Crafting with concrete

Crafting with concrete


With all the materials available today, why would you do your crafting with concrete? Wood is more suitable for interior furniture because it’s light and warm by nature. Many modern materials seem ideal for crafting and building, so why go with concrete?

Crafting with concrete is cheap and easy, yielding pretty good results. You can make a smooth concrete mix for casting different objects. When concrete cures (hardens), you get a result that can last generations.

Check out these guides on garden spheres and concrete planters, for example, lightweight concrete crafts if done like the spheres. Your children will throw them away long before their time.

Since this is the opening post for this blog, let me go through why concrete is excellent for crafting.

Crafting with concrete is affordable.

Concrete is cheap because it combines cement, sand, and gravel. Keeping that in mind, basic crafting with concrete can be relatively inexpensive. People mix cement and concrete often, but cement is the glue in that mix that holds everything together.

Equipment costs also range from low to medium investment. Small amounts of concrete can be mixed by hand with a trowel; medium amounts can be done with a cheap power drill and paddle for mixing, and only large amounts need a proper concrete mixer that still can get under $100. Then you only need some containers for concrete (plastic buckets and those can go as low as $2).

Cement craft molds are easy to use

With wet concrete, it’s easy to use molds or forms to make things like ornament bowls and furniture parts like countertops. Some even choose to build their houses partially or entirely from concrete as it is a stable foundation if done correctly.

Select your concrete mix for molds and start pouring to make some simple concrete crafts. The hardened concrete will give a suitable surface for coating, plastering, and painting.

Concrete has a long history.

Concrete is also an invention with a deep history. It may feel modern as it’s everywhere and used to build enormous structures. The invention of concrete goes back over 8000 years. Egyptian and Roman concrete feels most impressive as they discovered it would harden underwater if they mixed it with volcanic ash. Thanks to their pioneering efforts, we have some fantastic monuments left in this world.

Roman concrete (and those from 8000 years ago) also shows me that if I can make something with aesthetic value today, it might outlive me by far. House decoration, public projects seen as valuable in the future (for culture, etc.), and projects we document on the internet might live on for hundreds of years.

Working with concrete safely with proper gear

Working with concrete safety

I’ve been working with concrete all of my adult life, from my teenage years at the beginning of 2000. I can’t say I’m all pro on everything, but this blog is also my way of getting a deeper understanding and learning more.

In my Concrete for Beginners notebook, the most fundamental thing I’ve learned is this: working with concrete is messy. I mostly joke that clean cement work contractors are the ones who don’t work and that concrete worker who makes sure his working spot is clean works a lot.

We solve this by protecting our environment when we work by using something to cover all the vulnerable parts like the floor, walls, furniture, etc. We want to save everything we want to avoid getting concrete splashes on.

Preventing mess is half of the cleaning.

Cleaning concrete splashes is hard when it dries and messy when wet. If you let it dry, it will most of the time damage the surface it’s on, as well as you are removing it with tools, and it sticks hard on the surface pores. It’s an annoying job and the first cause of irritation among workers; it’s easier to do right from the beginning.

Another thing to remember when working with concrete is to protect yourself. As cement dries, it absorbs water around it, which can lead to so-called “cement burns,” at the mildest, it dries your skin.

Also, you want to keep your best clothes clean, as getting dried cement off your clothes is rigid. Eye protection is also a must as if you get a splash on your eyes, it will cause irritation, and you need to wash it with water immediately. In some cases, even a visit to the doctor might be required.

With your working spot and you ready, you’re ready for some business. The only thing to keep in mind after that is power tool safety (don’t go poking the rolling mixer with a trowel etc.) and making sure you work with safe power tools (no power cords are cut, and it’s working as it should) and scaffolding (no missing legs or quick fixes).

The workability of concrete could be better sometimes.

Concrete working periods can be short or long, depending on whether it should set quickly or slowly. At the quickest, the mixing and working time can be up from 20 minutes.

The best time to work with it will be after mixing it with water for 3 minutes. If you’re impatient and get some quick concrete for your crafts, the following points could help you succeed (also works with slow concrete).

First, you need to prepare the place where you will do the work. If it’s mold/form, cover the surroundings if you’re supposed to keep it clean and set tools and other things aside so you will have a clean room to move freely.

Concrete is heavy

It’s essential to me as one 5-gallon bucket can weigh close to 100 pounds. With even half of that weight, you don’t want to be watching your feet too much as accidents happen.

The next thing to prepare is the place where you’re mixing. The surface you’re mixing on (if using a bucket) should be level and free of rocks and other things like that. Plastic buckets break easily with the concrete weight if you drop them on rocks.

How to mix concrete safely

Also, keep your legs on the side of the bucket to keep it in place at the start of mixing. I usually measure the water on the bucket first (like 90% of what the bag says; it might change a little from bag to bag), then start adding the dry concrete mix (around half of the pack at first). That way, the concrete bucket won’t be too heavy to mix and will save your wrists and back.

If you’re mixing lots of concrete, you might also arrange the mixing spot to combine with a straight back if you’re tall. The place you’re mixing concrete in should also have a bucket of water or water hose to clean your tools.

I’ve met co-workers who never wash their mixer and hammer the concrete off, and some people are like me and like to let it roll a few rounds in a bucket of water to clean it. It’s much more pleasurable to store it after work like that.

Water hoses (and buckets, of course) are handy for washing tools, buckets, yourself, and anything else that gets dirty during the process. We don’t want concrete to dry on our trowels as it’s hard to clean, and also, if you let it dry on the finishing surface of the trowel, it will leave a sour finish on the surface.

Suppose your mixing and working spots are in good order, at a reasonable distance from each other, and you’re ready. In that case, you’re prepared to work successfully with minimum effort. I know it sounds like a lot of work, but if you have projects lined up or want to work on a good amount of concrete – it will save you some effort.


This is the little bit I’ve learned about how to craft concrete efficiently and safely. Next is up to the imagination as projects are all over the internet. Preparing with concrete may sound boring and easy on paper, but accidents happen every month. The larger the project is, the harder it is to succeed. Still, most of the hazards can be dealt with with proper preparation.