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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Recycled Bottles Turned into Concrete Blocks - tutorial Part 2 of 3

Hello again!  Are you ready to make some concrete???  I sure hope so.  This is messy, but fun!  The final product is well worth it.

SO!  Let's just get to it!

We still have our supplies from yesterdays post right???  I was thinking that this might be easier in 3 posts if you haven't done this before.  I hope you agree.

FIRST!!!  You might want to put some newspaper or a tarp over your work area while you make these.

Concrete - I used Quick Crete.

water, trowel, mixing "bowl"

Forms, remember, you can use some thing like a 1/2 gallon orange juice container.  Any thing with a flat bottom.

OKAY!!!  Bigger pictures.  If you have never made your own concrete it can be tough to gauge the amount of water to add.  I hope you can see the shine of the water and the consistency of the concrete as I go.  Remember one thing.  A little too much water and it just takes longer to dry,,, it might shrink a little.  BUT!  That doesn't matter on your first try.  Just go for it and see what you get!

I put the concrete on one end of the "bowl" and the water on the other end.  Start with a few cups of concrete.   Add a cup of water.  See what you get.  Sorry!  I never measure!

Start mixing.  You CAN NOT over mix this.  The more you mix, the better!

Keep stirring!  See how shiny this is???  Too much water.

Not a problem.  Add more concrete.  When I do this ... I sprinkle it all over the top.  Not just in one place.  STIR!

Can you see the 2 sides of my mix???  The mix on the left is just right.  The mix on the right is a little too dry.

To add a little water to the dry mix, I use my fingers. 
Just dip your hand in....

Let the water run off your fingers over the dry mix.  I guarantee this way you will not over due it by much, if any!  It will take a few trips to the water bowl!

Now this is a very pretty batch of concrete.  Just waiting to go to work for you!!!

Just before you pour the concrete into your form, put your finger on your glass jar and hold it down. 

Still holding the jar down, scoop a small amount of concrete into one corner of your form.

Keep holding the jar down until you have concrete in all 4 corners of your form.

Now, hold on to 2 sides of your form and gently bounce your form up and down on the table it is sitting on.  You want to bounce the air bubbles to the top of your concrete.  Plus, you will level out the concrete.  If it does not come up to nearly the top of your jar.  Add a little more.  Bounce again.  Continue until you have enough in your form.  It won't be that much.

Can you see the mess on top of the jar?  You need to get most of that off.  That will make your clean up after the concrete is dry much, much easier!  Just put a little water on your fingers and wipe it over the top of the jar.  More water on the concrete will not hurt it.

Here you see 3 boxes ready to sit for the night to cure.  Place these out of your way on a fairly level surface.  If they aren't level ???  Who cares!  You don't want them to look brand new.  You want them to have an older look to them.

What do you do with any left over concrete???  Make leaves!!!

I'm sorry I didn't think to show you this before I made these!  PRETEND like this leaf is VEIN SIDE UP!  You are going to scoop a little concrete on top of this leaf.  Then you are going to cover the whole leaf. 

PRETEND like this isn't dry already!  This is what your leaf will look like after you cover it with concrete!!!

OKAY!!!  So I blew that part!!!  What you should have now is your concrete form poured and sitting fairly level waiting for tomorrow.  Your concrete will take about 20 to 24 hours to cure enough to handle.  Some times I do it very early, when the concrete is still fairly wet.  Then I can really manipulate the edges to give it a very old, chipped up look.  That's fun.

Tomorrow I'll try to put the post up earlier.  Blogspot and I did not get along tonight!  Sorry. 

Tomorrow you'll see what happens when you leave your blocks out in the rain before they are cured!  OOPS!  YEP!  I woke up to rain after I poured my forms.  All is okay.  BUT!  This is good so you can see what happens.

If you have any problems trying to follow this, please let me know.  I'm here to help.  It can be hard following other people's directions.  Ask any questions you have!

Thanks so much for stopping by and have a good one!  Shell


  1. I am really enjoying following this project. So looking forward to seeing what they look like unmolded. I know how hard it is to photograph while you are doing concrete work, I've done it and it is no fun, so thanks for the great pictures. They help so much with trying to understand what you are doing.

    1. Thank you! I sure appreciate your comment. It's nice to know some one might be able to use this idea. It's been fun making them and they were a big hit at a garden show. I'll get part 3 on shortly! Thanks again! Shelley

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