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Step 2: Mix concrete, fill your mold...


Spray your mold with cooking oil and set aside. Mix the concrete so it is about the consistency of peanut butter, not a slushee. It should hold a bit of form when shaped into a ball, but not so wet that it slumps, and not so dry that you can't make a ball without a great deal of effort. Not too wet, not too dry.

Pack the mold, tapping and poking the concrete down into any crevices in the mold. Once filled, level off the top with something flat like a ruler. If you can, carefully bounce the project on a firm surface that is covered with something cushy. You don't want to break the mold, especially if you've chosen a glass mold.

Set on a level surface out of direct sun. Wait twenty four hours before you even think of touching it.

This is awesome! Would be perfect for a succulent planter. How big are the concrete bags for one planter? Thanks.
<p>Thanks for the tips ... love your work.</p><p>I've made a few concrete bowls using the same technique, however the problem I have is the salt release from the concrete once it's dry.</p><p>Have you had this problem? If so, is there a solution, eg. do I need to seal it?</p>
Thank you so much, Gena, :-)<br><br>Hmm. I'm not sure what salt release is, do you mean the pitting, or that the bowls release some kind of ashy substance? Many of my bowls have not been sealed, but they are out in the elements, perhaps mine are just rained on frequently, and I don't notice the salt release. <br><br>I just looked up the description of 'salt release', and found the following page, which might be of some assistance: <br><br>http://www.concretenetwork.com/doug_bannister/efflorescence.htm<br><br>
<p>I like your idea but didn't find your photos (except for the bubble bowl) to be very instructional. A picture of a clock to show waiting for concrete to cure? How about some pictures of actually pouring the concrete into the mold and removing it from the mold and sanding and sealing? It would have made the Instructable much more effective for me. Thanks for posting.</p>
<p>Terry, </p><p>I'm sorry you didn't like the Instructable. Perhaps you could submit one of your own.</p>
<p>Thank you so much for your instructable. I've wanted these balls for ages but thought I had to order them. Silly me. I've looked all over for these bubble bowls and nada. Do you know of a place I can order one? Thanks again for your great ideas.</p>
Hello Linda,<br><br>Thank you so much for your message. :-) <br><br>Oddly, I must live in a part of the country with a bounty of these bowls, as they always seem to show up in yard sales and thrift stores. I think they were all the rage years ago, and older women are just clinging to them. LOL. <br><br>I do see them on Ebay quite often, but the price plus shipping is outrageous. They sometimes show up in Walmart around the holidays, too. I wish I knew a place where you could just order them. <br><br>Karen
<p>Wuvie, thank you so much for your reply. I've been looking exclusively for &quot;bubble bowls&quot;. Under that name all I get is bowls, from urns to tulip styles. I didn't know they are also called floating candle holders. Geesh. How large is your frog's personal pond? I'd love to set one or more out in my garden for birds, etc. Thanks again.</p>
<p>agreed</p>
<p>Great post, how I like it when instructor's choose to add details to their posts. Just some tips for working with concrete. Adding some PVA glue to the mix will give the concrete extra strength and minimise cracks while curing, it is also good as a sealer and a bonding agent. 4 parts water/1 part PVA (4:1) ratio for admix and 10:1 as a sealer and for bonding apply a generous coat of PVA to the surface. By applying a sealer coat before painting and then a few coats after will reduce pealing. Allow the sealer to dry before painting; or painting while the sealer is still tacky will give a cracking/crazing effect. Use an orbital sander as a vibrator to eliminate bubbles and for curing cover the mold with a plastic sheet and then apply steam under the sheet, make sure the condensation from the steam doesn't drip on the mold. </p>
Any tips on how to make square tapered planters?
<p>Spelling is excellent and what a super little frog!:)</p>
<p>When it comes to cleaning. What do you recommend when cleaning tools and such, if you have a procedure of cleaning up and how you go about it. Thanks</p>
