How To Make Mosaic Rock Pavers!

This is a super fun and easy way to create unique pavers for sidewalks and pathways. I'm currently working on a pathway around my house and wanted something heavier and more decorative than the pavers available at the outdoor center.
I did five practice pavers first and experimented with different brands of mortar, cement and rock placement. I didn't want any of the rocks coming loose or pavers breaking in half in the future. The two large pavers and the small curly one are made out of what I think works best.
I found these plastic gardening trays at my local flower shop. These were so much easier to use than making a wood frame for the paver. The only down side is there's not a big selection of sizes. If you use a plastic tray, make sure the ends are at 90 degree angles and don't curve out, so your pavers will sit flush next to each other.
First, you layout your design. Make sure your tray is deep enough to be about 75% mortar. Also don't stack any rocks. Use small rocks to fill in small gaps, but make sure the mortar touches the back of everything you'll see on the top.
After your design is layed out make sure the rocks for the most part are nice and tight. Give the top a good shower with the hose before you put on your mortar.
I went with 100% mortar. I live in Japan, so I can't recommend a brand, but I did try different kinds of concretes, mortars and mixes. All of the normal dry 100% mortars worked perfectly for me. We don't have quick dry mortar over here, so I didn't get to try it.
Be careful not to move the rocks when you put the mortar on. It goes on easily and be sure to smooth the top with something like a pointed trowel. This tray was a little too deep, so I didn't fill it to the top with mortar. Be sure you make this as smooth and level as possible, because it will be the bottom of your paver.
These are my practice pavers. They have been jumped on and drop tested and have held up nicely.
This is a really fun and easy project.
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Have a question about this project?

3 of 66 questions
  • Wink Harner
    on Feb 15, 2019

    This is a really pretty and fun project, Bryan. Did you have to coat the plastic with something non-stick or is the plastic slick enough to not stick to the concrete without something like Pam cooking spray?

    • Bryan's Workshop
      on Feb 16, 2019

      Hey Wink! No, you don't need to spray anything. The pavers slide out easily. Just like ice cubes out of an ice cube tray.

  • Tonya Johnson Rhodes
    on Apr 13, 2019

    About how much "mortar" does it take per paver? Or in other words how many can you make from each quart of mortar? I'm trying to prepare this as a project for ninth graders but I need kid friendly estimates for the materials needed for one complete paver. Thank you!

    • Bryan's Workshop
      on Jan 22, 2020

      Mortar is easy to mix, so I mixed up a a small batch first. After the first paver, I was able to eyeball the amount needed.

  • Cindy Pitsenbarger
    on Sep 4, 2019

    the rock design goes into the tray. Mortar on bottom of tray or on top of rocks?

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