Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Building a Pebble Mosaic Stepping Stone


A stepping stone made from beautiful rocks collected from rivers and lakeshores on the south island of New Zealand
My stepping stone workshop in Glenorchy, New Zealand
Gold and Black alternating bands of Mexican Beach Pebbles in Los Angeles
The most frequently asked question I get in regards to my mosaic work seems to be "Where do you get your stones?"  After that comes the question "Do you ever teach workshops?"  I have on occasion taught them but it has been a long time.  The reason I quit doing them is that they are truly exhausting.  I have to assemble close to two tons of material to teach 20 people my technique.  Each person needs a wooden form to build their mosaic in, and then I have to procure the 20 bags of mortar (1,600 pounds) and another ton of sorted pebbles, and we haven't even started the class yet.

Reed College ? Mosaic
The last one I gave was at Reed College in Portland for the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon.  The mosaics were in situ in a parking strip garden in front of the Theater Arts Building off campus.  We made a series of theater masks in the themes of Comedy, Tragedy, and Theater of the Absurd.  The last title seemed to make the most sense as the mosaics were supposed to be pads for maintenance workers to step on to keep from compacting the soil in the beds.  So most of the laboriously constructed mosaics are now buried in vegetation and impossible to see except maybe in winter.  I still don't know if anybody in the workshop ever went on to build their own mosaics afterwards.  Such is the reward of such endeavors.

What I do now is tell people that if they want to try to build a pebble mosaic that they should start with a simple stepping stone.  I have built a number of them for a project as part of a trade I am doing with a man who is slowly fabricating wonderful steel structures for my garden.  I made 26 18x18" square mosaics for his garden in a simple box made of 2x4's and a square sheet of plywood screwed together with a cordless drill and 2 1/2 inch long screws.  The box has two longer pieces of 2x4 on two sides so that I can unscrew the box and tap the boards free after the step stone has cured, which takes about two or three days.  I use a framing square to make sure the angles are 90 degrees, and drill shorter screws through the 2x4's in to the plywood to give it rigidity.  If you want rounded corners or curves in your shape, I like to use the rolled flexible lawn edging that is normally used between grass and planting beds.  This can be used inside the wood form with some blocking if you need it to maintain the desired shape.

Wood form, lawn edging and beach rock mosaic
Once the box is built, you can mock up a mosaic inside of it.  The trickiest part of building a good mosaic is finding the right stones.  Most people are too lazy to really do a good job of this and they often ask me if I could sell kits where the stones are already sorted.  Sounds like a lot of fun to me, spending hundreds of hours sorting pebbles for other people so that they don't have to.  Pay me $100 a pound and I might consider it, but other wise you are on your own.  That means going to the beach, or a river, or a stone yard.  You can buy bagged pebbles although the selection is usually limited.  The most commonly available pebbles are Mexican Beach Pebbles from Baja California, which are gathered by small operations from beaches there.  I am amazed that the supply needed to stock stone yards all over the US are still available after decades of sales, but they still seem to come up with them.  They used to be only black, in a few sizes, but now you can sometimes find buff gold pebbles and dark red.  The black and gold seem to have the most usable shapes though.  Dont buy the ones larger than 2 inches as there will be very few usable shapes.
Bagged Pebbles at a stone yard in Seattle

Montana Rainbow Mix Pebbles
I also sort through piles of pebbles in stone yards, a rather joyless and tedious task that requires a meditative will, as it usually takes 3 or 4 hours to sort a couple of 5 gallon buckets worth.  You need to wet the pebbles to see the colors since they are usually dirty and all look brown when they are dry.  One of my favorite selections is called 'Montana Rainbow Mix', or 'Pame', which I assume comes from Montana.  The colors are a blend of pastels, with red and pink being the predominant shades.  The Miro mosaics that I wrote a blog about a while back are made mostly from this mix, sorted by color.  I also did a Brazilian Carnaval inspired mosaic parking strip for a client that features outlined areas of the various colors.

