As summer is soon coming to an end I am sad to think about losing all the ‘green’ in my lush garden. I appreciate nature and it’s wonders, especially up close. These ridiculously easy concrete Faux Fossil forest coasters use wondrous leaves and things you are sure to have! Mother nature is so very generous with her gifts…
To Cast the Coasters:
- Large Leaves
- RapidSet Cementall concrete or similar (and mixing container, water, spoon)
- CD cases
- Dust mask and ‘rubber’ gloves
- flat surface/table
Step #1: Get your leaves ready
Go for a walk and look at the leaves. Be conscious of where you get them please. I look around the sides of the road etc. Look for leaves that have a size large enough to cover a circle of at least 3.5 inches (8cm) and a pronounced vein pattern on the back. Cut off the stems close to the leaf. The old grape vines seemed rampant and maple leaves also work well.
I am sure you have some old CD cases somewhere, so take them apart for the flat top and bottom pieces. Any other clear plastic sheet can work as well (prefer not glass)
Step #2: Mix the concrete
Suit up with mask and gloves… I have used this RapidSet Cement all for many projects and I am quite happy with how strong the finished product is. It sets really fast as well so make sure you re prepared. It is an all-in-one mix that only needs water added. This product has quite the plasticity and will seem a bit odd when mixing. It is recommended to add the water first, however I am a bit of a rule breaker! Be careful not to add too much water as it uses less than most mixes, work slowly and add a tiny bit at a time.You want a mix that will somewhat not run away. Waiting about 30 seconds also lets it just thicken a bit. You will see that it ‘flows’ at an even thicker consistency.
I use about 1.5 -2 tablespoons of mix for each coaster/leaf and make a few at a time. Be sure to put the leaf with the back/vein side up.
Once you have plopped a bit on each leaf, take a CD case and centre over top, and slowly squish it down. Wriggle it a bit and it will make quite a consistent round shape. Do not flatten too much, aim for about 3mm or so. Yes, I know that is thin, but this mix will be able to handle it. To rid of air bubbles I smack it lightly a couple times too.
Yup, that’s it! No mold needed! Just make sure your table surface is nice and flat. See, those childhood playtimes in the sand box come back to haunt you…
Step #3: The Magic Happens:
Voila! After about one hour go ahead and peel off the leaf. If you are careful you make even be able to reuse it! I marvel at how this concrete mix picks up each detail of the texture!
The edges are quite clean already however you can sand them a bit.
HINT: to make sanding easy and cheap, I make little ‘sanding discs’ when I have mix leftover. I just plop it onto a flat surface and let it set. Once cured it can be used like a sanding block, as it does have sand in it and does not rip like paper.
Step #4: Finishing the coasters
You will need:
To make the texture just ‘pop’ I use the typical method of antiquing. I have been using this method since the my days of glazing beer steins 30 years ago. (ya, I’m kinda old)
Mix a bit of a black acrylic paint with some water to make it quite runny and thin. Use a big brush to sop the entire coaster. You want it to get into all the grooves, and can be messy.
Before it dries, grab a rag and wipe off the surface paint. It will have absorbed a bit of colour to be darker but will now accent the veins.
For the ultimate effect add some dry-brushing with a metallic paint! It will amaze you. Make sure you only have a bit of paint on the brush, (wipe on towel) and then scrub across surface and it will come alive… trust me. It’s the best painting technique ever.
Amazed aren’t you?! (gold version here) I think a bag of concrete can make hundreds…
Add some felt backing for protection of the table tops. For extra protection you can also add a coating of acrylic medium in matt or gloss; whatever you prefer!
Imagine bringing some as a great hostess gift! They pair awesome with live edge tables as each is a unique shape. I can’t get enough of these since they are so crazy easy and quick… and love looking at the details.
You now deserve a drink of something sparkly… Good Job!