The days are still short and cold here, but I’m starting to think about Spring and the flower garden. I don’t do all that much gardening right now, but I have in the past and very much appreciate garden/yard decorations in amongst the plants. I wanted to do a rather easy garden art project with colored cement. So, I spent a bit of time figuring out a new way to make stepping stones that have cool colorful designs. Here is the short version. First, I made a colored cement shape by adding latex paint to the cement batch and shaping the cement as if it was clay. Then I plopped the colored shape in an oiled round cake pan, shaped it a bit more, and finally, I filled the rest of the mold with uncolored cement. It’s an easy and fun way to get inlaid color into your cement projects.
Every now and then I have a project that just doesn’t work out, at least not in time for the next time I want to post. This happened right before a recent Christmas-time trip to visit my sister and her family. In fact, two projects didn’t work well enough to put out there on the web. That left me in a bit of a bind, being away from home and not able to work on another project. Well the good news is, the break at Christmas gave me a chance to get a project gallery onto my blog, something I’ve wanted to do for a while. Check it out in the menu bar above. Another thing I had time for during the break is starting a new community Pinterest board–Concrete and Cement Furniture/Decor/Garden Community Board. I started it because I wanted a place for concrete/cement enthusiasts to have a place to gather and post. Check it out and follow the board if you like it. If you want to join as a contributor, type “ADD ME” on this pin https://www.pinterest.com/pin/500603314815473738/ (shown below).
I’ll then send you an invite to the board, and after you accept the invite you can add pins to the board. You know who you are, and you need to join!
During the Christmas trip, I spent considerable time with paper and a pencil on airplanes. I now have many furniture and decor ideas that need developing, and the procedures and details ferreted out–which for me usually takes some time and trial and error. Okay, to make a long story short, I still needed a project to put up on the blog in the short term, so I wandered around the house looking at what I had and came up with an idea. I call it a little cement low table with chunky legs, aka a cement plant stand with chunky legs.
The legs were cast-off candle holders that I had made previously to give as a gift to a friend, but the colors didn’t turn out how I intended. I used red and green/chartreuse paint in the cement mix when making them, wanting Christmas-themed candle holders. The colors, once mixed with the cement, ended up looking pink and yellow. This can happen. Instead of giving them to someone else, I decided to use the candle holders as legs. I just needed to make a little cement table top to go with them.
Here is how I made my little low table (or plant stand).
containers to use as molds (I used four 12 oz disposable plastic drink cups for the legs and a 9-inch round metal springform cake pan for the table top.)
The type of paint to use for coloring cement (and concrete) is latex paint. Most interior wall paints are this type of paint. Leftover paint and sample-size jars are ideal for this project because you don’t need much. The paint tints the cement when added in the mixing process, giving a muted version of the color and sometimes an unexpected color!
Mixing and Pouring the Cement
Cement with Latex Paint Recipe
Use the following general proportions per batch:
8 parts Quikrete anchoring cement or Cement All (dry) by volume
1 part water
1/2 to 1 part latex paint
Casting the Molds
First, coat the inside of your leg and table top molds with cooking spray oil. Be sure to wear a dust mask and gloves when working with cement.
A rough estimate of how much dry cement needed to make a batch that will fill a mold is to start with 1 and a half volumes of the mold of cement. So fill your mold with dry cement and put this in a mixing bowl, then fill your mold halfway with dry cement and put it in the mixing bowl. Note how much cement this is (by volume), and then determine how much water and paint to use according to the recipe above. If you are using rocks like I did in the legs, use about 1 volume of cement instead of 1.5 to start. These are estimates to get you in the ballpark.
Once you have mixed a few batches, you might not need to measure anything. I usually just measure the cement, add a bit of paint, and add water until I get the consistency I want. I mix with a gloved hand, but you can use a spoon, stick, or similar.
First put anchoring cement and paint in a mixing bowl. Next add water, mix, and adjust the batch to a pourable consistency, like a pourable pudding. If you are not adding paint to the batch, you can add more water.
