Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

What I Made Today With Portland Cement

Actually, with stepping stone mix from the craft store.

I did manage to drag Nigel to Lowe's to pick up two 50-lb. bags of cement, but I also had a couple of packages of stepping stone mix, so I thought I would start out with some small projects first and see how they went. This mix is a combination of silica sand and Portland cement (I wore a dust mask when I mixed it).

I've been scouring the Internet lately for interesting craft projects, and ideas for things to make with cement. Actually, I've been on Pinterest, checking out lots of craft projects, and this one caught my eye. Making lace ornaments with Sculpey clay.

Not my photo, it belongs to the blog Whimsy Love

I wanted to try to adapt it for making ornaments with cement.

I poured/pressed the wet cement into round metal cookie cutters that I had smeared Vaseline all over as a release agent. I also put Vaseline on the plastic under the cookie cutters, and then pressed them into it, to keep the cement from oozing out under the metal ring.

Unfortunately, I couldn't get the lace to make a good impression in the cement. So I just used a straw to make a hole for hanging and then pressed a flower stamp into it (the flower stamp was designed for making impressions in stepping stones). When they dry I hope to maybe hang them from my trees.

I also made some small stepping stones with small food storage containers.

The little butterfly shape on the left was a stepping stone stamp, and the one on the right was made using a butterfly-shaped cookie cutter. The little circle and leaf mosaic pieces came from the craft store, and the leaves came from a house plant (a false Aralia).

I used some soap molds to make cement medallions. Here's what they look like filled with cement.

You can probably tell that one in the middle is a fleur-de-lis.

Here's what it looks like on the other side. I had to call Nigel in from the other room to hold it up, I had forgotten to get a picture of it before I filled it.

Sorry it's such a bad pic, it was hard to get the light right and to get a good angle.

Close-up of the fleur-de-lis

One of the round shapes is a cameo

Another tray of soap molds

I hope some of this detail comes out in the cement.

I plan to use the medallions on cement pots, which I haven't even made yet. Wishful thinking, I guess.

And of course, my final project with this batch of cement was the inevitable lump of cement in a pizza box, with a leaf impression.

I didn't realize the cement would retain so much of its shape when patted out into a circle. I may try making more small hanging ornaments without the cookie cutters, just patting them out into small rounds.

They are now hanging out in the garage wrapped in plastic to slowly cure, along with my previous concrete projects.  I better make sure I can still fit the car in.

I've been scouring thrift stores lately, looking for good bowls to make molds/pots. Here are some that I found for quite cheaply, between $1.99 and $6.99.

I think this basket/salad bowl will make a great hypertufa succulent bowl!

This one has great vertical sides for showing off all those medallions!

This is the bottom half of a salad spinner. The spinner mechanism no longer worked, so now I have a colander for the kitchen, and this for making pots. Two for the price of one!

I couldn't pass this up -- it's a great mold for another cool succulent container!

In a couple of days my projects will be ready for unmolding. I'm feeling much happier about this bunch!


Have you heard of Pinterest, by the way? It's another way to waste time on the web. This link should take you to my Pin Boards.


  1. Oh I have always wanted to try to make stepping stones. I love the inlaid tile one.

  2. These are cool, Alison! I hope they turn out for you! Great ideas and sounds like fun.

  3. We are watching your success and cheering. Portland cement sounds like the way to go.

    Please don't get me hooked on Pinterest. I have been strenuously avoiding it... one more time-sucker would finish me off.

  4. Looks like you're having fun with all of these ideas. I love the medallion idea! I hope these all turn out, can't wait to see them.

  5. Those look great! You have just reminded me that I got a stone making kit for Christmas last year ... now where did I put that?

  6. Great job! I love all of our ideas and am excited to see how this batch will turn out :) Cheers, Jenni

  7. You are really inspiring me! I love your ideas. The little butterfly stamp is great. I can't wait for it to warm up so I can try some of these projects.

  8. Hi Alison! Instead of having a break from gardening and just relaxing over the holidays, you found yourself another job! Anyway, the results are impressive!

  9. I LOVE pinterest! I'm going to check yours out now and follow you. Here's mine

    By the way, do you have a page on Facebook?


  10. Hi Alison! I got your message on my blog and wanted to post it here too... I was wondering if you had a separate page for your blog stuff. I like to keep mine separate from my personal page. Here's mine...

    It's easy to set up a page on Facebook, and you can used it to follow other people's pages and post about your blog stuff, it's pretty slick.



Gardening is a solitary activity. But blogging about it is a social phenomenon! I don't make money from my blog by advertising, or use it to drive customers to a business. If you liked my post, or my writing or photography, or even just one picture or turn of phrase, I'd love to hear from you. That's how I get paid.