Picture of Garden Markers You Can Make
With all my experimenting with concrete and what can be done with it, one of my favorites is the garden markers or signs I make using new concrete forms or, using old, broken chunks of concrete than can be found when a sidewalk or patio is torn up, for example.  I think the forms made are very attractive additions to the garden, patio, walkways, or anyplace your imagination can take you.
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Step 1: First Find Some Concrete Pieces

Picture of First Find Some Concrete Pieces
These pieces are from a neighbors torn up sidewalk. This is just one of many substrates I use. Others include bricks, rocks, cast pieces of concrete, tiles,and so on.

Step 2: Make Letter Form From Styrofoam

Picture of Make Letter Form From Styrofoam
Here, I cut out letters from sheets of styrofoam.  I take care to leave a good form and not cut the foam in a manner that it can't be used in one piece.  The centers of "o", "p", "b", etc., have to necessarily be cut out, but saved, and used in the casting process.

Step 3: Use Material Of Choice For Letters

Picture of Use Material Of Choice For Letters
I use several different cement  products such as: thin set mortar, mortar itself, rapid set concrete mix, grout, both sanded and non-sanded, etc.  All of these products work well, and some adhere to the concrete a little better than others.  As in all art, it is an experiment to find what works in your application best.

Step 4: Let Letters Set Up Well

Picture of Let Letters Set Up Well
After letters have "dried" which really is a setting up process, styrofoam can be removed from the letters and concrete.  I use dental tools, small screwdrivers, etc., anything that you can pry, cut, and simply remove the foam from your casting.

Step 5: Paint Lettering If Desired

Picture of Paint Lettering If Desired
Letters can be painted as I have done with these samples.  Regular acrylic paint is used and is coated with a polyurethane gloss varnish.  I will use  3 or 4 coats and this protects sign from water and rain.

Step 6: Add Broken Tile As A Mosaic

Picture of Add Broken Tile As A Mosaic
Break up some tile of choice into small pieces.  These pieces are then glued into place using one of the adhesives shown:  thin set mortar, tile adhesive, flexall, etc. 

Great ideas with the concrete medium...Always liked turning concrete into something nicer than a driveway. Have stained and applied microtoppings to driveways in the past, but you have sparked my creativity..Thanks for the posts.

dlurwiller2 years ago
I have to make some of these for my garden. I also promised my brothers headstones for his two dogs that passed....this is perfect! Thank you so much for all of your instructions, they are marvelous.
Creativeman (author)  dlurwiller2 years ago
Thanks for your comment, Dee, and good luck with your projects. The headstones would be perfect, and you could add a silhouette of their heads using the same technique!
Beautiful. Looks like I will have some nice markers for my garden in progress. Thank you.
Creativeman (author)  Marcaine Art3 years ago
Thanks for your comment, good luck!
The method for creating the letters is really good - never would have thought of that. :D
Creativeman (author)  jessyratfink3 years ago
Thanks Jessy!
shazni3 years ago
true...i too never thought of using styrofoam for molds...was going to ask you in your previous instructable how does the concrete come off the tin molds this seems like a good idea. especially for concrete candle holders. thanks
Creativeman (author)  shazni3 years ago
Just put a coat of oil on the pans ans the concrete releases fairly easy.