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Nature constantly inspires me. Concrete is my own version of rock so why not combine it with some ‘bling’?! You saw see it first here; my Unique Layered Concrete & Jewel vases.

The Other Family Jewels:

I could never get myself to get rid of the chandelier crystals. I tend to appreciate how the elders had cherished them and feel better if they can be useful. Since they are glass (newer ones are plastic and don’t work) they clean well and the wires are easily clipped and pulled out.

The Concrete Mold:

For these layered concrete vases or vessels they will need an inner container like a jar that stays in place since it will have some voids due to the layers. Plan the jar height with the outer shape mold.

To make it easier to visualize how the concrete will look I like the ‘box’ mold to be clear. Plexiglas can be expensive so I opted for some cheap ‘dollar-store’ frames as a source for the plastic. TIP; to cut the rectangles, use a straight edge and Xacto knife to keep scoring the cutting line. After multiple passes it will be able to snap at that line when forced over an edge like the table corner. No power tool needed!

To attach the pieces, (don’t forget the bottom), use some clear packing tape. The last side seam can have a fold over flap to make opening easier later on. I do not use a mold release as the concrete does not stick to plastic.

The Concrete Mix:

Yes, I am using my favourite mix again; Rapidset Cementall. It sets very quickly, so only mix small quantities at a time. I use a small sour cream container and let it sit for a minute to slightly stiffen. It should NOT be runny; something like a ‘Greek Yogurt’ consistency.

Plop some mix into the bottom of the form as this will be the base.

Press the jar lightly into the mix. Do not force it too far down to touch the bottom. I am trying to mimic the roughness of rock so there does not need to be any even shape or edges.

This method is really very rustic and unconventional. Layer some stone and ‘jewels’ between layers of concrete. How many and how thick is your choice.

It may get messy dropping the concrete. Help it along with some skewers or sticks but do not force it too much as then the layers will fill solid. Expect that some stones will adhere and some will just fall out. I love this unexpected way of designing…

Place the jewels to be able to get most affect from them. That is why I like the transparent mold. Have as many or little layers as you like. Be creative, stone, rock, whatever combination you like. I would avoid plastic as they tend not to stick to concrete.

Finishing off:

To mask the fact that it is a jar I like to keep the top flush and flat. If the surface is uneven you can smooth it with a brush.

This concrete mix cures so fast. Usually it can be unmolded in an hour! When you open the tape edges many of the stones that did not get imbedded will fall out, that is normal and will give you the voids that happen in nature.

How wonderful!?!

If the edges feel to sharp, I like to use my home-made sanding blocks – yes, made from concrete! What do you think sandpaper is???

Design: Shape and texture!

I love the rough textures and the contrast of the smooth shape!

Yes, I have a new background that I made! ‘And my favourite Liquitex metallic paints and inks.

An added Dimension:

This is optional. Myself, I can hardly ‘leave-well-enough-alone’. I like a subtle (yes, subtle) added colour or depth.

The rough areas can be darkened to mimic nature quite easily by letting the thin paint run into the crevices.

So much detail and the added surprise of diamonds – er, jewels.

Imagine these as centre pieces for a wedding… Cool! The sahpe can be waht ever you like as the geode eggs were quite similar. The taller the form will make for some added difficulty adding the layers but it’s all doable if you are stubborn.

Simple, modern and tactile. Do not leave them outside as any vessel that has freezing inside will break over a winter. Go and start to collect your jars or bottles. Think ‘inside the box’.

Maybe you will imbed your collection of see glass, or special rocks into these Layered Concrete & Jewel Vases. Even sea shells would work here. ‘You’ are making the future fossils…

Thanks for joining in my concrete addiction. But don’t stop here; there are many unique projects. Any questions about using different mixes? or some help with your first concrete project?

Good luck and stay safe!

barbmaker

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

This Post Has 58 Comments

        1. In the post I mentioned that I used cheap plastic sheets from dollarstore picture frames. If you score with a knife they will often be able to be snapped along the edge. Then tape them together!

