Making your own outdoor clay garden stones is simple if you have the right ingredients. The recipe should be one that dries as hard as a rock so it will withstand exterior conditions. You can mold your homemade clay garden stones in any shape that you like and embellish them to add character and whimsy to your garden path.
One of the best recipes for clay that dries as hard as stone is to mix two parts sawdust with one part all-purpose flour. If you are making a medium-size stepping stone, your mixture would equal 4 cups of sawdust and 2 cups of flour. Water is the only other ingredient you will need to make this clay recipe.
You will also need a mixing bowl, newspaper, a flat work surface, a stone mold and a mold release agent to create your garden stones. Common household items such as milk jugs, old cake pans and boxes are good choices for stepping stone molds. You can also purchase stone molds at a craft store. Release agents designed specifically for making stepping stones are also available at the craft store, but you can use nonstick cooking spray or WD-40 instead.
Decorate your outdoor garden stones as you like. You can sand and paint this sawdust clay recipe with light-grade sandpaper and acrylic paints, after it dries. You can also press mosaic tiles, colorful stones and other small objects into the top of the stone to decorate it. An acrylic finish such as a floor polish or exterior polyurethane spray will seal the stone after you paint it.
Making the clay is like mixing batter for a cake; blend the two dry ingredients, and then slowly add water until the mixture is firm but still pliable. When the clay is ready, it will be like a stiff lump. At this point, you’ll need to knead the clay until it becomes more flexible. Cover your work surface with newspaper before you begin kneading the clay.
You can shape your sawdust clay garden stone with a mold or with your hands. Stepping stones should be at least 2 inches thick, but decorative stones to accent flower beds may be any thickness. You should add your mosaic tiles and other embellishments into the clay before you place it in the sun to dry. It could take up to 36 hours or more for your garden stone to dry completely. After it’s hardened, you can sand, paint and finish it.
Katherine Kally is a freelance writer specializing in eco-friendly home-improvement projects, practical craft ideas and cost-effective decorating solutions. Kally's work has been featured on sites across the Web. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of South Carolina and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.