DIY concrete candles
During this term at the uni I took a course about children development. Among the books we read was about how to be creative with kids and they also said that concrete is one material children in preschool rarely have the chance to become acquainted with. This is because concrete is usually a material most women don’t use themselves (I guess this book was written long before the concrete-trend in the blog world 😉 ). Anyway, it inspired me to plan an activity with the kids for this Ramadan involving concrete. And it was truly a hit!
We were a group who made this together with a total number of 6 children between the ages 4 and 8 making concrete mosques, stars and moon 🙂 This is a fun craft to make in the beginning of Ramadan (then you can have beautiful candle holders during Ramadan) or in the end of Ramadan (to make easy and cheap Eid gifts). Yes, this is a very cheap craft if you use the concrete from hardware stores ( i Sverige ligger priset på runt 30-50 kr på en 25-kg påse).
Bismillah, lets do this 🙂 First you will need:
Concrete mix (använd finbetong, jag använde mig av märket Finja. Det finns att köpa i de flesta byggvaruhus)
A bucket and a spade to mix the concrete with
Gloves (concrete makes your skin dry)
Some kind of transparent plastic film or paper
Printed Islamic concrete templates (download the free template at the bottom of the post)
Liquid rubber or latex milk (latexmjölk eller formlatex) BUT, this is not necessary if you blend the concrete thick and not runny.
A brush for the latex
Candle holders. Also not necessary, but it definitely looks more nice with them but you could easily just put in a candle in the mold to make the hole.
Sandpaper or sharp knife’
1. Start by cutting you milk cartoons in stripes. Don’t make them to thin depending on how thick you want your concrete candle holder to be.
2. Print your template and place your transparent film or paper above it.
3. Start tracing your template with the milk cartoons. Always use the waxed side of the cartoon to the inside of the mold. Outside out and inside in. This step will take some time. The stars are easier to begin with since they only consists of square edges (and no round-like shapes which the dome of the mosques are). Put the carton along the lines and secure them to the paper with masking tape. Use a lot of tape to secure it, don’t leave any gaps!
4. Mosques: If you are making a mosque you need to trace and cut out the hole for the candle. Trace the candle holder and tape it to the mold. Be sure here there are no gaps and that the candle holder is “inside” the mold, the edges should NOT be outside the mold. If the edges are outside the mold the candle holder will stick up from the concrete when you take it out of the mold. You want the candle holders to be invisible when you look at it from the front. AND, use a lot of tape to secure the bottom of the mosques. The mold will bend a bit when you put the concrete in and this might make the bottom skewed if you don’t tape enough.
5. Last step is to brush the latex milk in the shape. Wash the brush immediately afterwards, otherwise it will leave latex pieces in the brush which are very hard to remove. Leave to dry.
6. Mix the concrete according to the directions on the package. Start by putting a couple inches of water in the bottom of my bucket, then pour in the concrete mix. (Om du använder dig av Finjas finbetong blandar du 1,5 dl vatten per 1 kg betong. Du kan ha i lite mer vatten i mixen)
7. Scoop the concrete out and fill a thin layer in the bottom with the plastic spoon. Press the concrete down and make it a tight layer, with the spoon or your hand. And then it’s time to shake. Shake the mold by grabbing the paper and shake it back and forth. Then pick it up (just lift in the corners on one side) and tape it or hit it back down again on the table. The shaking and the hitting helps you get all those air bubbles out of the concrete. Shaking the mold also makes the surface really nice and smooth, always finish by shaking it a bit. (You can see the difference in the picture below, before and after I shook the mold).
8. Continue filling the mold til your satisfaction. If you are making a star or moon you need to fill the mold so much so that a candle holder will fit. Push them in gently, shake a bit, push them in more (if you need) and then shake. Use pebbles, money or marbles as weights to keep the candle holders down. They might float up a bit otherwise.
9. Now it’s time for the fun part, or not 😉 The part when you need to wait for the concrete to fully set and dry. I waited one day before I removed the shape, but I believe it was completely dry after two days. You will probably need to sandpaper some sharp edges (you can use a knife also). BUT, if you have made the mosques it is a good idea to take them out of the molds after one day and test if it can stand straight. Otherwise you might need to sandpaper the bottom to make it straight.
Here is a good example of the difference between shaking the mold during the filling and not. Many little air bubbles…
10. Time to decorate! I used mostly paint from Martha Stewart, I love those in metallic, pearl and glitter! I used a gold art metallic paint (using gold leafs would look so beautiful on these mashallah but I wanted something kiddo-friendly). The other shimmering colors are from Martha’s Pearl Acrylic Craft Paint series (den stora burken med turkos skimmerfärg är dock från Panduro).
It might be a good idea to place felt feet under the stars and moon. The concrete can be a bit rough and make scratches on your table.