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DIY

MY SIMPLE TIPS FOR DIY CRAFTS

If you’re reading this blog, then I already know that you love simple crafts. I also know that you appreciate an inexpensive DIY project to make. AND I bet you are looking for an interesting and elegant way to decorate your home.

I want to tell you about a art craft medium you will love… concrete!

Wait. Are you in doubt? I can already hear your question …

Is concrete elegant? Yes! I know cement is heavy, rocky and gray… but it can also be made into modern, clean shapes. The simple lines and rough texture of the concrete will add to the appeal of your home when compared to more traditional décor. And it lasts long… so it’s also very durable! Bonus!

Is concrete cheap? Certainly. I bought a 10-pound bag of basic concrete for about two dollars at the hardware store. I already have the other materials I need.

Is crafting easy? Really! You just have to mix a little powder with water then pour it into a container and let it dry. OK, there are a few steps away from that … but anyone can start making with this material.

In addition to some of the cool cement projects I’ve seen around blogland, my brother’s concrete bookends have also inspired me to mix them with this medium. Now, my brother is a little expert with concrete. It is a very serious hobby for him. He made his own molds and used a special concrete mix. Aside from bookends, he makes modern planters like this one below which he gave to my mom.

You should know that I am a VERY beginner with concrete. My project is very basic and simple in comparison… but still fun to make!

The only thing I’m going to warn you about is that this craft is a bit messy… but we can all sacrifice a little dust and grime for cute home accessories, can’t we?

This week I want to show you some very simple and small craft projects you can make for your home with concrete. Before we get started, I thought I was going to review the general process that you will follow to make this simple concrete craft. These projects are small and easy to manage on your own. The steps will vary slightly depending on what you are creating… but below are the basics you need to know before you get started.

HOW TO MAKE CONCRETE CRAFTS

INVENTORY REQUIRED:

  • Concrete bag
  • Old bucket
  • Gloves
  • Plastic upholstery
  • Dust mask
  • Protective glasses
  • Clean water
  • Keep stirring and / or a small trowel
  • Cooking spray
  • Clean, empty containers you will use for mold (raid your recyclables for single-use plastic containers or use heavy cardboard containers)
  • Sanding block
  • Furniture cushions
  • Sealant, optional
  • Paint, optional

PRECAUTIONS BEFORE YOU START:

  • Work outside. This thing created a great deal of fine dust that was about to burn. Recommended masks.
  • Use a disposable washcloth. I threw mine away after using it because I didn’t want to risk bringing dust inside.
  • Put on gloves. Because, you guessed it, dust! It is very, very drying to your skin.
  • Eye protection is also recommended. When you stir this mixture, you don’t want the mixture to fly into your eyes. (Yes, I might speak from experience.)
  • Work on a flat surface. I repeat… working on a flat surface!

BASIC CONCRETE CRAFTS INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Spray the inside of your mold container with cooking spray.
  • Depending on the size of your project, pour some of the powdered concrete into your bucket. Follow the directions on the bag and add water. Stir and add more water or concrete to get the consistency you want… You want the dough to be like a thick cake or brownie dough.
  • Fill your mold with concrete.
  • If you want the shape to have a hollow area in it, press another container in the cement and weigh it with a rock or stone. I’ll be demonstrating this technique in a project later this week and will have more tips. (and how to get things into concrete, too)
  • Place the container on a flat surface to dry. Tap the container gently on the ground (or along the side if it’s heavy) to minimize bubbles in the mixture.
  • After a few hours when the concrete begins to set, you can go back and use a wet towel to clean your piece and make sure it fits the shape you want. At this point you can brush any concrete from the edges and smooth the top of the concrete a little. Let the concrete dry and harden completely before trying to get it out of the cardboard. I wait 24 hours for all my projects.
  • Peel the mold from the concrete. If you’re careful, you may be able to save your container for reuse. I didn’t… I just tore my print! 
  • Use a sanding block to sand the outside of your pieces and remove any rough or uneven areas.
  • If desired, paint the concrete. I recommend using a paint designed for masonry.
  • After the paint and concrete have dried, you can seal the concrete by spraying the outside of the vase with a clear sealer. This will darken the concrete a bit… but the natural texture and pattern of the cement will still be visible. I don’t invest in a concrete sealer and only use a clear, spray enamel based sealer. If you are doing multiple projects, you might consider purchasing a concrete sealant.
  • If you plan to use it indoors, place velor or cork furniture cushions at the bottom of your creation to protect the table top.
  • Enjoy and admire your new stylish home accessories!

I’m only using two-thirds of the 10-pound Quickrete bag for all the little projects I’m going to show you this week. It’s worth the two bucks for a little fun!  

I already have a few projects that I would like to try immediately with the remaining mix. I can experiment with different brands of concrete too. Different blends provide different textures and smoothness… so that might be interesting too.

So if you like crafts that are cheap, simple and fun, I urge you to spend those 2 bucks and get a little dusty and dirty!

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