Crumpled Concrete Vases





Introduction: Crumpled Concrete Vases

About: Welcome! Pleased to meet you, I am Barb; a Maker. I have been making things AND explaining how to make things for as long as I can remember. I was all about DIY before it was a popular term. I absolutely lov...

Oh, how I love working with concrete! Once you really start to look around there are so many ways you can make concrete things! This project can’t be much simpler; it’s probably easier than making pancakes! Soda and beer cans are everywhere, and can make cool shapes when wrinkled. (lightbulb-over-head-moment) Why not use them as a disposable mold?!

Ta-da! Anyone can do this! Ok, I’ll soon have to join ‘concreters-anonymous'

By the way, on garbage day I give everything a second look as potential mold material.

Step 1: Find Your Tin Cans

Now here's a reason to have a beer! Well, yes, soda cans work well too. They are quite thin so they cut quite easily after poking a hole with the scissors

  • Cut around the top just under the narrowed collar ( be careful of sharp edges)

Step 2: Adjust the Bottom Shape

The way cans are made is quite ingenious. The shape of the bottom is formed so that it is strong even though the material is thin. For this reason the bottom needs to forced out, bulged to make it easier to remove later. (the bottom has a concave shape that was impossible to pull out without bulging it out first)

  • Use a broom handle end (or other strong wood piece) to push out the bottom as much as possible without losing the flat edge to sit on.

Step 3: Crumple the Can

Using both hands crumple the can to your liking. I find its easier to have one hand inside and one outside to shape the folds. Large ones or many small ones is your choice.

  • Squeeze and shape wrinkles on surface

Step 4: Readying the Concrete

Materials Needed:

  1. RapidSet CementAll Concrete Mix (very quick setting ultra strong concrete mix)
  2. Water
  3. Mixing container
  4. Mixing Spoon
  5. Gloves & Dust Mask
  6. Crumpled Can

DO be aware that this uses a particular concrete mix. I have not found another mix that performs like this one yet. It is unmoldable in just over an hour and is cured in a day.

  • Put on gloves and dust mask
  • Mix a small amount of the Rapidset Cementall (it uses less than usual concrete so it is suggested to start with water and add concrete)
  • The consistency should be still flowing but not as thin as a cream. It should be thick but still self level (be aware that it will start to set in minutes)
  • The crumpled can does not need a mold release (this concrete will not stick to the shiny surface)

If you are new to concrete and nervous you may want to see my page for some tricks and tips for concrete crafting.

Step 5: Pouring the Mix

The mix will start to set fairly quickly.

  • Pour about 3 tablespoons of mix into the crumpled can (it's easy to do a few at once pouring excess into next one)
  • Rotate the can slowly to coat all the sides and be careful not to have it leak out. Round and round... Also let it coat the top edge quite well.
  • The concrete will start to set and you will see it stop flowing
  • Let it sit for at least an hour

Step 6: Wait...

Note that the mixing container is still dirty. DO NOT wash it in the sink!

  • Leave the mixing container and spoon to set as well

There are ways to keep working with concrete mess free. I have less mess than when making a cake!

Step 7: Unwrapping

Time for fun! I suggest that you put some gloves for this step. (do as I say, not as I do!)

  • Use small rips in the top edge to peel down strips to the bottom (similar to rolling back a sardine can)
  • Be gentle with the amount of force.
  • Try to rip strips across bottom of can as it is the most stubborn part to pull off)
  • Chip off edges at top to even out or sand off any rough edges

Amazing how much detail is picked up by this concrete. I love the rustic edges that give it the concrete character. It's also so smooth and shiny!

Step 8: Finish

You can call it finished now or apply some colour or metallics. The metallics accentuate the forms so well!


Step 9: Gold Leafing Option

To apply gold leafing the adhesive needs to be applied to the parts where you would like the gold to stick. I aim for more at the top and very broken shapes.

The gold leaf is on sheets that just get pressed onto the surface and stick where there is tackiness. Brush off any excess.

Step 10: Enjoy!

That was too easy wasn't it?! Multiples look great. Dress them up or make pencil holders. Imagine a line of them down the dining table, or even wedding centre pieces.

The branches were dipped in the gold paint to look like some 'gold' blossoms growing, plain and simple (and free)

Industrial concrete chic! Probably costs pennies each to make...

If you want to see more super unique concrete projects (and become a conrete-o-holic) see my site:

Before you know it you too will be saving all kinds of stuff to pour concrete into or onto!

Enjoy and dazzle your friends!

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    21 Discussions

    I love your creativity and these concrete vases are genius!! I have to say though, that your geodes are still my all time favorite!!!

