I’ve had concrete on my radar for a while now. I came across a tutorial online for creating concrete letters​ that I was considering for a Design Making workshop. But not really knowing how much of a mess it would really be, I held off. So when Bonnie set this one up, I jumped on it.

Messy? Yes, but not unmanageable. Am I still considering a DM type workshop? Hell YES.

Using form core and aluminum flashing we created our molds. Building the interior first, you glue the structure down using hot glue. From there you build out the exterior structure. We each struggled here and there during the construction process. You have to cut and fold the foam core in such a way that maintains a clean line for your vessel. As I was scoring lines for the rays of my sun, I discovered that I had to make all of the cuts on one side and then cut a bevel on every other score. This way, when I folded the foam it creates a clean edge. We all screwed this up a few times.

I could feel my control troll heading towards a full on tantrum. But this isn’t about control. It’s about the process. Letting go, having fun. Right?

You also have to glue everything down in such a way that it isn’t on the side where you will be pouring the concrete. Using mini glue guns, I had to get inside my inner structure to glue it down from the inside.Once everything was in place, I used masking tape to support the sides so it wouldn’t bow out when the concrete is added.

In this class we used a type of concrete that would dry white and contained fiber glass. There are numerous types of concrete. This one is for covering cinder blocks to provide the appearance of stucco. Others dry gray or green. You can add pigment to the water prior to mixing the concrete to change it’s color. Then there’s stains that can be applied once it’s dry. We kept it simple and stayed with it’s natural white color. The concrete cures after 48 hours and then you can remove the mold.

I really enjoyed the process. Now I’m more eager than ever to try it out with letter forms.

Speaking of, I need to head over and see the final results!


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