DIY Sea Glass Stepping Stone

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How to make garden stepping stones using colorful sea glass, marbles, or other colored glass pieces. It’s incredibly beautiful, especially when wet with rain. This project requires only a few inexpensive materials and creates colorful and practical walkways outdoors.

Make a colorful sea glass stepping stone for the garden using sea glass, marbles, or colored glass. This project requires only a few inexpensive materials including glass pieces. Full video included #seaglass #gardendiy #gardeningidea

Sea glass can have romantic origins — it could come from old Victorian bottles or broken glass from a shipwreck. Most of the time, it comes from modern-day bottles. Most of the rubbish that ends up in the sea doesn’t have a happy ending, but glass is a different story. The motion of the waves and the grinding from stones and sand polishes each shard into a soft and jewel-like piece. You can display it in jars or cases, but it’s fun to use in creative projects, too. One of the best garden projects I’ve ever made is a sea glass stepping stone, and I’d like to show you how to make one for yourself.

You can easily make sea glass stepping stones with a few materials, including cement, recycled mold, and beautiful sea glass. The resulting piece is garden art on a whole other level. Each softly colored piece of glass shines brightly in the light as if it were still wet from the sea. It’s practical, too, since you can use it to access the back of a border without getting your shoes dirty or to create a path through the lawn. If you don’t have access to sea glass, you can purchase it or use other materials like broken crockery, shells, stones, and colored glass like marbles and aquarium glass.

Collecting Sea Glass

Sea glass is great fun to look for and collect! All it is is glass bottles and jars that have been tossed in the sea or another waterway and broken. The sharp edges and glossy finish are then softened by the action of waves, water, sand, and other stones. Sometimes, being in the elements changes the color of the glass, too. You tend to find seaglass on beaches near towns and cities, especially in places where industry was once prevalent. If you don’t live near a place where you can forage for sea glass, then I recommend using marbles, aquarium glass, or other colorful glass pieces to make a sea glass stepping stone.

Make a colorful sea glass stepping stone for the garden using sea glass, marbles, or colored glass. This project requires only a few inexpensive materials including glass pieces. Full video included #seaglass #gardendiy #gardeningidea

Seaglass Stepping Stone Materials

Once you have the colored glass pieces sourced, then order the rest of the materials you’ll need and get to work. This project will take you about two days to complete and doesn’t cost very much. Cement and sand are relatively cheap, and you can recycle an old pan or plant pot saucer for the mold. When you’re working with cement, always wear gloves and work in an airy outdoor place.

How to make a Sea Glass Stepping Stone
Use colored glass to create sparkling seaglass stepping stones
  1. An old pan or plastic tub to use as a mold. Plastic plant pot saucers are perfect.
  2. Cement and builders sand, or get a pre-mixed bag of Quikrete.
  3. Matte white spray paint for outdoor use
  4. Clear glossy spray paint suitable for outdoor use
  5. Sea glass and any other stones, shells, pottery, or objects you’d like to embed into your stepping stone. This aquarium glass looks like sea glass.
  6. Optional: a square of wire mesh that will fit inside the mold. It’s only necessary for big stepping stones.

Paint The Sea Glass

Using the matte white spray paint, paint one side of the beach glass you want to embed in your stone. This is the side that you want to be pushed into the concrete. If you don’t paint one side, the dark color of the concrete will make your glass look dark and murky since the grey color will come through the glass. The white paint will instead make the color of the glass bright, colorful, and beautiful!

Make a colorful sea glass stepping stone for the garden using sea glass, marbles, or colored glass. This project requires only a few inexpensive materials including glass pieces. Full video included #seaglass #gardendiy #gardeningidea
First, spray one side of the sea glass white. This will help the color to pop.

Mix the Cement

For this step, you’ll need to be wearing gloves and have a bucket and a stirring implement. A simple stick will do the trick! Mix one part cement with four parts builders’ sand, or use this pre-mixed bag.

For one stepping stone sized about 9.5″ in diameter, mix 1.5 cups of cement with 6.5 cups of sand. Larger or smaller molds will need more or less mix, though. I recommend filling the container with water first and measuring how many cups it can hold. Then, work out your amounts using the 1:4 ratio. Next, add enough water to make it wet but not soupy. If it’s too wet, then the decorations will sink.

Make a colorful sea glass stepping stone for the garden using sea glass, marbles, or colored glass. This project requires only a few inexpensive materials including glass pieces. Full video included #seaglass #gardendiy #gardeningidea
In a bucket, mix the cement with the sand. Add enough water to wet it through.

