Monday, March 30, 2020


Concrete Flower Message Bar 
This is a fun project to do by oneself or with a group of helpers. Plastic flowers are given a transformation by dipping them into a wet concrete mixture, which makes them “outdoorable”.
Use as ornaments for planters, pots or wherever you want to add a surprise element in your garden. These instructions will show you how to create these flowers and a Word Bar to display them as a hanging plaque or as container ornament and you can use the single flowers any way you see fit.

What You Need:
-Simple plastic flowers (daisies are perfect, roses not so much) with leaves and a strong stem.
- can of old spray paint
-1 1/4” x 4 ½” x 8 ½” piece of insulation foam 
-sand topping concrete mix (yellow/red/black Quikcrete bag)
- yogurt cup
-white glue
-pair of scissors, a ruler and a pencil
-X-acto knife with a sharp blade
-10  3” common nails
-small hand or keyhole saw
-vegetable oil or bakers spray
- large plastic mixing bowl or pail
-wooden spoon or cement trowel
- 1-inch paint brush
- extra foam pieces to hold drying flowers
-latex or vinyl gloves

What you do:
1. Make the Word Bar mold first. Measure an 8 1/2" x 4 1/2"  rectangle on the piece of 1 1/4" thick foam and cut out with the saw.  Now measure and cut two long foam strips  6" x 1" and two short strips, 4 1/2" x 1". You should now have a rectangular base, two long strips and two short. 

2. Drag this image to your desktop and print out this lettering pattern on your printer.

 Cut out the rectangle with the word BLOOM backward. Lightly (just a smear) coat the back of the lettering pattern with white glue and center in the middle of the large rectangle base and allow to dry.  

3.  Using the X-acto knife held at a 45-degree angle cut out the dark letters using small up and down strokes. Don’t worry that the letters are backward.  They will read correctly on the finished product. Remove the remaining pattern paper from the foam. 

4.  Assemble the mold using the nails.  Measure down the middle of the long top and bottom mold pieces making a mark with the pencil every 1-½ inches.  You will end up with three evenly spaced marks on the top and bottom of the Word Bar. At each mark, use the pencil to pierce a hole, starting at the bottom and passing through the topside of the mold.  Run a plastic straw through these holes from bottom to top.  These will become the holes that hold the flowers in the Word Bar. Spray or oil the inside of the mold and set aside. 

 5.  Prepare the plastic flowers by trimming stems that are too long and “fluffing” the leaves and petals so they look their best.  If they seem especially slick and shiny, spritz them with any color of spray paint you have on hand.  This will help the concrete to adhere.

6.  Remove the flower heads and stick the stems with leaves into a sheet of foam or an overturned cardboard box punched with holes.  This will serve as your drying rack.

7.  Put on the latex or vinyl gloves. Measure three yogurt cups of sand mix cement into a plastic mixing bowl.  Slowly add warm water and mix thoroughly to the consistency of melted ice cream: smooth, rich and not too runny.

8. This is the messy part…expect a mess! Dip and slosh each flower head into the mixture, using your fingers and a paintbrush to coat everything- petals and centers, fronts and backs.  Carefully lay the dipped flower heads down onto the foam with the front side facing up.
Now dip the leaves on the stems completely into the mixture and stick them into your drying rack. Allow setting and hardening before repeating this step a second time. Two dippings should do the trick.

 9.  Pour any remaining concrete into the Word Bar mold and tap to remove air bubbles.  If, after both dippings, you do not have enough concrete to fill the mold, mix enough to fill it and allow setting and hardening overnight.  When hard, carefully remove the nails to free your cast Word Bar.  Smooth the edges and trim off the excess straws with the X-acto knife and make sure the straw holes are clean.  Reassemble the mold because you can use it repeatedly to make additional word bars.

Once everything is dried and cleaned, you’ll have the fun of finding creative ways to use your flowers and Word Bar around your garden. The concrete covered flowers will shed a few crumbs every time you move them, so once in place, leave them be.  It’s time to bloom!