Thursday, January 7, 2016

Create Cement Lace Using Doilies and other Crochet Items

Skip the starch the next time you want to make something with doilies or any of those crocheted items you have laying around.  Instead, how about using a cement slurry to stiffen them up permanently?  You can create beautiful items for your home re-purposing doilies or other crocheted items (even knit hats!) into bowls, planters, Christmas ornaments, candle holder, wall hangings or anything else your heart desires.  I have to buy my doilies at estate sales, thrift stores and sometimes yard sales but if you are lucky to know how to crochet or know someone who does the possibilities are nearly endless for design ideas!
Cement lace bowl made with a doily
Cement lace bowl

Cement lace doily made from a doily
Cement lace bowl
Planter made with a crochet hat
Planter made with cement slurry and a crochet hat

If you are ready then let's get to work making some cement lace:-))  The ingredients for your cement lace:
1.  Doilies made from cotton or other absorbent material.  Items made from yarn, such as granny squares also work well. Another tip is to use doilies made with thicker "string" or thread for a firmer and stronger result.  Note:  doilies made from plastic, paper or other non-absorbent material will not work for this.

Make sure your doilies are clean and free from starch or other stiffeners.  Wash and allow to dry completely before you start this project.  You want the doilies to absorb as much of the cement as possible.  Here are just a few of the doilies I have used:

Crochet doily
Crochet doily
Crochet doily

Crochet doily

Crochet doilies

2.  Concrete bonding additive-this is sold by most of your home improvement and hardware stores usually by the concrete and cement products.  This is an important ingredient.
Concrete bonding additive
Concrete bonding additive
2.  Portland cement-not concrete mix or mortar mix-just plain portland cement.
Portland cement
Portland cement
3.  Water (the amount varies on certain conditions such as humidity, etc.)

Other items you will need:

1.  Dust mask (Always wear your dust mask when using cement products!)
2.  Fine sieve
3.  Measuring tool-I used a small plastic container
4.  Long gloves (This mixture is strong and will burn your arms if splashed on them-trust me!)
5.  Cooking spray or some other mold release
6.  Safety glasses (Always wear your safety glasses!)
7.  A sheet of plastic
8.  A paint brush
9.  Molds-plastic is my mold of choice since it is the easiest to work with.  Wood works well.  Glass and metal are just too difficult (sometimes impossible) to remove your cement piece from.
Supplies needed for making cement lace
The recipe for creating cement lace is:
5 parts sifted portland cement.
1 part concrete bonding additive.
enough water to make a pudding consistency.

Make sure that the area where you are working in is above 50 degrees but below 90 for both mixing and curing times.

The first step for creating your cement lace is to pick and prepare your containers (I prefer plastic and wood) Note: if you are concerned about the cement releasing then cover your molds with some type of plastic like shopping bags or saran wrap.

You can make any shape you want like bowls, or you can lay them flat to make ornaments or you can make planter shapes.  It is all up to you:-))  Lay them out on a sheet of plastic like this (it can get messy):
Crochet doilies
Crochet hat

When you have the shapes you want then spray your containers with mold release then wipe off the excess.  I like to use cooking spray:
Mold release for cement projects
The second step is to grab your measuring container and sift your 5 parts portland cement into your mixing tub with your sieve-you don't want any lumps:
Sift portland cement

 Throw away any hard lumps in to the garbage:

You want a fine powder with no lumps:

Third, add your 1 part (1 measuring container) concrete bonding additive.  You are creating a cement slurry:
Add concrete additive to sifted portland
Mix-at this point it will be very dry:
Add some water-not very much-about a half a part to begin with and mix.  If it is still dry add a little water at a time until you have the consistency of pudding.

Mix cement slurry
Place your lace doily in the cement slurry:
Place crochet doily in cement slurry
And coat it-push it in, flip it over, swish it around until it is completely soaked into the fabric:

Crochet doily covered in cement slurry
When it is completely soaked with the cement mixture pick it up and squeeze, wipe and shake off the excess.  Here is a short video on how to do it:

Lay it on the "mold".  Adjust the doily until you have it in the position you want.  Try to center it as much as possible then take an old paint brush and wipe off the excess cement if there is any:
Smooth out cement coated crochet doily
Repeat with any doilies you have.  If the cement mixture begins to look and feel dry mix a splash or two of concrete bonding additive in to bring it back to pudding consistency.

