Thursday, 27 January 2011

Too much of a good thing!

Being an inveterate magpie I have a habit of picking up interesting “bits and pieces” during my wanderings and have managed to acquire a rather large collection of rocks and pebbles over the years – there is definitely a limit to how many boxes of them can be considered reasonable and I have now exceeded that ( and then some!).

So what to do with them? A friend on another forum said she was going to buy a “stepping stone” kit to make something for her garden. This sparked the idea.

Having never seen a stepping stone kit in the UK, I was obviously going to have to start from scratch. A check of the garage revealed that there was no concrete lurking deep in its depths so a trip to the builder’s merchant was required for the basic cement/aggregate mix and some sand.

Having got them home I then used a soil sieve to remove the larger pebbles from the concrete mix.

Next was a mould – I used an old sweet tin, one that had previously held wrapped chocolates and because it had a “lip” at the top I lined it with cardboard so I’d be able to get the stepping stone out. A completely smooth interior would be better but I couldn’t find anything suitable and I certainly wasn’t going to pay for a commercial mould.

Once a couple of inches of concrete had been poured into the mould I was able to concentrate on the fun bit – making the design. I chose a sun wheel motif for this one. If you use quick drying concrete you’d need to have this pre-planned and ready to go but as I was using the traditional mix I had plenty of time to keep changing my mind.

You need to push the stones well in to ensure that they stick but not so far that they disappear.

The whole thing was allowed to set for a couple of days before unmolding. I was really pleased with the way it turned out and it is now the basis of an outdoor shrine in the back garden.

I’ve still got a huge number of stones to find a use for so all ideas are welcome.

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