How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

Introduction: How to Make a Garden Sculpture

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

In this instructable I’ll show you how to make a wonderful sculpture for your garden. It’s made of plaster and decorated with mosaic. You’ll need about 3 days for the basic structure (2 hours per day, the remainder is drying time) and 1 to infinite days to lay out the mosaic;-)

Step 1: Tools and Materials

To make this sculpture you’ll need:
chicken wire,
metal rods,
lots of newspaper,
an old sleeping pad,
cement mortar (thick form of plaster),
lots of tiles (for the mosaic),
tile adhesive,
joint compoind,
a hammer,
an old piece of cloth,
a sponge,
plastic buckets (for mixing compound, adhesive and mortar),
a trowel

Step 2: The Structure

The material I chose for the sculpture is cement mortar (I don’t really know how you call it in the U.S., eventually you will rather know it as cement plaster or something else (?) I’m not sure on this). I chose it because it’s a weatherproof material that’s perfect for the garden and it is relatively easy to handle. I’m pretty sure you’ll get the cement mortar at any hardware store.

First of all, you have to think about the sculpture’s shape. You can choose nearly anything here (e.g. an animal, something surreal or even a humanlike figure), you just have to consider that the less compact it gets the more complex and difficult it is to realize. Also, cement mortar is not the best material for precise and fragile works.

I’ve decided to make a shell.
When you have decided for a shape, you first start by buliding the sculpture’s wireframe -model out of chicken wire. The interior should be filled with newspaper and/or an old sleeping pad (so the mortar won’t fall through the wire). Furthermore you should insert some bent metal rods so it will withstand the weight of the mortar.
For the shell I only had to make a round ball for the base structure. Tie the ends together with some leftover wire.

If you want to go for a human figure or something else that’s not very compact, you will need to strengthen your frame by adding more thick metal rods, particularly in the rather thin areas of your sculpture.

Step 3: Adding Plaster

Next, you need to mix the mortar. Mix it according to the instructions on the bag. It should not become too liquid, but still shapable.
I used a ratio of 3:1 mortar to water (about the same as if you build a house)

In a first step I added mortar to the top half of the sculpture. The technique for applying the mortar is to take some with your trowel and literally throw it onto the sculpture. If you do it right, it will stick to the wireframe in an uniform layer.
After I had finished the top half, I let it dry until the next day and then did the lower half.
I let the mortar ball dry for another day (unfortunately I have no pics of the ball).

The next day, I started to add the basic shell structure on top of the ball. In the first pic you can see darker structure (still wet) on top of the brighter ball (already dried since the day before).
When you have your desired form, you can carve away some mortar to get all the details (second pic).

The third pic shows the shell on the next day, completely dried.

Step 4: Laying Out the Mosaic

For making your mosaic, you should start by “preparing” your tiles:
Take some old tiles wrap them in an OLD piece of cloth and relieve all your stress with a big fat hammer:-D
continue this process until you have the desired size for your mosaic tiles.
If you want to have smooth edges on your tiles you can put them into a concrete mixer together some water and spin it around a few times.

Next you have to mix the tile adhesive according to its instructions. Don’t make too much at once, as it will dry rather quickly and laying out the mosaic is usually not a very speedy task;-)
When laying out the tiles take care to have an uniform height! Otherwise it will be pretty difficult to add the joint compound.

When you have finished laying the mosaic, you can mix the joint compound according to its instructions. Apply the compound with your trowel (but don’t throw it this time;-)). Take some compound onto your trowel and spread it onto the surface. Take care to get enough compound into the gaps, so that there’re no holes left.

When you’ve finished applying the compound take a (not drippinng) wet sponge and remove the surplus compound. Now you have to let it dry for a few hours. After about half an hour a white film (or the color of your compound) will start to show up on the tiles. Just take a lightly wet sponge (it must be clean water. ) and rub it away carefully (you may have to repeat this step quiet often).

Et voilà: you have your own unique garden sculpture!

