Concrete Mushrooms !! A tutorial.

Every November, I start preparing my garden for some color and delight. Dubai is blessed with nearly four months of pleasant weather ie from November to February. Most of us try to make the best of it by enjoying the outdoors as much as possible.  Also since we were going to play host to a long list of visitors in December, I was determined to add more life to our beautiful courtyards.  The grass story will follow after a few other posts. Meanwhile let me share with you, the other developments and DIY creations that adorned our gardens. This is a pictorial of making sculptures from cement. This was my first experience of playing with this compound (concrete) and there are quite a few mistakes, I made, which I wouldn’t want you to make hence I have outlined my goof ups !! Most sites, talk about premix cement bags. I couldn’t find any so I just hopped over at one of my favorite local hardware store in Hor Al Anz and bought a 25 kg cement bag. Now that is a hugely heavy bag and its always best to keep it as covered as possible. Goof up 1:- Since it was too heavy to carry to the backyard, we kept it at the entrance of the open garage ~ what I never took into account was the frequent rains that we were blessed with this winter  😦

  • Keep all the utencils, spatula, bucket etc ready and on top of some plastic sheet.
  • Gloves are a MUST !! You wouldn’t realize it until the next morning how worn and hurt your hands are going to be. Goof up 2.
  • Since the idea is to give the shape (mold) of the utencil/container to the mixed cement, its best to have everything ready beforehand. Concrete clumps relatively quickly but takes a long period to set.
  • Since we were working on it for the first time, we basically added the cement mix with some tiny gravel and alittle sand with some water. I just added the three and tested with the consistency of the water. Don’t mix with your hands, it will squeeze the muscles out of you ~ use a spatula in the bucket to stir the mix. When I felt confident of the consistency, I placed some hard plastic sheet (u can also use some cling wrap) to a container and fill some of the mix in it. This is where, I wish I would have added some more water 😦  Goof up 3.

Fotor030404017 Press and smooth the base of the mix with your spatula. This is the head of the mushroom !Fotor030404445 For the trunk or stem of the mushroom, I cut off both sides of a large 7UP bottle and filled it 3/4 of the cement mix. Fotor030404917

  • Notice the folds on the first mushroom “head”, in the picture below, I wish I would have given more folds with the other plastics in the containers and hence it would add a sense of realism to the whole project. Perhaps goof up 4 😦
  • Leave the containers to strengthen for nearly 48 hours. The concrete leaves the container quite easily once it is set .
  • It would be a good idea to use a little sanding paper to sand off some loose pieces from the edges.
  • Using an xo knife, just cut open the side of the 7up bottle and voila !! It just falls in your hand like a large cylinder.
  • One end is quite smooth and stable while the other end will be quite rough and rugged.
  • The picture below is that of them both (mushroom umbrella and stem) meeting together for the first time. I wanted to see, which head sat on which trunk best for size, support and stability.

Fotor030405330

  • I decided to spray paint the mushrooms, green, that I’ll be keeping in the porch.
  • Now, just a word of caution. Concrete does absorb aloooot of paint.  SO for best results, if your going to spray paint, 2 coats will do the job well.
  • Still, I believe, spray paint is not the best choice for concrete.

Fotor030405723 For the umbrella, my wingman sawaab, used some glossy bright red paint and painted the town red 😉 Fotor030412223 Once the paint had dried, we had different size circles drawn on them and filled it with white acrylic paint. Fotor030411954 Once that was done, a single of coat of modge podge to seal the deal 🙂 Very few glues can join two pieces of concrete except the silicone guns. So here my wingmen are using a lot of force and fun to fill the stem of the mushrooms with some silicone glue. Fotor030410023 Arent the colors such a delight !!! Fotor030410547 The two mushroom stems in the next photo shows two pvc tubes running into them. This was done in the mixing stage so that both these mushrooms could get some support when dug into the grass. We didn’t want the mushrooms tilting or falling off, every time a ball hit them. Only these two were painted white unlike the other green ones. Fotor030410842 And there you have it !! Two little happy mushrooms enjoying the sunshine together 🙂 DSCF6040 Notice how firmly they stand due to the pvc poles holding them deep into the ground. DSCF6044_2 We kept the stems white so as to stand out in the beautiful green grass. DSCF6046 DSCF6003_2 All said and done, I feel, the imperfections added character to these little sculptures. Some were great while some were a learning experience 🙂 DSCF6034 DSCF6040_2 I enjoyed coming out of my comfort zone and trying something unique and new.  As much as I realized the endless possibilities of sculpting with concrete, I am beginning to understand its limitations too. DSCF6041_2 DSCF6043_2 All four of these mushrooms adorn my porch and welcome all my guests. Its purely a labor of love !! DSCF6043 Recyled materials :- 7UP bottle, spatula, plastic sheets used by the movers when we shifted here, pvc pipes from other projects. Fotor0304163059

Please share with me if you have ever attempted playing with cement and how your experience was !! I am sharing this pictorial with the following blog friends and their parties. Totally tasty Tuesdays @ Mandys recipe box

Thank you for visiting me today friends. I hope you found this post entertaining and informative. Please leave a comment or subscribe to my posts and stay updated with my latest posts. Have a beautiful day ! 89CD521B678A2BD781B376927E6E3B02

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