<p>I've owned a concrete crafts biz. Concrete (especially vinyl and quik-setting) hardens quickly on your tools, the only way to remove those chunks is hammer and chisel. My solution: The first step I do is ALWAYS get a gallon bucket of water handy(like a kid's play bucket). Fill it up so a tool's handles will be immersed. As you need to switch tools, immediately drop the cement-covered tool in the bucket. No need to dry a tool before using it again. </p><p>If you're spending hours on projects or it's a hot day, concrete will dry inside the mixing container, stop playing in the mud to scrape it off with a (very stiff) wire paint scraper brush and wash with H2O as you scrape. Does not require gloves. </p><p>Remember concrete sticks hard as a rock to metal, but since I use garden trowel, huge mixing spoons, and a small spade, all for strength, the water bucket is just SO much EZ'er than the chisel. You can also use the garden hose, Scotch-brite pad or the coarsest wire Brillo pads. No soap. Have fun!!</p><p>If you wash tools in the kitchen sink as I do, please do not rinse off concrete in the 'garbo' side and let cold water run for a minute or so to make sure all the grit is washed through the pipes.</p><p>(Pic of a local archery store owner with the custom planter I made.)</p>
<p>Had some extra quickset leftover from setting down some Ditra (great product for tiling btw). Covered the outside of a pyrex bowl with several layers of plastic wrap. Spread the quickset more-or-less evenly around the bowl. Wrapped the quickset perimeter diameter in plastic wrap to allow the bowl to hold it's shape.</p><p>Now it is set, the plastic wrap came off the outside, and the bowl is feeling pretty glued-in-place, inside the concrete bowl. It's usable to hold water without sealing, because it has a glass bowl in it. But I'd be more interested to remove the bowl. Have you had any success with glass mould removal, without shattering the glass? Any tips?</p>
<p>good idea and also simple instructions .</p><p>Can I give you a better way to get rid of air in the concrete though?,try using an old vibrator from your wife or girlfriend or just buy one. using vibration is the method that industry use to get rid of air in concrete . I`m not going any further on the vibration side as I`ll probably get some stick to mention it here :&gt;</p>
<p>Okay then here's my deal. About3 years ago me and the husband made 6 birdbaths. as far as we got---Would like to embellish with marbles, colored bits of glass just like the good ole days. Do uou have a process for adding slurry to the outsides in order to smush the items into and then what to seal it all with?</p>
<p>Try latex tile mastic or thinset mortar (not as sticky as the latex). Concrete will not stick to concrete. Or my sister and I have used heavy duty glues to attach our mosaics. Grout the mosaic, then, if desired, seal with a silicone grout sealer. </p>
<p>Concrete WILL stick to concrete, as long as it has a rough surface to bond to. And thinset/mortar is nothing but specialized concrete. If you want to add embellishments to a smooth-surfaced concrete birdbath using any kind of concrete or mortar, use a wire brush to rough up the surface or you can use special drill bits to drill some holes to give the concrete something to get a hold of.</p>
<p>is it possible to use the ordinary glass cereal bowls? i cant find these in my country.</p>
<p>Hello, oh, yes, you can actually get very creative by combining bowls, too. You might even visit a second-hand store, and play with various bowls, putting them inside one another, etc. <br><br>You might even consider using an adhesive to connect them so they form an inner bowl, then after they are dry, you could add concrete and proceed. You might still have to break the glass, depending on the shape of the glass. </p><p>I'm so sorry it took so long to respond, I've been rather inattentive of my messages lately. </p><p>Many thanks!</p><p>Karen </p>
<p>Instead of breaking glass, why not make the bowl part of the concrete, just encase the bowl in concrete ?</p>
<p>I say experiment! I have used packing peanuts and shredded paper. Papercrete is a well known building material in sustainability circles.</p>
<p>Okay...with your instructions, maybe I won't fail again. I tried to make a bird bath with my husband. What a disaster. I do believe the cement was mixed wrong. I'm disabled and really need his help but when I said it needed more water....he didn't agree. It came to pieces the next day. Never tried again. That was last summer. I'm stronger this summer than I was last....so I'm hoping I can wing it and possibly succeed. If so, bird baths aren't all I want to do. Thanks for your help. I'll let you know if I succeed. </p>
