How to Make Concrete Pavers and Stepping Stones

If you want to use concrete pavers for your next outdoor applications, you are not limited to purchasing the materials directly from manufacturers, mason supply yards, or home improvement stores. In fact, if you want to save money, you can make concrete pavers from the comfort of your own home!

Note, as well, that you can make many other concrete materials with this method. If you want to learn how to make concrete stepping stones, bricks, blocks, statues, and other shapes, read on, as much of the information below will apply.

Warnings and Things to Know Before Making Concrete Pavers

The benefits of making your own paving stones are clear. You’ll save money per stone due to the low costs of concrete. (See below, however, on this point, as you may not save as much money as you think.) In addition, you’ll be able to make the brick to your liking, and you won’t have to get involved with dealing with manufacturers, supply yards, and delivery of the material to your home.

There are a few caveats to keep in mind before you make your own concrete pavers. First, realize that you shouldn’t do this unless you have the experience and skills required to work with concrete. If you’ve never poured concrete before and shaped it in molds, you may not be able to create “reproducible” bricks. In other words, each paver needs to be near identical in order for the project to work. (This is true, to an extent, even with an irregular pattern filled with different sized paving stones.) Thus, if you don’t have the abilities required, you’re probably better off buying them pre-made.

Second, if you have a large installation coming up that will require a lot of brick, this may not be the best method for you. Think about it – if you can only produce 10 pavers at a time, and you need 1000, how long is it going to take you to get the supply you’ll need to finish the project? If the project is small, such as a mini-patio, it may be more doable. You could increase the size of the pavers, making the more slabs or flags, to lower the numbers of total stones you’ll need to make. Of course, if you only need a few of the materials, such as for stepping stones, then you won’t have this problem.

In fact, making tons of pavers may not even be cost effective if you take your own time and effort into account. If it takes you twenty hours to make all the brick you need, how much are you really ‘spending’ through the value of your time? This is true even if the concrete itself is dirt cheap.

One final reason not to make your own materials is that you’ll be limited in your design options. Making concrete pavers is difficult enough without worrying about color, size, shape, and so on. With manufactured pavers, you’ll be able to select from a wide variety of style, color blends, and shapes that you can then use to complement your already existing home design. The most basic do-it-yourself pavers will be an ugly, flat grey – usually not that appealing, especially if aesthetics matter for that particular project.

If none of these warnings apply to you, read on!

How to Make Concrete Pavers

First, you’ll have to obtain molds for your pavers. There are two ways of doing this. First, you can buy molds pre-made. Doing this will allow you to pick the size and shape of concrete paving stone that you want to make.

The second option is to make your own paver molds – click here if you want to learn how.

Once you have your molds, it’s time to make your ‘paver factory.’ Set aside a part of your yard that will stay dry if it rains. Put some ‘mold release agent’ inside the mold to prevent the paver from sticking to the mold when it dries.

Mix the concrete as directed, and pour it into your molds. Spread it to make sure it is level and covers all the corners. Bounce the concrete and mold to get rid of any air bubbles. Let them solidify over the next 24-48 hours. Remove the bricks or the molds when they are done, and prepare the next set.

Note: if you want to add color or texture to your brick, do it during the pouring phase, as it will need to be mixed in with the wet concrete ahead of time. Consider experimenting, as well, with the shapes, sizes, and textures on the paver right after it has been poured in the mold.

Once you’ve created all the pavers, stepping stones, or blocks you need, lay them as needed according to your design. Good luck!

Ten Tips for Finding Concrete Molds for Sale

Homeowners are not limited to basic concrete structures – recent innovations allow homeowners, contractors, and DIYers to produce concrete creations that look professionally done. Finding the best concrete molds for sale, however, can be challenging. Here are ten tips to consider:
  1. First, consider the feasibility of making your own forms before looking for concrete molds for sale. This is especially viable if you are making a large structure like a patio, walkway, driveway, slab, etc. where the shape is regular and doesn’t require especially skillful craftsmanship. With these, some boards or foam walls are all you need to create the flat, thick structures you need. However, for more complex molds and shapes, like statue molds and bench molds, you may not be able to make them yourself and thus will have to buy them.
  2. When purchasing your molds, you need to know the kind of project you’re working on, as there will be different molds and forms for different jobs. There is literally a mold or form for anything you can imagine – paver molds, block molds, wall molds and facings for walls, veneers, statues, sinks, tubs, benches, bird baths, stepping stones, balusters and balustrades, and more! There are literally too many different types of molds available to list them all here. In general, if you want to make something out of concrete, you will likely be able to find one for sale or at least be able to make one. Ask a local contractor, manufacturer, concrete expert, or homeowner supply store for more information and advice on specific projects.
  3. There are many different types of materials that the molds are made from. The most basic ones use wood or foam. The more advanced and complex molds will use special kinds of plastic, latex, or rubber.
  4. First check local supply stores, mason yards, contractor supply stores, and home improvement stores. These places will have concrete forms for sale, or at least the items you’ll need to construct your own forms.
  5. For more specialized or specific molds, you may have to go online and look at ecommerce and specialty sites. The offerings online are nearly endless, as you can get various functional and decorative pieces for a good price. You may have to pay more for shipping, especially if they are large, but it may be worth it to get the molds you want.
  6. There are also certain molds that let you ‘mass produce’ smaller pieces that you can put together into larger structures. This includes paver, block, and brick molds. The more bricks you can produce, the quicker you can install your project. These molds may be a great alternative to purchasing concrete pavers, as it’ll be cheaper (though slower) to make them yourself.
  7. Consider as well adding colors and materials to the concrete itself. This can expand the design options available. Don’t forget to get sealant for your concrete creations too.
  8. Consider buying your concrete molds and forms used. If you buy used concrete molds for sale, you will save anywhere from 20 to 50% on the price. You can buy them from homeowners and other people who may be selling them. Check online for cement molds for sale at sites like craigslist and Ebay for leads. As always, be careful when entering in any transactions with individuals you don’t know. There are no guarantees that the products you buy will be in great condition – in fact, there are no guarantees you’ll get your products at all! Always use caution when entering in these transactions to avoid scams. However, if you can deal with the risk, you’ll be able to get molds for low prices.
  9. The cost of the molds you buy will depend on their size, complexity, and so on. For simple shapes, you will pay anywhere from $10 to $40. For more complex designs, such as baluster molds as an example, you can pay hundreds of dollars. Sets will also cost more, as there will be more molds included in order for you to complete all the pieces of the project.
  10. Consider the design possibilities that you can achieve with concrete molds for inside and outside your home – you no longer need to hire a sculpture to chip away at stone or concrete to get you the structures you want, nor do you have to have the structures shipped to you at great cost.