      1. Hey, Barb. I am another HUGE fan of your site. I love this idea and would love to make large ones for my friend’s new home. Any thoughts on what I might use as molds? Also, do you think I could pour resin in w the inclusions?
        Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful ideas with us all.

        1. As I did mention in the post; I used plastic from cheap frames as it can be scored with a knife and usually snapped. Then you can tape them at the corners. If you find something it needs to taper to be able to remove concrete. Pouring resin could be a possibility but if there is any small space it will run off. I think that is problematic.

    1. Joni, my guess is yes, but if they are going to be left outside you might consider adding some of the reinforcing fibers to the concrete. For me I was thinking a much larger chunk that would just sit out on the patio as yard art! I love it!!

      1. That’s a great idea too. I could also see it as a lamp base. I see many things in my minds eye. I think all the different directions of art I have made over the years are all colliding now!

          1. The key is to let the mix somewhat thicken. Rapidset Cementall does cure fast so it’s pretty quick. Mix it to a less slump consistency. Try a small test to get used to this mix.

    1. Ah yes, many do. The problem is shipping. I had shipped something and it was broken even when well packed. The post office says it needs to be able to withstand a drop onto a concrete floor from 5 feet. That’s quite tough considering how heavy concrete is. AND the prices make it questionable since I am in Canada… but you never know.

    1. I can’t remember the last time I found a blog through Pinterest that was this well crafted (pun intended).
      I enjoyed the writing, I learned a LOT, and I donated immediately.
      Thanks, I am starting to think I am a concrete addict as well…

  1. What an inspiration, I have done some papercrete stuff but takes ages to dry. I live in New Zealand, I am definitely going to try this. Can you add me to your email list please. Kia Kaha (which is Maori for stay strong) Jenny

    1. Thanks! I have done some paper crete as well, but will admit I like a 1-hour-concrete!!! You need to add your self to the list, (rules)🤷🏻‍♀️

  2. Wow. I just discovered you yesterday when I went looking for how to make a concrete face for my garden. I am thrilled to have found all this valuable information you are sharing and I’ve only read four posts!! I think I’m going to try this project with my two younger girls for a 4h project this year. Thank you so much!!

  3. Barb, I love your projects! Have you ever considered starting a YouTube channel with your tutorials? You could add affiliate links for some of the products you use, make some advertising revenue. Just a thought. I know you have a donation button below- I’m going to throw $5 at you right now! Thank you for sharing your creativity with the world 🙂

  4. I have been in love with these since the moment I saw them–I mean seriously in love! I bought agua and beautiful gree crushed glass, found a 10 x 51/2 x 5 1/2 acrylic vase for about $8.00 plus shipping ? coshttps://www.lofloristsupplies.com/12h-clear-acrylic-square-vase/#.XzvtcyRL_8g.email). Now I’m trying to find a small amount of the cement you suggest so I don’t have a 25 lb. bag to find storage for in my condo. I will persevere! Thank you for your ingenuity and beautiful creations we can all try our hand at. PS–will the concrete easily slip out of the container on its own??? Should I add a coating of oil or something like that to make it slip out easier?

    1. I worry that it will not just slide out. When it is perfectly vertical it’s almost impossible. I made mine out of dollar store plastic from frames, and only taped it closed. Trust me, I ‘ve had a few bowls that would hardly budge! Good luck!

      1. I have not tried that product but at a quick glance it looks quite amazing. I am not sure if it can be used that thick. I’d love to play around with it… Anything concrete-like sparks my interest.

  5. Hi Barb
    I found your cement art and I absolutely love every piece you made. I myself enjoy doing cement art too. I have made a few pieces in the past and displayed them in my home, some of them found another home too. My open house last year was a great experience and I was very happy to see how much people liked my projects.
    Hope that we go back to normal soon so I can have another open house with some new projects to display.
    Stay safe,

  6. I made one today. I love it, I love it! By mistake, I got the Cement All concrete mix but it still worked really well. Thank you so much for all your great ideas and easy to follow directions. You’re still my hero:)

      1. Oops! I meant to say Rapid Set concrete mix. Same company, different product. It does contain small stones but sets up fast. It works but I think the CementAll would be easier to use.

