Introduction: Introduction to ShapeCrete (making a Basic Leaf Print)

About: HexLab is a comprehensive MakerSpace located in Tarzana CA. We offer educational online courses, access to all sorts of machinery and gadgets and are a fully functional rapid prototyping facility!

This instructable describes making a leaf imprint using ShapeCrete and painting it. Mainly, we'll be discussing what ShapeCrete is and what to make with this awesome material.

In a nutshell, here is what we'll cover:

1.We will go over proper mixing steps for making a leaf imprint

2. How to pour molds

3. Creative things that we did, that you can do too

4. Inspirational sources

5. Drying

6.Touching up and/or painting

7. Enjoy your cool art!

Here is an items list you'll need in order to follow along with this instructable:

-ShapeCrete (comes in a light green bucket - its available online and in retail channels in some markets. We were lucky enough to get a donation of a few buckets to use for a build night at our makerspace)


-Plastic sheeting

-Rubber or latex gloves

-Container to mix in (disposable and strong)

-Strong stick to mix with, such as a paint mixing stick

-Container to hold the leaves in and shapecreat to cure

Step 1: Mixing Properly - Making a Leaf Texture on Something

Mixing is easy. (You might notice some fibers in the ShapeCrete mix - these are normal, and they help it do its work and stay strong)

For claylike consistency - add 4 parts ShapeCrete to approximately 1 part water

For casting or flowable consistency - use 3 parts ShapeCrete to approximately 1 part water

Step 1: Start by placing ½ the required water in the mixing container and gradually add ShapeCrete into the water. Mix and add water until you get the desired consistency.

Step 2: Use the same measuring device size to insure even mixing volumes.

Step 3: Mix with a strong stick in a disposable container (like a used milk carton) thoroughly for about 4-7 min.

Step 4: Take out enough mix to accomplish what you are trying to do, or if you are making a sheet then pour the whole thing out on plastic then start flattening it down.

Leaf texture: This leaf texture is easy to accomplish - just place one or more leaves on a container that you are going to use to contain the material. Cover the leaf with the mixed ShapeCrete, then wait to for it to dry following the instructions on the package. Next, flip the container over and peel the leaf off. If you want to paint your piece, we used acrylic spray paint and it worked great.

Leaf shape and texture: To get a leaf look, just place a leaf on a flat surface then only put the mixed ShapeCrete on the shape of the leaf. DO NOT GO OVER LEAF EDGE! Place the leaf on a concaved surface and follow drying instructions. After it has dried, you can spray paint it green , or you can add pigment in powder before mixing to color a whole batch.

Step 2: How to Pour Molds

You can mold almost anything - just keep in mind if you have too many rough surfaces it will be hard to remove the finished ShapeCrete object from the mold.

-Release: You need a "release agent" to help remove the cast object from the mold. You can get these at mold making specialty stores, or online. But, if you don't have any, it's fine to just use spray cooking oil like Pam.

-Spray a couple coats of the mold release into the mold cavity. Try to avoid using enough to cause a puddle in the mold.

-Pour shapecrete in mold cavity.

-Shake to remove any bubbles.

Step 3: Creative Things That You Can Do

We made a lot of stuff like



-Leaf textures on our molds

-A vacuum form plastic mold works great

-pored into old plastic soap container for pencil holder/paperweight

-Candle holder

-Sea shell (2D)


-Clay like monsters

-We bought a bunch of stuff at local thrift shop to place shape create over to get the imprint or design.

Step 4: Inspirational Sources

We recommend going to the ShapeCrete website and checking out some of the examples and project on there.

It is a great activity to do as a couple or with a friend.

Google images, search pinterest, instagram, and youtube.

Key words you can search: Concrete candle holder, Concrete mold pattern, concrete key holder, Shapecrete, concrete vase.

Step 5: Drying

Drying is easy - just place a plastic sheet or plastic wrap over your cast item and wait 24 hours.

If you are creating something that needs to have a lot of strength, then you may want to cure it up to a full 4 weeks for it to gain full strength.

Step 6: Finishing and Touching Up

After your mold or piece is dry, just remove it and rub around the edges to remove any "straggler" pieces. You can use a Dremel tool, or use sand paper, even paint.

For the gold leaf item we made, we just sprayed acrylic spray paint on a leaf imprint we made.

Have fun with the material! Nothing gets you started better then just picking a project and diving. Especially with new materials, you will come up with ideas after you have used it a few times.