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How to Make a Garden Stepping Stone

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Broken dishware can be used to decorate stepping stones for your garden.

Broken dishware can be used to decorate stepping stones for your garden.

Repurposing Broken Ceramics in the Garden

Don't throw your broken ceramics away! You can create beautiful garden stones from broken dishware. It's easy. Simply save the pieces in a box or container for your next craft project. It's amazing to see how many projects you can complete with broken materials. Simply use your own God-given imagination and don't limit yourself. I will share with you the basics of how to create stepping stones out of broken dishes or chinaware.

Finding My Inspiration

It was a hot day in the summertime on a Saturday afternoon. I decided to clean out my curio cabinet with all of my beautiful chinaware. For some reason, I was feeling rushed to finish my task and somehow tipped over the curio. As I tried to catch my balance from falling off of the chair, all of my china came crashing down. To my dismay, most of it was then broken.

The phone began to ring as I was trying to pick up the pieces. It kept ringing and ringing, and I thought to myself that it must be important. It was a friend of mine. I told her what had happened, and how I was about to throw my broken china away because I had no use for it now. She then suggested that I to save the pieces. She even offered to show me how to make beautiful garden stones out of them.

Broken china and dishes can be salvaged for creative craft projects.

Broken china and dishes can be salvaged for creative craft projects.

Getting Started on Your Garden Stone

My friend came over about a week and a half later and told me that she and her daughter went out to a thrift store and bought old dishes to do a project for her daughter's school (show-and-tell). She saw DIY stepping stones in a crafty magazine and thought that it would be something fun and different for them to do together. The stepping stone that they created was then on display at her daughter's school.

Using Ceramics From the Thrift Shop

My friend and her daughter put a protective cover over the dishes from the second-hand store and hammered them into pieces. They made sure to do this on a surface that they weren't worried about damaging. She also had her daughter use safety glasses for protection just in case of broken pieces.

My friend also gave me a list of what I needed to get started, and she then gave me the instructions. She said that you could also use broken glass for the project, gems, and/or similar items.

Supplies That You Will Need

  • A non-stick cake pan of any size or shape (e.g., round or heart-shaped)
  • Broken dishes, glass, gems, or alternative items to mix into the design
  • Rubber gloves
  • Concrete and water
  • Newspaper or old cloth to protect the work surface
  • Non-stick cooking spray or vaseline
  • An old stirring spoon or small hand shovel
  • A measuring cup with a mixing stick
  • A bucket for concrete
Start by drafting your ideas on a template.

Start by drafting your ideas on a template.

Preparing Your Workspace and Drafting a Design

  • Choose a workspace: Cover your space before you start and choose a place that allows for you to be messy. Once you have all of your supplies together, get the broken dishes and separate the smaller pieces from the larger pieces.
  • Practice your design: Practice the design that you want on your chosen shape with a sheet of paper. You can outline the shape by placing the paper under the pan being used. Trace the paper with a light pencil, cut out the shape, and practice your design.

Making Your Beautiful Stepping Stone

  1. Get your bucket and concrete (preferably a fine-grained mixture). You can find fine-grained concrete at a craft store or any building supply store. Follow the instructions on the package.
  2. Mix water into the bucket of concrete using an old spoon or wooden stick. Make enough for one or two stepping stones, but not for more than that (otherwise, it will get too thick).
  3. Spray your pan with non-stick spray or vaseline. Pour your mixture into the pan that you are using and make sure that it is placed on a flat surface.
  4. Take the broken pieces that you have arranged on your design paper and carefully lay them on the concrete that's setting in the pan. Follow the design that you drafted.
  5. Carefully press the pieces down into the concrete, making sure that they're evenly placed. You don't want any of the broken pieces sticking out. Your arrangement should be smooth and without any rough edges.
  6. Once you are finished, let the stepping stone dry. Make sure that you cover it to protect it if you place it outside. It can take up to a couple of days to dry.
  7. You can put a varnish on the stone once it is finished drying to protect it or coat it with a shine.
  8. When completely dry, you can remove it from the cake pan and then place it in your garden to add color and charm. Don't use the cake pan for food or cooking purposes; save it for the next stepping stone.

