There is no reason why stepping stones have to be just functional. This project lets you create a unique piece for your garden!
The idea behind these lace-like stepping stones was truly a Eureka moment. The owner found fifteen square stepping stones buried beneath the soil from their previous project. And while strolling through a secondhand store she saw some vinyl doilies, but just went past them.
One morning while having a coffee she happened to notice the plain stepping stones, and then her gaze shifted to the doily, Eureka! This idea allowed them to give their backyard a makeover.
Do the stepping stones in your yard look dull? This is an easy and inexpensive way of decorating them!
- Stepping stones – choose a stone colour that is in contrast to your paint colour
- A lace doily – vinyl/rubber doily
- Outdoor / Exterior Spray paint – one that is in contrast with the stone and would stand out
- Outdoor / Exterior Clear spray sealer
- A large piece of cardboard – or newspapers if you are working on a table
- Water – a bucket or hose
- A pen/pencil/marker
- A pair of scissors or a serrated knife.
- A scrub/brush
Steps in making your own lace-like stepping stones:
You are not limited to square stepping stones. In fact, if you enjoy working with concrete, you could even make your own, in any shape you desire!
Round stones, squares, rectangles and so many other shapes are available in large home improvement centres. Try to choose a stone colour that will be in contrast to the paint colour you choose. Dark stone, light paint. Light stone, dark paint, and so forth.
You might even consider edging pieces. Lay them on their side, paint, and put them into place. 🙂
The best weather for this stepping stone project would be a nice, sunny day, maybe even with a bit of a breeze. You’ll likely want to scrub or rinse off your stones to remove any concrete residue that may prevent the paint from adhering properly.
Please note, you don’t have to purchase a specific scrubbing tool for this, you could use an old hairbrush, a dirty old rag, an old toothbrush or such. And no, not your significant other’s toothbrush, even in a moment of anger.
Rinse the stones off well and allow them to dry thoroughly.
Don’t be impatient. Let them dry.
Because this project was completed using items I already had in the garage, afterthought mentioned that weed barrier fabric would have been splendid, but…
We’re used to weeds around here, but if you are not, consider laying fabric on the path where you will place your stepping stones. I actually enjoy the more natural look and not one that is so refined. We do, after all, live in the country.
Trim, yank, pull or do whatever is necessary to clear weeds from the area where your stones will be. Keep in mind, you don’t want to fight with things getting in the way when painting. As for the Vinca major shown, take my advice. Don’t plant it. We’ll talk about that later. Maybe.
An easy way to do this is to place the stones as you wish, then run a weed trimmer over the tops and sides of the stones to clear away any plant growth.
If you have a work table available, a small stack of newspapers should suffice to keep the paint off your table. If you are working directly on the ground, a painting shield may come in handy.
Simply lay one of your stones on top of a large piece of cardboard or poster board, then trace around it with a pencil.
Remove the stone and cut the traced shape out of the board. The cardboard should now fit snugly over the stone.
This method allows you to spray only the stone, and not the surrounding materials and plants. It also helps to keep the spray from landing on stones you have already completed if you are working on a walkway that is already set in place.
As a very devoted fan of the doily, I would like to mention that I don’t necessarily approve of the damage and/or destruction caused to crocheted doilies should you choose to go that route. However, if you simply must, try to sacrifice one that is stained heavily, torn, etc. and not a nice one. If handmade, quite a bit of work went into it. Personally, I do not know how to crochet (yet) and am envious of the talent.
If you can’t find a vinyl doily, don’t fret. There are so many other options! Some of the larger box stores sell lacy plastic or vinyl tablecloths or table runners in rolls or by the yard.
Plastic stencils work great, too, and can often be found in hobby stores in so many shapes, and even alphabet stencils are a thought, too!
Consider using word stencils to spell out one of your favourite short quotes, placing one word on each stone. Or choose a quick and easy project and make three stones with “I Love You” or “Live, Love, Laugh”. You have already thought of ideas, haven’t you?
After you have placed your painting shield over the stepping stone, lay your doily of choice on top of the stone and give it a good coating of spray paint.
Be sure to focus on the tiny holes, but don’t hold the paint too close, or there will be blobs seeping underneath. A light mist around the edge, then the centre, then back around again, giving good coverage, but not too heavy.
Allow the paint to dry a bit, then carefully lift the doily out of the way, draping it over something to allow any residual paint to dry on the doily. Paint each stone, being careful not to step on them until they are completely dry.
After you have sprayed the stones with the lace, allow them to thoroughly dry. Using an exterior sealer, spray the tops of the stones to protect the paint finish.
If you have the funds available, opt for a small can of outdoor polyurethane. Your stones will look twice as gorgeous and the paint will last a lot longer, not to mention the cool beading effect rain will have on them.
Mulch really does wonders for the garden. Consider adding some around and in between the stones for a wonderful effect! I chose a nice pine bark nugget, which looks lovely next to the white stones.
Although the lace stones provide quite a decorative effect, the dark mulch really sets it all off. I cannot wait until the rains come, which will darken the mulch, even more, wet the stones, and enhance the look.
This is a favourite place for our cats to hang out, so now that it is photo-worthy, we’ll probably be likely to find one of the stinkers on a stepping stone. In fact, if you look at the top of the photo below, you can see Libbie walking on the stone I have yet to paint. But would she take a moment to pause, posing pretty? Nah.
For those with a keen eye, yes, Libbie is sitting on a stone yet to be painted.
Oh, but you thought this project was over, yes? Not so. One final idea. Make your stepping stones glow in the dark!
Once your stones are dry to the touch, place the doily back onto the stone in the same location. If you used a doily with a specific pattern and contrasting colour paint to the stone, this should be an easy feat.
Spray just as you did before, only this time, spray over the sections that have already been painted. The neat thing about this paint is you can’t really see it in the daytime that well.
Come night time, grab a flashlight, charge up the stones and then turn out the lights. Lovely!
I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial, and perhaps garnered a few ideas of your own.