Crumpled Concrete Vases





Introduction: Crumpled Concrete Vases

Trash to Treasure

This is an entry in the
Trash to Treasure

Oh, how I love working with concrete! Once you really start to look around there are so many ways you can make concrete things! This project can’t be much simpler; it’s probably easier than making pancakes! Soda and beer cans are everywhere, and can make cool shapes when wrinkled. (lightbulb-over-head-moment) Why not use them as a disposable mold?!

Ta-da! Anyone can do this! Ok, I’ll soon have to join ‘concreters-anonymous'

By the way, on garbage day I give everything a second look as potential mold material.

Step 1: Find Your Tin Cans

Now here's a reason to have a beer! Well, yes, soda cans work well too. They are quite thin so they cut quite easily after poking a hole with the scissors

  • Cut around the top just under the narrowed collar ( be careful of sharp edges)

Step 2: Adjust the Bottom Shape

The way cans are made is quite ingenious. The shape of the bottom is formed so that it is strong even though the material is thin. For this reason the bottom needs to forced out, bulged to make it easier to remove later. (the bottom has a concave shape that was impossible to pull out without bulging it out first)

  • Use a broom handle end (or other strong wood piece) to push out the bottom as much as possible without losing the flat edge to sit on.

Step 3: Crumple the Can

Using both hands crumple the can to your liking. I find its easier to have one hand inside and one outside to shape the folds. Large ones or many small ones is your choice.

  • Squeeze and shape wrinkles on surface

Step 4: Readying the Concrete

Materials Needed:

  1. RapidSet CementAll Concrete Mix (very quick setting ultra strong concrete mix)
  2. Water
  3. Mixing container
  4. Mixing Spoon
  5. Gloves & Dust Mask
  6. Crumpled Can

DO be aware that this uses a particular concrete mix. I have not found another mix that performs like this one yet. It is unmoldable in just over an hour and is cured in a day.

  • Put on gloves and dust mask
  • Mix a small amount of the Rapidset Cementall (it uses less than usual concrete so it is suggested to start with water and add concrete)
  • The consistency should be still flowing but not as thin as a cream. It should be thick but still self level (be aware that it will start to set in minutes)
  • The crumpled can does not need a mold release (this concrete will not stick to the shiny surface)

If you are new to concrete and nervous you may want to see my page for some tricks and tips for concrete crafting.

Step 5: Pouring the Mix

The mix will start to set fairly quickly.

  • Pour about 3 tablespoons of mix into the crumpled can (it's easy to do a few at once pouring excess into next one)
  • Rotate the can slowly to coat all the sides and be careful not to have it leak out. Round and round... Also let it coat the top edge quite well.
  • The concrete will start to set and you will see it stop flowing
  • Let it sit for at least an hour

Step 6: Wait...

Note that the mixing container is still dirty. DO NOT wash it in the sink!

  • Leave the mixing container and spoon to set as well

There are ways to keep working with concrete mess free. I have less mess than when making a cake!

Step 7: Unwrapping

Time for fun! I suggest that you put some gloves for this step. (do as I say, not as I do!)

  • Use small rips in the top edge to peel down strips to the bottom (similar to rolling back a sardine can)
  • Be gentle with the amount of force.
  • Try to rip strips across bottom of can as it is the most stubborn part to pull off)
  • Chip off edges at top to even out or sand off any rough edges

Amazing how much detail is picked up by this concrete. I love the rustic edges that give it the concrete character. It's also so smooth and shiny!

Step 8: Finish

You can call it finished now or apply some colour or metallics. The metallics accentuate the forms so well!


Step 9: Gold Leafing Option

To apply gold leafing the adhesive needs to be applied to the parts where you would like the gold to stick. I aim for more at the top and very broken shapes.

The gold leaf is on sheets that just get pressed onto the surface and stick where there is tackiness. Brush off any excess.

Step 10: Enjoy!

That was too easy wasn't it?! Multiples look great. Dress them up or make pencil holders. Imagine a line of them down the dining table, or even wedding centre pieces.

The branches were dipped in the gold paint to look like some 'gold' blossoms growing, plain and simple (and free)

Industrial concrete chic! Probably costs pennies each to make...

If you want to see more super unique concrete projects (and become a conrete-o-holic) see my site:

Before you know it you too will be saving all kinds of stuff to pour concrete into or onto!

Enjoy and dazzle your friends!



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    I love your creativity and these concrete vases are genius!! I have to say though, that your geodes are still my all time favorite!!!

    Yes, I do love my sparkly stuff too! Funny; as I've just been painting some furniture ala geode pattern, what a coincidence. Check my site ( soon!

    Looks perfect! But will the can too heavy?

    The pour can be as thin as 1/8" (extra strong concrete) so it's not that heavy at all. Some ceramics can just as heavy.

    I'm amazed by what you have been doing with concrete, since the mouth stones ! Great work

    Oh yes those! I tend to see 'concrete' possibilities in many things! Not sure if it's always a good idea!

    Neat trick. Do you know he GENERIC term for the type of concrete you are using? Or the mix?

    That you can pour it to create a vessel is unique. Years (48) ago, doing ceramics, we would carve a it of Styrofoam (I think) to serve as the shape of the void, cover the Styrofoam with the clay, then (once the clay had begun to set up - but before it could dry and SHRINK) we poured acetone over the Styrofoam and it melted away.

    This allows for a variety of options to shape the void. With a mix that sets up as quickly as yours (and does not appear to shrink as it cures) I suspect you might find this approach worth trying.

    Thinset mortar used to lay tiles.

    You may want the additive to make it UV resistant. I will talk to Big Brother, he used it a lot, as waterproofing, and mixed into regular cement when we built his bar. With a friend we made that bar look like a castle or stone fort of the 15-1600's. Dizzyland got nuthin on us! We pirated B4 the Carribean!!Each block was made with hardware cloth then a couple of slabs of pink expanded foam insulation, behind it against the bricks of the building. The blocks were "shot" on the facade then stucco was put on the screening and each "block" was shaped. If you punched it you bled, if you thought you damaged it , (as drunken teens might) we just stucco up and paint it a bit.

    This also had the effect of insulating it and adding a layer of waterproofing.