Presentation on theme: "Making Concrete Stepping Stones Created by Tiffany Prather, Joan Jackson, and Dr. Frank Flanders Georgia Agricultural Education Curriculum Office Revised."— Presentation transcript:
Making Concrete Stepping Stones Created by Tiffany Prather, Joan Jackson, and Dr. Frank Flanders Georgia Agricultural Education Curriculum Office Revised June 2003
Concrete stepping stones are used to decorate gardens, walk ways, door steps, and many more places in and outside the home. Mosaic stepping stones add beauty and creation to any home garden or walk way. They can be used just for decoration or to walk on or for both reasons. Making concrete stepping stones are easy. Making the mosaic concrete stepping stones are also easy and also allow the maker to be creative and inventive. What are Stepping Stones?
The first thing to do is to plan your stepping stone. Decide on the mold shape, the design of the mosaic and where the stone will be placed once the stone has been created. Shapes can vary from round, square, hexagon, octagon and so on. Designs for the mosaic are unlimited. A butterfly, bird, pear, dragonfly, flower, and a leaf are just a few examples. Now that you have decided on what you want your stepping stone to look like, you need to gather your supplies. Getting Started with your concrete mosaic stepping stones
Tools and Materials needed to create your concrete stepping stone
Components of Concrete Mortar mix4. Medium grain Sand 2.Concrete mix5. All purpose Gravel 3. Portland Cement
To create your mosaic, there are many types of material to choose from. You can use glass, ceramic tiles, stones, sea shells, and other small objects like marbles. These pieces can be many shapes and sizes and colors and textures. The choice is up to you. If you do not have your shape, you can always break them up and file them down. The common term used to call these pieces that make up the mosaic materials is called tesserae. Tile Marble Sea Shells Buttons and Beads Broken Glass Choosing your mosaic material
The size and shape mold you choose is up to you and what you want for the project. There are manufactured, makeshift, and made-from- scratch molds to choose from. Craft stores carry many shapes and sizes of molds that are reusable or disposable. Molds can be made of plastic, flexible vinyl, or even a tin cake pan. When using molds that do not bend or flex, a releasing agent such as cooking spray or oil can be used to coat the inside of the pan to prevent sticking. You can even make your own made from scratch mold. Choosing Your Mold plastic store bought moldMade from scratch mold
Wrap the ceramic, glass, or the tesserae of your choice in a rag or towel. Feel around to find the location of the tesserae and take your rubber mallet or regular hammer and start smashing. Peak under the towel and see how the pieces look. Smash them some more until they are the desirable size or shape. It is a good idea to sand the sharp edges of the pieces off, especially if the stepping stones will be used to walk on. When smashing and sanding, be sure to use eye protection and gloves to insure safety. Breaking up Tesserae
There are two templates that can be used to create the mosaic design. The design template is used to organize the pieces of tesserae and the look of the design. The mold template is used when the tesserae pieces are being placed into the wet concrete. First you decide on the design. Then cut out the picture or pattern. Save both pieces. The shape is your design template and the left over piece is your mold template. Making the Stepping Stone Templates Pieces of tesserae being arranged on the design template. (The bird cut out.) The mold template or the left over piece is placed on the wet concrete and the pieces of tesserae are placed on the concrete.
First select the pieces of tesserae that will be used for the mosaic. Then position the key pieces on the design template according to shape, size, color and your personal preference. This is easily done by using tweezers. It is best to outline the shape first and then work your way to the middle. Be sure the pieces are spaced about 3 millimeters apart. Adjust any pieces to your desire. Now you are ready to begin setting your design in stone. Using the Design Template
Concrete can be used to make just about anything such as concrete blocks, a sidewalk, a park bench, bridge footings or even skyscrapers. Concrete can be used for indoors or outdoors. But what is the difference between concrete and cement? Well, concrete, grout, and mortar are all made from cement. Cement is a very fine powder of crushed rocks and when mixed with water, the mix hardens making the concrete, grout, or mortar. A good way to remember this difference is cement is to concrete as what flour is to a cake. About Concrete
Preparing the Concrete Mix There are several different types of concrete mixtures that can be used to make concrete. There is stepping stone concrete mix that is available at craft stores and garden centers. Ready-to- use concrete mix that comes in heavy bags, used for walk ways or other small projects, is another type and is available at home improvement stores. And finally you can make your own concrete mixture using Portland cement, gravel, and sand. Stepping Stone Concrete mix Ready-to-use Concrete mix
Preparing the Concrete Mix cont. It is possible to have different colors of concrete. Your local hardware store or home improvement store will more than likely carry concrete coloring. Depending on if you buy liquid or powder coloring determines how you mix the coloring in with the concrete. Read the label for directions on how to mix the coloring in with the concrete.
