Monday, October 13, 2014

industrial style concrete lettering

Over the years concrete has become one of my favorite mediums to work with. I'm attracted and drawn to the great industrial esthetic it gives a project. On the other hand I'm also attracted and drawn to it's affordability. It's really pretty cheap on small scale projects. Whatever the reasoning I love it! This project industrial style concrete lettering is a great diy for anyone.

finished product
What you need:

  • Cardboard lettering (Joann's has the larger letters and at better prices)
  • 60lb bag of concrete (you won't use it all)
  • 5gal bucket
  • margin trowel
  • utility knife
  • non-stick cooking spray
  • scrap piece of mdf or ply
  • palm sander
  • and a few screws

the raw letters from craft store


Using your utility knife with a good sharp blade cut the outer edges of the letter. It cut's best on a flat surface. Once you have cut all around the edges of your letter lift the top off. Inside there's accordion cardboard remove it because it's not needed. What we want is to create a trough or mold to contain the concrete.

letter with top cut off

Step 2:

Get a piece of mdf or ply that you can use to help give structure to your letter. Put a few screws around the outside of the letter to help further structure it (Try and maintain the letters shape when placing your screws).

letter on a backer board of mdf
letter with a few key placed screws to help structure

Step: 3

Mix up your concrete as specified on bag to a consistency of thick oatmeal (too much water will effect the cardboard mold) I used a mixture of ready mix and masons mix (the ready mix has rock for structure the masons mix has no rock. Another good choice is Quickrete 5000

my mixing set up

Step 4:

Spray the inside of your letter mold with non stick ccoking spray and let dry.

what the inside looks like when sprayed

Step 5:

Using a margin trowel start filling your mold with the concrete (i use a margin trowel because its small and easy to handle). Once you fill the mold smooth them out and level the concrete take your palm sander and vibrate the edges of the WOOD backer getting bubbles out (don't vibrate the mold). Let your project dry for 2days.

NOTE: Don't get to bogged down on how smooth it is because it's the back of the final product.

filling letters with concrete using margin trowel

Step 6:

Remove the mold from the dry concrete. Pull it away from edges. You may have some residual cardboard on the sides (it easily comes off with a sponge and water).

removing cardboard mold

what the letter looks like removed

 Step 7:

You can seal your letter with a concrete sealer if you desire. I use a glossy product that gives concrete a crisp wet look. But it looks just as good in the natural state.

letter in it's unsealed state
the letter during sealing.

There you have it one industrial style monogram that you made for the house, office, or wherever...

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