Introduction: DIY Textured Cement-Styrofoam Planter

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

We have been stuck at home for months and months. I spend 80% of my time in my room and I wanted something fresh and lively in my room. So, I bought a few pots with plants, especially for my room. Since I bought them, I wanted to rapidly grow my collection, and I needed more planters. So, instead of buying more, I considered making one for my room. My choice has always been concrete because I love its color, also the durability of concrete is good. They look modern with unique shapes. This DIY concrete planter is easy to make with materials you may already have around your house.

So, Grab just a few supplies, and let’s make a concrete planter.

Step 1: Materials You Need for DIY

1. Cement (Ingredient of Concrete)

2. Large and old tub/bucket/bowl.

3. Some Styrofoam pieces.

6. Waste plastic sheet.

7. Sieve with the size of 3mm opening.

8. Any scale or ruler. Here I have used my old and waste wooden spatula.

Step 2: Preparation of Mixture

Start by pouring cement into a large bowl. Using a sieve start grating the styrofoam pieces on the cement bowl.

Here I am grating the pieces to get very small pieces of styrofoam in order to get a beautiful texture in my pot. We need 50 % of styrofoam and 50 % cement.

Step 3: Mixing the Ingredients

Make sure to wear latex gloves before working with cement, as cement can burn plain hands and can cause serious injury to the skin.

Start mixing your concrete (cement is an ingredient of concrete) and styrofoam pieces with water. The ratio must be 1 part water to 4 parts of cement-styrofoam. Slowly and gradually add water to the concrete and mix gently so that everything is mixed well. The consistency should not be runny. Keep the mixture thick.

Step 4: Making Base

Take a plastic sheet and place it on a flat surface. Now, take the cement-styrofoam mixture and gradually start making the base of the planter by flattening the cement using hand. I made 0.5 inches of base. Try to smooth out the base. You can make any shape of the base because later you are going to even it out.

Step 5: Scaling

Using a ruler or scale, mark the dimensions on the flat cement surface. Here I am using my old spatula and knife to even out the 4 sides. After marking dimensions using a spatula, take out excess cement on the sides very carefully. I made a square box of 26*26*26 cm. Smoothen out the concrete on the edges using a knife (as I didn’t have a putty knife with me).

Step 6: Here Comes the Main Work

Taking a very small amount of concrete mix, make small oval shapes out of concrete and start placing it on the edge of all the 4 sides, one by one. You can choose any size depending upon your design or choice. You have to be very careful in stacking these shapes as there must not be any space left. Make sure that all the shapes placed adjacent to each other must stick or join each other.

This step is actually time-consuming because you have to make oval shapes each time to complete all the sides, in addition to that you have to stack the rows each time.

Step 7: Partition

After two stacks, using the same oval shapes make a center partition of the square base. I am doing this because I want two planters on the base so that I can grow two plants on the same planter. The height of the second planter will be larger than that of the first one so that there must be a height difference in the planters and plants can be easily visible.

Step 8: Adding a Step in the Planter

Repeat the rows of stacking one by one. For the second divided planter, I increased the height to 3 steps so that there must be a good height difference between the first and the second planter.

And there you have it ! The planter is done.

Step 9: Poke a Hole

Now using any hollow cylindrical shape (here I used a waste pen cover) insert the pen on the base of the planter to poke a hole for drainage. The hole at the bottom of the planter is very critical because it allows water in the soil to drain freely so that adequate air is available for the roots to breathe. It helps to protect sensitive roots to rot from fungus and bacteria.

Now, allow the planter to set for at least 24 hours. It takes about 24-36 hours to dry out completely. Do not keep your planter under the sun. Make sure to keep it in shade.

Step 10: Spray Water to Cure the Concrete

When the planter is fully dry, spray water on all sides of the planter using a spray bottle. Spraying water on your new concrete is one of the best and oldest ways to cure your concrete. Concrete hardens as a result of a chemical reaction, called hydration between cement and water. New concrete should be kept moist for at least three days while curing. This is done to provide maximum strength to the concrete.

Step 11: Peel Out the Plastic

After the concrete has set, peel off the plastic sheet below the planter. It will come out right away. The best thing about this project is that you don’t need to smooth out the edges, as this planter has a rough texture because of styrofoam. I loved this rough texture.

