CAN I USE VEGETABLE OIL SPRAY AS A MOLD RELEASE?
We do not recommend spray vegetable oil, which may not provide an even, thick coating. Please use vegetable oils such as canola or safflower, applied with an inexpensive paintbrush.
HOW MUCH CONCRETE SHOULD I USE FOR ONE MOLD?
The quantities below are the approximate amounts of dry concrete you will need for each type of mold:
• Round stepping stone molds: 6 quarts dry concrete
• Square stepping stone molds: 7 1/2 quarts dry concrete
• Edging stone molds: 3 quarts dry concrete
• Planter Feet molds: 1-2 cups dry concrete
Note: due to the small size and detail of the planter feet molds, it’s best to use concrete mixes free of rock and gravel. Use mortar mix or make your own concrete with sand and cement. Or buy a small box of concrete patch, found in any hardware store.
WHEN USING IRON OXIDE PIGMENTS, HOW MUCH IS NECESSARY FOR A STONE?
This depends upon how intense you want the colors, but generally, 3-4 tablespoons pigment per stepping stone and 1 1/2 tablespoons per edging stone will produce a pleasing saturation. The colors will appear muted while the concrete is still wet, so resist adding extra pigment.
SHOULD I USE A CONCRETE SEALANT?
Yes, especially if you live in a cold climate where freezing and cracking of stones are an issue. Sealants come in both glossy and matte finishes and can be found in any home improvement center. For more ideas on fortifying stones, see Concrete in Cold Climates in our Basic Instructions section.
I HAVE USED AN ACRYLIC PAINT TO DECORATE SOME OF MY GARDEN STONES. IS THERE A PRODUCT THAT WILL HELP THE ACRYLIC LAST LONGER, OR IS THE ACRYLIC PAINT A SEALER ITSELF?
You do not need to seal the stones if they’ve been painted with acrylics. After a year or so of exposure to the elements, the paint will probably start flaking. Simply remove the flakes with a wire brush then re-paint the stone.
I AM CURIOUS ABOUT YOUR COLOR WASH USING A SLURRY OF IRON OXIDE, PORTLAND CEMENT AND WATER. EXACTLY WHAT ARE THE MIX RATIOS?
This is a matter of a little experimenting plus personal preference. Start with a cup of Portland cement, a tablespoon or two of oxide and enough water to create a thin pancake batter consistency. Apply it to your stone and see if you like the effect. If not, rinse off and thicken/thin the slurry or make another slurry using more or less color. After the slurry has dried and cured for a week or so, apply a concrete sealant. This will increase the durability of the slurry.
IN YOUR INSTRUCTIONS, IT SAYS TO LET THE STONE CURE FOR 2 DAYS. DOES THAT MEAN TO LEAVE IT IN THE MOLD FOR 2 DAYS OR LET IT SET UP FOR A FEW HOURS, THEN REMOVE FROM THE MOLD AND SET ASIDE FOR TWO DAYS?
The stone needs to cure 2 days before demolding, then allowed to cure an additional week before placing in the ground. If demolded after just a few hours, it will simply fall apart.
WHAT ARE EDGING STONE MOLDS AND WHAT DO YOU USE THEM FOR?
Edging stone molds are used to create decorative borders around flower & vegetable beds, lawns and trees. Using a small hoe or trowel, dig a channel approximately 2-3 inches wide and 4 inches deep, then set the edging stones vertically into the ground (plain half in the ground, decorative half above ground). Tamp soil firmly around the stone.
IF YOU ARE MAKING MULTIPLE STONES, HOW DO YOU PRESERVE CONCRETE WHILE THE STONE IS SETTING UP?
You don’t. Once you have added water to the concrete, you need to pour all that has been mixed. Mix up only enough for the items you are pouring. If any concrete is remaining in the bag, close the bag tightly. Dry concrete actually draws moisture from the air. Your mix can therefore become a bit lumpy over time.