Carnaval Mosaic Panels
If you collect from the wild, you should do so with some discretion.  No picking in State or National Parks!  Not just any shape will work, and the pebbles cant be laid flat like pancakes so that you get more coverage as they will pop out over time.  They have to be set on edge, or if they are large, have enough thickness to stay imbedded in the mortar.  A great way to proceed is to put some temporary sand in the bottom of your form box, and practice placing the pebbles in the sand.  They ideally should be set on edge, so you need pebbles that have a flat top surface and straight sides so they fit tightly together.  You will get the hang of it if you do it in sand as you can see what it might look like when you actually set it in mortar.  You can even compose the entire mosaic in the sand and then take it apart.  If you do this you will know that you have the proper quantity of pebbles to do the job.  Chances are your first mosaic is going to be a little funky, and you will learn from experience, so don't do the entrance to your house first thing.

An 18x18 inch mosaic that is 3 1/2 inches thick is very heavy and takes two people to move.  I like to insert two pieces of 3/8th or 1/2 inch rebar in to the mortar for reinforcement because it sucks when a stepping stone you spent so much time on breaks when you take it out of the form.  You can get these already cut at Home Depot, or cut them to length with a hack saw.  It takes about 1 and 1/3 80 pound bags of Type S Mortar to fill a box of this size.  One bag should work on a 14 x 14 inch step stone and it will be easier to move when it is done.  Adjust the quantity if you use 60 pound bags.  Do not use concrete mix!  It dries out very fast and the stones wont stick.  It has to be mortar, which is usually used to set stone or lay bricks.  You will need another pieces of plywood a little bigger than the form to lay on top and step on to flatten the work once it is done.  The tools needed are pretty low tech.

Mixing Mortar in a wheel barrow with a hoe
You mix the mortar in a plastic mortar pan or better yet a contractors wheel barrow using a garden hoe.  I wear a dust mask when mixing to avoid breathing the dust.  Use a squeeze handle spray nozzle on the end of your garden hose to wet the mix.  Put some water in the pan or wheel barrow first and then open the bag on one end and dump the contents out, pulling up on the bag.  You add more water as you mix until it reaches a stiff pudding like consistency.  Dig down to the bottom of the wheel barrow so you don't have pockets of dry mix.  Be thorough.  If you can stick your finger in the mortar and it maintains the indentation without  being too liquid, then you are probably there.  If it cracks and looks dry, add a little more water, but be careful as it doesn't take much extra water to make the mortar soupy, and you cant build a good mosaic in a soupy mix.  Once it is ready, I scoop it in to the form, wearing rubber gloves, as the mortar is not good to get on your skin.  Working bare handed will lead to cracked dried out fingers.  You should work in an area that you don't mind making a mess in as you need to hose off the excess mortar when you are finished setting and flattening the mosaic.  You can work on a strong table if you want to sit or stand up.  I sit on a little plastic stool while I work.  Stand up and stretch from time to time or you will become a hunchback.  If you have extra mortar you can put it in a bucket and let it dry and then knock it out later, or even make another little mosaic top of that.  I have several of these little round bucket mosaics in my garden.

A form in place made of flexible lawn edging supported by large 10 inch nails at regular intervals.  The base is compacted crushed gravel
Mocking up a potential mosaic design with assorted stones collected from Puget Sound beaches
Completed mosaic
Keep your sorted pebbles in plastic nursery pots and dump them out to pick through them.  It is very important that your pebbles be sorted in advance.  Once you are working with the wet mortar you need to push on through, no going to pee or answer the phone.  Work in the shade unless it is a cloudy day as it will give you more time to work.  The mortar will set up a lot quicker on a hot day.  You need protection from rain if it is a wet day as it will make soup of your mortar.  I push the two pieces of rebar in to the mortar about a half inch from the bottom sheet of plywood.  The top level of the mortar should be about a half inch below the top of the form as the pebbles will displace some of the mortar as you set them in.  Make sure that none of your pebbles are thicker than the depth of the form itself.

