Your Pets Are A Part Of Your Family
Losing a pet can be just as heart breaking as losing any other member of your family. When Kitty Wompuss died our family was devastated, even our dog Koko was visibly grieving.
We looked online and at local garden stores for a memorial stone, but just couldn't find anything that we liked that was in our price range. Then a really nice clerk at my favorite garden center told me how to make one myself using quick concrete.
Making a personalized stepping stone memorial was very cathartic and helped me work through the grieving process. The memorial stone was very easy to make and was a project that my husband and I could work on together. This project would be a great way to include children and help them feel like they are saying goodbye to their pet with the family.
Step 1: Get Your Supplies Ready
What you will need to make a Memorial stepping stone.
~ A Plastic Mold
~ Quick drying cement
~ Piece of chicken wire, old screen or carpenters cloth
~ Colorful stones, Mosaic pieces, polished stones, etc...
~ Wooden craft sticks or Popsicle sticks
~ Old Serving Spoon
~ Acrylic Paints & brushes
Quikrete - Just Add Water Concrete Mix
Stepping Stone Mold
Mosaic Stepping Stone Kit
Butterfly Stepping Stone Kit
Heart Stepping Stone Kit
Step 2: Making A Plain Stepping Stone
Wear old clothes, rubber gloves & you can use old newspaper to protect your workspace.
1.) Mixing the cement: Use an old bucket that is big enough to hold the amount of cement you will need. Pour the cement mix into the bucket and then add water & mix until it is thick like brownie batter.
2.) Using a trowel or an old serving spoon, scoop the wet cement into the mold to about the halfway mark of how thick you want the stone to be.
3.) lay down you piece of chicken wire or screen, then cover with cement until stone is as thick as you want it to be.
4.) Smooth the surface with a trowel or I just did it with my gloved hand. Now it will need to set for 30 minutes to an hour, before you can write in it. You can test it by using a popsicle stick, make a line and if it holds it's shape, then the surface is ready. Don't try it too soon or decorations will sink & writing will close up.
* It takes quite a few hours for the cement to dry so if you make a mistake, you can easily smooth out the surface & start over.
Step 3: Adding Decorations
~ Ideas & Tips
~ There are a lot of different things you can add to make your stepping stone beautiful.
~ You can add polished stones, colorful glass beads, mosaic tiles, broken dish pieces, marbles or just about anything you think would look nice.
~ Remember that if the finished memorial will be outdoors, that you should use weather appropriate items.
~ You can even add a photo of your pet by laminating the photo first and the setting it in the cement.
~ You can write in the cement and make paw prints or other decorations with an old pencil or popsicle stick.
~ Get creative...the only limit is your own imagination. If you have children, get their imput and ideas on how they want the memorial to look and what it should say.
Step 4: Painting Your Stone
Let the Stone dry for at least 24 hours before painting.
~ I used acrylic craft paint, but you could also use enamel paint or even left over latex house paint.
~ I used black paint in the writing & paw prints, then let it dry for a couple of hours. Then I added some metalic Gold paint to highlight the black.
~ You can basically use any color paint that you like. You can also paint right on the flat dry surface area also.
* You can remove your stone from the mold any time after it is completely dry (24-48 hours) If stone will be outside, make sure it drys for at least 72 hours.
Step 5: Finishing Touches
Let the stone dry at least another 24 hours before finishing.
~ After your stone is decorated & painted, you will want to let the paint dry for a least another 24 hours. This will also give your stone more time to completely dry.
~ Handle the stone gently until it is completely dry, finished & placed in it's permanent location.
~ Once everything is dry, you are ready to finish the stone by adding protective polyurethane coating.
~ The best way to do this is to brush on many very thin coats of clear polyurethane. Let each coat dry for at least one hour before adding the next thin coat. This way you will avoid getting ugly bubbles in your clear coating.
~ Once you have 5 or 6 coats on, let the stone dry another 24 hours before placing it in it's permenant place.
Step 6: Placing Your Stone
Choosing the perfect location
~ Make sure that you follow the laws for pet remains for your city or town If you choose to use your stone as a grave marker. Many places have laws against pet burial or specific requirements.
~ If your stone will be stepped on in the garden, be sure to bury the stone so the top surface is level with the ground and the stone's sides are completely below ground.
~ If your pet was cremated, you can embed the ashes in an urn or container right into the stone itself before the cement dries, or by making a thicker stone that surrounds your pet's remains.