  7. I love your creations 🙂
    And I was looking for some insperation.
    Thanx for sharing
    I follow you on Instgram and by mail.
    Greetings Silvia @green_cat_crea

  8. Omg. I just discovered your blog and after looking at like 3 posts I added you to my home screen. You’re who I want to be when I gow up (I’m 36 lol)!! You are the most crafty person I have ever come across…a true Jack of all trades, but a master of all. I can’t wait to run to Lowes tomorrow and gather supplies to try out some of your projects. Thank you for ALL of this.

    Ps…I donated 🙂

    1. Oh, that’s so awesome to hear! I’m glad to inspire. I wish I had enough time and energy to make everything I dream up. I know; I need a set of elves!

      1. Bard! Estoy altamente emocionada por acceder a Ti, soy jubilada argentina, dispongo de tiempo, pinto y decoro macetas de manera original pero he querido incursionar en el aprendizaje de tus obras y me han dado muy poca información. Gracias a Dios te encontré. Es un milagro para mí. Dios Bendiga tu Mente, tus ojos, tus manos y tu Gran Apertura de Corazón por compartir con total y clara explicación, sin egoísmos todo el proceso y armado de tus obras, para mí será una buena forma de ingresos, tu conocerás la situación penosa de mi querido país y necesito mejorar mis ingresos. Me pondré manos a la obra para incursionar en otros medios de mayores recursos tomando tus maravillas de OBRAS CREATIVIDADES.
        GRACIAS, GRACIAS Y MIL GRACIAS. ERES UNA GENIA BARD.
        Desearía tener mayor conocimiento e información sobre la variedad de tus obras. Deseo trabajar en ellas. Estoy Muy Feliz de haberte encontrado. Conocí ésta pieza en Pinterest y ya daba por hecho que nunca nadie me iba a explicar con tanta claridad y sin egoísmos su elaboración. Ya SOS parte de mi Corazón. Super Agradecida. Dios te Bendiga Inmensamente Bard y te siga iluminado.
        Marty, me llaman.

        1. “Barb! I am highly excited to access You, I am Argentine retired, I have the time, I paint and decorate pots in an original way but I wanted to venture into learning about your works and they have given me very little information. Thank God I found you. It is a miracle for me. God Bless your Mind, your eyes, your hands and your Great Opening of Heart for sharing with total and clear explanation, without selfishness the whole process and armed with your works, for me it will be a good form of income, you will know the painful situation of my dear country and I need to improve my income. I will get to work to venture into other means of greater resources taking your wonders of CREATIVE WORKS.
          THANK YOU, THANK YOU AND THANK YOU. YOU’RE A GENIUS BARB.
          I wish I had more knowledge and information about the variety of your works. I want to work on them. I am very happy to have found you. I found this piece on Pinterest and I already assumed that no one was ever going to explain its elaboration to me with such clarity and without selfishness. I am already part of my Heart. Super grateful. God Bless You Immensely Bard and keep you enlightened.
          Marty, they call me.”
          _____________________
          Thank you Marty! I hope you can find the right materials as not all concrete is the same! Check out this post to see which I like to use. Best of luck!

  9. Thank you for your wonderful tutorial. Your work is beautiful!! I’m planning to make some succulent pots for my neighbors. Aloha!!

  10. hi there!
    happy new year and thank you for all the wonderful super cool creative ideas!!!

    i have a question/comment…i tried making one of these layered cement vessels tonight and i have to say, it doesn’t look much like yours at all 🙁

    i just tried a super small one–i cut a red plastic cup down to about 2 inches:

    **first/bottom layer, cement (rapidset cemetall you recommended, same brand)
    **layer (about 1 cm thick) of those flat plastic rhinestones (i see you mentioned it best to use glass due to not sticking to the cement, but i knew it’d be best to go with something non-expensive first time around, lol!)
    ** layer of cement
    ** placed/pressed a tea light
    **layer of small/tiny beads like yours (about 1 cm thick).
    **layer of cement, then actually pressed 6-7 of those plastic rhinestones on top, facing up–those stayed/adhered well!)