Finishing a stepstone at the O'Byrne Garden in
Eugene, Oregon
You can draw your design in to the mortar with a stick.  I like to keep a flat screw driver on hand for this, and to pry out pebbles that didn't go in the way you want them to.  Look at each pebble as you put it in so the the best face is forward.  Each pebble should be wet (spray them with the nozzle), and imbedded at least an inch in to the mortar or it may pop out later.  This can take years to happen.  Well imbedded pebbles should stay put for decades.  The pebbles along the edge should ideally be set perpendicular to the form so that they don't come off if you step on the edge of the stepping stone later.  I like to select shapes for the corners that are squarish and deeply set so they dont break off later.  The more conciencious you are building your mosaic, the better it will look.  Just squishing in a bunch of rocks in the mortar will make for a very funky looking piece of work.  I've seen plenty of this.  If that is OK with you then chances are so are Motel paintings in your living room.  Try to think of it as an art form rather than a craft project, and shoot for beautiful results.
The pebbles should be fit tightly together, considering their composition and placement.  If I am doing a design with lines, I will set up the lines first after I have done the border, and then fill in the outlined spaces with carefully selected stones.  On a cool day you can work for as much as 45 minutes before the mortar is too dry to work with.  A 5 gallon bucket with some water in it is great for wetting individual stones and for rinsing your gloves if they get covered with mortar.

Lotus Stepstones and Wood Form
Once all the pebbles are placed, hopefully as flat as possible and not sticking up all over, you can put the sheet of plywood on top and step on it.  This forces the pebbles down to the same level and pushes mortar up in between them.  Don't do it too hard at first.  Lift the panel and check how it looks.  Then use a light spray to wash off the displaced mortar and flatten it again.  I usually do this a few times or more if I have every thing set just right.  You will get in to trouble if you had too much mortar in the form to begin with and it is oozing out all over and the pebbles are moving from their intended place.  Don't spray too hard so that you blast out your work either.

When you feel like it is flat and presentable and washed to properly expose the finished work, just let it sit for a few days to cure, getting it wet from time to time so that it does so slowly.  Then you can unscrew the form and take a screw driver to scrape off the slaggy mortar edge along where the forms were.  A well done mosaic doesn't show much mortar, just the lovely pebbles you so painstakingly selected.  It might be a pain to do this kind of work, but I have been doing it for many years, and I think it is one of the loveliest forms of pavement imaginable.  You could make a series of pavers and then put them together to make a pad, or space them and make a path.   If you are ambitious, you can do mosaic work all over your garden.  If you do them in place you don't have to move it in to place.  If you do this you should put drop cloths over plants and walls as the mortar splatters some when hosing the work off.    You will get better at it as you gain experience.  After the mosaic has cured for about 25 days you can clean it with Muriatic Acid diluted with 4 parts water.  Pour it on and scrub with a nylon bristle brush.    It will remove any dulling mortar film left on the pebbles.  Be careful using this stuff.  Wear rubber gloves and cover your skin, and do not breath the fumes.  You can buy it at the local hardware store.  Use a flathead screw driver to trim out any unwanted globs of mortar and to smooth the joints.

Lotus Step Stone Path in Portland, Oregon
 I have stood premade panels on end, mortaring them in to walls, and have inbedded flexible copper tubing normally used for ice machines and the like to hook up creating simple fountains.  I've built the panels in situ many times in parking strips, and as large stepping pads for wider paths, but I recommend you start small and manageable and moveable until you get the hang of it.

Paths made with 14x14" step stones make a lovely small path.  One set I built are lotus blossoms, alluding to a Buddhist Jataka Tale about Sidhartha Gautama being born, and having lotus blossoms spring from his footprints.  Another is simple alternating bands of black and gold Mexican Beach Pebbles.


If you precompose the design you are probably going to make a better stepping stone so I cannot emphasize enough the benefit of knowing what you are about to create.  Fit the pebbles tightly together and try to be the best artist you can.

