I had been dreaming up how I would love to make high contrast, shibori inspired planters or votives when a friend mentioned the wonderful Buddy Rhodes Artisan Concrete Mix. Where have you been all my life? Guys, this stuff is magic. And if you are thinking concrete is concrete, it is like saying that a tent and a mansion are the same thing. Nope. This artisan concrete is like the Rolls Royce of concrete. It’s easy to work with, pours like a dream and better yet…. works magic in silicone molds. In walks Bold Print Shop silicone molds. It truly was a match made in DIY heaven. So I got looking at the products and what they were capable of together and my beautiful DIY marbled concrete planters are the love child.
I need to put this out there, I have zero training in working with concrete. But this stuff is totally dummy proof. I was initially intimidated. Spent an hour talking to a charming man who works at Buddy Rhodes… And still, I was nervous. What if I screwed it up? He kept reassuring me it was simple…Especially when you are working with cool silicone molds. And now that I have played around with it, I couldn’t agree more. Both were so easy to work with and even ‘mistakes’ turned out to be a piece of art. That said, I have some tips for all us normal folks. You too can make marbled concrete planters using silicone molds.
Materials for DIY Marbled Concrete Planters:
- Artisan Concrete 10lb mix
- Artisan mix color series pigment in super white and oyster shell (and if you want to layer in another color, I also mixed up morning mist)
- Silicone molds of choice (I like the square votives, geodesic spheres and the octahedron molds!), a wider selection of molds can be found at Bold Print Shop
- A drop sheet
- A few buckets
- A measuring cup with cold water
- Stir sticks (large and small)
- Extra plastic gloves
- Something to ‘tap’ the molds with
No tools needed… Although if you want to be way more professional then me, a hammer drill plus paddle would be amazing. I don’t have that so I just mixed my concrete up by hand. No big deal. Because the concrete is soooo smooth, it mixes up like a charm.
Instructions and Tips:
My first tip – don’t panic. Prior to cracking open my artisan concrete mix, I spent a lot of time reviewing Buddy Rhodes catalog and online information about their products thinking I needed to become an expert before I even got started (WRONG)… Based on what I saw, I was a little over whelmed with some of the things mentioned (Reducer? Do I need it? How will I know if I have added enough?)… All of this is made simple in a beautiful little handout provided with your product. DUH. If I had just opened up my mix, I would have seen that. Well and there is a label stating as much on your container. I have had a lot on my mind lately, so don’t judge me (more about that another time).
So instructions are super simple to follow as provided by the Buddy Rhodes handout. As instructed, I added my chosen pigment to a small amount of water beforehand so it could dissolve and added this directly to my dry concrete mix slowly… Then added additional water if needed. There is a measurement for water but to be honest, I followed it at first but then got a ‘feel’ for it. Also know that if you add too much water, you can add a little of the water reducer… problem solved. In your artisan concrete mix, you are provided with the appropriate type of water reducer, gloves, mix and instructions.
Another tip I would recommend is to have everything ready and set up, with the ground protected. Us inexperienced folks make a mess…And work more slowly while we figure things out.
Once I mixed up my desired batches (super white and oyster shell), I got to work. Since Toronto is having an insanely hot and humid summer, I was worried about my concrete drying too quickly. It wasn’t too bad but it did mean that I was cautious about curing (or drying time) and allowed for a full 24 hours. This was probably the hardest part, working away on my master pieces then waiting 24 hours to see how they turned out. The silicone molds were incredibly easy to work with, they came off easily and washed up nicely between uses. I couldn’t speak more highly about how wonderful it was to use the artisan concrete with the molds.
To achieve the best outcomes for this look, the mixture needs to be fairly fluid. As warned by the folks at Buddy Rhodes, you need to be careful about not adding too much water as it weakens the concrete. Since this pieces are ornamental, it is less important but you want your piece to dry appropriately. This is also where reducer becomes key!
So here is my technique for how I got the beautiful marbled look:
Take your mold and slowly drip in your desired color (I tried both). I recommend dripping a good amount on the interior and exterior parts of the mold.
Now take a contrast color (so if you used a dark color, grab the white and vice versa) and pour in a small amount (I played around with different amounts, but 15-20% full works best). Now drip in a little more of the ‘drip’ color in. This guarantees lots of beautiful streaks. Pour in another 15-20% of the ‘pour’ color. Repeat this until the mold is full.
Once you have filled your mold using this method, gently place on it’s drying spot (a warm, dry place is best). Once there, I took a clean painting stick and gently knocked my mold. By knocking it, you are encouraging the different colored mixtures to blend slightly creating the cool marbled look.
Fun variations for method:
So I tried a few different methods to get different effects/looks. I did some color blocking (which were cool but not as cool as the marbled effect). I dripped in two colors to see how it would effect the marbled look and also layered in a third color. I also attempted a few ombre effects. I haven’t quite mastered it yet… It is difficult to get enough of a contrast that it gives an ombre effect. Honestly, each turns out beautiful… Just remember to drip and pour often. I found that being generous with the drips is best for the marbled effect.
The last tip is the get rid of any rough edges. I used some extra sandpaper I had laying around to finish off rough edges.
Disclaimer: All of the products mentioned in this blog post were supplied to me by Buddy’s Artisan Mix and Bold Print Shop. That said, all words and opinions are my own. All images are also my own. Thanks to Buddy’s Artisan Mix and Bold Print Shop for making my vision come true!Pin It