Tuesday, March 26, 2013

mixing concrete for a smaller project

Infusing concrete in to a design can have a great impact on a projects overall result. I really like the way it adds a modern urban vibe to what ever I'm making. If you've been reluctant to use it in your projects don't let it intimidate you anymore. It's pretty awesome stuff.

Stage 1, getting your mix supplies ready.
For most smaller projects I'll use a bucket mix (not shown below in the pic of things you may need). There's some benefits to using this mix method. First it contains the mix really well, second they're cheap, third it's perfect for small mixes, and fourth garage space is kind-of a premium (buckets prevent the need of the additional space a wheelbarrow takes up). 

Supplies required:
  • Concrete
  • mixing container
  • additional bucket of water on hand for tools and clean up
  • hose with nozzle or additional bucket of water
  • mixing stick or drill and mix attachment
  • scoop cup
  • trowel
  • concrete color (if desired)

things you may need

Stage 2, starting your mix.
What ever your chosen mix container add just a bit of water to the bottom and sides of it. It prevents the concrete from clumping, sticking, and makes it easier to get a good mix (I leave about 2" of water on the bottom).

stage 2, pre-wet the mixing container

Stage 3, protect your mixing area.
Lay out something to mix your concrete on. You will splatter and spill it happens especially if you use a drill motor for mixing. I use a scrap piece of cardboard but anything that can be spread out will work.

stage 3, protecting your area

Stage 4, adding concrete.
With your scoop dump 2-3 scoops then start mixing. It's better to go slowly especially if your manually mixing and add as needed to get the proper consistency (pancake batter/ oatmeal) both work well. For a couple of bucks make life easier and buy a drill attachment (it makes quick work of it).

stage 4, slowly add concrete and mix
stage 4, this mix is to wet add concrete
stage 4, this is how I like it

Stage 5, to tint or not to tint?
Sometimes I like to add coloring to get a richer color in my concrete. This step is totally dictated by you and your projects over all look. In this case I'm adding a charcoal coloring. Just squirt in as much or little that you want and then mix in.

stage 5, adding color tint
stage 5, coloring mixed in and concrete ready to use

Stage 6, clean up.
Use that additional bucket of water for clean up and setting dirty concrete tools in. Be sure to dump your mess in an appropriate area. I use a spot in my backyard kinda dedicated to the left over concrete junk...

stage 6, clean up

Here's a couple of recent projects that I have done using the bucket mix method.

stool with up-cycled desk legs
the base to my mid-century modern floor pendant

In the end concrete is pretty easy to work with. Yes, it's a bit messy but it really brings an additional element of material to a project that often makes it super cool.

Go for it, use it and please post some photo's of your work...

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