A second Doily dip today!

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I was so happy with my Doily bowl the other week and decided to experiment further. I tried a thinner concrete mix, so I might have to strengthen them in a re-dip.

I found two small round doilies, so bright green that the colour will shine through the thin concrete in places. I also found an old crocheted place mat. I hope that the square shape will come out well…watch this space! I’ll probably leave them wrapped up for a week or so!

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jelly pot candle holders

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I had an old set of Jelly moulds that were going in the bin. They have been well used but some of the lids are lost over the years. I love the shape, so I decided to cast them in concrete. This small size is perfect for candle holders and their wide flat base makes them safe to use.

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MATERIALS:

  • SNOWCRETE (white cement)
  •  kiln dried sand
  • jelly moulds (or a different container that has a good shape)
  • small youghurt pots, large enough to fit a candle of your choice.
  • Little candles in metal pots
  • Heavy duty Tape
  • Safety googles
  • Mask
  • Plastic gloves
  • Plastic sheet to protect the floor
  • Plastic bin bag
  • Optional: release agent or wax
  • Optional: Polyfilla

I was really lucky. I had some little yoghurt pot containers in my recycling bin. They were small enough to fit perfectly into the little whole at the top of the plastic mould.

Insert the yoghurt container upside down into the base of your jelly pot, and tape it in place. Use plenty of heavy duty tape and make sure the edge is water tight. Remember that no tape should be on the inside of your mould, as that would create ugly marks. The depth of the inserted yoghurt pot will determine how deep your candle will sit in your final holder. I made a set of four holders as I had several jelly pots, so I had to be careful to get the exact same depth on all four. Preparing the mould well is vital when casting a product. It is hard to make changes once the concrete is poured.

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Prepare your area. You want to cover the ground with plastic. Place the prepared moulds upside down inside of an opened bin bag. Concrete dries harder if it dries slowly. Wrapping the concrete air tight in a bin bag as it cures, will add a few days to the process and therefor increase the quality and strength of your final piece.

Be safe. It is important to use googles, a mask and plastic gloves. Breathing in the concrete is dangerous and it can burn your skin and damage your eyes.  I always read the manufacturers safety data sheet for further instructions and I advise you to do the same. Be careful as you handle it in both powder and wet form.

Mix your concrete. You need to use one part Snowcrete to two parts sand. Start with stirring the two together well before adding the water. Add small quantities of water at a time. It is easy to make concrete to thin. Aim for the consistency of a solid porridge! You don’t need a large mix. It is heavy work mixing concrete in great quantities, but very easy in small batches.

Plop in the mix. Vibrate the mould in your hand as you are filling it. Keep vibrating and tapping and you will see air bubbles rising to the surface. The more bubbles you get rid of at this stage, the smoother your surface will be. I have attached a montage of two pictures below. It is two of the holders after I removed them from their moulds. You can see that one is smoother and that the other has a large amount of markings from trapped bubbles.

airbubbles versus smooth email

Seal the bin bag around your casted objects. Leave them alone for three or four days.

Removing an object from a mould is the best part of the process. It is so exciting to finally see the result! But it can be a little tricky. A water bath can help releasing the object. Sometimes it is enough to insert a knife or similar around the edge, bending slightly. In this case I started with removing the yoghurt pot, which allowed access to push the concrete out from that end.

Concrete dries out your skin. It can also still be curing even if it is hard to touch. Curing concrete can corrode your skin and cause serious burns.  Therefor you should always wear your plastic gloves as you remove items from moulds, sand them, scrape them or handle them. 

There might be air bubbles or other blemishes. Sometimes you end up with a damaged edge from bending the object out of the mould. Some of these marks can add beauty, and some are unwanted. You can use polyfilla to fill air bubbles, cracks or scratches.

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a castle door stop

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I found a super cute sand castle mould in our local bargain shop. It cost only £1.49, so I immediately thought I could cast concrete in it! My house needs a few doorstops…

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MATERIALS:

  • SNOWCRETE (white cement)
  •  kiln dried sand
  • Plastic mould – I used a sand castle toy mould
  • Safety googles
  • sheet to protect the floor
  • Plastic bin bag
  • Optional: release agent or wax

This is a straight forward casting project. The mould was ready when I bought it. The only thing I had to do was to add a release agent.  Unfortunately I was out of my normal one,  and the one I used instead did not work so well.

I followed the steps outlined in my beginners casting lesson, and shock it around well after I poured!

I left my castle wrapped up for a week,  but I couldn’t for the life of me get it out of the mould when the time came.  I tried everything!  Eventually I decided to break the mould.  The plastic were quite hard, so I had to be careful not to scratch the surface.

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When I finally succeeded in removing the castle a few towers had broken off…so much for me trying to be careful.  But hey hoe, what can you do.  I glued the loose pieces with some two part epoxy resin. It feels stuck now! The cracks are quite visible still and I haven’t decided if I like the ruin look, or if I should fix them up with some polyfilla..

Concrete dries out your skin. It can also still be curing even if it is hard to touch. Curing concrete can corrode your skin and cause serious burns.  Therefor you should always wear your plastic gloves as you remove items from moulds, sand them, scrape them or handle them. 

