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Lacy Leaves Concrete Circle

Can you remember the good ol’ days of ‘patty-cake patty-cake’ in the sand box? It was such a delight to slap that sand into some imagined cake. Well, this Lacy leaves concrete circle has quite a bit of that same ‘slapping’ but the results are quite amazing. And you can make it into whatever you like.

Yup, that’s what this girl gets for her birthday… And I am quite fine with that! Flowers wilt but concrete lasts forever.

To make the Lacy Leaves Concrete Circle:

You will need:

  • leaves with a good vein pattern
  • RapidSet Cementall
  • Rubber gloves & Dust mask
  • Mixing container, utensil, water
  • balloons or other deflatable ball
  • drywall mesh
  • ‘Sharpie’ Marking Pen
  • xacto knife/butane lighter


Step #1: The Leaves

I like to use fresh leaves and have found a bush that is not that dear to me. You do not want to completely strip a plant as that will jeopardize it.

Step #2: The Form

As with many of my sphere projects (ya, I’m a bit obsessed) you start with a deflatable form, this time it’s a balloon. To make this project unique I have decided to not complete the sphere and only make a ring shape.

Decide how much of a sphere you’d like and mark your form with the ‘Sharpie’. You will need some sort of vessel to hold the form while you work on it. A bucket or bowl works well.

Hint: If your balloon keeps flying away, add water before you blow it up (ya, ask me why I know that…)

Once marked, cut strips of drywall mesh and zigzag them across the form. They do not need to entirely cover but should overlap quite well. My initial trial was made without any mesh and did not hold up that well. You could substitute some other type of string as well since it will be embedded in concrete.

Step #3: Applying the concrete:

I have used this RapidSet Mix quite a bit and it is great! It does mix a bit differently than most though. I add the water first and then the dry mix until I have the consistency that I like. Mix small quantities as it has a very quick working time of less that 10 minutes, so be ready.

Once you have a consistency of pancake batter, let it sit for half a minute and it will already have changed to about ‘soft ice cream’ consistency. Plop a bit on the BACK of the leaf and slightly spread to cover it.

Slap that leaf on to the form before the concrete falls off. It’s really not that difficult. Press it a bit to spread the concrete to the edges. Ta-da! One leaf done…

Keep adding leaves working from the top and outwards. They stay quite nicely since the mesh prevents them from sliding. When overlapping for strength, lift the leaf edge so the concrete is not on top to provide good adhesion between them.

Hint: Make sure that you have a good overlapping structure. That will give it more stability. (You can add more later on if you would need another layer, after leaves removed)

The shape of a leaf is perfect for turning and making a lacy affect with plenty of empty parts. The concrete picks up great detail form them as well.

The thickness is about 1/8″ to 3/16″ as this mix is quite strong.

Since the mix sets quickly, you can take a quick break and then continue on to the adjacent sides. It will be a hard set after one hour (24 hour cure) but I would continue as soon as it was hard enough to gently turn the form.

If you let it set hard before continuing, spritz with some water to add more concrete to set concrete.

Step #4: Removing the leaves

This Lacy Leaves Concrete circle project is one of my favourites as it is such small steps. It could be an entire sphere, just a ring, or even a bowl.

Once you have the form as you like, let it cure for 24 hours and then peel the leaves off.

It is a bit tedious to get all the bits out, soaking in water can help as well as a stiff brush. I have a set of dentist tools that helps or toothpicks.

Any areas that have mesh visible can be cut or singed off with a lighter or butane mini-torch. (use lighter with caution)

This one had seemed a bit frail, so I had added another layer once I had taken the leaves off. It makes for some great texture and shapes!

Step #5: Finishing

You many options here but I like the look of concrete so I only use minimal finishes. Concrete is absorbent so if you use less paint it will stick better than many thick layers.

As with my leaf trivet dry brushing technique is the best. The above circle only has a bit of silver dry brushing of acrylic ink to bring out the texture and add some subtle shine.