<p>Just my $.02 I have tried many different concrete projects some successful and some fall apart. Based on that, more water is usually NOT what is needed but more mixing. If you are adding rocks to the recipe try soaking them in water first so water is within the mix. Then don't touch it for 24 hours. Also, any time you do something write down exactly what you did- remember, this is chemistry. If it's good you want to recreate it. I also tried a birdbath in the shape of a leaf/ It really doesn't require all that sand just something so cast on that will give it the form you want.</p>
<p>Glad you had Libby there to keep an eye (or two) on these projects. Such a great supervisor, it's no wonder these look so interesting.</p>
<p>Thank you so much, Audrey! </p>
<p>Hello, I'm sorry, your message is blank. </p>
<p>Thanks for this information. These would go good with polished concrete floors. </p><p><a href="https://u1364481.ct.sendgrid.net/wf/click?upn=p5Kc4AiJooc2IeuO6fRte-2F-2BuQWDT638OgayaYmubW0-2Fb-2BWR-2BgFuv50SsdvKbuK9yNz8YAHLrml-2BqMPMVTXuBCIQe3Xx2Xm7iSChr2-2FdqC92VIQ6DiZkPVxL1tEYC3Ft6iaL7ECsI1Xhg2aHDINAO9jST3bsJ9W9I89Vmehwm6xE-3D_uoQOw53Jnd2odJf4vBwXdXNQagijUt-2BMTyutQ-2Fnb5YThwRhu6R9nO7Dw5GCIDCXWhACB3An1zwl-2BbGr4NfVtJl-2Bkra4c7GUeEF04fF2dTmFb7qAJX0O6lrpO5KV-2BdAvDDb6k6K7iVsq7VmgYrPRnS0BdC0Wq5GDJCDbTq6izmG4rtLSx-2FG9zePp-2FYPpuV97hEEWjO-2FUGMMWxkYso7DGxrg-3D-3D" rel="nofollow">http://www.myfloor.net.au/services/concrete-polishing</a>/</p>
Just a thought with the 30# oncrete sphere...could paint with glw in the dark paint for outdoor luminaries. ?
<p>GID paint will make the painted item show up at night, but won't really illuminate anything else. So if you wanted to mark where a pathway is, it will do that, but it won't actually show your footing. Those pictures claiming to be GID painted planters casting bright light are lying; the planters are actually translucent and have electric lights inside of them.</p>
<p>Just wanted to clarify, in case other readers are confused. Carin's comment about the &quot;glow-in-the-dark planters casting bright lights lying&quot;, she is not referring to my Instructable, but rather another project using thin light covers with electric lights. :-)</p>
<p>Right, sorry for any confusion, Wuvie. I was referring to a picture that keeps popping up in Pinterest, not this great tutorial. :)</p>
<p>Okay, love this site and the ideas. Thanks for the wonderfully clear instructions!</p>
<p>Well written, folksy Instructable. It motivates me to get out the cement. But I'm commenting about Libby--beautiful cat and, obviously, typically needs to be part of the action.. Thanks for including this pic!</p>
Glad I've found your site. I've wanted a brutal looking concrete bowl for my grey green succulent plants. However they don't seem to exist but I can make it instead. Thanks for the inspiration.
<p>Very nice end result, that's a beautiful bowl!</p>
<p>Many thanks, MsheArt2. :-)</p>
<p>Love your cover picture of the bowl, and I wanted to make one similar. I've made a couple of hypertufa projects and one cement/sand bowl (that, surrpise, looks like cement), but I really want a bowl exactly like yours. So, I found a 'bubble bowl' but I can't find the concrete mix that you used. I can't even find it on the quickcrete website.</p><p>Do you have any idea what I should mix for the concrete? I have portland cement, but how much sand and how much gravel should I use? Any clue? I have one shot at it since I only have found one bubble bowl. </p><p>I just love how your bowl looks like it was made of stone.</p>
<p>the search engine is your friend -- here's at least one instruction:</p><p>http://www.ehow.com/how_7839550_mix-portland-cement.html</p>
<p>And if you are too lazy to read through to the link -- 1 part portland cement, 2 part sand, 3 part 3/4-inch gravel. It's quite easy to remember 1,2,3. Have fun.</p>
<p>LOL Hieu, many thanks for sharing that for Ariana. :-)</p>
<p>I do a little concrete moulding - to strengthen your concrete if you like delicate thin walls it may be an idea to add some fiber - a search on the net will indicate qty, depending on which fiber u use. You have heard of fiber boards - the fiber is added to stop hair cracking and add strength. Let us know what you think please</p>
<p>Hello SACutter, thank you so much for your suggestion. As my bowls are rather small, I didn't use reinforcing fibers, but have since found some and will definitely give them a try in my next project. </p>

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