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[Stained Glass Gems] All About Stepping Stones
January 17, 2010
Issue 14! All About Stepping Stones
Welcome to all stained glass enthusiasts. These Stained Glass Gemshave been found during my frequent browsing and deep digging for helpful and or unusual stained glass web sites, as well as other information pertaining to stained glass. I have a long list that I will share with you over the months ahead. I do hope that there's a gem or two that will brighten your day and be helpful during your stained glass journey.
This month's ezine will be all about Stepping Stones. With spring just around the corner and craft shows for
Mother's Day coming up, now is a good time to start making stepping stones.
Here are some of my stepping stones ready to take to a garden center:
Stepping stones have always sold well, especially if the designs are unique. For those of you wanting to try something
new and different, this might be the answer, and it's a good way to use up larger pieces of scrap glass.
There are 2 ways to make stepping stones...the Direct Method and the Indirect Method.
The Direct Method involves gluing the glass to a ready made (blank) stepping stone, then grouting the glass to
fill in the spaces. I haven't heard of many stained glass hobbyist using this method although it is an easy enough
project to do with your children.
The Direct Method requires the entire top side of the stepping stone to be covered with glass, as it is difficult to
fill in large spaces with grout and have a smooth, even surface.
The Indirect Method takes a lot more work then the direct method, but the end results are much more professional
looking, and you do not have to fill in all of the space with glass if that is your preference.
The equipment you'll need for the indirect method:
I won't go into the actual directions to make a stepping stone since
you can download excellent directions from the Silicon Folly web site (below).
Silicon Folly is a web site I went to frequently when I was making
stones. There are free step by step manuals to download, a gallery to ooh and ah over as well as a forum devoted to
For anyone wanting to mix their own mortars and grouts Mortar Materials
gives directions and explains each ingredient used.
The Stained Glass and Mosaic Forum on the GardenWeb website is a forum I have used many times in my stepping stone days. You'll find many interesting discussions going on, and there's always someone that can give you help with a problem.
Garden Accouterments is another forum at the GardenWeb that has some stepping stone discussions.
There are many Stepping Stone Patterns on this web site.
Delphi carries a large range of Supplies
I perferred to mix my own mortar from scratch. I knew it was high quality and I didn't have to worry about the stone falling apart a few years down the road. It was initially expensive only because the ingredients didnt come in small ammounts. However, once I had everything, I had enough to make many stones and it was far less expensive per stone than buying ready made mortar.
The only down side to mixing your own is finding some of the ingredients.
I was able to get Nylon Fibers from a local concrete/cement business (the kind with a cement truck!). They just gave
me a paper bag full.
I got both white and tan sand at Home Depot
White Portland Cement is available at most home improvement stores.
Acrylic Admixture was found at our local concrete supplies business. Actually they carry white sand and portland
cement also, so if you have a similar business in your area, that would be a good place to start.
I found dry colorant at a tile store. If you color the motar, make it darker than you want, as it fades as
the motar dries.
I used white sand to make white stones and to add color to if I wanted a colored stone.
I couldn't find Silica Fume or Superplasticizer, so I never used it in my mixture. As far as I could see, it
didn't make any difference in the quality of the stones.
If you come across directions that tell you to use chicken wire in the stone (for strength),
you do not need it if you make your own motar. The acrylic admixture and nylon fibers add
all of the strength you need.
Allow the stones to "cure" for 28 days before they are set outside. Prop the stones up by placing pencils
or small strips of wood underneath to allow air flow on all sides. Cure them
in a controlled environment like your basement or a lower shelf on a workbench. Don't cure
them outside in the direct sunlight, in an unheated garage in the winter, or where there
will be major temperature variations. Never let a stone freeze and don't let it get wet
Here are the instructions I gave with every stone sale:
When placing garden stones in your yard, be sure to put a bed of sand or gravel under the stone.
This allows water to drain away from the stone. Never let your stone stand in water.
Never spray water on a stepping stone that's been sitting in the sun. The cold water on the hot glass is
a sure fired way to break the glass.
It's always smart to store your stepping stones inside in the winter, especially in areas where freeze-thaw
The video on using running pliers is now up and running on the Running Pliers
Delphi Stained Glass Supplies
is a place I have bought many supplies from over the years. Some very helpful people work there, the prices are competitive and you'll find just about any stained glass supply you need.
Do you need a pattern resizer or a design program? I can highly recommend
Pattern Wizard and Rapid
Resizer. They are reasonably priced and you get a fairly long free trial before you
have to commit to paying for them. You have the option of buying one or the other or both.
For your convenience, my lead came tutorial is now available as an eBook.
It only takes a minute to order, and you can download it right away, as an Adobe PDF document. Get it today for only
Just in case you don't know, the Stained Glass Gems ezine is
mailed out the third Sunday of every month. Be on the look out for [Stained Glass Gems] Issue 15 on
Sunday, February 21st.
I want to encourage you to have fun and experiment with your glass. Try new things and different techniques. It's amazing what you can do when you "think outside the box."
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