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What you need:
  • Stained glass
  • Mosaic glass chipper
  • Glass cutter
  • Gloves
  • Contact paper
  • Cement or mortar mix
  • Concrete mix
  • Stepping stone mold
  • Chicken wire or hardware cloth
  • Vaseline or similar petrolatum based release agent
  • Sponge
  • Flat head screw driver or razor blade
Concrete stepping stones with inlaid stained glass designs make beautiful additions to any garden. They are easy to make, and once you have all the materials, they are inexpensive as well. The mold used for this stone was purchased at a stained glass store, but most craft outlets have similar molds. Large food storage containers also work well.
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Lay out your design on a flat, clean table. Use any flat material you want for the decoration. This example uses stained glass, available at most craft stores. You can buy sheet glass from a stained glass supplier and make the tiles yourself. Always wear gloves and eye protection when handling glass.
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Cut a piece of contact paper roughly the size of the bottom of your mold. Remove the backing from the paper and lay it, sticky side down, on top of your design. Press firmly on each piece to ensure good contact.
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Smear Vaseline or a similar petrolatum based salve on the inside of your mold. This release agent will keep the cement from sticking to the mold.
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Place the contact paper in the mold, with the design facing up. Smooth the edges of the contact paper. The petrolatum will hold the contact paper in place.
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Mix some portland cement and water until it is the consistency of pancake batter. Use a fine mix like portland cement for the first layer to fill all nooks and crannies around the glass.
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Fill the mold with about 3/4" of cement. Tap the mold on the tabletop 8 to 12 times to remove bubbles and voids and to settle the cement around the glass. Alternatively, hold a block or palm sander against the bottom of the mold for a few seconds to quickly and completely settle the mix.
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Although portland cement is attractive, it isn't very strong. To ensure the stepping stone will hold up in use, add reinforcing wire to the mold. 1/2" hardware cloth or rabbit fencing works great for this. Cut a piece that is an inch or so smaller than the bottom of the mold, and lay it in the center, directly on top of the first layer of cement.
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The last layer you pour should be a concrete mix. Concrete differs from portland cement in that it includes small rocks and gravel. The concrete makes the stepping-stone much stronger. The concrete mix must be considerably drier than the cement was, further strengthening the finished product. Fill the mold to the rim.
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Let the mold sit for three days before you tip out the stepping stone. Peel the contact paper from the stone, then clean the glass with a damp sponge. Sometimes the cement gets in between the glass and the contact paper. If this happens, use a flat head screw driver or a razor blade to chip it away. Wait a few more days before using the stone, allowing it to gain additional strength.