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Omaha Magazine

Crafty Concrete

Jun 12, 2019 02:10PM ● By Sandy Matson

Sophisticated is a not a word that typically comes to mind with the word “concrete.” But these days, concrete is making appearances in places other than sidewalks and patios. 

There is a difference between cement and concrete. Concrete is cement powder that is mixed with water and contains additional fillers that make the substance strong when dried. Cement has a smoother texture when it dries because it does not have these fillers. Either substance will work for these projects.

One thing is certain—this is a DIY even those who do not think they are crafty can conquer. And to top it off, it is virtually impossible to mess up.

This project highlights texture, and the key is to create contrast. I found concrete works wonders when paired with natural elements such as wood, sand, and stones. But the substance will work with many designs to suit anyone’s personal style. I attempted three projects here that are sure to add interest to a home.

Materials Needed:

• Plastic containers to use as concrete molds. Make sure it is strong enough to hold the shape of the concrete. I found plenty of large bowls while thrifting or at the dollar store. Two different-sized bowls are needed for the inner and outer shapes of the concrete bowl.

• Plastic storage tub 

• Five-gallon bucket

• Large, heavy stir stick

• Water pitcher

• Fine concrete (I used Quikrete 5000)

• Smaller rocks or sand

• Felt (if placing indoors)

• Sanding block or

sandpaper (coarse)

• Eye and face protection

• Rubber gloves

• Plastic drop cloth

• Cooking spray or WD-40

• Glass hurricane (craft stores have several assortments)

• Plastic coffee can

• Box cutter or handsaw

• Cardboard tube (I used Quikrete’s Quik-tube)

Important step before starting:

Thoroughly grease your molds so the concrete does not stick. Not doing so means that it will be tough to get the concrete out of the molds once the substance dries. Have all of this done and ready to go once the concrete is mixed, and be sure to work on a flat surface.

Hurricane lamp base:

Note: Make sure to use a cardboard tube that is at least 1 inch wider than the hurricane. Also make sure the top and bottom are both level.

Step 1: Create a makeshift bottom for the tube using a foam plate, or anything sturdy that will easily come away from the concrete.

Step 2: Place the tube on a piece of plywood or other level surface. This also protects the working surface from the concrete.

Step 3: Mix the concrete (I did three smaller batches and poured into the tube), then tap the side to make sure air bubbles are out.

Step 4: Press an object a bit wider than the glass hurricane (a plastic coffee can works well) into the concrete.

Step 5: Rotate the can a few times in the first two or three hours. After that point you can remove the can, then let the column dry another 24 hours.

Step 6: Once dry, remove the cardboard tube with a box cutter or handsaw. Spray it with water if necessary.

Step 7: Gently lay column on its side and remove the bottom, then sand the rough edges with a sanding block.

Step 8: Place the glass hurricane in the indention, then fill it with sand or pebbles, and decorate how you like. Mine has a base of 12 inches in diameter.

If you plan to use the hurricane inside, place felt on the bottom of the lamp base to protect surfaces.

Tealight candle holders:

Step 1: Mix concrete with water until it is the thickness of pancake batter.

Step 2: Fill the larger mold with concrete to about one inch from the top. Tap sides to eliminate air bubbles and level the surface. 

Step 3: Push the smaller mold into the area where you want the candle to sit, leaving adequate thickness for the bottom.

Step 4: Place sand or pebbles in the smaller mold (for weight) and let the concrete set for 24 hours.

Step 5: Remove the molds and smooth any rough edges with a stone or coarse sand block.

If you plan to use the candle holder inside, place felt on the bottom of the candle holder to protect surfaces.

Concrete Bowl:

Step 1: Mix concrete with water until it is the thickness of pancake batter.

Step 2: Fill the large, lubricated bowl ¾ of the way with concrete. 

Step 3: Nestle the smaller (lubricated on the outside) bowl inside the larger bowl filled with the concrete. Make sure to tap around the bowl for air bubbles.

Step 4: Add pebbles or weights to the inner bowl, to help create the indentation. 

Step 5: Remove the inner bowl after 24 hours, but allow additional drying time for the outside

Use this bowl to decorate as you like. Placing it on a wooden shelf would be beautiful. If you plan to use the bowl inside, place felt on the bottom of the bowl to protect surfaces.

Enjoy your décor!  

This article was printed in the July/August 2019 edition of OmahaHome. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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