This is such a wonderful project you can do with few supplies:
- Concrete (Home Improvement Store)
- Small garden shovel (Dollar Tree)
- Flameless led tealight candles with timer
- Disposable Cups
- Painters Tape
- Acrylic paint & small paint brush (optional)
These striking candle holders have a rugged yet elegant shape, and are a great addition to your outdoor area, or on your dining room table. The delicate shape is made from using a balloon as a mold to cast concrete, creating an unusual shape. Each mold will be unique, and there’s no limit to the shape variations you can achieve with this method of casting.
Most concrete bought from the home store will have aggregate, since that’s what gives concrete its compression strength. For this project we’ll want to remove the aggregate to give a smooth finish, and because there’s no need for any compression strength from the aggregate since these candle holders won’t be under any load
Sieve the concrete to remove all the large and medium aggregate, leaving the cement and small aggregate.
The only other thing you will need for this project is balloons
Remember, the size of your balloons will be the size of your candle holder.
Fill the cups about 1/3 of the way with the saved aggregate that was removed from concrete earlier. This will act as a base support for your balloon while making and drying. This will make it easier to work with.
Inflate a balloon as large as you like and tie off the end:
Then with painter’s tape, tape the balloon to the cup as shown above.
The easiest way to work with concrete and unusual molds is to use your hands. There’s no tool that can match the dexterity and familiarity of your fingers, just make sure to wear gloves, as concrete will burn skin.
Gently plop gobs of cement on the top of the balloon, then tap the balloon to settle the concrete and spread it out. Continue adding more concrete to the top and tapping until the concrete starts spilling over the sides and down towards the cup.
If any small sections of concrete start creeping faster than others you can carefully push it back upwards to prevent it breaking off. However, there really is no wrong way to do this, so let your design take whatever shape you like.
After concrete application let cure overnight. The balloon mold is thin and has a large surface area, so the concrete cured fast.
The balloon has pulled away a little from the cured concrete casting, and you may be able to pull the balloon out. However, it’s easier to remove and less likely to break the fragile casting if you just pop the balloon.
Wear a face mask and eye protection, as the balloon can spray fine particles when it pops.
After removing the balloon carefully clean the inside of the concrete candle holder with a damp cloth.
Be gentle when handling the thin concrete castings, even though they are concrete they are still fragile. Even if a small portion of the candle holder breaks off it won’t really matter, the irregular sides and organic shape of the concrete lends itself to minor mishaps.
Painting the insides is an optional step, but will really elevate the look of the piece. From a functional perspective, lighter colors will help reflect light and make the concrete candle holders look even brighter. You know how I love sparkle!
Metallics will give off even a prettier glow.I like the idea of glowing orbs in my garden, so I chose a metallic brush-on acrylic paint for my candle holders. Spray paint would also work. Any metallic or glitter paint would be a great choice for the interior paint.
Don’t these look pretty! Here you see regular tea lights. But if you use, and I do with all my candles inside and out, led flameless candles with a timer you won’t have to turn on and off every day.
And here they they are finished.
These look beautiful at night sitting in your garden all lit up.Wouldn’t these be pretty sitting on your table!
Using a balloon as a mold for concrete is deceptively simple, yet has a very big payoff. This is just one example of how you can use everyday items as a mold to hold and shape your concrete as it cures.
Have you ever made a concrete mold? Love to hear about your project!!