Fill the Mold

Fill the mold with the wet concrete mix. It may look lumpy, but it will even out if you jiggle the container a little. Though you can use a metal pan like I’m using, I recommend plastic plant pot saucers. They can be much easier to get the stepping stone out of later. The next step and photo below are optional and only if the ‘mold’ you’re using is more than twelve inches in diameter.

Make a colorful sea glass stepping stone for the garden using sea glass, marbles, or colored glass. This project requires only a few inexpensive materials including glass pieces. Full video included #seaglass #gardendiy #gardeningidea
Fill the mold with the cement mix. If the mold is over a foot in diameter, a piece of metal mesh in the center can help improve stability.

Adding Strength to Wider Stepping Stones

If the stepping stone is more than about 12″ in diameter, fill the mold only halfway at first. Next, place a square of wire on top. The mesh helps keep the stepping stone from breaking since it adds inner structure. It’s only really necessary for larger stepping stones, though. Fill the rest of the mold with the concrete mix and completely cover the wire.

Decorate the surface with sea glass, shells, and other pretty pieces.

Decorate with Seaglass

After all the concrete is out of your mixing container, wipe it out with paper towels and give it a good rinse. Do this before it hardens, and the bucket will clean up easily. Next, create the sea glass design by pressing pieces into the wet cement. Push them in firmly, or they may come off eventually. If there’s any water puddling on the top after you’re finished, soak it up gently with toilet paper or a soft rag. Make sure to wear rubber gloves whenever you touch the wet cement.

Make a colorful sea glass stepping stone for the garden using sea glass, marbles, or colored glass. This project requires only a few inexpensive materials including glass pieces. Full video included #seaglass #gardendiy #gardeningidea
When fully dry, the sea glass stepping stone should come out of the mold easily.

Take the Stepping Stone out of the Mold

When you’re finished with the design, allow the stone to set for at least two days before you take it out of the mold. Waiting a week might be even safer, especially if the cement mix seemed a little too wet. When it’s ready, the stepping stone should be completely dry, and it might be pulling away from the sides of the mold. To get the stone out, turn your mold over something soft (like grass or a towel) and shake it out gently.

Plastic molds tend to come off easier than metal, which is why I recommend them. Pans can work just fine, though, too. However, if you’re having trouble getting the sea glass stepping stone out, leave it to dry for a few more days. You can also gently tap the sides to get the stone out, but be aware that some glass pieces may fall out. The video included in this piece covers how to put them back into place.

Make a colorful sea glass stepping stone for the garden using sea glass, marbles, or colored glass. This project requires only a few inexpensive materials including glass pieces. Full video included #seaglass #gardendiy #gardeningidea
Your sea glass stepping stone will be both beautiful and practical

Spray with Clear Varnish

Clean the glass in the stone off with water and an old toothbrush. When it’s dried, spray the top with clear spray paint to give the pieces that wet look. This last step is really important if you want those pieces of sea glass to really shine! It also helps to give them a top-up spray each year. This varnish step is also optional, but if you don’t spray the sea glass, they will be matte in texture until they’re wet.

The stepping stone I made in this DIY video

Step 8: Siting your Sea Glass Stepping Stone

Once the sea glass stepping stone is dry, find a place to put it in the garden. It could be embedded in the lawn as part of a path or within a border so that you can easily step inside. Dig a depression in the area where you wish your stone to be placed and set it inside. Doesn’t it look beautiful? I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial! Here are more that I think you’ll enjoy:

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35 Comments

  1. Kimberly Kozak says:

    Thank you for your knowledge on this diy project. 😊💯Like smiple.and creative keeps me busy .

  2. How thick is the stone? Not sure how much cement to use. Also, in researching ,I’ve found suggestions for using cooking spray or Vaseline to coat the pan to facilitatecceasy removal. ❤the hint to spray back of glass!

    1. I’d say about an inch thick. Pre-measure your dry ingredients into your mold first to guestimate how much you’ll need :)

  3. Toirdhealbheach Beucail says:

    Thank you for posting this. I have versions of these my children made for me when they were young. They continue to bring joy in my garden.

  4. I love this idea but I have a question. Do you think I could finish this with resin?

      1. Thank you!! I will let know how it comes out when I try this!!!

  5. Can u use a spray coat in pan before starting so mold will come out easier, or will it compromise cement?

    1. I’ve never tried it, but if you’re worried about sticking, use a large, round, silicone baking dish instead.

    2. I have heard you can use WD40

  6. Going to try this out!

    The sea glass shades can match what you are doing in the garden as well with this method.

