Introduction: Faux Cement Garden Memorial

About: Retired English/Theater Teacher

After my mother passed, I wanted a memorial to remember her.  Searching the internet I could not find anything for sale.  So off to the workshop to create my own.  For technique I found this video,, where he uses cardboard as a base and then covers it with tile grout.  Loved his use of drywall screws to hold it in place.  My project is smaller and I just used masking tape to hold the cardboard till I could cover it.  

Step 1: Prep and Planning

My mother loved books and reading even after her eyes began to fail and she needed the services of Colorado Books on Tape.  So it was obvious that I wanted something to do with books as my memorial.  I considered a stack of books, but settled on an open book as my image.  Planning is essential even though the grout will cover a multitude of mistakes.  I didn't have any large sheets of cardboard and salvaged some old boxes before they ended up in recycling. 

Other materials are:
Masking tape
Tile grout
Rubber or neoprene gloves
Plastic bucket
Grey Primer

Step 2: Cutting

My trusty pocket knife, after sharpening, cut the curves easily.  Note the shallow cuts for ease of folding the cardboard.  Because I had only small boxes I added a double layer on the base for strength.  I made a list of all the pieces I needed so I could keep track of all the cardboard.

Step 3:

Masking tape held everything in place before covering.  It's a little ugly in the first picture, but more tape cleaned it up so the grout didn't sink into the spaces.

Step 4: Coating

I was working alone and had nobody to take pictures of my gloved hands spreading the grout.  Follow the directions on the package of grout especially regarding mixing until there are no lumps.  Investing in a good paint mixer for the drill would be my suggestion.  Then just slather it on trying for about 1/4 inch thickness all around.  Don't forget to wear your gloves.   Because the back needed a coat I allowed that to dry for a day before doing the top side.  I am surprised at how light weight the final product is.  Because it dried a little lighter than I wanted, I did use some grey primer over the entire piece.  You may like the lighter finish or you can add powdered color to the grout in the mixing process for a more colorful finished product.

Step 5:

I think she would have liked the idea.  I know I think of her every time I see it in my garden.