SO! As you guys know, we've been working hard on our backyard. I mean, yikes, it was BAD! But now it's not so bad-- actually, it's pretty nice! We've been slowly pushing our work to the side of the house. We built a deck, (edible) landscaped around it, but we still have a good chunk of grass-- and while the grass is perfectly fine, it looks pretty unfinished compared to the rest of the yard. We've been on the fence for a while now on what to do with the space. I mean, we know what we want to do, we have a million AMAZING ideas to want we to do, but we try to be smart about how much money we want to spend on our space. You know, being practical-- in the money sense. I mean, for some people, practicality would mean, spending the few extra bucks instead of spending the time to make something--- but hey, like I said, we like making things and we like saving money ;) Buying concrete pavers will cost about 2$ to 15$ a piece (and up). But making them yourself, you can make about 10 to 12 for about 5$. Depending on what you put on your pavers of course. If you're just using leaves and seashells, it's obviously extra cheap. We like that ;) And since we have still have leftover tiles and glass from our mosaic stairway, we knew we had a lot of fun goods to place in the garden pavers ;)
This was (and is) a fun project for all of us, especially the kiddo on a sunshine-y day! This is good for all ages--- mostly, depending on the materials you use for decor. Glass is dangerous for little hands, obviously. Thist is pretty fun for an artsy and easy day outside, with a big pitcher of iced tea. Too cold outside? You can easily make these in a garage too!
Also, I should mention, Alex and I had been wanting to do this for a while. We tried looking up tutorials on how to do it forever ago-- but all the ones we found suggested using 5 gallon buckets to make the pavers-- but this required cutting the giant plastic buckets, which seemed a bit crazy to us. (And I THINK they're about 10$ a bucket??). A lot of time of hot days and mostly staying inside went by and then I found one one of those one time use kids craft mosaic tile kit things at a thrift shop. Marlowe and I did it one day on a whim and it got my urge to do this project going again. One day we thought, "hey, you know what would be good? plastic saucers for plants! duh." And we were right, they were perfect. Round of course, but round is fun too. The rest of our yard has a lot of straight lines anyway, so this was a nice, colorful balance.
Garden Stepping Stones
makes 8 to 10 12'' stones
-1 60lb bag of concrete mix -- you can pick this up at any big hardware store and most local hardware stores. It's super inexpensive-- one bag should be anywhere between 2 and 5$
-plastic garden saucers <--- that is a pack of ten 12 inch ones, which should be the perfect amount!
-a large bucket or a reusable cement mixing bag
-grout mixer/drill attachment (or a hell of a lot of arm power)
-water, per bags instructions + some more
-lots of fun add in's such as: seashells, broken tiles, glass, sea glass, crafting stained glass, leaves, imagination!optional: tile/glass clippers
-half a bag at a time mix your concrete according to directions on bag. If you do not have a mixing drill attachment, I would recommend maybe doing 1/8 the bag at a time, since it will be very difficult to mix.
-tip: I have fund (we've done this three-four times now) that adding extra water will make this significantly easier. Amounts of water will depend on the brand of concrete you buy, but if you can almost pour it in the mold, then it should be good. adding extra water will make it: easier to mix, easier to pour, and easier to push objects inside. It does weaken the strength of the tile too, but if you're not throwing them, you should be fine ;)
-so you've mixed your cement until mostly smooth, perfect. Now pour into the molds--- obviously the thicker you make them, the stronger they will be, but you do want to make sure to leave a bit of room up top when pouring, because adding big or a lot of objects will bring the mixture to the top.
-gently shake the molds until cement settles. it should be pretty flat, you really should have to use a scraping too but you can, or gently flatten with hand if needed.
-begin adding your objects! Things like shells will easily stay once dried, but for flat objects like tiles and glass, be sure to push them into the cement pretty far-- enough so that the cement begins to ride over the top to cover the sides and corners. This will also help prevent the rough edges.
-allow cement to dry for two days, away from rain! After two days, pull mold off paver. If you do this carefully, you can reuse the molds over and over again! And that's it!
tips: if using leaves to make prints, it's best to wait a few minutes so it's not completely wet and then remove leaves before cement completely dries.
-you can carefully clean tiles or glass along the way, but if any remains on top, no worries! Take a damp rag and clean about half way through the drying process and you'r good!
-want a hexagon shape? you can buy a mold for the kits-- but they're pricey!
Once you've got all your tiles made, you want to lay down your path way! -- if weeds will be an issue, make sure to lay down your weed guard. The place your styles on the path and pour down some pea stones (or any stones your prefer). Rake them over the pathway and then gently brush off the tiles.
You can also lay out tiles on grass to create a walkway, but keep in mind, this will be a little bit more of an annoyance when it comes tim to cut the grass ;)
And voila! The most gorgeous little path!