Stepping Stone Instructional Video

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Share your own thoughts

moonlitta on February 09, 2014:

I need some for my backyard, and might use the tutorials soon:)

LadyDuck on December 16, 2013:

This is a great idea, I like your stepping stones.

JennAshton on June 26, 2013:

I've done this before with broken bit of cups, but once we left it plain, and had everyone from work sign their name in it as a retirement gift for a gardening colleague - it was much loved!

LorLinda (author) from Denver Colorado on June 06, 2013:

@favored: I will see if I can find it I noticed that also hmmmm?

Fay Favored from USA on June 05, 2013:

Another project that I'd like to try. The video mentioned they had another video of the finished products, but I couldn't find it. Thank you for this info. Bookmarking it.

Dusty2 LM on May 28, 2013:

Nice lens that is very well done lorlinda. Project for stepping stones is very clear and well detailed. No one should have any problems completing their stepping stones following the directions in this lens. Sorry to hear about all of your china getting broken but glad to hear that you were ok and you found a second life for the china. Thank You for dropping by my How To Make A Homemade Yo-Yo with Detailed Instructions lens and giving it a "thumbs up" as I really do appreciate it. Hope you try making your homemade yo-yo and have many hours of fun with it. Just remember to use all safety precautions while making your yo-yo. Have a Great day!

john1581 on May 25, 2013:

Great lens really explain how to make the stepping stones in detail

Arod17 on May 25, 2013:

this is a good idea!!!

SheilaMilne from Kent, UK on May 15, 2013:

It's a great way to use broken china. I couldn't bear to break any deliberately though, not even from a second hand store.

Klaartje Loose on May 15, 2013:

I kept my broken china, didn't know for what, but it was just too beautiful to throw away... You just gave me a splendid idea!

anonymous on May 14, 2013:

I've been looking for some inexpensive but unique stepping stones for our garden. This is just the thing!! I love this idea and am definitely going to try this!!

shishu on May 14, 2013:

Amazing lens.....

lesliesinclair on May 13, 2013:

Super presentation of a fun project.

leifgustafson on May 13, 2013:

Beautiful stones!

Judith Nazarewicz from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada on May 13, 2013:

I love your stepping stones! What a great idea!

Therestlesssoul on May 13, 2013:

Loved it!!!

NailArtDesign LM on May 12, 2013:

Wonderful lens, such a great idea! Love it and must give it a try soon :)

PhilVardy on May 11, 2013:

I love how you found the silver-lining (making these beautiful stepping stones) in a seemingly tragic event (china breaking). I'm practically obsessed with always finding the good in something! Maybe it's my motto? anyhow -you did a great job and created a great lens :) nice!

rainbowsongs on May 11, 2013:

What a great art project. I love the different beautiful stepping stones that you can create for your garden.

curtis62 on May 10, 2013:

I like this lens great ideal.

Bartukas on May 10, 2013:

Very great idea and lens!

Jogalog on May 10, 2013:

I think this is a great thing to do with broken dishes. I can also imagine having lots of fun breaking unwanted crockery in order to have a go at making one of these too.

french_violet on May 09, 2013:

What a great and beautiful idea! It makes a lovely addition to your home, and it's so eco friendly.

treehousebrando1 on May 09, 2013:

The majority of people break things and probably throw them out. Then there are people who take that "trash" and make masterpieces such as this!

anonymous on May 09, 2013:

Thank you for sharing this. I have seen this done with coloured stones and shells but not with broken china. What a great idea and something I would like to try.

Chocolatealchemy from London, United Kingdom on May 08, 2013:

What a great Lens you've created and I love this idea - thanks for the inspiration.

Vikki from US on May 08, 2013:

What a cool idea!

Gayle Dowell from Kansas on May 07, 2013:

Love this idea, and I love to add things to my garden. This is perfect!

Perrin from South Carolina on May 07, 2013:

Beauty from the ashes. What a great idea!

