after last summer’s adventures in concrete, part 1, i really wasn’t interested in trying for a part 2. the majority of the pieces didn’t work, and it was so hot that day… i had miserable memories of it. but lisa wanted to give it another go, and when papernstitch posted a great cement/concrete diy round-up with 9 projects, i agreed to host another concrete pour.
so. all of the diy posts are very inspiring, and well written, but when it comes to concrete, there’s a huge variability in types and the diy posts never get specific about exactly what type/brand you should use. we added too much vermiculite to our batch last year, even though i thought we were following the how-to correctly. the night before our pour this time around, i found myself standing in front of 10+ types of concrete at home depot, with no clue which one i should buy. then our hero came to the rescue: anna‘s husband steve, who knows a thing or two about concrete (he made the concrete counter tops for both my kitchen and theirs).
here’s the secret to concrete success: non-shrink precision grout.
it doesn’t have large chunks of aggregate like regular concrete. it doesn’t shrink. and it dries/cures quickly. and yeah, steve was awesome and came up with the perfect concrete-to-water ratio that we used: for each pound of concrete, add 3 oz. of water. i mixed up our batches in a gallon bucket, with 6 pounds of concrete each time.
we mixed a few batches up, and the concrete had the consistency of mashed potatoes. once in the forms (dixie cups, yogurt containers, etc.), we tapped them against the driveway to encourage the air bubbles to rise to the top (and pop). by doing that, the surface of the concrete smoothed itself out. i really didn’t like the roughness of the top of the candle bases in concrete candle project post, but i really like the ones i made.
me scooping concrete into a cup.
freshly poured! we cut off the top half of spongebob square pants dixie cups and used them as the “inner” mold for the bigger items (sour cream containers, small deli containers, yogurt tubs, etc.). we put rocks inside, to keep it from popping up.
i love the lines that were inside the wallaby yogurt container i used for the candle above.
anna’s sparkly toes! (polish chosen by her daughter)
kristin brought some containers that once held trader joe’s seaweed. they were fun to put votives into.
anna put tealights into the bottom of dixie cups, and then held them down with her finger as she added the concrete (to keep the candles from floating up). i did not put my finger on my tealights, and i ended up with 2 cups of concrete.
- 1 50 pound bag of quikcrete precision grout
- mix 3 oz of water to every pound of concrete
- add more water if needed — the consistency can be between mashed potatoes and cake batter
- scoop concrete into container about 2/3 of the way full
- tap, tap, tap, and try to get some of the air bubbles to come to the surface
- then add your candle or “inner mold”
- let dry over night — we left ours outside on a summer night, covered with a sheet of plastic
- we used about 3/4 of the bag, between 4 of us, each making 4-10 items
now that we’ve figured it out, i plan to do it again! happy weekend!