Oh my goodness! I have a new obsession! Concrete!
I know, I know, you weren’t expecting me to say that! If you were saying that to me a week ago, I would be as surprised as you are.
It is so much fun to work with and so gloriously tactical. I love the dappled natural finish and you can create gorgeous creative projects as long as you follow just a few simple tips.
You need to choose the right concrete for your project. For large concrete garden planters you may be happy with heavier duty concrete. However, if you are making small detailed pieces or want clean sharp lines, you will need a finer craft concrete. I have tried a few, but my favourite is Viva Decor – Beton – Concrete for Creatives.
What you will need:
A tub in which to mix your concrete.
A stick or wooden spoon to mix the concrete with.
A mould – I have used two different sized bath bomb moulds.
Oil to grease the mould
Nail Varnish (optional)
Grease the mould. Do this before you mix the concrete and you will avoid the risk that your concrete will start to firm up before you are ready for it. I used coconut oil because it is my go to oil for craft products and it smells amazing. I also have loads left over after making Coconut Bath Melts last year. You can use whatever you have in your kitchen cupboard though.
Next mix your concrete. Add a small amount of water at a time until it reaches the consistency of porridge. If it is too hard it wont fill the mould evenly and if it is too wet it will take forever to dry and will dry crumbly. I used approximately 4 parts concrete to 1 part water but you need to add it slowly as every mix is different.
You need to pour it into the mould as soon as possible once mixed, as it is quite quick drying.
When you mix the concrete it will develop tiny air bubbles. Bang the mould firmly but carefully against a flat surface until air bubbles stop popping out of the top. You will always have a couple of bubbles which are part of this look, but you can control how many and where your bubbles appear by spending a bit of time at this stage.
Add the smaller mould and then weigh it down with something. I used an egg.
Ensure that your piece is level. Using a spirit level is much more accurate than the naked eye. This will ensure your piece will sit nicely once it has set.
Smaller pieces will be firm enough to remove from the mould in a couple of hours and it will take 24 hours more for it to be fully resilient. If you get impatient and poke the piece to see how it is setting you are likely to make marks in the drying concrete. Leave it for at least two hours.
Tip it out of the mould. It is so wonderfully tactile and it reminded me of the surface of the moon.
Now it is time for the sparkly nail varnish. I LOVE the ‘Molten Metal’ range by Barry M. They are fabulous for crafting (and wearing on your nails!) as they are iridescent and sparkly but they also dry smooth which is fabulous as a lot of glittery nail varnish drys rough. It will take several coats for a good solid colour. For this project I used Silver Lining and my personal favourite Gold Rush (which is what I am wearing on my nails in the photos). I am using my concrete bowls to store stationary essentials (yes erasers in the shape of cacti are essential!).
The nail varnish is of course optional, I made a gorgeous plain version for my husband for his ‘man desk’ to keep his guitar picks in and other items I seem to accidentally hoover up on a regular basis. He has no excuse now!