Do you ever make homemade gifts? It isn’t always my go-to, but this project made me think twice! Check out this fairly easy tutorial to see what you think.
One day I ran into the local nursery to buy some groundcover and ended up in the gift section. It’s too hard to resist perusing the aisles; to pay for plants you have to go into the gift shop anyway. It would be silly not to look around! As I was looking at their cute hand towels, bath salts, and other items, I spotted some small concrete vessels they had displayed with air plants. They were very cool and I was inspired to create something similar to hold trinkets. Luckily, the mister had a concrete project in the works and I planned to snag a bit of his mixture! I had never made anything with concrete before and didn’t know what to expect. Read on to see how it went.
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1. Gather materials
You will need to mix your concrete in a sturdy tub that you won’t mind to get dirty. Then you need containers to mold your concrete, preferably plastic or stainless steel to avoid breaking. Some people have used glass bowls as molds, but I would be too scared to break glass. In order to prevent the concrete from sticking, you will use cooking oil (a spray works well too) to grease the container mold. I wasn’t completely prepared when I did this project and I used take out containers that I had laying around. The two small plastic containers weren’t the exact shape I wanted. I used some foil to try to fashion a more rounded mold. To add a little pizazz, I decided to use some extra gold spray paint in my stash. If you want to use the concrete vessel as a planter, you will need to do an extra step to seal the planter.
2. Pour concrete into vessel.
After the mixture sits for the recommended time, you can scoop some of it into the oiled container. My husband used a shovel to scoop the cement, as I held the container. If you are doing this project solo, use a smaller shovel, like a garden hand shovel. Don’t fill completely, as you need to place your weight in the center to create a hollow bowl shape. Agitate the concrete by shaking the container in a circular motion for 30 seconds.
3. Place weight in middle to create the bowl hollow.
When I say weight, I mean an object that will create a hollow center to form a bowl. Here I used a small mason jar wrapped in saran wrap. Press the object into the concrete; use a twisting motion. Agitate the vessel again for 30 seconds to make sure concrete is evenly distributed and to remove any air bubbles. Once the concrete looks evenly distributed, let sit for 24 hours to dry.
4. Remove the middle weight. Tap the vessel to loosen the concrete.
The middle weight I used came out really easy. In future, I would definitely use a plastic wrap as I did this time. We happened to have a rubber mallet from other projects that we used to loosen the concrete from the bowl.
5. Flip vessel to remove the concrete.
Once loose, the concrete slipped out easily. The containers that I lined in oiled foil were a bit different. I peeled the foil, which took more time. The foil created crags and definitely wasn’t smooth. The texture looked pretty cool, but might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
6. Sand outer edges of the concrete.
You will need 80 to 100 grit sand paper. If you don’t have an electric sander, sand paper or a sanding block will work just fine. My foil lined containers created way more lumps and bumps than the plastic bowl shown in previous photos. The large concrete bowl actually came out so smooth
7. Tape off area to you don’t want painted.
This step can be optional if you like the look of the concrete plain.
8. Spray paint in color of your choice.
Spray paint adheres to concrete and of course it is super easy to apply. I chose to paint one half of the bowl for a graphic, modern look.
9. Peel tape.
I like to do a touch test or wait a day for spray paint to dry. Follow instructions on can for best results.
10. Display your vessel as you wish or giveaway!
I intended the small dish to be used as a jewelry/trinket dish. It will be perfect in my guestroom so friends and family can stash their accessories.
When I first set out to make the concrete bowls, I didn’t plan to make a large size. It just so happened I was doing some clean up in our basement and found an old plastic bowl that I threw in at the last moment. My husband had a ton of concrete leftover and I wish I had lined up more containers, like a small tray.
Lessons learned? Yep. One of my small trinket dishes turned out not so cute. It looked just like a sad lump of concrete ha ha! I left that piece outside to be used as a door stop, or toy for my son etc. The large bowl I made is a bit lopsided; next time I will pay more attention to the level. I like that the metallic ties into other metal elements in my house, and the concrete is a fun modern contrast to the vintage decor I have. These would make great gifts! Whether you gifted the trinket dishes, bowls, or used the vessels as planters, these items would be nice for a host/hostess gift, holiday, birthday or a gift for yourself!
Thanks for reading! Have you tried to work with concrete? Drop me a line in the comments section. I’d love to hear from you.
Here some linked materials, but of course you might have some of this stuff at home already!