Monday, May 15, 2017

Fun DIY with Cement - A Concrete Craft Project

I finally fulfilled my concrete lust! The preparation took a couple of months maybe.. how come so long?? It was because I took time to hoard packagings in the form of boxes and toilet rolls to be used as moulds. You will see...

But the main mould I wanted to make was this. Something I got from Taiwan. I couldn't believe it's concrete.. so smooth and almost flawless, like clay.

To replicate it, I need to make a mould out of it. So I got this rubber mould-making kit by Smooth-On.

I prepared less than expected actually, and had to quickly top it up. A lot of frantic stirring!

Slowly poured and filled up the container.

After a day, the original concrete tray is removed and wa la, I have my mould! Senget because I probably dabbed it too hard as I was trying to remove air bubbles.

What's next? The real deal! I got this creative cement for craft by Rayher, supposedly contains minimal dust for safe crafting.  

Didn't follow recommended ratio here. Just gasak.

The consistency is based on 'feeling', according to cement-expert husband.

 Filled up the mould.

Filled up the other paper packaging boxes I collected. I wanted to create something similar, like a desk decor with an indented space for placing name cards or little stationery things like paperclips etc. So the pebbles were for weighing down the boxes to create that indent.

While allowing those to cure for a few days (soaked in water), the following weekend, I started another batch, this time I mixed the Rayher and the grout cement the husband brought home. The stark difference between the two is that Rayher produces the natural signature grey colour of concrete while the husband's grout is whitish. Sounds so wrong. Hahahaha.

I've always wanted to make the geometric planter. You can find many tutorials and photos of the trending triangle/pentagon/hexagon planters or tealight holders on Pinterest.

It's actually quite easy. Just cut up 11 pentagon shape from a cereal box, using a master shape that is printed from Powerpoint. The size is up to you.

Then build up the vessel and stick with masking tape.

 This was the collection of moulds I had planned on filling, but eventually I had to abandon two of them.

Making cross-shaped fridge magnets, like I did previously.

Another replicate of the desk tray using the rubber mould, another desk tray using packaging boxes, a geometric planter and a cube planter using milk carton. So this batch was made with a mixture of the Rayher cement and the grout cement.

The verdict! Boy, it was exciting unveiling each one of them.

First, the cross magnets.

Not quite as smooth and perfect as the first batch I made last time. It could be the cement mixture I'm using this time. There were more holes at the edges caused by tiny bubbles that formed during the curing stage.

But I still like the raw imperfect result of it. The pieces had to be sand-papered to smoothen the edges of the bottom part where the magnet is at. 

Next, for the planters and tray that were made using packaging boxes, they had to be emerged in a pail of water for a day or two, then scrubbed to remove traces of paper that stuck on some surfaces.

After leaving them to dry for another day, they were ready for finishing touches like clipping away the extra bits and sanding them down to smoothen any sharp edges.

Here they are!

 Styling attempt...haha.

And finally, the replicate I've always wanted to produce.

Spot the difference? I was amazed! So the one on the far right is the original tray. The middle one is made of entirely Rayher cement, the first replicate attempt, while the one on the far left is made of the mixture of Rayher and grout cement, second attempt. I was very surprised at the reproducibility of the first replicate. It was like the exact copy, the smoothness and the colour. When I was mixing the cement, there was a lot of doubt because the cement mix was very rough and felt like there was a lot sand and stones. Quite unexpected!

The one made with the mixture of Rayher and grout cement produced a lot of characteristic holes which some may deem rather adorable... you know, like cheese. But this one is fairer. I will try again with 100% grout since I'm running out of Rayher, but I really do like the colour of Rayher, the signature grey concrete colour.

So that was my 2-weekend cement adventure!

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