Concrete is a popular medium for outdoor garden statues. The material is a durable mixture of aggregates, bonding agent and water that dry to a tough, durable state that weathers extremes of hot and cold year after year. Although there are a large number of garden statues available from garden centres, you can also make your own garden statues. One of the easiest methods of making a garden statue is to build one from the inside-out using concrete applied over a base.
Build your statue base by bending hardware cloth into the basic statue shape. Hardware cloth is a wire mesh screen that is sold in rolls. Use wire cutters to trim the hardware cloth to the correct size. The wire base of your statue is called an "armature." The armature acts as the skeleton of your statue.
Pull on a pair of rubber gloves for working with concrete. Concrete is caustic and can burn your skin if exposed for long periods of time.
Mix a solution of concrete and water in a bucket until the solution is the consistency of a mud pie. Hand pack a thin layer of concrete into the spaces between the wire until the entire sculpture is covered. Because gravity can cause a thick layer of cement to fall from the wires, you will need to apply the concrete in several stages. The first stage is a base layer. Each successive layer that you add builds up the thickness of the statue. The final stage is the layer of concrete that you will sculpt.
Mist the concrete with a spray bottle of water and cover it with builder's plastic sheeting so that the concrete will harden as it dries. Builder's plastic sheeting is a sheet of thin, flexible plastic.
Apply a second layer of concrete over the first, hardened layer. This layer will be the sculpting layer. Hand-sculpt the features of the statue into the concrete within an hour of applying the wet concrete to the sculpture. Allow the statue to dry and harden for 5 to 8 hours. Carve the soft concrete with shaping tools.
Mist the statue with a bottle of water and cover with plastic. Allow the concrete to dry and harden for 24 to 36 hours.
Brush the surface of the concrete with a concrete sealant to prevent it from cracking.
Prior to constructing your statue, you can design the statue by sketching it out on paper. As you design your statue, you should figure out the overall size and shape of the statue. This will make the actual construction process simpler.
Tips and warnings
- Prior to constructing your statue, you can design the statue by sketching it out on paper. As you design your statue, you should figure out the overall size and shape of the statue. This will make the actual construction process simpler.