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Colorful Concrete Bowls Made with Colored Sand, Cement, and Water

Concrete is a mixture of cement, aggregates (sand or sand/gravel), and water.  In my seemingly never-ending exploration into colored concrete and cement projects, I made concrete bowls with different proportions of cement and colored sand.  You can see in the photo below that the bowls are different intensities of yellow.  I used 12 part yellow sand to 1 part cement in the least intense yellow bowl (on the left) up to 3 parts yellow sand to one part cement in the most intense yellow bowl (on the right).  At the bottom of each bowl, I put a small amount of uncolored cement for comparison.  With this information, I hope you can make some really wonderful, colored concrete decor!  Details follow.

Learn how to make colorful concrete bowls using cement, colored sand, and water.
Learn how to make colorful concrete bowls using cement, colored sand, and water.

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Tools/Supplies:

Spray the inside of the cups with cooking spray oil.  When working with concrete/cement wear a dust mask and gloves.

Choose one of the recipes below depending on how intense you want your concrete project to be.  The more colored sand in the recipe, the more obvious/intense the color will be in the finished concrete.

RECIPES

Concrete Made with Colored Sand Recipes

  • 12 part sand
    1 part cement
    1 Tablespoon water for every 14 cup sand and cement (combined volume)
  • 1 part sand
    1 part cement
    1 Tablespoon water for every 14 cup sand and cement (combined volume)
  • 2 parts sand
    1 part cement
    1 Tablespoon water for every 14 cup sand and cement (combined volume)
  • 3 parts sand
    1 part cement
    1 Tablespoon water for every 14 cup sand and cement (combined volume)

(For my metric friends, note that 14 cup is 60 ml.)

For convenience, I made batches of concrete where each “part” was 14 cup.  So for instance, for the recipe with the most sand, I used 3/4 cups sand, 14 cup cement, and 4 Tablespoons water (1 Tablespoon per 14 cup sand and cement).

MIXING THE CONCRETE

Put the sand and cement in a mixing bowl.  Mix the dry sand and cement.

Making Colored Concrete.
Making Colored Concrete.

Add water and then mix.

Making Colored Concrete.
Making Colored Concrete.

Adjust the consistency of your mix with water or cement, if needed.  The consistency of the concrete should be fairly dry.  It should maintain its shape if formed into a ball or could be slightly wetter, being able to form a sloppy ball.

Making Colored Concrete.
Making Colored Concrete.

For molds, I used two disposable plastic bowls of the same size.  I first put a little uncolored cement in each bowl, then let that cure about an hour to harden.  I did this so that it would be easy to compare the colored concrete to uncolored.  You can do this if you like the two-toned look, but it’s not necessary.  Plop your colored concrete in the bowl that is oiled on the inside, and level the concrete.

Making colored concrete bowls using colored sand, cement, and water.

Push the other bowl (oiled on the outside) into the cement.  Put something rather heavy (like stones, or in my case another concrete casting) into the inner bowl to weight it and keep it in place.  Let the concrete cure for at least a day, then popped the plastic molds off.

Making colored concrete bowls using colored sand, cement, and water.
Making colored concrete bowls using colored sand, cement, and water.

I always coat my concrete and cement creations with Rain Guard, a silane/siloxane sealer that prevents efflorescence.  Efflorescence is an unsightly white powdery film of masonry salts that can form when concrete/cement is exposed to moisture after it is cured.

Make colorful concrete decor using cement, colored sand, and water.
DIY Concrete Decor Made Using Cement, Colored Sand, and Water.
DIY Concrete Decor Made Using Cement, Colored Sand, and Water.
DIY Concrete Decor Made Using Cement, Colored Sand, and Water.
DIY Concrete Decor Made Using Cement, Colored Sand, and Water.

You might be interested in another project using colored sand:  DIY Concrete Cake Stand or Centerpiece with a Changeable Base.  This was my first project using colored sand in concrete, and I used a low concentration of sand for a subtle look.

Stop back soon!  As always I hope you are having a great day!

Jen

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