Introduction: Make Pet Portraits in Concrete

About: Retired, doing art work now. Great. Have the time and the money to spend doing what I want to do.

I came up with this method to embed pet portraits into concrete. It is a way to make a permanent piece of art to display wherever you would choose to place it.  I have had acrylic lettering and paintings survive for several years outdoors and with a little care, they should last 10 years or more.

Step 1: Gather Materials Needed

Few materials are needed for this project:

1. Hotwire machine
2. Concrete mix
3. Container for mixing concrete.
4.  Art supplies
5. Styrofoam sheet
6. Water
7. Molds of choice. (I used a cake pan for this project.)

Step 2: Prepare Name and Portrait

First I needed to cut some styrofoam to size wanted. I used the hotwire machine to slice the foam to about 1/4 inch. Letters for the name and the portrait itself can be cut from this piece.For complete instructions on styrofoam lettering, see my instructable        :

Step 3: Layout Cutout Pieces in the Form You Will Use

I place the finished portrait and the letters into the mold when ready.  I have used paper in the mold to glue the letters and picture to as a safeguard to prevent styrofoam pieces from floating up into the concrete.  Using white glue, the letters and or picture can be glued to the metal, but is not as secure as the paper method.

Step 4: Pour Concrete Mix Into Form

When the glued down letters and portrait have dried, we can go ahead and pour the concrete.  Before pouring the mix into the molds, I use vegetable oil as a release agent by brushing the oil onto the sides of the pan.  Use very small amounts, and remove any excess oil with a paper towel.   I use the concrete mix shown, and have had good luck with it as is. That is, I have not found it necessary to add additives to provide for greater strength.  Plain mortar mix can be used as well, but have not used it too often, believing that the concrete mix is better.  When mixing the concrete, colorants can be added for the effects shown in some of the pieces. Add the liquid colorant to the water and not the dry mix!  I like a slightly liquid mix rather than a "stiff", or dryer, mix.  I use garage sale cake pans for these types of "stepping stones", as I like the smaller sizes.  Of course, commercial molds can be purchased for this type of work at any of the art stores.

Step 5: Let Set for 24hrs, Minimum

Poured pieces can be removed from the forms at 24 hours, but letting them sit longer will not harm them at all.

Step 6: Clean Up and Finish Stones

After a suitable curing, or setting time, I finish my art pieces by cleaning them up, brushing off any excess concrete, removing the paper and glue where it tends to stick, and so on.  Rinse stones off to get final appearance and place where they will not be bothered for a week or so. I usually just sit them in the shade on the patio, and they are good to go.

Step 7: Display Your Pet's Stone for All to See

Stones can be placed outdoors in the garden, walkways, on patios, pool decks, or anywhere you think it would enhance the area.  Enjoy!

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