Hand selected beach stones fit in to gaps in a mortar set stone parking strip pad

Simple bands of colored pebbles in round stepping stones match the mosaic path of a rattle snake between my two houses.  The smaller rounds were made in the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket.

I am currently working on a multi year project on the South Island of New Zealand which will include possibly hundreds of pebble mosaic stepping stones.  One of the project's emphasis is the reduction of waste so I am incorporating lots of debris from the site in to the bases of the stepping stones as a way to remove it from the waste stream and act as reinforcement.  This has to be carefully done so as not to block the insertion of the stones in to the mortar, but it is a great way to get rid of all kinds of bits of non biodegradable garbage!

Debris collected from the work site 
Debris added to the base of the stepping stone along with rebar for reinforcement
The finished stepping stone
The limits of what you can do with pebble mosaic are constrained only by your creativity.  Good luck to you if you ever decide to try it.  You might just impress yourself with your new found ability, and having created something beautiful.

3 Round Medallion mosaics mounted in a fountain wall, Portland

Plants encroach on 'The River of Life',  an early in situ mosaic in my career
Round step stone with marbles, Indonesian Turquoise, Red Montana Rainbow, Black Mexican Beach and center beach stone

64 comments:

  1. I have admired your work ever since I saw the article in the N.Y. Times and I also equally admire your willingness to share the techniques that you use. You are not always trying to sell something.
    I am interested if you have any pros or cons on putting the stones in the box first and placing the mortar on top, a reverse technique if you will. It seems to me that you mentioned that in the Times article.
    Also do you ever use an acrylic admix in your mortar?
    Many thanks and keep up the beautiful work.

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  2. I think the reverse technique would work fine, but I like to see what the mosaic is looking like as I build it rather than finding out after it is removed from the mold. Admix can strengthen the mix but it gives the mortar a milky look and may have some toxicity that I prefer to avoid. It would probably give the mortar a little more bonding strength, but if the pebbles are properly embedded I rarely lose one. I forgot to mention that if a pebble does pop out, I glue it back in with Marine Goop, a clear waterproof glue that unfortunately is toxic but does the job, and only requires a small amount.

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  3. wonderful work, thanks for sharing this. Have always wanted to try making some pebble mosaic stepping stones, and you've inspired me to get moving and try it!

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  4. thanks for the super detailed tutorial! I really want to make mosaic tiles for our front walkway and now I just might have the confidence (errrr, directions) to give it a try :)

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  5. I love your work, so inspiring. My warm weather plans do include stepping stones this year. I certainly will have to step up my game, if I hope to be satisfied with the results after having seen your wonderful work. Thank you for the tutorial.

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  7. hello, jeffrey, your work is lovely. would you tell me, on the large walkways and steps, is your process the same as the individual stepping stones? with a drying time on the mortar of 45 minutes, how is it possible to cover that much ground at once? thank you :)) and happy travels

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  8. Hi Susanne, I cant give you a sense of how long it will take you to do the work, as the set up time depends on the weather. The cooler and more humid the weather is gives you more time than a warm day, especially if the sun is shining on the work. It is really important that you are organized and have all your pebbles sorted out in advance so you can place them as quickly as possible. I leave a margin of mortar without pebbles at the edge to support the work. This is trimmed away before it gets hard. You can see the work being done on my essay 'A Paradise Garden in San Francisco'.
    Best of luck, Jeffrey

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  9. I'd like to say thanks as well for the in depth instructions! I true to find the essay you mentioned but had no luck finding it. Can you let one section dry and add to it later if your doing a bigger piece? Does mortar bond to mortar? I'm going to start small but my ambition is to do an outdoor bathroom floor and want to start planning. Thanks! Jessica

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  10. As a mosaic artist using broken china and stained glass, I am always looking for inspiration. Your pepple mosaics are just beautiful, but I don't think I could ever find the time to try
    this medium. It's the old saying updated "so many ideas, so little time!" I wish you had a Pinterest icon on this blog so your awesome work could be shared.
    Thank you for a wonderful blog. Sondra

