Concrete is a versatile material that works great for almost any project around the home. It's durable, easy-to-use, and fun to get creative with too. For kids and adults, concrete is a great medium to work with, because it mixes with minimal ingredients (that are also inexpensive), and it can be formed in a manner of minutes.
So if you want to make something memorable and fun with your kids, there are a couple of concrete projects that you should try.
Concrete bookends are a great project to try with your kids, because the results are cool and usable. First, you'll need a bag of quick-setting concrete, which you'll mix with water (according to the directions). Molds can be made from cardboard, bought from a craft store, or made using boxes or containers you already have around the house.
Forms that are letters or numbers make great bookends for children, as well as simple container bookends that include an object or monogrammed letter. Foam, plastic, wood, or even paper letters can be laid on the bottom of any shaped container, which are then filled with concrete and allowed to dry.
Concrete can be painted after it has dried, or you can include colored pigments in the wet mix to make the project even more fun. Once dried, you can peel away the form, or invert it if it's plastic or foam, and you'll have a perfect bookend.
Stepping stones are often made from a simple mold you can buy specially for concrete, or made out of materials you already have around the house. Forms and impressions can be made from plastic bags, over-sized leaves, old pans, or wooden frames.The trick is using your imagination.
A rectangular or circular form is a great start for a concrete project where you either want to make hand impressions or include mosaic tiles, glass baubles, or artistic collages. Mosaics and embedded objects should be placed face-down into the mold, then covered with a layer of concrete.
If you're making impressions of hands (or feet!), first fill the mold almost to the top with concrete. Before making the impression with hands, try coating your hands in a layer of petroleum, so it's easy to remove the concrete later. Then gently press into the wet concrete to make a beautiful and lasting impression.
Stepping stones that don't include objects, but look like large flagstones or leaves, are made by filling quick-setting concrete into a flattened plastic bag. For a leaf impression, simply find a leaf that's large enough to cover your area, and impress it onto the coated bag while the concrete is still wet. Then peel away the leaf to reveal a beautiful impression.
Making refrigerator magnets is one of the easiest projects you can do, and it only requires a few ingredients. Decorative silicone or plastic forms that are used in candy-making are perfect for magnets, though any small form that has a distinct shape will do. Just like the other projects, use quick-setting concrete and mix according to the directions and add it to your mold. Once the mold is filled, simply drop a magnet into the concrete before it's dry.
Concrete specialists like Claggett & Sons Inc can give you even more tips!