Past Articles Library | Creating Nature Inspired Stepping-Stones
Nature can provide the perfect mold for stepping-stones. These stones are one of a kind and can give the landscape a whimsical view of nature. The directions below are for hosta leaves but do not limit yourself to this variety. Many other large leaves can work including rhubarb and elephant ear.
Large leaves of choice
Spray vegetable oil
Gather leaves that are not damage and bring to the workspace.
Lay out the tarp and place leave down so that the bottoms are sticking up.
Using each leaf as a pattern, cut chicken wire so that it comes to ½ inch from the edge of each leaf. Lay the leaf back down with its chicken wire pattern.
Put rubber gloves on.
Place concrete mix in wheelbarrow and add water as directed. Mix with shovel.
Spray each leaf with vegetable oil and lay down 1 ½ inch layer of concrete in one leaf. Place its chicken wire support in the concrete and gently push down. Top the chicken wire with an addition 1 ½ inch of concrete. To push air bubbles out, gently push down with shovel.
If you want to keep your leaf mold open, lay down a layer of gravel around the edges that do not have cement. This will prevent them from curling and shrinking up.
Seal each mold with plastic sheeting and let sit undisturbed for at least 48 hours.
After the time has passed, remove the plastic and turn the leaves over. Peel away the plant material. If extra plant material remains, gently remove with a toothbrush.
If you do not have any large leaves that suit your fancy, do not fret. You can still create nature inspired stepping-stones by leaf printing. This differs from the above project because the leaf shape is not the stepping-stone but instead a simple embellishment.
To utilize this technique, one will need to make a concrete stepping-stone. Once the concrete has been smoothed, leaves of your choice can be gently pushed into the wet concrete. Dry the stepping-stone as usual. After the stepping-stone has dried, pull away the leaf as described above.
Designer stepping-stones no longer have to be a dream. Take a walk out in your garden space and consider what Mother Nature has provided as a possible molds and/or prints. Experiment with different leaves to get the personal look you are looking for and one that express your individual style.