LorLinda (author) from Denver Colorado on May 06, 2013:

@Faithlife: On the upper right side of the lens there is a stepping stone concrete to use or just get one that has finer grain mix but they do sell some for that particular project.

Faithlife on May 06, 2013:

Do you use any particular brand of concrete?

Michey LM on May 05, 2013:

I like the color mosaics stones. Thanks for sharing!

ccmalls18 on May 05, 2013:


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anonymous on May 05, 2013:

Well, I'd have to say you had a beauty for ashes experience very cool that your friend would call the moment of the big crash and not give up....some "such a time as this" moments are very practical...and now your teaching others already, how cool is that! Congratulations on home page honors...time for the dance of joy! :)

KonaGirl from New York on May 05, 2013:

I made a birdbath out of my Grandmother"s red willow China that was broken by the smoother movers. Pinned to my "The Garden" board.

thingz1 on May 04, 2013:

Thanks for providing clear instructions.

sue826 lm on May 04, 2013:

This is the first time I hear of this. They are really beautiful.

Sweetbunny LM on May 04, 2013:

Love this idea, I want to do a turtle shape for my daughters.

L Olson from Northern Arizona on May 04, 2013:

What a great idea! I can't wait to try this.

Oneshotvariety LM on May 04, 2013:

Great unique idea!

Rhonda Lytle from Deep in the heart of Dixie on May 04, 2013:

What a neat project. I love how something was re-purposed into such beauty.

Jemjoseph on May 03, 2013:

I absolutely love this garden stones idea, It makes me want to break some dishes now! :)

Laura Hofman from Naperville, IL on May 03, 2013:

I've always wanted to make a garden stepping stone! Thanks for the inspiration, tips, and photos!

katiecolette on May 03, 2013:

Bummer, I just took some chipped dishes from my china set to a thrift store... I guess I will have to look for some supplies. Pinning this lens to my Gardening and Tutorials Boards on Pinterest :)

Rock Artist on May 03, 2013:

absolutely gorgeous pieces! Love your lens

ohcaroline on May 03, 2013:

I like your new found craft. The stones are beautiful and there's no end to the designs you can make. I will have to give this a try.

anne mohanraj on May 03, 2013:

Great lens!

mrdata on May 03, 2013:

Creative ideas! Thanks for sharing them!

Missmerfaery444 on May 03, 2013:

What a wonderful idea - I want some stepping stones for the front garden and these look so lovely - now I just need to go find some broken china! :)

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on May 02, 2013:

What a great idea for a garden.

jlshernandez on May 02, 2013:

Something for me to do next for to beautify the garden. Thanks for sharing.

Birthday Wishes from Here on May 02, 2013:

What a wonderful idea!!! Thanks a lot for sharing this amazing lens!!!

Carol Brooks from Florida on May 02, 2013:

I loved your garden stone lens. I do mosaics too, using broken dishes and tiles. I've never made a stepping stone though, but that will be my next project. I hope you will take a look at my lens, Garden Mosaics. Happy recycling!

chi kung on May 02, 2013:

such a great idea! surely those garden stones look stunning!

Sheila from Omaha, NE on May 02, 2013:

Awesome lens with clear how-to's - congrats on your well deserved front page honors!

anitabreeze on May 02, 2013:

Beautiful idea, the possibilities are endless!

winter aconite on May 02, 2013:

Love this lens, what a great idea!!!!

anonymous on May 02, 2013:

Love this lens. Great ideas.

maryseena on May 02, 2013:

Great idea! I should try it even if it means breaking some dishes 'accidentally'!

imagelist lm on May 01, 2013:

A really helpful lens...

amandascloset0 on May 01, 2013:

Loves the childrens stepping stone idea!

mina009 on May 01, 2013:

Very creative idea..

Ardyn25 on May 01, 2013:

This so cool...I do have lots of dishes with cracks and chips in them. What a great way to upcycle!

Cynthia Haltom from Diamondhead on May 01, 2013:

Great idea, I knew I was saving those broken dishes for something.