Preparing the Concrete Mix cont. Mixing your own concrete mix is very simple. All that is needed is one part portland cement, one part sand, two parts gravel, and some water. It is important to use the least amount of water possible to begin with and as you work the concrete mixture add very small amounts of water. The concrete can not be too wet but yet it can not be too dry either. For the right consistency the Slump Test can be used.
Preparing the Concrete mix cont. The Slump Test is very simple. The test involves filling an Styrofoam or paper cup with the concrete mixture insuring to pack the concrete several times. Then flip the cup filled with the concrete upside down over a plate.
Preparing the Concrete mix cont. Cut the bottom out of the cup very carefully with a box cutter. Next, remove the cup very carefully by lifting straight up.
Preparing the Concrete mix cont. In order for the concrete to be workable or to have the right consistency, the pile of wet concrete should be about ½ to ¾ the height of the Styrofoam cup. ~100% of original height- unworkable 50% of original height- workable 25% of original height- unworkable Height of cup at the beginning
Once the mixture is just right, empty the mixture into the mold. Remember that if you are using a metal or non-flexible mold that the mold should be sprayed with cooking spray or oil so the dry stepping stone can be removed. Preparing the Concrete mix cont.
Begin filling the mold with the concrete mix. Then spread out the mixture with the mixing tool making sure all the corners are filled. Use the putty knife to tamp down the mix and smooth the surface.
If you know the stepping stone will be subjected to heavy foot traffic, it is a good idea to use reinforcement. This is easily done by using chicken wire folded up to the shape of the mold and placing it in the mold on top of a thin layer of concrete mix. Then continue filling the mold with concrete. Jiggle the mold to be sure to remove any air bubbles and to ensure the mixture has reached all the nooks and crannies. Finally, clean the materials that you used. Rinse them out but never dump the dirty water in a sink.
In order to remove air bubbles from the mold, you can jiggle the mold or you can use a hammer to beat around the outside of the mold. It is important to remove air bubbles so there will be no weak places in the stepping stone. Using the hammer to remove air bubbles by hammering around the outside of the mold on the board. Shaking and jiggling the mold
Now that the wet mix is ready to decorate and you have already planed out the design, the next thing is to set it in stone. First, place the mold template on the wet mix so that it is flat and smooth. You are just placing the tesserae, not embedding them. Embedding comes later. Transferring Mosaic Pieces to the Wet Mix
Then begin transferring the pieces of tesserae to the stone. Start with the outside working around the design and then finish up in the middle. Make any adjustments of the pieces at this time to ensure they are where they should be. Also be sure the outline is smooth and the spacing is consistent between the pieces. Use tweezers to move the pieces to their final destination. Transferring Mosaic Pieces to the Wet Mix
Embedding is tricky business. It is important to know the thickest pieces of tesserae from the thinnest. Embed the thickest ones first followed by the thinnest. However, if your design has a definite outline, it is important to embed the outline first and work your way into the middle. Leaving the mold template on while embedding can help ensure that the outline stays smooth and in line while embedding. Embedding the Mosaic Pieces
To embed, use your finger or a pencil with an eraser to press the piece down into the wet mix. The pieces should be embedded deep enough to ensure that they will not fall out once the stone is dry. Also the pieces should be embedded evenly to prevent sharp edges from appearing that could cause injury when stepped on. Embedding the Mosaic Pieces cont.
Now that you have your mosaic the way you want it, it is time to set the stone aside and clean up your work space. Jiggle the mold some to ensure the pieces are settled properly. Now set your stone out of the way to harden for two days (48 hours.) Move the stone with it sitting on the board so you wont bend it and mess it up. Finishing up with your Stepping Stone
Finishing up with your Stepping Stone cont. Now that your stone is dry, it is ready to be removed from the mold and to be cleaned up. Gently scrub the surface with a sponge, foam brush, or paper towel to remove any hardened concrete from the mosaic pieces.
Finishing up with your Stepping Stone cont. Finally, to finish up the stepping stone, take a hammer and use it around the edges to knock off any sharp points or rough places. This is extremely important if the stone will be used to walk on.