Get Help from Bob Vila
- Give-Aways & Offers
- Monthly Must Do's
- DIY Project Ideas
- Step-by-Step Guides
- Inspirational Photo Galleries
There are lots of DIY concrete planters out there, but not many are in the shape of a pair of hands. We were so struck by these hand planters from Jenise at DIY Fun Ideas that we couldn’t wait to share them. These hands could be molded to look nurturing for a year-round garden or modified to look off beat and ghoulish for Halloween. Take a look at her tutorial to learn how she accomplished this fantastic concrete project—and some lessons she learned about molding concrete.
- dust mask
- mixing bucket
- garden trowel
- garden gloves
Now, while making these DIY concrete hands was super easy, I have to admit I started out with a major fail. So I’ll start by telling you a little about how you can avoid making the same mistakes.
My biggest lesson learned here is that not all concrete is made equal. I picked up the smallest bag of concrete I could find at Home Depot. Their smallest bag was 50 lbs. But it was only $5 so no big deal. I was all ready to get started.
The first thing you want to definitely make sure to do when you start is where a breathing mask because when you pour the concrete, there is no way you’ll be able to avoid breathing in the dust that flies up. So absolutely wear a mask.
Anyway, wearing my dust mask, I went ahead and poured my dry concrete into a bucket.
It was all full of rocks! Yup. Apparently, real concrete is rocks mixed with cement. Well, I figured I’d give it a try so I mixed in water based on the package instructions. Then I used a garden trowel to stuff the concrete into an old gardening glove and a few plastic gloves.
I let the gloves sit over night then started cutting and peeling the gloves off the concrete. It was not looking right at all.
I had definitely made a mess of it; couldn’t even get the gloves off without breaking the fingers. Total sadness.
But I wasn’t ready to give up. I headed back to the hardware store and this time I asked one of the store clerks what kind of cement I should use for casting. The clerk went into a spiel on all the different kinds of cement (apparently there are lots of different kinds of cement), but he finally directed me to a product. So my biggest tip is to look for a cement (not concrete) that says “casting” on it. This is what I picked up…
So, back to the drawing board, I mixed up my new cement according to the instructions. Aahhh, look how perfectly smooth that is…
Using a gardening trowel again, I started filling my gloves. I found that air gets stuck in the fingers.
I squeezed the fingers of the glove to push the air out and then to get the cement to the bottom of the fingers you have to sort of “milk” the fingers as if you were milking a cow. (I’ve never milked a cow, but I might be pretty good at it now.) It takes a bit to make sure there are no air pockets. I had to work kind of fast because the cement I was using starts to set in 15 minutes.
I filled a total of four gloves this way. On the last two, using a scissor I cut a slit along the pinky side, pressed out a little cement and then pressed the two hands together so that they would dry as one.
Then I shaped the fingers the way I wanted them and used some rocks to hold them in place. I did the same with the other two gloves I filled.
The cement starts to dry really quickly and the hands got really hot to the touch. By about a half hour in they felt rock solid. But I let them dry a few hours before messing with them. Then I used a scissor to cut the gloves open and peel them off.
Once the gloves were peeled off, my beautiful DIY concrete hand planters were good to go.
Thanks, Jenise of DIY Fun Ideas! You can check out even more concrete projects at her site.