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  11. I heard you speak and took one of your classes at the Seattle Arboretum some years ago.
    It was a wonderful experience. I brought 5 gallons of my own coloured pebbles from Anne Holt's beach at Agate Pass on Bainbridge Island. I have made several more pieces but still
    relish the idea of you coming to the island and giving a class! I am not an "artist" so I actually took your class twice that day as I was sure of failure. As it turned out I gave up on a design as I was surrounded by so many artists (with their planned schematics) and thought any attempt I made would be terrible in comparison so by the second class I decided to try and just remember the process and think of a design later. I just practically threw my pebbles in the forms (I swear some of them jumped by themselves!), every time I would catch myself wondering if I should put this or that size or colour here or there I would say out loud "Don't think! Don't think!..........Well I don't have any idea how it occurred but my 2 step-stones w turned out lovely and some of the best in the class. To my shock and embarrassment even some of the real artist came over to admire them asking me the name of my piece! "Ode to Agate Pass" I called them. I'll never forget or understand it. As I have written to you and
    called you (over the years since) my offer still stands! After reading the list of materials needed (as stated at the top of this blog) I am still ready when you name a date! Cost is
    not an issue and I have over 4 acres here on the island for the class and already a waiting
    list of passionate gardeners who would love to be able to make one of these pieces to their already amazing gardens here on the Island. Please! Think about it! :o)
    Can't wait till you come to Seattle in September!!
    Barbra
    in the past I am ready willing and able to find, gather & transport (to site) what ever you
    need for the class so it would be as easy as possible to you.

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  12. very beautiful work! my 13 year old is interested in making mosaic pebble stepping stones to earn money for a school trip. We found your site and he's intrigued! His designs are similar, especially the ones with the spirals. Now he knows it is doable and is even more inspired. Thanks! (except now I think he wants to do the yard)

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  13. I found your blog and I liked it very much!! Your work is excellent!! Bravo!! Best regards from Greece!!

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  14. I started going to the beach more often to collect pretty stones, I been told with my creativity to start making stone mosiacs (stepping stones) and so I looked up stone mosiacs on google and the first ones I clicked on was yours...very nice, and I think I will start making some myself...

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  15. Do you put some sort of oil or varnish on your pebbles to bring out the colors?

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  16. I am considering creating an instructional video with a series of classes to teach you about how I build yourself beautiful mosaics with mortar and pebbles. I know I have been praised on here for giving up my technique for free, but its time to make a little money folks. I'll let you know when it is finished (hopefully before the end of the year).

    I do not put sealers or oil on my work. I like it natural, so that it can change colors when it rains. Its up to you aesthetically in the end but I think sealers look artificial.

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    1. Just now catching up with this thread, July 28, 2015! LOVE your work and have been wanting to attempt this for a long time. The tutorial is excellent and your casual writing style is refreshingly honest. I will save the tutorial and give it a go, but I was wondering if you ever did create that video you spoke of in your comment back on Jan 12, 2013. If so, please let me know how to buy it. If it is not too much trouble, please email me at debingoshen@yahoo.com. Thanks!...now I'm off to continue collecting pebbles.

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  17. I'm a silversmith and rock hound, whose first love is making cabochons from the rocks I find when our JAX Gem & Mineral Society goes on digs. I made one stepping stone using polished rocks and it came out gorgeous but with the time & material needed to polish a load of rocks, esp beach agates, I figured the stepping stone was to expensive. Some places do sell inexpensive polished pebbles from Brazil and those would make pretty stepping stones. My problem was deciding which rocks I could give up and use. Rock hounds tend to hoard their rocks. Last time I went to Ireland,(several years ago) there was a 100 lb luggage allowance; I used 72 lbs on rocks I'd collected.

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  18. That was a typo; I did type TOO (too expensive) but my keyboard is brand new & I hate it as it drops letters.

