Concrete Letters

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Introduction: Concrete Letters

About: My name is Travis and I like to build cool stuff and learn about interesting things.

This tutorial will walk you through how to make your own concrete letters to use as decor in your garden or wherever you’d like!

Please note that affiliate links are used whenever possible.

Supplies:

Step 1: CONVERT CARDBOARD LETTERS INTO CONCRETE MOLDS

To convert your cardboard letters into molds to use for the concrete you’ll need to cut off either the front or back of the letter. Decide whether you want the front of your finished letter to be the top side or bottom side of the concrete mold. That will dictate whether you remove the front or back side of the letter.

Use a knife to slice off the top layer of cardboard. Once you get it started it’s easy to just peel it back as a whole layer.

Step 2: MIX & POUR THE CONCRETE

Mix the concrete according to the instructions on the bag. Make sure you have a strong enough mixing stick. I initially used a paint stirring stick which was a horrible idea and was definitely not strong enough.

Scoop and pour the concrete into the cardboard letter molds. Try vibrating the molds to remove all of the air bubbles. And if you’re using the top side as the front for your letters, make sure you smooth it out and are happy with the finish. What you see is what you get. If you’ve never worked with concrete before don’t be afriad, this is a pretty simple project. This was basically my first time and things came out well!

Step 3: REMOVE LETTERS FROM MOLDS

Let the concrete according to the instructions on the bag, probably about 48 hours.

I actually let me first set of letters dry for 7 days which had the added benefit of allowing the cardboard letter mold to completely dry out too. This let me remove the molds withoutdestroying them so I could use them one more time. But just peel off the cardboard molds to reveal your concrete letters!

Step 4: PLACE & ENJOY!

Place your concrete letters however you’d like to display them.

We chose to bury them down among our small crushed up rock. However, I think they’d also look good leaning up against a wall or staked into the grass.

By the way Sisu is a Finnish concept described as stoic determination, tenacity of purpose, grit, bravery, resilience, and hardiness and is held by Finns themselves to express their national character. It is generally considered not to have a literal equivalent in English.

This was a gift for my parents because they love the word sisu. We’re Finnish and we always had a sisu sign in our kitchen growing up.

Please let me know your thoughts on this project, if you try it yourself, along with any ways to improve this design.

– Travis

P.S. I also host a podcast called Curiosityness! Every week I conduct a podcast interview with an expert about the most fascinating history, things, & people of our world. If that interests you, I encourage you to check out the Curiosityness podcast available for free at https://www.curiosityness.com/

And find me on Instagram @travderose: https://www.instagram.com/travderose/

You can find the complete tutorial for this at: https://curiosityness.com/concrete-letters/

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Backyard Contest

1 Person Made This Project!

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32 Discussions

0
enkelien
enkelien

18 days ago

Eyyyy, Finns! My dad had a cat named Sisu. ^_^

0
aussiemomx3
aussiemomx3

4 weeks ago on Step 3

Really neat idea , my mom had made me some concrete pawS 🐾 For my flower beds ( love them ) now I’m definitely going to try this & make Cubs !! Thanks

0
MatthewM425
MatthewM425

4 weeks ago on Step 3

Fun idea! But please - it's concrete so proper gloves and eye protection to prevent chemical burns!

0
rodomenech45
rodomenech45

4 weeks ago

According to Google, in Estonian sisu means Content, while in Finnish it means Go!

0
JanH161
JanH161

Reply 4 weeks ago

I think travderose explained the expression very well, indeed. Google has its black spots...

0
JanH161
JanH161

4 weeks ago on Step 4

What a fantastic gesture towards us, Finns. Besides, the project is lovely!
Greetings from hot and sunny Finland 🇫🇮!

0
violetsmuse
violetsmuse

4 weeks ago

My students really enjoyed this project. Some of the words they picked out were hilarious! Thanks for sharing this easy and fun project!

2
krisminn
krisminn

Question 4 weeks ago

Great idea! I have not tried this, but it looks like if you cut off the BACK of the letter and use the mold upside down you would have a smoother surface in the end. just two different looks for your outcome :) Also, you can add color to the quicrete to reflect your school or preference. I used to make leaf molds with giant Hosta leaves for garden accents. Very cool and eye-catching. they caught rainwater for the little critters.

0
TMensinger
TMensinger

Tip 4 weeks ago on Introduction

You might try spraying the inside of the "molds" with kerosene or diesel oi. it's an old carpenter's trick for easy release from the mold.

0
travderose
travderose

Reply 4 weeks ago

Yeah he has some good info, Thanks for sharing

2
CementTruck
CementTruck

6 weeks ago

My Finnish buddy says "Sisu" roughly translates to "Guts".

0
sundy58
sundy58

Reply 4 weeks ago

I was going to say true grit. Guts is good too. Looks like a nice project. I have 11 letters in my last name so it might be expensive! :)

0
travderose
travderose

Reply 6 weeks ago

Sounds about right

1
californiakayaker
californiakayaker

4 weeks ago

Quite often people put fibrous stuff in concrete to keep it from cracking. Also, I'd like to "glue" these to a concrete block wall. Epoxy ? Thanks for a great project

0
Sanderguy777
Sanderguy777

Reply 4 weeks ago

Epoxy would work, as well as construction adhesive.