Stamping concrete or imprinting concrete is one of the most inexpensive way to add texture and a design to a project. While it may be tempting to plan a large project with complicated designs, it is often best to start small for your first project. After you understand the work and techniques involved, you can try stamping a larger concrete pour.
If at all possible, plan on pouring some concrete and practicing stamping or imprinting your design before you work on the finished product. You may find that the stamp you use is too detailed, or does not retain the detail that you wish to preserve into the concrete. You may also find that you must pour the concrete into sections, to ensure that you have enough time to correctly stamp the concrete before it sets.
Step 1: Create the concrete pour. This should involve extensive prep work, including creating a foundation, form work, and pouring the concrete.
Step 2: Smooth the surface of the concrete with a trowel and then a rubber float until water starts to appear on the surface of the wet concrete. Stop and wait until the water disappears. This should take no longer than an hour: the concrete may be ready in as little as 15 minutes.
Step 3: Evenly press the concrete stamp into place with your hands. The stamp should press into the concrete no more than 1 inch, depending on the design.
Step 4: If you would like to imprint the concrete with a small, recurring design, you should use a roller made for concrete imprinting. To use the roller, align one edge of the roller with the edge of the concrete pour. Roll the roller to imprint a single row of the image. Continue rolling rows of the image until you have created the pattern you wish to achieve.
Step 5: For large designs, a stamp rug can be used. This large design must carefully be placed on the concrete. Then even pressure must be applied to sink the stamp into the concrete to create the imprint. Then the stamp can be removed. This is essentially concrete stamping on a very large scale: it may help to have a helper to efficiently imprint concrete using this method.