Monday, December 2, 2013

Concrete Crafts

As mentioned with a little sneak peak last Wednesday, I bought a bag of concrete! My mudar enlisted me to come up with a nice little centerpiece for the Thanksgiving feast, what better time to test out some concrete skillz? right?!

Supplies:

-A bag of concrete (I used Quickcrete but any will do)
-Molds (thin plastic and cardboard worked best! You can also make your own out of wood if you have time!) 
-Oil
-Dixie cups
-Gallon bucket

Warning: Silicosis is a real thing and is caused by the inhalation of silica dust. Wear a mask while scooping your concrete mixture, don't breathe in the dust!

The first step is to prep your molds so the concrete doesn't adhere to them. I used olive oil, any will work just fine. For the molds, I used tea boxes (which worked the best!) for some shorter molds, and some plastic containers (look in the planting isle at HD!) for larger/taller items. If the plastic is thin and bendable, peeling it back shouldn't be an issue once the concrete has cured. If you have a thicker plastic that doesn't bend easily, i'd suggest cutting it in half, and duct taping it back together. That way, once it has cured you can take the mold off much easier. Once your molds are ready, use a brush to apply the Oil to the insides.


Mixing the concrete is pretty easy. Pour the concrete into the gallon bucket and add water a little at a time, stirring as you go (and wearing a mask!). Once the mixture is the consistency of somewhere between peanut butter and jelly, you are ready to pour. Quickcrete will start to dry within 10 minutes, so make sure your molds are ready when you start mixing.

Pour the mixture into your molds, leaving room at the top for overflow when you add your dixie cups. The dixie cups create negative space and are the perfect size for tea candles. For the flower containers I needed a deeper hole, a dowel, or an upside down beer bottle worked just fine! The cups will try to float up, place something heavy on it until it sets (about 10 minutes).


Once the concrete sets you can take the Dixie cups out to let it completely dry, mine took about 2 days to fully cure. 

Protip: concrete dries faster when warm, so place the molds next to your radiator if you are in a hurry!

Once the molds are hard you can pry them out of the containers, they may still be wet in some areas which is fine. I waited about 10-12 hours to remove from their mold, at which point I sanded down the sides so they would set smooth. Then sit them out to fully cure (again, that was about 2 days total), you'll be able to tell they are ready when all the dark spots are gone. 



 Once they were done curing I wanted to add a little modern touch. I used some white paint I had on hand and added some to the pieces. If you are putting these directly on a surface I would add some felt footers at this time as well to prevent any scratching.





I also tested out my little wood burning pen to add some "Give Thanks" signs, still needs some practice but it's fun!

There you have it, a little concrete craft that anyone can accomplish! I still have about a half a bag left...who wants in!?


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