When you are done with all of your doilies they are now ready to cure:
Cement soaked crochet doilies
Let them sit until hardened.  This usually only takes about 12 hours (sometimes less):
Hard to the touch

Hard to the touch
After they have hardened they need to be misted then covered with plastic bags or a sheet of plastic for a minimum of one week.  Even though it is tempting-do not unmold them yet.  They are not completely set and may crack if you unmold them too early.  They need to cure and the cure is necessary to create strength and to ensure there is no cracking of the lace:
 Make sure they stay damp under the plastic-mist daily if necessary to keep them damp.
After at least a week you can uncover them and unmold them.  If you use plastic they should release fairly easily.  Do not force it from the mold-just work it off gently or tap it gently.  The more flexible the plastic the easier it is to release.

When they are unmolded allow the cement lace to "dry" for a couple more weeks.  This will allow the moisture to evaporate so that the sealant or paint that is applied bonds to the cement.  If the cement is not allowed to dry thoroughly the sealant and/or paint will not adhere and will peel off prematurely.

If you have a few rough spots on your cement lace gently sand with a sanding block-do not sand too much or you will remove the cement.

After a few weeks you can now paint your cement lace.  A quality spray paint such as Rustoleum Universal or Rustoleum 2 in 1 with primer work great and they are what I use but there are concrete paints out there that will work.  Quality craft paints will also work.  Just remember to seal your cement lace after painting or if you wish to use your cement lace for food purposes make sure to seal with a food safe sealer.
Here are a few I have painted up:
Painted Cement lace bowls
Crochet hat planter

Here they are put to use:
Cement lace bowl made from a doily

Cement lace bowl made from a doily

I hope my post has inspired you to re-purpose those doilies into an original and beautiful piece of home decor that will last.  Just remember that there are so many possibilities to what you can make using this idea so get out there and create something for yourself (or someone else)!  I would love to see your work so feel free to post pics in the comment section or you can post them on my Facebook page at this link: .

If you have any questions or comments please leave them below.  I would love to hear from you!

Happy Gardening!  Rhonda

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Wreath Ornament Made from a Plastic Lid

Christmas wreath ornament made from a plastic lid
Wow!  Two posts in two days-I am on a creative roll this week:-))  Here is another plastic lid upcycle for you that involves using the plastic lid as a wreath frame.  This one is super easy just like my snowman ornament.  If you missed that post you can check it out here:
If you are ready then let's get our supplies and get started!

What you need for this project:

1.  A plastic lid

2.  Scissors or a cutting tool like an XACTO knife

3.  Ribbon, yarn or twine-I used 18 feet total for the two wreaths I made.

4.  Hot glue gun or fast setting glue

5.  Bows and/or beads for embellishment

1.  Using the scissors or cutting tool remove the center of the plastic lid leaving an edge.  The lids I used (Daisy sour cream) had an edge I followed:
2.  Remove the middle of the lid and set aside-it could be another project at a later date:-))

3.  Prepare your ribbon/yarn-if the roll doesn't fit through the hole remove it from the spool.
4.  Take the end of the ribbon and attach it to the "inside" of the lid with a dab of glue and hold until it is set:

5.  After the glue has set begin wrapping the ribbon/yarn around the lid:

6.  Continue wrapping the ribbon around the lid until you have completely covered it:

7.  When it is completely covered cut off the excess ribbon and then glue the end down on the back of the wreath:

8.  Add a ribbon:

9.  Add some beads or other decoration if you would like:

Here are mine-all ready to hang on the tree:
Christmas wreath ornaments made from plastic lids

 Hanging on the tree:
Christmas wreath ornament made from a plastic lid

Christmas wreath ornament made from a plastic lid
That's it!  I told you it would be easy!  Give this easy project a try-it will be cute hanging on your tree or you could even give it as a last minute gift.  Everyone loves a handmade gift:-)) 

If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below.

Happy Gardening!  Rhonda