Gifts for My Sisters
In this post I show how to make a large thin-walled colored cement bowl and how to create imprints in cement decor.
I just got back from a trip to my sister’s house in Texas (from Ohio). She has hit a rough patch with some medical issues, and I went for a visit and to help her and her family where I could. Since I was away from home and my wood and tools, I decided to make some cement bowls, votive candle holders, and vases while I was there that she could enjoy. I was happy because I didn’t need any tools, and I could get everything I needed at Home Depot and Dollar Tree. I made extra candle holders so she could give some to family and friends who are dear to her and who have helped her during this hard time. It’s not much, but it’s something I could do.
I have covered some of the techniques that I used in two previous colored cement projects: Using Latex Paint To Tint DIY Cement Decor and Create Ambience with Colorful DIY Cement Candle Holders. You might want to look at these posts for additional information, although I’ll cover the basics here.
- containers to use as molds
- measuring spoons (1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon)
- dust mask
- protective gloves (tight-fitting)
- mixing bowl
- Quikcrete anchoring cement, Rapid Set Cement All, or similar
- 3 oz disposable cups
- latex paint (for instance, most interior wall paint)
- spray oil
- sandpaper (optional)
- pliers/scissors/mallet/hammer (optional)
ABOUT THE PAINT
The type of paint to use for coloring cement (and concrete) is latex paint. Most interior wall paints are this type of paint. Leftover paint and sample-size jars are ideal for this project because you don’t need much. I used several brands (Behr, Pittsburgh Paints, Glidden) and didn’t notice any difference as to brand. The paint tints the cement when added in the mixing process, giving a muted version of the color.
MIXING THE CEMENT
You can mix the paint and cement in a cup, then add the liquid mixture to the dry cement and mixed thoroughly. I used this method for this project: Using Latex Paint To Tint DIY Cement Decor. This method tends to produce smoother cement, with fewer pockets and other “defects,” and more even distribution of color.
As I did in a previous project, Create Ambience with Colorful DIY Cement Candle Holders, you can put the paint, cement, and water in the mixing bowl and then mix, but not thoroughly, leaving the mixture somewhat lumpy and the paint not completely mixed in. I call this mixing method “Chunky Cement Paint Mix.” This method produces a more rustic look, with more holes, “defects,” and uneven distribution of color. You can use either or both methods, or play around with the mix and see what you come up with.
A variation I used sometimes in these cement pieces entailed mixing a pourable cement batch thoroughly (with or without latex paint). After thorough mixing, I put a bit of paint into the mixing bowl on top of the cement and swirled the paint on the surface using my finger. I left the paint barely mixed in and poured the batch into the mold. The resulting cement has a streaked/swirled look.
Cement with Paint Colorant Recipe
Use the following general proportions:
- 3 oz Quikrete anchoring cement (dry)
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons water
- 1 to 2 teaspoons latex paint* (optional)
*Note that you can use 2 teaspoons of paint in a batch of cement this size, but the cement cures much slower, and the strength of the cured concrete may be decreased. I haven’t had any problems with decor items, though.
I use a 3 oz plastic disposable cup to measure the anchoring cement. If you want to make a larger cement batch, you can use the proportions given in the recipe above to scale up the batch size.
First add paint to the mixing bowl, then add 3 oz (by volume) of anchoring cement to the bowl.
Add the water to the anchoring cement and paint in the mixing bowl. If you are not adding paint to the batch, you can add more water. Keep in mind that you have about 5 minutes before the batch sets up, so get your molds ready before you start to mix the cement/paint. If you have added paint to the batch, it slows down the curing process, and you have a bit more time. Also, thinner (more water) batches take more time to cure than thick batches.
LARGE THIN-WALLED CEMENT BOWL
I used two large plastic bowls (11 1⁄4 inch diameter) from Dollar Tree as molds. I used bowls that were the same size as molds because I wanted a cement bowl with rather thin sides so that it wasn’t too heavy.
Start by putting down one or more layers of cement to fill the bottom of the bowl up to about an inch of cement. Let this harden several hours and preferably overnight. Next, I dabbed some paint with my finger onto the bowl mold. This is an option if you want more vibrant colors in the finished bowl.
Then put in some rather thin, pourable cement, put the inner bowl on top of the cement, and push the inner mold bowl into the cement. Weight the inner bowl with rocks or something else heavy. Place weights gently into the inner mold to avoid movement of the bottom cured cement and cracking.
Make one or more batches of thin, pourable concrete and pour it between the two molds. Mix your batches and fill up the molds fairly quickly because the cement can harden and block off subsequent cement that you add. You may need to tap the molds and add cement strategically to get the cement in all the nooks and crannies.
Wait overnight to take the bowl out of the molds. When I say overnight, I mean at least 12 hours. I waited only about an hour, and I managed to crack the side, breaking two pieces off altogether. I mixed up a little batch of cement and used it like glue to reattach the pieces. I also spread a thin batch over the entire inside of the bowl because I also had several large hairline cracks. It is holding together well, my sister tells me. The family even thought I cracked it intentionally to add “character.” 🙂 It’s all good!