~ If the Stone will be placed in your yard in a spot where it will not be stepped on or if it has protruding decorations or an urn, planting flowers or small bushes near it, can help keep it safe.
Rainbow Bridge - Pet Memorial Keepsake Picture Frame
Stepping Stone Pet Memorials - DIY Photo Guide
Memorial Garden Keepsake Stones
Pet Loss Support
- Rainbow Bridge
Pet loss grief support website.
- Pet Loss Support
Ten Tips on Coping with Pet Loss
Thank You For Visiting - Please take a moment to say hello.
anonymous on August 06, 2013:
Thank you for this - our 11-year-old Border Collie Jessie left us on Sunday, just shy of 10 years to the day I gave her to my now-husband as a one-year anniversary of dating gift. She went peacefully, and I am so happy we can make something like this together to commemorate her, as she was such a special, loving member of our family. Thank you for the photos, and step-by-step instructions.
anonymous on April 19, 2013:
We are making stepping stones with the kids this weekend to honor our golden boy Kane who crossed the rainbow bridge Wednesday night. This site gave me some good info as the kit we have had instructions that really were not that good.
jayavi on March 21, 2013:
Good idea. you can never forget your lovely pet. Thanks for sharing
anonymous on March 04, 2013:
We lost our Brittney this morning. She was nine years old.
She has two brothers (rescues) that are missing her badly
right now. Thank you for being here to answer my questions
on how to do this!
Elyn MacInnis from Shanghai, China on March 03, 2013:
This is such a lovely idea. And to have a way to make a stone that won't break the bank - how wonderful. I think I will make some of these this summer when I am home. I am going to visit your lens on pet loss too - thank you for putting these up. SquidAngel Blessings to you.
anonymous on September 13, 2012:
Tux, my 16 yr. old Belgian just died and has his grave in my back yard. Large area - he was over one ton. My other horses will step on it and plants will be eaten by them. I have a large rock on top of his grave. Thought about putting cut tiles, etc.,but won't be permanent. Maybe I'll glue his horseshoe and a cross on top of the rock?
anonymous on September 07, 2012:
Thanks for posting your story and the DIY stepping stone. You all know why I'm here, Shogun just passed away last Wednesday 9/5/12 for kidney disease. After 6 years of giving us lots of joy and love, his disease finally took him away, he was 14 years old. He was given up by his previous owner because of his disease and have one week to live in the adoption center to be euthanized. We were so grateful we adopted him. The unconditional love he gave us will remain in our hearts.
anonymous on July 29, 2012:
Thank you so much for taking the time to post this. I just lost my beloved baby kitty Max. He was seven months old & died in a freak accident. I have also lost two of my other dogs this year. It's been hell. Pet memorial are very expensive and I like that I can do it myself. Thanks again!
anonymous on July 22, 2012:
It is so hard when you lose your dog. I grew up with Mutley, a Siberian Husky and found it very hard when he passed away. We put a memorial on k9site.com which reminds my children of what he was like as they get older.
anonymous on June 16, 2012:
@anonymous: I am sorry for your loss... we lost our Timmie on Monday & I know exactly what you are going through. We have 5 females and he was our male cat. He was very very close to our Angel and we would call them "husband & wife" We have just been spending alot of time with our other babies and comforting them... treats help as well. I did think about getting another male kitten from the shelter to save another life (our shelter is a kill shelter). I am JUST NOT READY PLUS FEEL IT WOULD BE UNFAIR TO TIMMIE like he is being replaced already. That is my opinion and can completely understand my opinion is probably alot different then others. However, a lady did call me in a similiar situation and she said her other cats actually started over-grooming, were very depressed so bringing another kitten in is what saved her other babies. It is just so hard to suffer the loss of one of our family members and making the decision is hard... very hard. It does matter that we did not make them suffer by being selfish and trying to keep them alive for our own ??? which does happen and is not fair to them. I know if something happened to me I would not want to be on life support or suffer anymore then I was already... by that I am trying to say "AS HARD AS THE DECISION WAS.. YOU DID WHAT NEEDED TO BE DONE... SHE IS NOT SUFFERING AND IS IN A GOOD PLACE RIGHT NOW". I am going to read the book called Rainbow Bridge I believe it is called... it is supposed to help us understand loss of our pets better. My heart goes out to you and your family and I wish your family all of the best during this difficult time. My Timmie was the same age so I keep telling myself he had a wonderful life with us and who knows what kind of life he would have had if he wasn't with us... he was spoiled and HE SPOILED US WITH HIS LOVE. I did put something out with his scent on it and that seemed to calm the others down.. plus honestly... I BELIEVE THEY DO UNDERSTAND.
