Concreting for Christmas

December 21st, 2015 by

4

 

During the past moths I have been quite occupied making latex moulds and castings items for Christmas. I had a plan to make a landscape with spruce trees and a led string. For this I bought some plastic Christmas trees on eBay and made latex moulds on them. Then I could cast several trees. I use fibre-reinforced self-levelling compound when casting, not concrete when making small or detail objects. I have found that self-levelling compound works much better than concrete for this.

 

1

This is a mould in progress. I’m using liquid latex for this. It is ready after about 20-25 layers of latex.

2

I’m mixing the compound powder with a little water in a small bowl. Then I fill my moulds up and shaking them a lot to get rid of all air bubbles. Afterwards, I clean up the bowl with water. Remember to not pour the water out in the drain! I use a bucket to pour all the cleaning water into. When all the sediments have sunk to the bottom, I pour the clear water out. In the end I will have a big lump that fills up the bucket.

3

More moulds and some casted items.

5

Finished landscape!

6

 

Other casted items

 

7

Some of all the new things I have made.

8

Here I have painted the hearts in shimmering colours.

9

On these hearts I have made decoupage using napkins.

10

Pine cones, painting in progress!

Monica

“Dragon egg shell” bowls

March 22nd, 2015 by

To cast bigger items in concrete are not appropriate to do indoors. I long so much for spring to come, so I can be outside doing this. Meanwhile I have to find other things to do to ease my desire for casting. I have so many ideas that I want to follow out. :)

First out is the “dragon egg shells”, casted in fibre-reinforced self-levelling compound. It’s a cement based mortar for floors but can be used in many other ways too. One thing to keep in mind when casting with this, is that it has not the same strength as concrete.

I mix the compound powder with water so the mix becomes quite thick, like a bun dough.
To make the “shells” you also need some balloons and something to put the balloons on to hold them up. I used plastic pots.

P1020312

Shape the mix to a flat ball and place it on top of the balloon. Hold the balloon and the balloon holder firmly and tap it a couple of times to the table. The mix will start to slowly spread out. Shape the mix to small petals and tap it to the table some more times. Don’t tap it too much, then it will become too thin and will break when handling.

P1020317

After about an hour you can put a plastic film over it. Leave to cure for one day.

P1020318

Remove the “shells” from the balloons and wrap them in the plastic film. Leave them to continue cure for another day. You can rinse the balloons in water to wash them and them reuse them.

P1020319

Now it’s time to give the bowl a base. Form a small ball from the mix and put it on the bottom of the bowl. Gently tap so it will spread slightly. Turn it over and press it gently down on a plastic film. Leave it to cure for a day before you remove it from the plastic.

P1020367

When the bowls have cured for a week you can start painting them. First I painted them with a uncoloured concrete sealer on both the inside and outside before I painted them with metallic paint.

P1020381

They look very nice with a tealight in.

I have many other casting projects on going and I will post pictures from them later. :)

For those who are waiting for new cutting designs, you have to wait a little bit more. I can’t do everything at the same time. :)

Monica

Hypertufa

February 10th, 2014 by

Casting in hypertufa is fun and not at all difficult. Hypertufa is a mixture of Portland cement, sand and peat moss. If you want you can replace the sand with perlite, it makes the pots and trays a lot lighter as perlite weighs almost nothing. Tufan takes a little longer to harden than ordinary concrete.

When casting bigger things it is a good idea to reinforce the castings. In my first attempt, I used chicken wire but I found it difficult to fill the hypertufan in the mold when the chicken wire was there. Then I  bought a woven glass fiber cloth, which I unraveled. I cut the fibres into 3-5 cm pieces. One handful of this mixed in each batch hypertufa seems just right. This reinforce and holds the Tufa together without problems.

A concrete mixer is very useful and makes the casting so much easier. I bought the smallest one I could find and It is just the right size for my needs.

When casting larger pots and trays, I use buckets of different sizes ordinary cardboard boxes and plastic tubs as molds.

2 3 4

Rhubarb Leaves

February 10th, 2014 by

Rhubarb leaves become very nice bird bath and stepping stones. In order to cast a bird bath, you need a large rhubarb leaf and a small or a piece of a leaf, sand and concrete. It is good to have a tarpaulin or similar to be on when casting.
Pour up a small pile of sand, it is good if the sand is damp. Shape the pile as a low hill with flat sides. I cut away the stem and carve so it will be as flat as possible where the stem was. Lay the leaf up side down on the sand. Take the small piece of leaf and place it under the big leaf where the stem was, this is just because the leaf is heart shaped. This will prevent that the bird bath will leak.
Mix the concrete and pat it over the leaf so that it becomes thinner towards the edges and thicker in the middle. Try to stay inside the leaf edge, it will look better that way. When finished, put a plastic sheet over it and let rest for two days before you turn the bath.
Then you can gently start peeling away the leaf. You will probably not get rid of all leaf residue at once. It’s better to let it be fore some days so the leaf will dry. Then you can brush and scrub off the residue.

15

A really big leaf 30×36″

10 13 14 16 45 46 47

Rubber door mats

February 10th, 2014 by

A really nice thing you can cast is larger stepping stones using rubber doormats in a mold. I got hold of two  different rubber mats with different sizes. I made one mold for each mat and used a steel mesh to reinforced the concrete because it is so big.
When casting, I filled one layer with concrete in the mold, then I put the steel mesh in and one more layer of concrete. I patted down the rubber mat up side down.
Then, I left it to harden for two days before I took apart the mold and removed the rubber mat. To get a nicer finish I used a rotating wire brush to get rid of the casting flash.

22

16×24″

23

18×30″

18 19 20 21 24

Balls etc.

February 10th, 2014 by

When you are up in casting you start to look for objects that can be used as a mold. One day we went to a store where I saw a bunch of soft rubber balls with knobs on. It struck me suddenly that they could be used as a mold if you cut off the valve and turn them inside out. We also had a mini beach ball lying around at home. It cut it up too!
After filling a ball with concrete I dug a round-bottomed pit in our old sandbox and put the ball in. I left them in the sandbox to rest for a few days before I picked them up and cut a straight line down the side of the ball and then wriggled it out. I could then reuse the balls by taping together the cut again.

Sand molds for children gives great little figures. Bowls and plastic tubs of various sizes will be fine concrete bowls. Some I have decorated with glass beads that I pressed into the concrete.

1 5 6 8 9 11 12 17

Stepping stones

February 10th, 2014 by

I found an incredible variety of molds on eBay and I had to try this. It’s amazing how well it turned out. The molds are made in plastic and can be reused many times. Now I just have to find out how I can use all the things I have casted. I have some plans …

25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 48 49 50 51 52 53 54