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CEMENT Bowled over!

An authentic cement bowl can be used on its own as a modern, decorative item in your home or as a container for nature's decor such as pine cones or seed pods. You can even paint it with a design and colours of your choice.

'''MATERIALS Lafarge Buildcrete 32,5 cement Washed river sand One standard teacup A mixing bucket Rubber gloves Two plastic bowls of similar shape, one about 3-5cm larger than the other

Follow these easy step-by-step instructions to make your own cement bowl.

Preparing the moulds

Cover the inside of the larger plastic bowl, as well as the outside of the smaller plastic bowl, with a layer of cling wrap.

You can stick the edges of the cling wrap down with little bits of masking tape here and there.

The cling wrap is going to act as a barrier between the concrete and your plastic bowls.

Mixing the concrete

To make a concrete mix, use a ratio of one part Lafarge Buildcrete 32,S cement to two parts washed river sand.

Start by putting on your rubber gloves, and then use your standard teacup to measure six cups of cement and twelve cups of washed river sand into your mixing bucket.

(Depending on the size of your two plastic mould bowls, you may need a bit more, or a bit less than this.) You can easily mix more cement and river sand, in ratio, to your concrete.

Stir the dry cement and river sand well, and then add water little by little, until the mix has a consistency of a sluggish cookie dough.

Take handfuls of your mix and pack them tightly, one next to the other, into the inside of your larger plastic bowl, onto the layer of cling wrap.

Pat and compress the handfuls so that they unite to form a single layer about 6cm thick .

When you have so 'paved' the entire inside of the bowl, you can now take the smaller of the two plastic bowls, with the cling wrap on its outside, and push it down firmly into the centre of the hollow of concrete that you have just 'paved' out.

Push the smaller bowl down deep enough so that the concrete lies tightly sandwiched between the two bowls, with about 3-Scm of concrete all the way around.

You will need to put a weight (a brick for instance) into the smaller bowl, to make sure that it doesn't pop out of the concrete.

Take another strip of cling wrap and place it all the way along the rim of your concrete, so that the concrete sets slowly.

Allow your concrete bowl to stand like this for about 48 hours, giving it time to set and harden.

After the 48 hours, you can gently tip your bowl upside down, letting the concrete slip out. If it seems to be stuck, you can pull carefully at the cling wrap edges, which will cause it to release.

Being very cautious with your still rather fragile concrete bowl, submerge it in water for seven days to give the curing process time to run its full course.

Once this time is over, you can let your bowl dry, and then place it strategically in your home, as a personally designed decor item.

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Page last modified on September 23, 2005, at 11:34 AM EST