As a building material, concrete isn't limited to only slabs. If you slightly alter the mixing ratio, you can use the same substance that created your patio or driveway to create detailed statuary, decorative pavers or beautiful multistaged fountains. Through the use of concrete moulds, your stone can go far beyond the limitations placed upon working the material using traditional concrete forming tools. Successfully pouring a mould, however, requires the proper preparation, both of the mould and concrete mix. With that proper preparation, it's just a matter of filling the mould with the concrete and then awaiting the results.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Mold release agent
- Concrete mould
- 2 x 4 planks
- Table saw
- Deck nails
- Concrete mix
- Concrete colourant
- Electric drill
- Paddle drill bit
Spray the inside surface of the mould with a layer of mould release agent. The agent will prevent the concrete from sticking to the mould. It will also keep the concrete from drawing moisture from any rubber moulds, which could make it grow brittle.
Lay the mould onto a flat surface strong enough to hold the weight of the poured concrete. The opening to the mould should point upwards. Secure the sides of larger moulds with plywood sheets cut with a table saw to the dimensions of the mould. Brace the plywood sheets in place with rows of 2 x 4 planks joined with nails at the corners. The weight of the concrete can bow out larger moulds if unsupported, distorting the shape of the moulded object.
Mix the concrete in a large bucket or wheelbarrow. Use an electric drill with a paddle bit attachment to mix the concrete in the bucket, and a spade to mix larger batches of concrete in a wheelbarrow. Add water to the mix until you have achieved the consistency of pancake batter, adding concrete colouring.
Pour the concrete into the mould from a single cornet. Fill the bottom of the mould to a half-inch, then hit the sides of the mould softly to settle the concrete in the mould and release any air bubbles on the bottom. Finish filling the mould, occasionally tapping around the perimeter as you continue releasing air bubbles, preventing any voids in the concrete.
Wait 48 hours for the concrete to set. Place a board onto the top of the mould and upend it carefully so it sits with the board at the bottom. Leave larger moulds as is. Remove the mould from the concrete and allow it to cure for another seven days before using.
Tips and warnings
- Adjust the concrete mix according to the detail of the mould. Reduce the amount of sand and increase the cement for the mix when creating objects with greater detail.
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