    —the issue i had was the cement, even though it was the consistency/thickness of a ball of play dough, still ‘settled’ down/seeped over/solidified over the first, bigger rhinestones…only very few of a tiny bit of them are showing…the smaller ones, that layer actually turned out like yours, (yaee!!) do you think i need it even thicker/less water? it was definitely thicker than a ‘greek yogurt consistency, but i did just re-read your article here and i did not let it sit for 10 minutes to stiffen…but over all, as you said, it started curing/hardening within 20 minutes!

    thank you SOOOO MUCH for your help in this matter!! i’m going to try your ‘orbs’ next!!
    🙂 🙂 🙂

    1. Ah, yes that mix does act very much like a plasticy putty doesn’t it?! I like to let it sit just about 30-60 seconds to solidify a but more. As you said, the other layer worked better! I also use some sticks to help push it to where I want it and it still has a nice rough texture. It always takes some experience with a media to get it to work like you want. Be careful as concrete does not like to stick to plastic. Good luck!

  11. This is awesome! I’m making my plastic molds in two sizes, 5×8 (1” is extra on top for 5×7” finished product) this one is for a plant. I’m collecting jars between 5-7” for this. The second will hold a tea light candle and is 3×3” with a 2” glass candle holder. Do these sizes seem doable to you? I couldn’t find overall dimensions in your writing.

    1. The thing to keep in mind is the space to be able to manipulate the stones and jewels. You can use some skewers and chopsticks but also want enough bulk to hold together. Also depends on the sizes of you jewels. Test and see or get smaller jar…

      1. Thanks for your quick response! What are dimensions of your plant holder and jar?

        Clarification on my molds and jars:
        I was thinking for plant holder jars 3” diameter & 5-7” tall. So a 2” space between acrylic mold and jar.

        Candle holder is also 2” space between acrylic mold and glass candle holder. (my mold is 4×4 not 3×3)

  12. I just love the look of your designs and plan to try 1 small project. My question is how do the jewels/glass beads stick together or stay in place if they are only “sitting” on top of cement layer? For some reason, I can’t picture it working..help, please !!! These are beautiful. From one Barbara to another. Thank you.

    1. Well, you are right to think that! The idea is that only the ones touching the concrete layes will get attached, the rest fall out. So it’s a bit of play with where and how much you use. Thats why a clear mold is best. And that there is a jar since there will be voids. Maybe you’d like more control like these geodes When I wonder how things will work I do small test runs. It is also key to use the right mix, not all concrete is the same!

    2. I love your creative projects and I have tried this a few different times. The first one was way to thin and it covered all my stones. I did manage to make them visible by chipping away some of the cement. The next one still wasn’t thick enough. The 3rd one came out close as did my 4th still lost some of the stones due to settling. The problem I am having is cracking. What I cant figure out is why. They are not exposed to drafts or direct sunlight to dry. The 3rd one was perfect no cracks at all and then a week later I seen that a crack had developed. I am using Portland cement and let them set up for at least 24 hours before I remove them from my form. Any suggestions on this issue. Even my 4th one that I made the mix firmer cracked. Thank you for any insight you can give me.

      1. Oh dear, I’m sorry you are having so many issues. I am pretty sure it’s about the choice of cement/concrete. Using portland cement is not at all like using the Rapidset Cementall (it’s a non-shrink grout) since it is only ordinary cement. Most mixes have the portland cement in them. But rapidset cementall has additives that make it very strong and also not shrink. I do not think you can substitute for it. It was probably also the reason that you were having issues as it does not stiffen nearly as fast as Rapidset Cementall. I did make a post comparing mixes Best of luck!

  13. Love love your creations !
    I want to try this ASAP but wondering where you purchase small glass pebbles at reasonable price ?
    Not the chandelier glass but smaller glass .

    1. If you want the broken glass kind you can break the cheap dollar store pebbles. See this post You can try the pet store for aquarium gravel as well. Even broken safety glass is little squares.

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