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  19. I love your work. I am a landscape architecture student at UW and we are building a garden at the VA hospital in Seattle. We are hoping to add pebble mosaic in the plan. Is there anyway I could get your source for rocks. I can also be reached by romanolvera@msn.com
    Thanks Stephanie

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  20. Love it!!! Love the tile designs (wish I could be that creative with tile!) Can't wait to see it in person!
    glass and stone mosaic

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  21. Thanks, you guys that is a great explanation. keep up the good work in oyur granite blog.granite edmonton

    granite countertops edmonton

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  22. It is nice to read about the facelift of a 150 years old house. interesting.

    glass and stone mosaic

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  23. I love the fountain wall. Will lime in the mortar leach out into the water? Would that hurt fish or plants? I love your mosaics and find them a real inspiration. I'm sure a video or dvd would be well received!

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    1. You need to let the mortar cure for a while before you put fish in but my fish live happy lives in the pond in my garden that is lined with mortared stone work.

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  24. Nice article and great knowledge about glass and stone mosaic . I love this story and enjoy with your words!

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  25. Hello,
    I have seen in this blog that there are so many colors of pebble tile to go with so how do you decide. Sometimes this decision will have as much to so with the area you are installing the pebble tile as you aesthetic and taste..
    Mini Pebble Tile

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  26. hey jeffery !! i thoroughly enjoyed reading this post!!....your pebble mosaic is beautiful and thanks for the detailed steps!! it really makes me want to go pebble hunting and a make a pebble mosaic for my garden...but sadly i type this sitting on my couch in my apartment...ie i have no garden and therefore no pebble mosaic art to work on!! sigh..!!

    San

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    1. San don't despair! You could make a patio table top with smaller pebbles, you could even do a small end table. Give it a try! : )

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  27. Your Blog is very nice
    plz chq also my wapsites:-

    pebble tile :- pebble tile

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  28. Hey! We have pebble tile for our shower floor and standing river rock for the shower walls and we LOVE IT!! It looks amazing and I have not regretted the choice once in nearly 5 years. I have a friend who did the entire bathroom floor in pebble tile, I wouldn't recommend that. But for the shower it's heaven!!! Do it! I would be sure to do the sealer on it not to protect it (never have had a problem with loose or mildewz stones) but because it looks so much better! The "wet" look really brings out the colours. Also be sure to have them use a grout that blends perfectly with the overall tone. We used a dark grey grout and its fabulous!
    Good luck with al of it. I know it can be a pain in the honey during construction, but isn't it fun to choose all the details and see it all come together? Yay for you!!!

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  30. Hello Jeffrey, I love your work. I am an art/ceramics teacher and we are planning a pebble mosaic project at our school. I've read about the direct vs. indirect method and I'm not sure which to use. Do I understand correctly that the indirect method will hold up better? We live in the Boston area so winter weather is an issue. I don't want to make something that will fall apart in a few years because of weather! What is your opinion please?

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    1. Hi Dale, I built mosaic using the same technique as in this essay on Martha's Vineyard and Fire Island and they have held up very nicely. They are set on sand since that is what the gardens are made up of and aren't very large. I'm not really sure what you are talking about as far as direct or indirect methods. The best I can recommend is that you try it and see what happens. If you follow the instructions carefully you should have success. If you don't then you might not. Good luck!

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  31. Hi Jeffrey- I love your work! I have a big crack (up to 2 inches wide at spots) running right down the middle of my concrete driveway. Instead of filling it with just straight cement/epoxy, I'd like to create a pebble mosaic to make it look like a blue stream or a snake. The crack also varies in depth, but I can even out both width and depth with a crack chaser and/or chisel. Do you have any advice as to the type of mortar I would use, and the overall feasibility of such a project? (The car tires will not drive over the crack since it's in the middle.) Thank you!

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    1. I use Type S Mortar. You might want to take an angle grinder with a stone blade to make the edges of the crack vertical so you can fill the entire crack.

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  32. The concrete stone walkways is also good and very well designed in your blog. Thanks for sharing your blog about Stone Walkways Fort Worth.

