Swing the concrete hand float lightly across the surface of the poured concrete. Hold the leading edge of the float slightly up, to keep from digging into the concrete surface. Float the entire concrete surface until it is smooth, with no float marks, and none of the gravel and stone in the concrete mix, visible.
Allow the poured Quikrete concrete mix sufficient time to set, following the instructions by Quikrete on the product package. According to the Quikrete website, this time for the moisture to evaporate from the concrete surface averages between 30 minutes to an hour.
Sweep the larger steel trowel over the surface of the Quikrete concrete. Use overlapping arcs to smooth the entire surface. Make certain that you wipe off any large amounts of the concrete that accumulate and hang on the trowel as you work, to prevent it from interfering with your making smooth sweeping motions.
Tip the leading edge of the second, smaller trowel upward. Press down a bit harder on the concrete surface, and sweep across it, making overlapping arcs just like you did with the first steel trowel. Trowel the entire surface.
Trowel the concrete a third time, using the smaller trowel. Hold the leading edge of the trowel up at a greater angle than you did in the previous step, and press down with more pressure on the concrete surface. Sweep across the concrete in the same manner as in the other steps, using overlapping arcs, and wiping off any large amounts of concrete that collect on the trowel.
Trowel the concrete again, as necessary, if you notice waves in the concrete surface after step 5. To smooth the concrete surface to the desired level, you usually just need to use extra elbow grease.