14, 2016 at 1:28 PM

    Did you color any of the stone.
    It looks like the background is white.
    Very pretty.

    1. Allison Murray

      May 14, 2016 at 5:30 PM

      I did not. It’s just gray concrete but I might color any future ones I make.

      1. Samantha G

        May 1, 2017 at 4:57 AM

        Your stepping stones was FABULOUS n GORGEOUS idea!! I ?Be them!!…What kind of paint would you use if you did paint them?

        1. Allison Murray

          May 2, 2017 at 6:46 PM

          In all honesty I’d probably ask for a suggestion at a local hardware store. If they’ll be more for decoration and less an actual path you could probably get away with chalk paint that you seal up. But if it will be high traffic I’d definitely ask the paint counter and see what they’d suggest. Good luck (and send me a pic if you paint any – it sounds gorgeous!)

  • Carol Lacey

    May 14, 2016 at 4:41 PM

    Those are adorable

  • travis dillon

    May 14, 2016 at 4:45 PM

    looks good / thanks.

  • Kathy

    May 14, 2016 at 7:02 PM

    Amazing things

  • Dudee

    May 14, 2016 at 9:32 PM

    Wow very pretty thanks

  • Sherri

    May 14, 2016 at 10:46 PM

    Love your concrete creations. Can the rubber mat that you inserted into the concrete re-usable or does it tend to break when you peal it out after it’s dry? Thanks, Sherri

    1. Allison Murray

      May 15, 2016 at 7:32 AM

      If you remove it carefully and make sure that you don’t push it so far into the concrete that it spills over the back of the mat you can reuse that business for EVER! I used 2 cut outs to make 6 stones so far and they’re both still intact so I can make more. Since we’re renting Rob and I thought it might be a bad idea to make too many because then we have to move them so I’m saving everything to make more once we find a home to buy!

  • Erica Smith

    May 14, 2016 at 11:27 PM

    Love these Allison!!!! Found you through HomeTalk and soooo glad I did!!! My first time commenting on any of the blogs from HT! The stepping stones deserve a round of applause! ??? I L❤VE the mat you used!!! My favorite flower is the Sunflower and wold be so happy to have some like yours to walk along a path to my Garden! Happy Crafting…keep up the GREAT blog and a BIG thanks to Rob for his boosting you….we all benefited from your courage!!! Could you tell Me how to share the ones I’m now going to make with you? Thanks for the inspiration!!!!!!!
    ☆Prim Blessings☆
    Erica Smith

    1. Allison Murray

      May 15, 2016 at 7:30 AM

      Wow! Thanks so much, Erica! I am so excited to have you here and I hope I don’t disappoint with future projects! When you make yours you can either email me directly at allison @ dreamalittlebigger.com (no spaces) or you can post them onto the wall of my Facebook page here! I’m so excited! I can’t wait to see yours :)

  • Maribel

    May 15, 2016 at 4:21 AM

    They’re wonderful… I’m gonna try making some for my garden

  • Beam

    May 17, 2016 at 10:01 AM

    You have inspired me to be more creative. What a simple but cute idea! This will be another project for me. Thank you for sharing.

  • Carol

    May 22, 2016 at 9:20 PM

    Does it matter if you use concrete or cement? Our family made some beautiful stepping stones from kits using little colored beads for creative designs, but are afraid they will get ruined if put outside and walked on. Mom is 100 years old and we certainly wouldn’t want the one she made harmed.

    1. Allison Murray

      May 23, 2016 at 8:03 PM

      What I used is actually cement from the craft store for stepping stones BUT I’ve heard from some readers that the cement alone eventually does break down and will often crack open. They suggest using a metal mesh or rods to make them sturdier or to use a concrete for extra strength. I know this doesn’t help much since yours are already made. I think to be save I’d keep Mom’s stone somewhere safe.

  • Jan

    March 6, 2018 at 12:54 PM

    Can’t wait to try never thought of mats great idea

    1. Allison Murray

      March 7, 2018 at 2:48 PM

      Good luck!

  • Christine

    August 15, 2018 at 5:33 PM

    we love this idea. And I’ve been wanting to make something like this where it’s embedded and there’s the Deep crevice. because then in the Deep crevice I’m going to Mosaic it with different colors of tile

  • juli

    September 9, 2018 at 6:42 PM

    is there a concern about water sitting in the crevices? also, are these really thick enough to step on, hubby is 200 +? thanks ☺

    1. Allison Murray

      September 11, 2018 at 12:25 PM

      Water seems to mostly come out of the sides so it doesn’t really pool up. Just be sure that your embossing extends beyond the edges so the water can drip off. As far as weight goes, I think it should be fine. They will definitely do better if they are on ground that is completely flat. If they kind of tip around a bit because the ground isn’t level, I could see them cracking but if they’re good and flat and stay that way, I think there should be no worries about the hubby :)

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