Summer is nearly here! Picture it: you're sitting outside on a warm summer night. You've got good friends, good drinks, but something's missing... a standout conversation piece for the center of your patio table. Let's make something awesome!
Watch the video above to see all the steps involved or click here: https://youtu.be/ZbB5VFlWY6c
- 2 different sized bowls (one larger, one smaller)
- chopped fiber
- concrete mix
- (substitute both fibers and mix for DCI Concrete Countertop Mixand save a few bucks)
- decorative glass
- petroleum jelly or DCI Liquid Release Agent
- (if using petroleum jelly, the entire surface MUST be sanded before applying a concrete acid stain)
- wire mesh (and something to cut it into a round shape)
- drill with concrete bit attachment
- gel fuel can (I used Sterno, usually located in the camping section)
TO CREATE COLORATION:
- foam brush
- DCI Deco Gel Gelled Acid Stain
- baking soda
- Krystal Kote Concrete Sealer
Most of these supplies can be found at www.DirectColors.com
Step 1: Prepare the Bowls for Casting
Apply petroleum jelly or Liquid Tool Release to the inside of the larger bowl and the outside of the smaller bowl. Remove any excess residue.
Step 2: Mix Your Concrete
Mix concrete, chopped fibers (for strength) and water. You're looking for a pancake batter texture. I started with 24 ounces of water and ended up adding an additional 16 ounces.
*I'm using DCI Concrete Countertop Mix since it already has fibers and other materials for added strength.
SAFETY FIRST: Use gloves when handling concrete material. Concrete can be a skin irritant.
Step 3: Pour the Concrete
Pour the concrete into the larger bowl.
Step 4: Set the Smaller Bowl Inside of the Larger Bowl
Be sure to leave room at the bottom between the smaller and larger bowls so you get a consistent thickness throughout the concrete cast.
Weight the smaller bowl down so it won't float out while the concrete is curing.
Allow your cast to sit and cure for at least 3 days if using DCI Concrete Countertop Mix or at least a week for regular concrete.
Step 5: Remove the Cast
Once completely cured, gently remove the larger bowl and smaller bowl from the concrete cast.
Step 6: SAND THAT THING!
Sanding removes rough edges and prepares the concrete to be acid stained.
(Petroleum jelly will close the pores of the concrete and the cast must be sanded if you'd like to acid stain the concrete.)
Step 7: Wash the Concrete Cast
Wash your cast with warm, soapy water. Dish soap should be gentle enough not to mess with the ph of the concrete.
Step 8: Apply an Acid Stain
With the concrete cast slightly damp, apply a concrete acid stain. I used DCI Deco Gel Gelled Acid Stain in Coffee Brown. Since it's gelled, the stain won't drip and I can get really nice lines on the surface.
Allow the stain to sit on the surface for the manufacturers recommended activation time.
Step 9: Neutralize the Stain, Rinse and Drill a Drain Hole
Once the stain has sat for the recommended activation time, neutralize the stain with a tablespoon of baking soda and a gallon of water. Mix the baking soda with water and pour over the surface of the cast.
Rinse the cast with clean water until the runoff is clear.
Drill a drain hole in the bottom of your cast. This keeps the bowl from
filling with rain water and creating the ideal location for mosquitoes to raise a family. The drain hole also allows oxygen to the flames. You may need to either elevate your fire bowl or add a few more holes if your fire doesn't stay alive.
Step 10: Seal the Cast Surface
I used Krystal Kote Concrete Sealer to seal the outer surface of the cast. Apply the sealer with thin, even coats. I chose not to seal the inside since it will house a gel fuel canister.
Allow the sealer 24-48 hours to completely dry.
Step 11: Cut a Bit of Wire Mesh for the Interior
Cut a round bit of wire mesh to fit inside the bowl. You want it small enough it go inside but not so small that it touches the bottom.
Step 12: ASSEMBLE!
Set a gel fuel can inside the bowl (I used Sterno).
Set the cut wire mesh on top of the gel fuel can.
Put crushed glass aggregate on top of the mesh, leaving an opening in the center for the fire to breathe.
Light that beast and enjoy your summer nights!