I was noticing that orbs are everywhere. And why not?! Can there really be a better shape than a sphere!? So that got me thinking… and I heard about fabric draping concrete. How could I change it up a bit? Here are 2 DIY versions that I’m happy to say both worked out quite nicely.
The first large one is a beach ball size and I used some polar fleece fabric that I had on hand. I have a lot on hand, fabrics, yarns etc.
I employed the rotary cutter to get that job of strip cutting done faster. The pieces were not a continuous string, but that was ok. Either would work. The pieces were cut ½” wide. The whole principle is similar to any concrete work.
The Portland cement is the part that does the “gluing” however there needs to be some type of material that provides the fiber or bulk that is glued together to make the strength. That is just my observation, from the various DIY concrete projects I’ve tried. My concrete Leaf stepping stones here are made of a mix that already includes sand as the material with the Portland cement. Do be aware that Portland Cement does lose it’s strength, as my first batch didn’t work as it was too old. The downside of Portland cement; it weighs A TON! It is a bit pricier, but you usually don’t use it by itself, so it can go a long way.
Mixing is a little different since there is no sand or gravel. It will be creamier and almost like melted ice cream. A pudding texture is too dry, as the fabric will pull out some of the water as well.
Once you have it mixed, make sure you have the form/sphere ready as well. Concrete is pretty patient, but sitting too long will start to set it. Plus, take my advice, once you get your hands in there, you can’t touch other things. I blew up the beach ball and found a bucket to provide a base so it wouldn’t roll away. A plastic bag covers the bucket to prevent sticking.
Plop the fabric into the slurry, squeeze and make sure it gets into the fibre. That is key to the strength. There shouldn’t be any air left in the fabric. You also want to keep track of an end, especially if it’s one long piece, because it would be impossible to find later!
Here’s the tough part: we only have 2 hands, so wrapping and running the strip through fingers to remove the excess cement becomes a challenge. In my case I worked on the large ball one half at a time. Once the first was relatively hard I turned it to the bottom and incorporated the top half. The ends were wrapped or just hidden under another piece. Try to criss-cross to make a random pattern but similar size spaces. I was surprised that it ended with the strength it has. I could have added another layer later I’m sure. The large size makes it more difficult than smaller.
Here it is, waiting to cure. The polar fleece curves nicely when somewhat stretched. The texture camouflages the fabric and the texture is like a grapevine.
Here you see balloons for the smaller forms, also resting on some buckets/pots.
In this case I again found some yarn that was quite “fat”. I wanted even more thickness, so I tied it in double strand every 12” or so. I believe it was dollar store yarn. The fuzzier and fatter – the better.
Again, mushed into the slurry of portland cement.
Squeeze the cement into the yarn. Add water if needed, since the yarns steals some of the moisture away, smidgen at a time though.
Since this was yarn, it was longer and allowed me to just pull up as I turned the balloon above the bucket to wrap back and forth. Smooth the excess off or run through fingers. You WILL be covered in concrete at some point, so don’t wear your best clothes. I do now have concrete stains on my camera.
The amount of wrapping and coverage on these is more, so I’d say they are stronger. But who really sits or stomps on these anyways?!
Spray to strengthen the concrete during curing. Don’t rush, they will cure.
The balloons were easy to pop, where as the beach ball needed some manipulation to deflate. If you aren’t cheap you could just sacrifice it and cut it. I decided to do the more difficult deflation.
There will be some of the thin “extra” concrete in the spaces, but that usually chips off easily with any tool. It is quite rustic looking anyways, so it isn’t fussy.
In the design sense, larger simple forms are best. Imagine these in a minimalist garden, perhaps even filled with light strings at Christmas. AND the bonus, is that they will withstand the elements, and be able to stay in the garden. AND you will be able to say: I made them!
Oh, the possibilities of concrete… DIY heaven! Check out how I even made more for planter decoration. If you don’t want to crack out the concrete perhaps you would enjoy using stone to number your house. So many easy garden ideas…