CANDLE HOLDER WITH IMPRINTED CROSS
I didn’t get any process photos for this one, but I think I can describe it well enough for you to do it yourself. I bought Pringles potato chips, ate Pringles potato chips, then used the container for the mold. I used red and white paint as colorants, but you can use whatever colors you want. I filled up the mold a few inches, then put the candlestick in and filled it up to about 3 inches from the top with various cement batches. I really wasn’t thinking clearly when I added the candlestick. I was thinking I could pull it out of the finished casting. But later I realized that, because the candlestick is tapered, it wasn’t going to pull out. Ugghh. Well, the candle can be burned and hopefully a smaller candle can be used there, or it can be used as a vase. Next time I’ll use a straight candle or a oiled wooden dowel for the inner mold. This candle holder is a gift to my dear friend Patty, who lives thousand of miles from me in Mexico. She is like a sister to me, and I’m so glad she likes my cement work.
For the cross design imprint, I bought a Puffy Foam Sticker at Michaels. I pressed the cross against the side with the back toward the wall of the container and the design toward the inside. I was prepared to glue the cross to the container with repositionable spray adhesive, but at the last minute decided to skip it, and it worked out fine. I think it worked because I sort of held the cross sticker in position as I was adding the cement. If you are embedding something lower out of reach, I’d try the spray adhesive. After letting the cast sit overnight, I peeled off the Pringles container and pulled off the sticker, revealing the cross imprint.
I made the red vase by filling a cup mold about and inch. I then made a very thick batch and molded it like clay on the inside of the mold. Check out this post for more the full tutorial.
I also made many colored cement tealight holders for my sister and her friends and family. Again, here is the tutorial for the tealight candle holders: Create Ambience with Colorful DIY Cement Candle Holders.
Here are a few more photos.
Until we meet again, all my best,
In memory of Jonathan Uriel Lopez Orazco. Gone too soon. Vuela alto con los ángeles. Que son tiernamente amados por siempre.
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October 18, 2016 @ 11:53 pm
This looks like a really fun project! Thanks for sharing at the Family Joy Blog Link Party this week!
October 19, 2016 @ 12:13 pm
Thanks Melissa! Thanks so much for hosting the party!
October 20, 2016 @ 3:10 pm
What a cool project! I have never heard of this before and it looks super fun. Thank you for the great step by step!
Thank you for sharing this week at Brag About It link party on VMG206 (Mondays at Midnight). I plan to feature you next week!
~ Megin of VMG206
October 20, 2016 @ 5:28 pm
Wow! What a surprise. Thanks so much in advance and for hosting the party. Hope you are having a great week!
October 23, 2016 @ 5:33 am
Very creative! You did such a great job 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing with us at Dishing It & Digging It! Hope to see you back again this week
October 23, 2016 @ 2:12 pm
Thanks so much Angie! I pinned a lot of things from the party this week. Enjoyed my time there!
Brag About It Link Party | VMG206 - VMG206
October 25, 2016 @ 6:00 am
[…] Man Pumpkin Craft shared by The Boondocks Blog Gifts for My Sisters (Cement Bowl) shared by DIY Furniture Studio Fall and Halloween Decor shared by Life Is Better By The Pool Breakfast Room Reveal […]
October 26, 2016 @ 12:15 am
November 1, 2016 @ 5:56 am
Jen this is inspiring! Your bowls look like something from a high end gift boutique! I’ve featured your post at A Tray of Bliss. Thanks so much for supporting my Five Star Frou-Frou Neverending Linkup. I’d love to see more of your work. Mimi xxx
November 1, 2016 @ 1:23 pm
Mimi, you have my heart. I hope whatever is going on for you is resolved soon in the best of all outcomes. Thanks so much for the feature!
January 24, 2017 @ 10:07 pm
Jen, the bowl is beautiful! And a crack really adds character! Thank you for sharing technique. Do you think it could serve as a sink for powder room?
January 25, 2017 @ 2:57 pm
Thanks so much Nadia! The crack does add character doesn’t it. You have a very good question about if it could be used as a sink. I think it is better to make a sink bowl thicker than this, but that could be accomplished easily. The only other thing is getting/making molds to create the hole. Here is a very good link that shows how to make a concrete sink basin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ctBTFRDoys This link looks like a commercial operation. I have been thinking about a diy version of a sink basin, with the mold being the most important part of it. I’ll work on it sooner than later, and if you get to it first, let me know. Thanks again!
January 25, 2017 @ 12:24 am
Those are beautiful! Your bowl looks like a work of art. Thank you for sharing how you made it.
January 25, 2017 @ 3:03 pm
Yes, it is easy to get really interesting pieces using these paint and concrete techniques. Way easier than I ever thought. Thanks so much for your lovely comment.
January 26, 2017 @ 2:34 am
These are so cool! I am very impressed! Thank you so much for sharing at Celebrate Your Story!
January 26, 2017 @ 1:26 pm
Thanks so much Chloe! And thanks for the terrific link party 🙂
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