    Thanks for posting,

  7. Sea glass is never home made. It is actually surf tumbled glass. The tumbling of glass in salt and repeated waves create distinguishable markings that differ from tumbled glass. Home made frosted glass can be pretty too. But there is a definite difference and cannot be legitimately referred to as sea glass or beach. It would simply be tumbled glass. One of my favorite aspects of collecting is discovering the history behind the glass pieces and their original uses. Fascinating. My favorites are those dating back over 100 years. Almost passed out today when I found a gorgeously frosted, obviously quite aged RED piece that blew my mind. Best day ever!!!

  8. Kathy Stephan says:

    I, too, make my own sea glass. I go to a local bar and ask for the empty bottles (free and you can get clear, greens, blue, brown and black) and I go to thrift stores to find other colors of glass. Just make sure the color is NOT painted on as it will come off when tumbled. I don’t have a rock tumbler so my husband borrowed a cement mixer. Can do larger quantities and comes out great.

    Kathy

    1. It’s not sea glass is it if it’s made at home?! Seaglass comes from the sea there is a difference.so it can,t be called seaglass it should be called art glass because that’s what it’s used for right? Don,t want to confuse the two.?

      1. Maritza V says:

        Yeah, I think a more technical way of thinking about it is that it is “imitation seaglass”. Not truly sea glass. I imagine most people don’t care if it’s truly sea glass as long as it looks like it.

  9. Susan Somerville says:

    I was so excited to make this, but it won’t “pop out” of the mold. Help please.

    1. Hi Susan! This has happened to me on occasion and I’ve figured out what the issue was. It was me measuring the cement directly into the pan I was using and not cleaning it out thoroughly. The little bit of cement made the stepping stone stick when the wet mix was poured on. What I suggest is first letting the stepping stone dry for at least a week. If it still won’t come out, support the stepping stone with a pillow wrapped in a plastic bag. Turn the pan upside down and GENTLY tap the bottom with a hammer. It’s come out every time but be prepared for some sea glass to potentially fall off too. Glue them back down with cement or another adhesive and all should be well :)

  10. Jeannie Lanio says:

    Can I use a disposable aluminum cake pan from the grocery store instead of having to purchase the cake pans?

    Thank you!

    1. You could try but I’m not sure how sturdy it would be. the sides might bow out from the weight. It would be better to go to a second hand shop and buy an inexpensive pan there.

  11. I’m trying to print the directions, but I’m not able to do it without the photos (too much ink being used). Do you happen to have it is a printable form? Thanks, Teresa

    1. I’m sorry but no I don’t. You could try copying the text into a word document and then printing?

  12. Thanks for all the how to, I’m no way a beach person but am planning to use your technique with river rocks, guess I can eliminate a few steps ?

  13. Diana Hunt says:

    I think collecting old sea glass very romantic. Those stepping stones are a great idea. I always collect a jar of stones, sand and sea glass whereever I go on holiday. I also own a jar of Douglas Isle of Man sand too. I don´t know yet what to do with it, but with your clever little tricks I am sure I´ll have an idea someday. I have been to the Isle of Man many times before, a truly enchanting Island.

  14. Love this idea! A great way to treasure little keepsakes.

  15. Anita Mas says:

    That’s a cool idea to use sea glass in a stepping stone like this. The fact that you made them look wet in there makes them look their best. They always look better at the beach when they are wet. I’ll have to try doing this for our stepping stones in our garden.

    1. I so agree! I love the wet look of pebbles, shells, and sea glass on the beach.

  16. This is a really lovely idea! I am often collecting sea glass and then not knowing what to do with it, Thank you so much for sharing and for the excellent tutorial.

  17. I really like this and have jars of sea washed glass at home as I’m a real beachcomber at heart. Wouldn’t have thought about spraying the back of the glass with white paint so thanks for that tip!

  18. This is so beautiful! I’m a huge fan of sea glass but unfortunately there’s hardly any on the beaches here… You could easily sell these!

    1. I live in land locked Colorado, so I MAKE my own “sea-glass”. I go to the thrift stores and buy any blue, green, or light blue bottles, plates, etc and then take them home and SMASH them! Then I throw them in my rock tumbler I got for a few bucks off Craigslist. For a few bucks investment for the grits you add to the glass and the time it takes for the glass to become smooth, I can make ALL the “sea-glass” I want!

  19. Hello Tanya,
    that’s a mega great idea.
    I would like to imitate.
    On our next trip to the North Sea, I will keep an eye open for such beautiful things.
    Even your instructions are very clear.
    Many kind regards
    Uwe