We really can’t compare with what ‘Mother nature’ makes! Each shape has such character.

Use as a vessel for candle surrounds and it will through interesting light patterns.

Concrete is weather resistant and does not burn. If you would like to start super-simple try this project first.

Or you can use it as planter cover… Endless possibilities

Add different specimens of leaves. Happy 150th Canada with the maple leaf! Check how to make it look metallic here.

Happy concreting! Dazzle your friends… I know you can.

I'm an artist & I make things... all kinds of things.

This Post Has 46 Comments

          1. Beautiful arts & crafts made from cement.I just am really amazed at how beautiful all you’ve made with cement.Im brand new beginner.🙂Age 56.The pandemic is keeping us all busy staying at home and being creative by others arts and crafts.Yours are amazing.Thank you for shareing.Yes,You are very creative.
            Thank you,Linda Roberts

  1. These are gorgeous…thanks so much for sharing. I play around with cement and never thought of doing this. Love it.

    1. Thank you! Nature affords us so many textures and forms. My silly brain is always on fire with ideas… if only my body could keep up! Happy ‘concreteing’!

  2. I love all your projects….I am a bit skeptical using concrete since I have never used it before, but I am going to try, seeing actually a tutorial on your projects is really very helpful!
    thank you, and keep doing it!

    1. I think it is quite easy with a bit of planning. You have given me an idea; I should make a tips and tricks post. If you are just starting, then this is a great one to try with since it involves little supplies and is quick. It will give you the knack of mixing etc… And each uses so little mix!

      I liken it to making a cake, but even easier as you don’t bake it!

      1. Love your work, do you have pics to share. I’m hooked on concreting. My kitchen has been robbed of anything old or chipped that can be used as molds.
        Would love pictures of your work!

  3. another great project … reminding me of one I did in a program called Art Fundamentals years and years and years ago … we did it with clay over a form 😉

  4. I love this! I tried my first cement project last summer (a big rhubarb leaf slightly dished for our water fountain to trickle down) and I’ve been thinking about trying some more cement projects in the spring, this will be the first one I try this year! Thank you for the very helpful tutorial and inspiration! Very appreciated 🙂

  5. Hi, Barb.
    I have made two concrete balls and my next project will be your leafy ball.
    So looking forward to this !
    Cheers, Judy.

  6. Hello
    I recently tried this and failed badly
    I use a gym ball but everything fell of. You mentioned mesh is it plastic ?
    Can you see it once finished?

    1. Oh dear! Yes, if you followed the instruction you see the mesh and a link for it. It is fiberglass mesh. I also used it for the other orb If you layer it like the large one it will not be visible and if it is you can burn it away or paint over. Also use an extra strong concrete mix. Hope that helps!

  7. Hi Barb. After successfully making your rhubarb leaves I’m trying the orb. When do you pop the balloon? After it’s cured i sûspect. Keep up the brilliant artwork you do. Thanks

    1. Glad to hear! I have been using dollarstore balls as they can be re-inflated and stay round better. I also had a couple burst; not a fun thing! I just poke the inflater pin in and let enough air out to pull out ball/balloon.

    2. I am very interested in this. Love yours. I plan to try this soon. It is the beginning of winter here so it will be a while.but that will give me time to study all your work and hope one turns out. Thank you very much for your talent God Bless you.

  8. I either want to adopt you…or I will settle for living next door to you. You are unbelievable. I spend way to much time at your site…being amazed. I have never posted a comment on anyone’s site…but yours compels me. (Aside from a review of purchased items.) You sure I can’t adopt you? I am going to attempt working in concrete when the weather warms. Oh.,.,.,.and “Hi, Neighbor.! I l live in Jenison, Michigan…look down and wave.

    1. I like your spunkiness! Funny, someone today said they wanted to be my neighbour! Yup, it’s ‘friggin’ freezing up here and can’t wait to get some warmth. Thanks for the hello! Can you see me waving??!!