anonymous on June 15, 2012:
Thank you for sharing your story & especially for the stepping stone instructions. My Missy Poo was 11 yrs old when she was struck by a car while I was vacationing 3 states away. Thankfully my friend was house sitting for me & found Missy very quickly after the accident & rushed her to the vet. The Dr called us & explained the depth & severity of her injuries and even stated he wasnt sure he could save her. So I had to make the very painful decision to end her suffering, a decision I've never made before. My husband took over the phone call to handle all the arrangements while the kids & I gathered together & cried. I am very concerned about my 3 remaining cats & how they are reacting to the loss. Missy was definitely the boss of all feline activities but our 8yr old Gary was always challenging her & finding any new way possible to torment her. And 3yr Gypsy just kept an eye on Missy but mainly out of fear. My biggest concern is 12yr old Willow. Although they were not biological sisters they were adopted at the same time from the Human Society & have never been apart. Willow was the only cat that Missy would allow to lay next to her & I know Willow is feeling the loss. Willow has always seemed to be a little "slow" mentally and at her age, she seems fairly active but I know bringing a new kitten into the house could be very scary for her, particularly if they don't get along. Missy & I were extremely close & I'm not ready to replace her. Any suggestions on how to move forward with Willow?
glutenallergy on June 15, 2012:
I'm sorry that you lost your precious kitty. This is a wonderful way to remember our lost pets. We did the same thing when our pet duck died, and I'm sure we will do it again whenever one of our five kitties passes over. You've done a great job of showing exactly how to make a memorial stone.
anonymous on June 12, 2012:
I am sorry for your loss... we lost our Timmie yesterday while in surgery (6/11/12.. obviously cancer so surgery could not be completed). Some people can be so mean since THEY DO NOT UNDERSTAND HOW WE THINK OF OUR PETS AS FAMILY. Can you please tell others about ROSESFUND.ORG FOR US (IN MEMORY OF TIMMIE FOR US & CAN HELP SAVE ANOTHER "FAMILY MEMBER" POSSIBLY) 100% DONATIONS, 100% VOLUNTEERS AND 100% GOES TO THE VETS HELPING FAMILIES IN FINANCIAL HARDSHIPS..... THEY GIVE A TAX RECEIPT TO ALL DONATIONS... NOT ONE PENNY GOES TO ANYTHING BUT HELPING SAVE OUR FAMILY MEMBERS LIKE I SAID. They do not advertise because that costs money... which explains the 100% going to help pet lovers in their time of need. (rosesfund.org no donation too small .. even $1 is appreciated!! not a scam.... in memory of Timmie Wilson) THANK-YOU TO ALL... & thank-you for the great idea and also the opportunity to get this wonderful organization recognized!
Kirsti A. Dyer from Northern California on May 19, 2012:
Excellent tutorial on a helpful resource for those dealing with pet loss.
anonymous on May 18, 2012:
This is very nice of you to post how to make a memorial stone. I also lost some dear beloved pets and will try and make some of these for them. Thank you again.
Tolovaj Publishing House from Ljubljana on April 27, 2012:
Thanks for sharing so nice and original ideas.
anonymous on March 17, 2012:
I have made stepping stones in the past and love the results. Now unfortunately we have lost 3 pets and I will try my hand at a memorial stone. Question: What is reason and/or benefit to add the chicken wire? Thanks.
Gayle from McLaughlin on March 13, 2012:
What a unique idea--I like that it is possible to make one yourself --make it personal but not expensive.
darciefrench lm on March 11, 2012:
What a lovely idea to make memorial stepping stones for lost pets, many thanks :)
anonymous on March 10, 2012:
wonderful site and what a beauty Kitty Wompuss was. We will be putting our beloved german shepherd down in less than four hours today. Our hearts are so very heavy, she is 14 1/2 and we have been so blessed to have had her in our lives as long as we have. I love the memory stone idea, I want to create a special place in our backyard dedicated to our beloved Kona, and your idea will fit in great.
