Concrete PotHead




About: I am a multimedia maker and STEAM educator living in Los Angeles. There are few things more satisfying to me than acquiring and exploring a new skillset, so you'll find a wide variety of materials in my proj...

A cement planter based on your face? Why not? You can paint it in so many different ways, and use any number of plants to get a different look.

I have on hand some of the materials from previous Instructables Build Nights that we've done at CRASH Space, and it occurred to me that Instamorph would be a perfect mold material to use with the Shapecrete they sent us. I've also previously made molds of my face with Instamorph.

I call this alternately the PotHead and the FacePlant, both of which were brainstormed at a CRASH Space members meeting. It's really impossible to pick between two perfect names.

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Step 1: Materials

  • Instamorph (6 or 12 oz bag is sufficient)
  • Your face
  • A plant and soil
  • Pot for heating
  • Hot plate or stove
  • Thermometer (optional)
  • Tongs or similar for reaching into hot water
  • Aluminum foil or other non-plastic surface for working with plastic
  • Shapecrete
  • Gloves
  • Cups for measuring dry shapecrete and water (plastic cups are fine)
  • Bucket/container for mixing shapecrete
  • Bucket/container for cleanup water
  • Acrylic paints (I used a light one and a dark one)
  • Brush

Step 2: Making the Mold

I did a previous instructable about making a mask out of Instamorph, so check that out for details. The video in this step is me making a half mask, here is the video of the first time I did a full mask.

Unlike the masks, you want to cover as much of your face as possible, including the sides. You also don't want to make breathing holes, which is less of an obstacle than you'd think. The plastic doesn't stick to your face, and you can easily pull it away for a second to take a breath. If you want/need to, you can always make a breathing hole over your mouth and then cover it again later.

Also unlike the masks, the inside is the important part. This means that having wrinkles or extra bits on the outside is fine. The eye dips on mine were a little too thin and not entirely sealed, so I added some extra on the outside to seal it up.

I tried to make a creepy face while doing the mask, but it is rather difficult to hold a face while simultaneously molding it. Having a second person to mold it to your face would probably make the process easier.

Once you have your face mold, you'll need to add a bottom and back. If you want it to be the size of a full head, you can round out the back, but I didn't. Try to seal up the seams as well as you can. You can also use hot glue to help fill in gaps, but it's likely that the whole thing won't be waterproof. Fortunately, you can mix the Shapecrete to a clay-like consistency, so that doesn't matter quite as much.

Step 3: Casting

Mix the Shapecrete according to the instructions for a clay-like mix, then start packing it around the bottom and sides of your head mold. Pay attention to the nooks and crannies. I didn't get enough into the nose, so it looks a bit like the end of my nose broke off. It's kind of a neat, weathered look, but you want to keep most of the shape of your mold.

Tips for Shapecrete:

  • Before you begin, put some water in a bucket for washing your gloves when you're done. Do not wash your gloves or pour anything down the sink. You will have concrete set inside the pipes, and they will become purely decorative.
  • Watch the videos for mixing Shapecrete. They're very helpful. Don't be that person who thinks they can wing it. You'll just waste your time.
  • A dedicated bucket for shapecrete is a good idea. I got a bunch of them for our event on sale at the end of summer for a couple bucks a piece, and you can reuse them the next time you use Shapecrete.
  • Cover your work surface with a drop sheet or trash bag. You can use it to cover your project while it sets.

Step 4: Removing From Mold

The nice thing about having a multi-part mold is that it's easy to remove. I pulled off the back and bottom to get it out, and kept the mold for future attempts.

A nice thing about using Instamorph for this project is that if you have trouble getting the mold off, you can always drop the whole thing in hot water and pull off the plastic when it softens.

As you can see, my face isn't perfect. The nose isn't complete and there are some wrinkles. That's okay. It just helps it look more aged.

Step 5: Aging

I used acrylic paints, both black and metallic silver.

The black is used not just for shadows, but contouring beneath the cheekbones, under the jawline, and around the edge of the face. See the pictures for how I did shading.

The silver was more subtle, and placed along any areas I wanted to highlight, such as down the nose, all along the cheekbones, the brow, and the raised part of the lower lip.

Step 6: Add the Plant/hair

There are obviously many options for fillers of your pot head. You can go with spiky succulents, long luscious ivy, or even something silly like a single tall bonsai tree. I went with silly.

Step 7: Fin

This works well as a Halloween decoration, especially if yours has a broken-off nose and many wrinkles like mine, making it look old and weathered. I'll tell you, it's a really spooky thing to see when walking into a dark room. But, really, having a pot molded from your own face is an excellent conversation starter at any time of the year.

Enjoy, and please share pictures if you make your own!

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    35 Discussions


    3 years ago

    I absolutely LOVE this!…lol What a way to immortalize yourself. :)

    Thanks for posting :)


    3 years ago

    Does your neighbor annoy you? Make half a dozen faces and paint them so they are staring. Then mount them so they stare at the neighbor's house like they are constantly watching. You could even use glow in the dark paint so they glow at night. That ought to make them leave you alone.

    4 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    Might as well add some camera for tracking the neighbor and make the potheads move as they walk around.


    Reply 3 years ago

    Or warm up the plastic a bit after making the mold and press the eyes in. When you cast it, you will have hollows for eyes, and then you can paint them and let the "hollow face illusion" make them appear to follow anyone watching.


    Reply 3 years ago

    Thank you, just googled the hollow face illusion! Not sure if eyes only would be enough, but it's still an incredibly cool way to freak people out!

    Husky Brutor

    3 years ago

    We're that yard does up Halloween a little too much, this is going to be part of next years installation.

    1 reply

    3 years ago

    I cannot WAIT until we have an entire fleet of these in the CRASH Space garden!

    4 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    CRASH Space is our local hacker space, as linked to in the intro. we're going to have an event for this in a couple weeks.


    3 years ago

    I want one--but ten times bigger! Can you figure out how to do that?

    5 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    Just ask(very nicely) a giant to let you make a mold of his face. If he doesn't eat you, you're all set.


    or take a trip to mount rushmore.

    yeah, something ten times bigger would be another project entirely with a mold as tall as you are that you have to build with different materials.