Introduction: How to Make a Concrete Tiki Garden Statue
Tiki Garden Statues are fun, lightweight statues that will liven up any garden.
This is an easy, inexpensive project with very few ingredients or special tools needed.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
Rapid Set Cement-All
Blue Foam Mat – ¼” thick
Stainless Steel bowl and spoon
Old Paint Brush
Step 2: Concept
The main body of the tiki is made from a single piece of blue foam mat rolled into a cylinder shape.
You can buy these mats at most stores that sell camping equipment.
Each individual design element such as the eyes, nose, and mouth are also cut from blue mat material then hot-glued to the main body. Then the entire foam statue is then covered in concrete.
Step 3: Design
Design your Tiki on paper and print it out the actual size you would like the statue to be.
Keep the shapes simple with lots of space in between each design element.
The concrete goes on pretty thick, so you will lose a lot of detail on each shape.
Step 4: The Main Body
This statue is 11 inches high. To make your statue this height, cut out a square piece of foam 11 inches high by 15 inches wide using an X-Acto knife (box cutter.) Roll the foam into a cylinder shape so it overlaps several inches.
Tape all around the cylinder with masking tape to hold the cylinder together. (I live in Canada, so I used white hockey tape, which everyone here has lots of). Hot-glue the seam from the outside and add some more tape vertically along the seam to smooth it out a little. The seam won’t be perfectly smooth, but it will be at the back of your statue and won’t matter too much.
Step 5: Add the Design Elements
Trace the top and bottom of the cylinder on some blue foam. Cut out the 2 circles and glue them in place using the glue-gun.
Cut out each design element from your paper copy and trace the paper pieces onto more blue foam and cut them out.
Glue on the eyes, mouth, nose and all the other elements on to the main body. Add a strip at the top and bottom around the entire tiki. Add some extra hot-glue to round off any elements you want to stand out like the eyes, lips, chin, or nostrils.
Step 6: Cover in Cement
Rapid Set Cement-All is perfect for this type of project.
It sets in around 15 minutes and hardens in an hour. It’s extremely strong and doesn’t shrink much. If this statue were solid cement, it would be extremely heavy, but because it’s mostly air and foam, it’s not heavy at all!
The ratio is 4 parts cement to 1 part water. Start with ¼ cup of water in a stainless-steel bowl, then add 1 cup of Cement-All a little at a time, stirring as you add.
For this tiki, I wanted to simulate a brown ‘wooden’ look so I mixed some brown paint right into the concrete mix.
Spread the mix onto your sculpture using a spoon, stir stick, or an old paint brush to get it into the small areas. It doesn’t like to stick to smooth surfaces, but don’t worry if you don’t get everything covered on the first pass. Just make another batch and hit the uncovered areas until you can’t see any more blue foam.
Step 7: Highlight the Design Elements
To highlight the design elements, make a small batch of cement with more brown paint and less water.
“Paint" the design elements (except the teeth) with the darker brown concrete mix with an old paint brush.
If it's too thick to paint on, just add some more water.
Step 8: Outdoor Plant Pots
You can also use this same method to make outdoor plant pots. Here’s a Tiki plant pot I made by wrapping the blue foam around a plastic container with holes drilled in the bottom. Perfect for outdoor plants!
I didn't mix any paint into the cement mix for this pot. This tiki was covered with the natural gray cement. Everything except the eyes and teeth were painted with watered down acrylic paint, then sprayed with an acrylic sealer.
Step 9: Tips
You don’t necessarily have to use foam mat for the design elements. You can use any kind of foam as long it’s flexible enough to follow the contour of the cylinder shape. If the foam is too thin, the cement will cover right over it and it won’t provide any 3D detail. I find the ¼” foam mat material the perfect thickness.
If you would like to see what a true artist can go with concrete, be sure to check out Made By Barb for more expert advice, techniques and ideas for concrete creations. I learned a lot from her posts.
You can see more of my creations on Instagram at Mad Props Design.
Runner Up in the
Stone Concrete and Cement Contest