I used a mixing variation for the greenish-yellow part of the cement legs. First, I made a pourable cement batch using chartreuse paint mixed in thoroughly. Just before I poured it into the four leg molds, I put a bit of paint into the mixing bowl on top of the cement, dribbling the paint in circles on the surface. Then I poured the cement into the four legs. This technique gives the cement a bit of color variation. I let the cement cure about an hour.
After this, I added white stones (from Dollar Tree) to the cup molds. The stones add some texture or variety. It is totally up to you if you add them or not.
I mixed another batch of colored cement, this time using red paint, and poured it over the stones in the mold.
For the table top, I wanted a round mold with fairly straight walls. I ended up using a springform cake pan that I had sitting in the kitchen taking up valuable real estate. I hadn’t used it in years. It worked okay but next time I’m going to grease it up more, especially where the bottom meets the sides so that it releases easier. You can use one of the springform pans, a plastic or aluminum disposable dish, a cardboard shipping container, or anything similar. For the table top, I used navy and white paint to get a light blue cement. I didn’t add any stones to the table top.
After a day, I was ready to glue the legs to the table top. To help position the four legs on the underside of the table top, I cut a small square of paper and centered it. This made it easier to position the legs properly.
Once in place, I drew around each leg with a pencil to mark the location.
Happy New Year! The holidays are past, and I’m excited to get back to business making furniture and decor. But first I want to introduce a few enhancements to the DIY Furniture Studio blog and a new Pinterest community board.
The first new thing is the Project Gallery (link here), and located above in the menu bar for future reference. It’s a clickable gallery with a main photo for each project, as well as several process photos. The project gallery will let you see at a glance all the projects that await you!
The next enhancement to the site is the CommentLuv app. For those of you who have blogs, this app lets you leave a link back to your most recent blog post. I think of it as just a little way to thank you for commenting. And we all love comments, don’t we!
The last new thing for now is that I started a Cement/Concrete community board on Pinterest. I am enjoying many community boards for other topics, but hadn’t seen one for concrete/cement. So please join me and others on the board and pin anything made of concrete, cement, papercrete, hypertufa that is furniture, decor, yard/garden art. You can also pin anything related to making these objects, such as molds and mold-making materials. Pin up to 5 pins per day. This board is for tutorials, inspiration, ideas. Etsy posts and other things for sale are okay.
If you make one of these side tables you will be the only person with one like it. Yours will be your color, your piece of wood, your chosen legs, your height, and so on….customized to how you want it. The top three things I have in mind about the DIY furniture I create are that the furniture is: 1) customizeable, 2) easy to make, and 3) inexpensive. So here are 5 side tables I made this year that cost less than $25 to make and can be made by people without much experience or expensive tools. They are all customizable in ways that I describe in the posts and in other ways you think of. Please feel free to share your version of any of these side tables in the comments section, or e-mail me photo(s), and I will put together a “brag” post. (This goes for any of my tutorials.)
One thing that drives how I design and build things is that I like to be able to change furniture and decor easily depending on style or purpose, if possible. I like to leave options open. So what this looks like is a cement side table that has removable legs rather than legs imbedded in the cement. Or a pedestal bistro table that can easily be taken apart. Along the same thought process, in this post I’ll show you how to make concrete (or cement) cake stands or centerpieces with bases that can be changed by simply removing one nut. I especially appreciate this because the look can be changed in a snap for different occasions, such as seasonally, for a baby shower, or for a tablescape having a certain color theme like for a wedding.
I used little hard-plastic dishes for the bases. I found the colorful patterned ones at Target and some smaller white ones called “prep bowls” at Kroger. Wooden bowls would also work well for this project. For my concrete centerpieces, small bowls seemed to look better than larger standard-sized bowls. In addition to choosing your base(s), you can also pick a mold for the concrete–round, rectangular, square, small, large–to get exactly what you want. Isn’t DIY fun! The molds I used were of the disposable cooking variety, such as aluminum loaf pans and pie tins, as well as plastic plates and serving trays. (more…)