If you live in a rural area you may have no trouble finding or buying real stone or slate tiles for creating garden paths and patios. You may even have easy access to attractive landscape rocks at reasonable prices. But if you live in a city, or even in a suburb, steppingstones, pavers, and rocks may be very costly, if you can find them at all. Landscape supply stores or hardware stores may sell concrete or plaster rocks and pavers, but they usually are very costly. That's where concrete stone molds enter the picture.
With concrete, cement, and plaster molds you can make your own cast manufactured stones, brick veneer, pavers, and steppingstones very inexpensively. You can choose the sizes and shapes you want and finish them with the colors and textures that fit with your decor.
You do not have to be an artist, a craftsman, or a carpenter to make manufactured stone pieces from molds. The step-by-step instructions that accompany stone-making kits tell you exactly what you need to do to create and finish products. You can, of course, buy all the molds, materials, and finishes separately, but you save money when you buy a complete do-it-yourself kit, plus you get the complementary instructions.
Following are the basic directions for making your own custom stone, tile, pavers, and bricks with concrete and molds:
-Apply a mold release product to the molds. This will make it easier to remove the finished product from the mold and will give the mold a longer life. (Oil used to be used as a release product, but is no longer recommended.)
-Follow the directions to mix the amount of concrete or plaster you need for your project. The mix should be stiff, but not too dry.
-Add colorant. There are many techniques for adding dry or liquid colorant to get the effect you want. You can have bright or subtle colors, solid colors or marbled colors.
-Scoop the mix into the mold. How full you fill the mold depends on the product you are making.
-Right after you fill the mold, bounce it up and down to compact the mixture and break up bubbles.
-Put the filled mold on a flat surface out of direct sun. Cover it with a piece of plastic. Leave the mold alone for 24 hours or more, letting it dry slowly. The longer it sits the stronger it gets.
-To remove the product from the mold, turn the mold over so the face of the mold is looking up. Gently lift the mold off from the corners.
-Cover the stones, bricks, tiles, etc. with plastic and put them in a protected area to let them cure for one-to-two weeks before applying a protective sealer. The type of sealer and number of coats needed depends on the amount of wear and exposure the products will have.
Remember, you do not have to have experience working with concrete in order to make attractive stones, tiles, bricks, and pavers from molds for just pennies each.