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  33. Thanks for sharing this great article! That is very interesting I love reading and I am always searching for informative information like this.
    mosaic art supplies

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  34. Can pebble mosaics be made over a concrete walkway or only on bare ground?

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  35. "Hand selected beach stones fit in to gaps in a mortar set stone parking strip pad". I live in Northern CA. Do you know the name of the stone so I can find it at a local beach? Many thanks for all of your beautiful work

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    1. Most beaches have some pebbles on them. Don't be greedy and strip the beach, collect nice usable shapes for mosaic that catch your eye, and give yourself time to gather what you need. I think river banks are better for collecting than ocean beaches. Try the Eel River along Avenue of the Giants.

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  36. jeff do you know what stone I was referring to ? I was interested in the name of the rock. the picture was above the comment I quoted

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  37. Just unbelievable beautiful work. I love the details on your ideas of doing something right from beginning. I am only doing it now, as a hobby, and some art for my own garden/yard. Just brilliant.

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  38. Next year, I concentrate on my court yard. I want to incorporate the mosaic tiles in the side of my house and entrance to the courtyard and design in the middle on the courtyard. My question: Is it possible to create/make the mosaic stones in my basement during the winter months to install in the Spring? Please advise. Thank you

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    1. Probably not the best idea, since mixing mortar is dusty and the technique I use requires hosing off excess mortar, which would make a mess in your basement. You could build forms and mock up the mosaics in advance and them build them outside when the weather warms.

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  39. Thanks for sharing this great post. It’s very enlightening. I absolutely love to read informative stuff. Looking forward to find out more and acquire further knowledge from here! Cheers!
    Mosaic south africa

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  40. Love your work! Thanks for sharing how you develop your designs. You have inspired me to think more as an artist than a crafter when I make my stones.

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  41. I love the character your creations add to your garden and pathways. Have you ever constructed paths incorporating scrap pieces of granite? I have about 30 pieces ranging in size from 6x12 inches to 20 x 40 inches, and acres of woods at our cottage, but would like to focus on walkways around the cottage and to the beach. I would appreciate any ideas you may have or resources for this project.
    Thanks!

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    1. I always recommend mocking up a design, laying out the stones and adding pebbles youve collected and arranging them to create a design. I cant really recommend a use for what you have without seeing it. Are they countertop pieces?

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  42. thanks for the super detailed tutorial.Thanks for sharing this great post. It’s very enlightening.
    Decorative Concrete Supplier

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  43. I am curious to know the reason for putting the stones in sideways and not flat. Won't the upright stones hurt the foot?

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    1. Because when I select the stones, they have a flat edge. It says this in the essay. If you put them in flat and they are thin, there is a risk that they are not embedded in the mortar deep enough and will pop out later.

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  44. Most entertaining AND informative mosaic walkway blog I have come across! Thank-you Jeffrey! Did you get the video series up and running yet? I have my wallet open and am ready to buy. :)

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  45. Looking forward to building a patio this spring using your techniques. I have been collecting stones for 10 years, We had a B&B for 6 years and I have stones from all over the world and with my guests contributing. I completed my "rites of passage" in Peru and working with stones. So by creating a space on my property with the stones we create peace for the world. Clearwater BC Canada

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  46. This is Gorgeous! The stones remind me of the Alahambra in Spain! I've wanted to incorporate something like this is my home.

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  47. Beautiful, inspiring work but I'm not crafty. Do you sell your stepping stones? I live in Seattle.

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  48. Have just found your page with instructions (you did a fantastic job!) and plan to make stepping stones in my small garden. You've inspired me! Many thanks.

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  49. What should be the thickness of the mortar in NY state? I think it's zone 6 or 5. Does the path needs any underlayment like crushed stones or how could I avoid the mortar to freeze in the winter?

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  51. That looks amazing! Thanks for the shared ideas! I'm impressed by the entire blog... Think if is it possible to travel around the world and keep your job. Very interesting!

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