  9. Love your Blog! Get so much inspiration! Made a bowl, using leaves, then antiqued it and added “moss”. It turned out stunning!! Thanks for al the Inspiration!

      1. I love 💘 your concrete. I have two orbs curing. I couldn’t get all my bits of leaf out. Could I just use a concrete sealant?

        1. Eventually the bits will dry up and fall out by themselves. You could use a sealant after they are out. I don’t seal mine, I like natural patina’ed concrete!

  10. The stepping stones were very easy compared to the lacy leaves project. I couldn’t keep the rapid set concrete from sticking to my gloves and it also wasn’t adhering well to the mesh. What a mess I made! Will go back to making stepping stones instead! 😩

    1. Really? I do let it just set a couple minutes, maybe it was a bit too thinly mixed. Was it the RapidSet Cementall? ‘Glad you are still having concrete fun!

  11. Thank you soooo much for your fantastic tutorials, also many thanks for the CementAll advice, I have used so many mixes that didnt set up well/ gravel & sand in the concrete mixes, large holes, and the list goes on…. Until I found you! I am on my 3rd box of CementAll. Truly the most amazing product I have used. Many Thanks & happy cementing!!!

    1. I think they should send me a good supply! It’s like the instant mix! Glad you like it and happy concreting. I’d say the biggest issue is many people substitute the wrong concrete. It’s like baking, you can’t substitute sugar for flour… 🤷🏻‍♀️

  12. Hi Barb love everything you do……..but I am not having a lot of success.I am in Australia, so cannot get the same brands as you….so have to muddle along lots of trial and error.
    Our quick set concrete is very coarse….quite big pebbles……..does not work well….and using just cement does not seem to be strong enough……I live by the beach , could I add sand ? Would that help, worried whether the salt would affect it. Also what do you seal it with to preserve the paint.?

    1. Oh dear. I bet there is some mix as I can’t imagine they do without. I have heard that sometimes concrete crafters sift out the large aggregate. If there is aggregate, there would also be sand. The Rapidset Cementall is a blend of Rapid Set hydraulic cement and specially graded fine aggregates. I would have a conversation with a sales associate specifying that you want a very quick setting hydraulic concrete mix. Here they even refer to it as a non-shrink grout as well as other uses. Mixing sand with portland cement will make a concrete mix but it will be more of a regular ‘Sandtopping mix’ and not really fast setting. I do not think it will have the strength or the quick working time you require.There is just a huge difference between regular sand cement mix and ‘Rapidset Cementall’ If you don’t trust the sales guy, emailing the companies and checking the spec sheets is a good way to go. This should help to compare

  13. Hi Barb,
    I fell in love with your cement orbs.. I made the ruhbarb leaf stepping stone and it turned out exactly the way I wanted it so I figured I could easily make the orb. NOT. I tried to make a fairly large one last summer but the ball kept rolling off my pail. Once I got that figured out my cemented leaves kept sliding down the ball. When I finally got about half done I realized that I was not using quick drying cement. The brand was Quikrete and I assumed that meant quick set. I was wrong. So at that point I threw in the towel. So this summer I thought I would try again. I got the right cement, a smaller ball and because I liked the look of the Savoy cabbage I used that. It went a little better this time but the mesh kept falling off the ball. Maybe mine was old because it wouldn’t stick to the ball. Do you have any suggestions on how to make it stick to the ball better. I also think the leaves were too big for the ball and for some reason I read that the cement was to be 1/4 “ thick. I reread the instructions and see that it should be thinner than that. I might try again next year.

    1. Oh dear! I know what you mean… It’s a bit of a balancing act to get everything to stay, and not slide. The mesh does stick to itself and in my summer temperatures the Rapidset Cementall (my favourite) and the Fastset do set pretty quickly allowing some rotating, a bit at a time. Have you tried the Rope & Leaf one? At least there is the wrapped ball first. As you work further down and around the leaves need to be overlapped and linked to stop from sliding and also to keep the structure. Yup, I do have some accidents sometimes… 🤷🏻‍♀️

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