Either way, my door is firmly in place. It won’t be so easy for little hands to slam it now!

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Dipped Doily instructions

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Our house was filled with doilies as I grew up.  We had them in colours matching all the curtains of the seasons, for all the rooms of our house.  My grandmother was a fantastic crocheter.  I try to put one out from time to time, but I can never use them all! See below how easy it is to transform them into versatile and beautiful bowls with the help of concrete.

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         You will need:

  • 1 sack of SNOWCRETE (white cement)
  • 1 sack of kiln dried sand
  • 1 old doily (size and shape of doily determinates size and shape of finished bowl)
  • 2 heavy duty plastic buckets, average size 14 l. You need one to mix your cement mix in, and one to hang the dripping doily over. You can use any container of your choice, as long as you are happy with the shape.
  • Safety googles
  • Mask
  • Plastic gloves
  • Plastic sheet to protect the floor
  • Plastic bin bag
  • Optional: Spatula
  • Optional: Wax (I use a clear marble wax)

Don’t feel deflated if you haven’t got a doily. Your friends or family’s cupboards might be over flowing with them. They are often sold at boot sales and markets and a quick glance at Ebay gave plenty of hits.

Remember: The finished item will get its shape from the Bucket/bowl/tray/mound you choose to hang the doily over, after it has been dipped in concrete. It is therefore important to choose a good shaped bucket! Think about your final product. Do you want to have a large flat base? Do you want to have high edges? Test hang your doily over different shaped buckets before you decide. I used a standard heavy duty plastic bucket from Wickes. It was a good shape, but had markings underneath, so the finished bowl has those markings in it. (see pic below) If you dont want markings or groves inside your bowl, be aware of which bucket you use. You can also prepare it by sanding down or cutting out anything uneven.

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You need to decide what you want to do with the left over concrete, after the doily dipp. I have several other easy and fun ideas on this blogg. You can also use it to simply test new things. Pour some on a leaf, or into a plastic glove. Dig a little shape into sand and pour it in. You can use an old yoghurt container and do a quick candle holder etc.. I normally plan two or three projects in a go. It feels more worthwhile getting all geared up in safety goggles then…

Soak your doily in water. If it is dry it won’t absorb the concrete as well.

Prepare your area. You want to cover the ground with plastic. Place the empty bucket upside down inside of an opened bin bag. Concrete dries harder if it dries slowly. Wrapping the concrete air tight in a bin bag as it cures, will add a few days to the process and therefor increase the quality and strength of your final piece.

BE SAFE. It is important to use googles, a mask and plastic gloves. Breathing in the concrete is dangerous and it can burn your skin and damage your eyes.  I always read the manufacturers safety data sheet for further instructions and I advise you to do the same. Be careful as you handle it in both powder and wet form.

Mix your concrete. You need to use one part Snowcrete to two parts sand. Start with stirring the two together well before adding the water. Add small quantities of water at a time. It is easy to make concrete to thin. A normal mix should be like a solid porridge, but for this project it needs a little extra water. Aim for the consistency of thick yoghurt!

You don’t need a lot. I would start with maybe 500 ml concrete to a a liter of sand. The required amount is dependent on what size doily you are using, but it wont differ to much. It is easy mixing up a little extra, but you don’t want to waste or throw away large amounts.

Dip the doily and work the concrete into the fabric. You want concrete in between every little crocheted stitch. Hang it over the bucket and let it drip into the bin bag. Make sure that it hangs exactly the way you want it to. You can centre it, or let it hang a little skew for a more handmade look. You can thicken the base of your bowl by manually adding some concrete and flatten it with a spatula. Leave it drying in the open for 30-40 minutes allowing your bowl to harden some before you close up the bin bag around it. That will minimize markings from the plastic bag on the concrete surface.

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After one day you open the parcel. The concrete feels hard, but it is still curing. It is an ideal time to flatten the bottom of your bowl if so required. You can scrap using a spatula, or sand uneven areas with sandpaper. You need to water the concrete before closing the parcel again. Just pour some water on top of your bowl. It will drip of, but moisture will remain in the bag.

Concrete dries out your skin. It can also still be curing even if it is hard to touch. Curing concrete can corrode your skin and cause serious burns.  Therefor you should always wear your plastic gloves as you remove items from moulds, sand them, scrape them or handle them. 

Wait another three days until you take the bowl off its base. It can be a little tricky to get it off without damaging it, so be careful. Let it dry out fully. You can now sand off any sharp edges or unwanted splodges.

I personally like to wax my concrete. I like the vintage look. The Snowcrete comes out bright white, and the piece goes a little yellowish with a clear wax. It also makes it easier to wipe clean as your bowl will absorb less fluids.

TA DAA! Time to choose where to put your new lovely bowl. I never wax underneath my items. If you paint it with PVA diluted with a little water, it is a little protected that way. Then a sticky back felt will stick to it if you want to soften the bottom to save your furniture.

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Cute plates

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Concrete is the material used building city sky scrapes or paving slabs. But it can also be used to create sheer objects with a handmade, almost vintage look.

I made a lot of plates last year. Some tinted blue, and some natural. They are a good example of a quite easily achieved result; If you are looking at trying concrete as a hobby/ craft material.

detail with wax drips email 2 plates au natural email