Making your own concrete garden ornaments can be a fun project. You will be rewarded with a wonderful, personalised addition to your landscape. To make a concrete garden ornament, you first need a mould. The cost of concrete is minimal; however, moulds can be pricey. Professional moulds consist of a latex rubber interior supported by a fibreglass base. A much cheaper and easier mould to work with is a one-part mould. Pouring concrete garden ornaments can be as simple as filling a decorative plastic container with concrete.
Spray the interior of your rubber mould with the manufacturer's recommended mould release spray. Assemble your mould by lining up the outer fibreglass base and securing the locking straps or nuts and bolts.
Scoop some wet concrete into a 1-gallon plastic drink pitcher or pouring device of your choice. Pour concrete into the hole at the top of your mould until inner rubber mould is approximately half full. Lightly tap all around mould with rubber mallet to settle concrete into crevices.
Insert rebar down the centre and away from the edges of your mould for reinforcement. Rebar needs to be completely submerged in concrete when finished pouring.
Pack concrete by inserting a long, thick wooden dowel. Tamp up and down with your dowel until concrete is compressed. Do not scrape the sides to avoid damaging your rubber mould.
Fill the rest of your mould with concrete. Continue tamping down any air bubbles. Again, use your rubber mallet to lightly tap all around the outside to finish settling concrete; top off with more concrete if needed.
Cover the mould with plastic sheeting and wait 36 hours for concrete to set. Release the fasteners and open the fibreglass base. Carefully peel rubber from concrete.
Spray an aluminium mould or hard plastic mould with mould release to prevent sticking. Pour some concrete into your mould.
Pick mould up and gently drop it an inch or two onto a level surface to settle the concrete and force air bubble to the surface; drop it several times. Drop gently enough so the concrete does not splatter out of mould.
Lay a piece of steel chicken wire on top of concrete so it spans across the middle of your mould. Fill mould to the top with concrete and cover with cling film. Drop it at least a dozen more times to ensure a smooth surface on your concrete garden ornament.
Allow concrete to set for 24 hours. Tip mould over while supporting concrete with one gloved hand; finished garden ornament will slide out.
Mix concrete according to package directions. Add concrete colour if desired. For a smooth finish, use a sand-based concrete mix. Do not try to move moulds before the concrete sets. Use caution when removing moulds; concrete sets within 24 to 36 hours. Allow 40 hours for large statues. However, beyond that, it takes several weeks to cure properly. Cure according to concrete mix package directions. Follow all safety instructions. Clean your mould with soap and water after use. Finish your new concrete garden ornament with sealer and paint if desired.