Make Custom Concrete Stone with Natural Color Shading for Pennies Each

This article is the result of one of our customers asking how to make a “sandy-yellow colored stone with brown and tan colored highlights so it will look like natural stone”. They went on to explain that they had seen that colored stone in a stone yard, and its cost was over $6.00 a square foot. They wanted to make the stone themselves to save money. They were able to duplicate the stone, and save about ninety-percent of the retail cost. Here are the instructions we provided. The basic techniques can be used to attain virtually any concrete colors you may desire.

The Basics of Manufactured Stone Making at Home:
If the stone you want to make is thicker than two-inches, you should use bags of premix concrete to make the stone. If the stone is a veneer or is less than two-inches thick, you want to use bags of Sand Mix to make your concrete stone. Just follow the instructions on the bag as far as how much water to use to mix your concrete. You can also use Portland cement and sand, and measure and mix your own batches of concrete, which will save you a little money if you are doing a larger-sized project. But you need to weigh the convenience of premix bags of concrete over the savings gained versus the labor of mixing your own batches. Unless your project is a large one, the premix bags are normally a better option.

Purchase your molds from reliable USA manufacturing sources:
You need to start with good quality concrete molds in the style and sizes desired. You can review our other articles comparing plastic molds to rubber molds elsewhere or on our training website if you don't know the differences. Be sure that the mold masters of the molds you purchase were taken directly from actual stones, tiles, and pavers. I personally always try to purchase products made in the USA, and from companies that have been in business for a number of years. If there is a problem, you can then be assured that they will be around to help you. I also look for companies that provide on-going free support and guidance with my project. And by all means, compare prices for similar size and types of molds. Purchase from a company that offers its customers a website that is dedicated to customer service and offers instructions, finishing techniques, installations and offers other helpful information. Anyone can print out some basic instructions--- they are available on Google! But what if you have a unique situation or custom project you are working on? That is when the support factor is important.


Use a Mold Release to extend the life of your molds:
You should always use a mold release of some kind. It aids in de-molding your stone as well as prolongs the molds useful life. Spray or wipe your mold release into your molds. If using an oil release, just wipe out any excess oil to lessen the chance of what are referred to as bug holes. If using a water-based mold release, follow the instructions, and then wipe a bit of vegetable oil into your molds.

Add concrete color “dusting” to get the color-blending of natural stone you want:
Take a paper cup and punch a few tiny holes in the bottom of it. Fill it halfway with either Brown or Dark Chocolate Brown powdered concrete color (I'm assuming that you have some of our powdered concrete colors). Hold the cup over your oiled molds and tap the side of the cup lightly. This will cause the color to sprinkle down and give you a DUSTING effect. Apply the color into the molds randomly. You just want a very light coating, as described in our coloring techniques instructions. Turn your mold upside down, and tap the mold once or twice to dislodge any excess color that sticks to the oil. Now you are ready to pour.

Creating the base color for your manufactured concrete stone:
Weigh out and mix 5-6 ounces of Yellow or Buff concrete color into a forty pound bag of Sand Mix, (less than two-inches thick), and mix it thoroughly (dry) into the concrete Sand Mix before adding water. If you are using a different volume of concrete, adjust the quantity of color you add accordingly. After the color is disbursed throughout the dry concrete mix, add your water to the mix per the instructions on the bag and blend it well until all of the color is even throughout your mix, and you have a nice "toothpaste" consistency to your concrete.


Now pour your colored concrete mix into your molds:
Pour your mix in the molds and vibrate to lessen the chance of bug holes and bubbles in your stone, and to help compact your mix. Set the filled molds aside on a level surface and cover with a piece of plastic sheeting. Any kind of plastic will be fine. Leave the molds for at least 24 hours or more. The longer you leave them, the stronger they will be and easier they will come out of the molds. Temperature is a factor that helps determine the set-up time of the concrete. The warmer the temperature, the faster the concrete sets. De-mold your stone and you should have pretty close to what you are looking for--- sandy-colored yellow stone with brown texturing and highlights. If there are areas that are too dark or brown, you can rub a bit with your fingers to disburse the color more evenly. After de-molding, set aside to cure and dry. Don't worry, the color will get quite a bit lighter as it dries, but do not force dry. Interrupting the curing will cause the concrete stone to lose some of its strength. Ideally, keep the stone covered in plastic for at least a week after de-molding to aid the hydration and curing process.

Let us know how your stone turns out. Photos would be great in any case... good or bad. If you don't like the way the stone turns out, which I doubt will be the case, a photo will give us an idea of what went wrong. I've just done some tiles in the various colors to use as new color charts, so the Yellow or Buff should give you what you want... if it's too yellow for you... use the Buff color as the base. Buff is a little "tanner" than the yellow, but remember that the Brown "DUSTING" of the molds should tone the Yellow down quite a bit.

Manufacturing Stone with other natural-looking colors:
This technique can be used to attain just about any color or combination of colors you could want. If you'd like a gray base color with pinkish and gold tones like we illustrate on our websites with our Ledgestone, you would do away with any base color, and just use the “dusting technique” described above with Yellow, Brown, Red, and Black concrete color.

Good luck with your project, and please do get back to us with feedback as to how the coloring turned out for you. And we always like to see the results of our do-it-yourself training articles, so feel free to send photos of your projects.

Should you need...  molds or moulds, colorant, concrete sealer, stains, or other concrete, cement, or plaster supplies for your handyman or home improvement project, please visit our catalogue website at www.TheMoldStore.com or our shopping cart website at http://www.TheMoldStore.us  to get ideas.  If you are interested in starting a concrete stone and veneer, or concrete and cement paver, brick or tile business, visit our Olde World Stone & Tile Business Opportunity website at www.Oldeworld.com for full details, instructions and various stone making and other concrete product making packages.  We also offer D-I-Y Packages in our catalogue and on our shopping cart websites.

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