Carolyn Tomlin writes for numerous gardening magazines.

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It’s All in the Mold
by Carolyn Tomlin    

Making concrete molds for stepping-stones or miniature gardens is a fun, simple project. And they make great additions to your landscape!


Stepping-stone concrete mix or a lightweight premixed concrete
Plastic bucket (which will be thrown away afterwards)
Hand-tool spade  
Plastic or foil pie pan mold
Rubber gloves, safety glasses, dust mask
Small decorative stones, marbles, or seashells
Old knife
Old measuring cup
Vegetable oil spray
Concrete sealant

If you assemble your materials in one place, this garden project can be completed in less than an hour. However, it takes at least 12 hours or more for the concrete to dry. 


Step-by-Step Instructions
1. Follow the package direction for mixing the water and concrete.

2. Spray the mold with vegetable oil for easy removal later.

3. Wearing rubber gloves, safety glasses, and a dust mask, use an old trowel or something similar to mix the concrete to the right consistency – about the consistency of pancake batter. Mix until all lumps are removed. 

4. Place the mold on a flat, level surface where it will remain until dry. Scoop the mixture into the mold. Lightly tap the mold to settle the mixture into all crevices. Insert a wooden pencil to remove any air bubbles. Smooth the top using an old kitchen knife or board.

5. Allow the concrete to set for about an hour before adding decorations. (The time it takes the concrete to firm will vary depending on humidity, temperature, etc.) Marbles, seashells, buttons, or small colorful stones add a personal touch. You can also add child’s handprint, a name, or date. To write, use a wooden dowel or even the handle of a wooden spoon. Concrete is very forgiving – if necessary, just smooth over the top with a flat-blade knife (before it hardens) and start over. 

6. When completely dry, loosen the concrete from the mold by slipping a knife around the edge. Allow to cure for about a month.

7. Spray with a concrete sealant to prevent cracking and chipping.


Tips for Using Concrete Mix
Always work outdoors when using concrete. Do not inhale the concrete dust. Wear safety glasses, dust mask, and rubber gloves. Avoid letting the concrete mix touch your skin. If this happens, wash immediately. If a rash develops, contact a poison control center in your area or state. Adult supervision is required for children.


Types of Molds for Concrete Projects
Molds can be nearly anything – from the preformed molds sold at big-box stores and online to cake pans, pizza boxes or old buckets. Check out garage and yard sales for inexpensive molds. These can be re-used or discarded. The only limit is your imagination!















This article was in a previous edition of a State-by-State Gardening publication.


Posted: 04/04/19   RSS | Print


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