TheRosemaryComp on September 08, 2011:
Precious! Bless you for the sweet post
purpleslug on June 18, 2011:
Great lens! and very well done step by step instructions and illistrations. Kitty Wompuss was a beautiful kitty.
anonymous on May 29, 2011:
Kitty Wompuss is beautiful, thank you for sharing your story. Thanks for the supply links and the great photos!
RomeSal on April 14, 2011:
Nice way of dedicating to Wompuss! Stepping stone illustrations were well done!
anonymous on February 11, 2011:
Excellent idea! Love these. Thank you for sharing this!
Virginia Allain from Central Florida on January 26, 2011:
What a nifty idea for us sentimental pet owners. I could make a whole garden path with stones to celebrate each cat that I've loved during my 62 years of life.
hayleylou lm on January 15, 2011:
These are great. My Mom and Dad had one made for their 2 little terriors but if we had known about this then I would have made one. Blessed by a Squid Angel and featured on My Time as a Squid Angel :)
Vicki Green from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA on January 04, 2011:
So sorry about the loss of your cat. This is such a great idea for a lovely memorial and your instructions and photos are so well done. Blessed by a SquidAngel.
eclecticeducati1 on December 29, 2010:
What a cool idea! My little guy would like making one of these for his beloved turtle. Thanks for the idea. Blessed by a Squid Angel.
Katherine Tyrrell from London on November 17, 2010:
What a nice idea - and well explained too. I've added this is as a featured lens on my compendium lens All About Cats
anonymous on November 12, 2010:
This is such a great combination of a DIY lens and a dedication site! Part of me is empathic (can relates to a loss of a special pet) and another part of me is saying what a great way to make extra money by making monuments!
Robin S from USA on September 11, 2010:
Beautiful tribute to a beautiful cat.
jstarr lm on August 06, 2010:
I had a Maine Coon named Scratchy (His sister's name was itchy...this was before the Simpson's :) He was a big doll baby, and faithfully went to bed at 8:30 pm every evening with my little girl, at the time. Like putting two babies to bed. Thanks for a great lens, and great photos of KW's garden stone.
Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on February 24, 2010:
Thank you for these wonderful suggestions and instructions for making a Pet Memorial Stepping Stone. We have made Stepping Stones in the past but I had not thought of making them for our Pet Cemetery. I will have to do this for our Miss PittyPat. The Vet's office usually does the Paw Print in stone and hope they did that for her but haven't heard from them yet. Thanks again.
Indigo Janson from UK on February 17, 2010:
This is a wonderful way to both focus your attention on doing something positive and creative during a time of grief (which is important) and to forever remember a much-loved member of your family. I love the fact that you can include a photo or pretty stones and messages, and for a cat you could put this in their favourite spot in the garden.
Also I would think this would be a nice way to involve children during what may be a confusing time for them.
Sherry Venegas from La Verne, CA on November 27, 2009:
We received a little imprint of our beloved Barkley the night he died. The assistants at the all night veterinary made it for us. He was attached by a bigger animal. Your stone turned out so nice. And thanks to the Angels for the blessings.
spunkyduckling on November 20, 2009:
This is a really cute way to remember our pets. I fave. 5* It's hard for me to imagine that Koko was grieving. Sorry you had to lose you kitty though. Got another one yet? Well thanks for sharing. P.S Your hand made stone design actually looks better than a lot of those stones out there.
mockingbird999 on November 15, 2009:
Great lens. It is important to remember our pets. They're part of the family too.
anonymous on October 01, 2009:
Thank you for the pet marker. We just lost our Coon and it hurts
Faye Rutledge from Concord VA on August 17, 2009:
So sorry to hear about Kitty Wompuss. This is a nice idea for remembering a pet. Thanks for sharing.
GrowWear on August 03, 2009:
Such a beautiful cat, your Kitty Wompuss. So sad he's gone. This is a beautiful lens; I'm glad it helped you in the grieving process. Hoping Koko is doing better...
Samantha Lynn from Missouri on July 26, 2009:
Sorry to hear about Kitty Wompuss, Very touching lens
julieannbrady on July 25, 2009:
Oh my how incredibly touching is this? My mom would have loved this -- probably still would -- for her two cats, ET and Pauline, who died within weeks of each other. They were polydactyl cats that she got in the Keys. Nicely presented Bambi!
anonymous on July 23, 2009:
Bambi this is a great idea! I'm so sorry about Kitty Wompuss. I had never thought about making one myself.