    1 reply

    Yes, I do love my sparkly stuff too! Funny; as I've just been painting some furniture ala geode pattern, what a coincidence. Check my site ( soon!

    The pour can be as thin as 1/8" (extra strong concrete) so it's not that heavy at all. Some ceramics can just as heavy.

    I'm amazed by what you have been doing with concrete, since the mouth stones ! Great work

    1 reply

    Oh yes those! I tend to see 'concrete' possibilities in many things! Not sure if it's always a good idea!

    Neat trick. Do you know he GENERIC term for the type of concrete you are using? Or the mix?

    That you can pour it to create a vessel is unique. Years (48) ago, doing ceramics, we would carve a it of Styrofoam (I think) to serve as the shape of the void, cover the Styrofoam with the clay, then (once the clay had begun to set up - but before it could dry and SHRINK) we poured acetone over the Styrofoam and it melted away.

    This allows for a variety of options to shape the void. With a mix that sets up as quickly as yours (and does not appear to shrink as it cures) I suspect you might find this approach worth trying.

    6 replies

    Thinset mortar used to lay tiles.

    You may want the additive to make it UV resistant. I will talk to Big Brother, he used it a lot, as waterproofing, and mixed into regular cement when we built his bar. With a friend we made that bar look like a castle or stone fort of the 15-1600's. Dizzyland got nuthin on us! We pirated B4 the Carribean!!Each block was made with hardware cloth then a couple of slabs of pink expanded foam insulation, behind it against the bricks of the building. The blocks were "shot" on the facade then stucco was put on the screening and each "block" was shaped. If you punched it you bled, if you thought you damaged it , (as drunken teens might) we just stucco up and paint it a bit.

    This also had the effect of insulating it and adding a layer of waterproofing.

    That sounds a lot like the way the do stucco on the homes here. Mostly they put a real (formed) stone skirt though as it's so thin of a coating that it gets damaged when hit. How quick does thinset take until it stops flowing? I've been baffled at how strong the Rapidset Cementall is, even at very small thickness (not getting anything from them BTW)

    Oh wow! that sounds interesting! The melted styro would be quite lethal I bet though! I'm constantly seeing possibilities all over the place... I have tried other mixes but they don't have that immediacy as that one. Hopefully it will get warmer here soon as I'm itching to try some more mixes outside.

    This RapidSet Cementall feels much more 'pasticy' than the others and boasts that it is 2x as strong. 'Does not even feel like there is sand it it. There are other 'quickset' but they don't set as fast.

    After posting that, I spent some time looking at your site. There I found several approaches to creating hollow forms as well as some very interesting ideas and projects.

    Adding 'white glue' to concrete has been 'round a long time. In the seventies, I cemented some faux stones to the walls of my kitchen (OMG, what was I thinking!) and they suggested adding some sort of 'white glue' to help hold the (somewhat heavy) stones to the vertical wall surface. Since, I've see similar products at Lowes, HD, etc. 'shelved' in the (pardon the pun) Concrete Aisle.

    Woodworking 'yellow' glues might work as well - Titebond III is supposedly weather proof once set.

    I liked the Ghoul on the Steps creation. Ripe for some of the new LED Lighting that allows a single bulb to produce a variety of colors, patterns and 'effects.' Next Christmas, look to the Displays for likely candidates - then wait ''till 12/25 or 1/3 to shop the Seventy-Five Percent Off Sales!

    As you pointed out, one could hide several bulbs and such inside that figure - even a MOTION SENSOR and/or an outdoor speaker.

    Great ideas you have, excellent execution.

    Oh thanks! Yes, I have a mind that loves to problem solve and also observe how each different media behaves. That's how I hatched the ideas of the geodes, coasters and cans. I love going to the hardware store etc and seeing what stuff I can use in a weird way! Funny; faux stones have been on my radar too! Nature is my inspiration. Would love to see the stone wall!

    "Would love to see the stone wall!"

    I sold that hose fifty years ago!

    Very cool castings!

    I'm guessing the biggest expensive was the 10 cent deposit on the that fine Canadian brew beer can :)

    2 replies

    Oh, gee... Yes! I do like the taller cans though!

    the Arizona iced tea ( I think ?) or similar would fit the "tall' requirement :0

    btw part of the reason the can bottom is concave is that the can body (sides) are extruded into shape from an aluminum disc which ends up as the bottom - a very specific aluminum alloy is used

    These are awesome. I love working with concrete as well its so cool what you can do with it. Love this idea :)

    That is a really fun idea! I would never have guessed you used a pop can to make those :)