Small concrete leaves

This feature photo is my ambition! Watch my steps on what and what not to do!

I would like to start with when I try a new project or recipe I read several different versions and combine different aspects in order to make it work for me. I either do not add certain ingredients because I am allergic to them or try a different method because I do not have a certain product on hand.

Well I tried another very cool project!  I tried to put together small concrete leaves in a spherical shape, open on top to put a candle in outside.  It was an interesting trial.

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I started with smaller containers to mix the concrete in. Solo cups. And I was ready with my balloons and small bowls. Plastic knives for stirring.

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I picked out my leaves from the yard. They have nice bold veins on the back for excellent details on the finished product.

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I had my concrete ready next to me. My small watering can was full and on the table ready to go. Yes we are outside. Concrete is very messy.

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We blew up the balloon and placed it in the bowl for stability. Then we started to make small tape donuts to tape the leaves to the balloon.

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It is looking amazing! I get to choose the direction and placement of the leaves. This is working out great!

The leaves are all on and i realize that the printed part will be on the inside of the candle holder. No big deal, i can just find more leaves and stick them on the outside as well and i will have a pretty design on both sides. The concept idea is great and exciting.

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We mixed up the concrete. Next we attempted to put heavy wet concrete on not a flat surface-yes you probably know where I am going with this.

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It looks so pretty right in this photograph and easy. That is opposite of what is NOT pictured because my husband was keeping the concrete mixing and spooning me little amounts at a time in order to place it specifically he was unable to take photos. Maybe next time we will get a third party photographer. Although there is the down side of them bent over laughing at my husband and I struggling, and our silly comments, so there would still be no photographs taken.

What you are missing is where the concrete was too heavy. The tape was not holding and the leaves kept sliding out of place or just plain old falling or jumping off of the balloon.

We had to work harder and faster.

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Here you can see we have it completed. Yahoo, we are very excited, we take it inside the garage very carefully in order to dry for 24 hours.

i accidentally tapped it once inside and on the counter and it completely fell apart all of the counter.

Alright, lets try to save it!

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We wrapped some mixing bowls in cling wrap- it never clings to what you want it to cling to.

And put the concrete leaves inside.

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The husband at this point had run out of positivity, but I kept saying “ It’s trial and error-it will be fine-it will be great!”

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!!!!

The next day we took off the leaves.

Warning sad photograph below!

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It did not work!!! Also they are beautiful! But because they are so thin-they are brittle and crumble when I pick them up.

This project F- !

I really love the concept and want to be able to make a candle holder but I am going to do it differently next time.

 

 

Garden Stepping Stones

5747FD88-7FB8-4288-9B8A-DDCFD2ED130D67B95B52-FE7D-4F69-9D71-385708B23572 In the first photo you can see the first leaf casting that I attempted. I used the back side of a hosta leaf the veins on the back sides of leaves are usually thicker which gives good grooves or definition to the concrete. Advised cure time of concrete depending on the type of concrete differs. My bag stated at least 30 days before waterproofing or staining. So my hosta leaf sat in the shed for 30 days to cure. It has been painted in the second photo. The waterproof label states that the waterproof material added to the concrete should be allowed to cure for 48 hours before submitting to natural weather. Tonight I will waterproof the back and reveal my banana leaf steps.

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This is the concrete waterproofing product that I am using.  About a week ago I water proofed the top of the painted concrete leaf, but I did not photograph the process, I was wearing gloves and had never done it before and was not sure how it was going to turn out.  Today I finally carved out 10 minutes of my evening and waterproofed the back of the leaf, and got photos of the process.

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I shook the gallon container a few times to make sure its mixed well and to make sure there was still liquid in the container.  I poured it directly onto the leaf back, the liquid is very thin and has a milky look to it.  It soaks into the concrete quickly, it is not very easy to spread.  I ended up pouring the liquid on in several different places on the leaf back to make sure I got all the back and sides completely covered. Within minutes the leaf back looked exactly as before. But suggested cure time for waterproofing with this product is 48 hours.  So once again, we play the waiting game.

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This photo was taken about 3 minutes after I had applied the water proofing material to the entire back side of the hosta concrete leaf.

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Stepping stone was put in the ground this weekend! So cute! So little!

My husband and I finished painting our grape leaves tonight.

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My husbands’ leaf is on the left and mine is on the right.  We figured out this evening that all of the super cool shiney leaf castings we have seen have probably been using metallic paints. Which is what I have used this evening.

 

Banana Leaf stepping stones.

 

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Big storm today took our Banana tree down to the ground. I have been working on making stepping stones to make a more permanent pathway through the woods, down the very steep hill to the beautiful creek. I have been putting off using the banana leaves because they are so big and a bit intimidating. But today’s storm said to me “Buckle up buttercup!!” It is a good thing I stopped at the local home improvement store to pick up a second bag of concrete made by Quikrete.  It took more than one 60 pound bag. I wasn’t able to use all of the leaves because my two tables are smaller than I remember sometimes. 890D92EF-563B-460B-B82A-B578BA2BFC0C

I noticed I had a few small open spaces so I popped into the yard and cut off 3 nice hosta leaves to make the most of the table space.  It is a bit of back breaking work and slightly time consuming. I am very lucky and my husband helps me out and it makes the process go so much quicker. With help about 2 hours later, set up and clean up included. C8F52DB4-41CF-4882-8D5A-701D470A6C65.jpeg

And the waiting for the concrete to harden begins. These leaves are pretty large so I plan on waiting 2 days instead of 1 before I flip them over and pull off the leaves.  I made several other stepping stones about a month ago. 30 days for proper cure time of concrete is advised before painting or waterproofing.

 

UPDATE UPDATE!!

I let the concrete dry for two days! Big leaf castings, which I will use as stepping stones are below. I am so happy with how well they turned out. Details of some things I learned this  time are below.

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I was afraid that if I added too much water the concrete would just run everywhere, off the leaf, off the table, onto the garage floor. Big mess!! (Storms like crazy-working indoors), but what I have noticed is the concrete mix needs to be just slightly runny because when its drier it tends to be chunkier or a bit rocky looking. Which leads to air bubbles that stay in the castings. When I was doing stepping stones in boxes I was able to gently jostle the boxes to work out the air bubbles. You can see where the casting looks rockier with permanent air bubbles in the close up photo below. Then following is a close up photo of the same leaf but you can see how much smoother and better defined details are presented with just a bit more water in the concrete mix. D720255D-1C88-4CA5-86A4-A0D3801685D6AF3FC2B5-22AB-44C2-857C-93BCAB86E3C4