Happy Thanksgiving! (from Canada) The spirit of the season can be found in many colourful…
Oh, I know that you are expecting it… It just wouldn’t be right if I did not make something out of concrete for Christmas. I’m excited to have figured out a completely new project to share with you! Yup, concrete can be festive too, especially since it does not burn so it can be combined with candles. Come on, add some Concrete Cone Christmas trees to your holiday decor and spread the light!
This project is much like my pretty famous concrete orbs. However this is even easier since the shape is quite simple.
DIY Concrete Cone Christmas Trees Supplies:
- bristol board (thin cardboard)
- pencil & string
- thick yarn
- plastic sheet or bag
- clear tape
- Portland Cement, water, mixing container/utensil
- Acrylic paint & Brush
- Dust Mask & Gloves
- Fabric that has some absorbency (I used velour)
- Cheesecloth or large mesh fabric (halloween mesh)
- Quikrete Portland Cement (mixing tools/container/utensil, water, gloves/mask )
- Optional Metallic acrylic paint/ink
Step #1: Make your Cones
To make your templates, tie a string around a pencil and swing an arch on the cardboard from a centre point. The length of string will be the height of the cone.
Once you cut out the odd shape you can roll it as tight or loose as you like. The overlap will be good to strengthen the form. Tape the edges well. It is essential that the forms are somewhat flexible.
Use some plastic sheeting or bag to cover the shapes well. Tape with clear tape and fold bottom edges under and tape in place.
Step #2: Get the yarn ready
I like the typical 3 different sizes of Christmas trees. There are many choices of yarn, as long as they have some ability to absorb the cement (however check out the even better choice to follow). I like to do a ‘dry fit’ to see how much yarn I need to cut off the ball. The idea is to have enough loops around that they overlap and connect, so more is better than not enough.
Once you have an idea of the length; roll it loosely into a ball. Trust me, last thing you want is to get a knot in the concrete-covered yarn! ( I find all the pitfalls for you)
Step #3: Get the Cement mix ready
Put on you mask and gloves and mix the portland cement with water. Make a slurry that is about the thickness of melted ice cream. I added a squirt of acrylic paint to give a bit more strength, but you could omit it.
It will be fairly fluid since it has no sand in it.
This yarn is now my favourite type for the dipping in cement. The others work but this has some nice texture without getting too rough looking. Once it’s rolled up dip it in water and wring it out. This will help it from ‘stealing’ all the moisture from the cement mix.
Dip the whole rolled ball of your estimated yarn into the slurry. Roll it around and ‘squish’ it to absorb the cement, but don’t lose the end of the yarn.
Step #5: ‘Wrap’ the tree
Pull the end out and run it through your fingers to rid of extra cement. Make a loop and start at the top. Loop around, down and up again and round and round… Try to not leave any extra large gaps or be too dense at any point.
If a bit of the tip sticks out, it is an easy way to lift it and turn it to see all sides. (or use a lazy susan) It is easy to adjust the loops once they are in place. Just poke them around with a skewer.
Once you are happy, let it sit for a day/overnight. Poke it to see how sturdy it is. There may be a few spots where the yarn may not be covered with enough cement and remain a bit soft.
Don’t despair! Mix up a bit of cement and water and give it an additional layer. That will also smooth out the roughness of the concrete.
Step #6: Take out the form
When it feels sturdy enough, poke it through the openings (skewers work well) all around and the concrete will pop off the plastic. Once you have the most sections detached, the cone form can be wriggled out since it is flexible.
Good job! Aren’t they cute and fun at the same time?! Since they are concrete they will not burn. (as long as the yarn is encased in the concrete) They can also be reused as hanging planters when tipped upside down. Or as accents to the orbs…
Optional Step #7: Adding some sparkle
Alright, I always can’t leave well enough alone… I just needed to add a bit of sheen. Metallic ink or acrylic ink will work. Just a bit of dry brushing will be enough. Silver and grey are subtle and great together.
Here in Canada we have snow all year (kidding!!) No, but fake snow will work, however it DOES BURN, so be careful to keep it from the flames.
I just love how they glow and throw the shapes of light through the openings!
Simple, clean shapes are so contemporary but these have some great character as well. Maybe you are adventurous and will make some that are 5 feet tall!
Festive cheers to all who take in the warm glow… ‘Concrete’ on!!!