Molds for stepping stones can be made from several different materials, including plastic, wood, silicon, or cardboard. A mold should be chosen based on the project it will be used for. Thin plastic molds are inexpensive and readily available, making them ideal for small projects. Large-scale projects may require multiple molds, or molds that can easily be re-used.
The most commonly sold molds for stepping stones are made from thin, clear plastic. These molds can be used for either plaster or concrete stepping stones and are available in craft and home improvement stores. Thin plastic molds for stepping stones are usually the type included in kits as well. While the low price of these molds is appealing, they are flimsy and can only be used a few times before they break. These molds are best for beginners or for very small projects.
For simple stepping stones with a lot of impact, silicon baking pans should be used. These are typically designed for cakes, not garden fixtures, but their flat surfaces and flexible natures make them ideal molds for stepping stones. The decorative images on the front add expensive-looking detail without a high ticket price. These molds can be used again and again without breaking. Once silicon molds have been used to make concrete stepping stones, they should no longer be used for baking.
The most durable molds for stepping stones are made from wood. Wood molds have hard wood bottoms, so the molds can be relocated with ease while they are still wet. This type of mold often has removable sides, so removing a completed stepping stone is easy. Wood molds for stepping stones are most useful for large-scale projects or when multiple casts are desired. Wood molds can be handmade or bought in garden and home improvement stores.
Inexpensive molds for stepping stones can be made at home. Any sturdy box can be lined with plastic sheeting and used as a mold. Pizza boxes are particularly useful for making stepping stones. They are the correct size and shape, are readily available, and the cardboard can simply be torn away after use. Used boxes can be recycled or new ones can be purchased for the project from a restaurant supplier.
No matter what molds are used, stepping stones should be poured using fresh concrete or plaster, decorated as desired then allowed to dry. To limit breakage, stones should be completely dry and cured before they are removed from the mold. Color can be added to wet concrete or plaster or painted on after the fact.