Step 12: Plant With Beautiful Plants or Flowers

Now you can pour some soil in the pot and plant flowers of your choice. This planter now sits in my room and when I look at it, it makes me smile. It looks so cool and priceless.

It’s easy peasy ! I hope you will enjoy making this.

Thank you for reading this Instructables. Wishing everyone a good and safe health 🙂

Introduction: Yin/Yang Cement Sculpture/Planter

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

In this Instructable, you will learn how to make a yin-yang concrete sculpture that doubles as a planter. This will make a great addition to your backyard, and is worth all the work!


  • Styrofoam
  • Paper rolls for transporting design to styrofoam
  • Concrete/Cement
  • 6 wooden sticks
  • Metal wire
  • A small ball
  • Tinfoil
  • String
  • Spring Snap Hook
  • Pebbles (from hiking trip or garden)
  • Vine plant (from garden)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Craft knife
  • Cement trowel
  • Marker
  • Pencil
  • Electric foam cutter

Step 1: Design & Fit the Styrofoam

Our design of the structure is as seen. We want to fit it onto the styrofoam (we got a lot from recent moving).

In our case, we want to fit one half of yin-yang symbol in a rectangle piece of styrofoam with a width to length ratio of 3:4.

Step 2: Draw the Template, Part 1

Given the fit, draw a 3×4 rectangle that fits on your styrofoam on the paper. Make sure you have enough paper for two of them as we need to draw one template for the outside and one for inside (planter).

The purpose is to transport our design to the styrofoam and make as it as big as possible. You can follow our steps or transport the design in your own way.

I will refer to the short side as the width and the long side as the length. Mark (1) at the 2/3 mark of the width and (2) the 1/2 mark of the length as shown.

Step 3: Draw the Template, Part 2

Draw a large semicircle on the paper center at (2) and radius 1/2 of the length. It should connected to your previously marked (1).

We do not have a huge compass so we used a string and a pencil to draw the semicircle-By attaching the pencil to the string, and securing one end, you can draw perfect circles.

Step 4: Draw the Template, Part 3

Draw two semicircles on the straight side of the original semicircle, each with half the radius of the original semicircle. One should point out of the original semicircle and one should point in.

Step 5: Outside Template

Cut two copies of the template. One will be the outside template.

Step 6: Inside Planter Template

For the planter, we decided to cut a chunk out of the concave side of one of the templates. This will create a hollow area to place flowerpots in. We will call the original template for the outside Template A, and the edited one for the inside Template B.

Notice that we also sketched out the locations for sticks (which would make a trellis for our vine plants to grow)

Step 7: Trace the Templates

Trace copies of each template onto the styrofoam. Template A is the outside, so you only need 2-4, depending on the thickness of the styrofoam. Template B is the inside, so you need 6-10, depending on the thickness.

Tip: If you don’t have enough styrofoam for a full piece, you can trace multiple parts and put them together later, as in the green parts in the picture, but you might want to mark all of the parts that belong to the same piece to keep track.

Step 8: Cut the Templates

Use a craft knife to cut out the templates.

Make sure to do this over a large piece of cardboard, for two reasons:

1. The craft knife may pierce through the styrofoam, so you need a buffer zone between the styrofoam and the floor.

2. Styrofoam bits will fly all over the place, and it will be easier to clean up if you use a large piece of cardboard with boundary tipped up.

Step 9: Arrange the Pieces

Stack the pieces to give yourself an impression of how you are going to arrange them.

Step 10: Hot Glue the Pieces

Use the hot glue gun to stick together the pieces.

Step 11: Add the Sticks

Add the sticks so that they go through the outside part of the styrofoam shape as designed. They will help plants grow by acting as a trellis. The sticks also serve as structure support.

Step 12: Trim & Secure the Sticks

Cut down any extra length of the sticks. Glue to secure them.

Step 13: Draw the Inner Circle

Draw the small circle on the template while it is on the styrofoam shape.

Press hard on the dots so that the marker bleeds through onto the styrofoam.

Step 14: Draw the Inner Circle on Foam

Use the dots that bled through as a framework to draw the circle. Repeat on the other side.

Step 15: Cut Out the Inner Circle

Use the electric foam cutter to cut through the first foam layer. Repeat on the other side.

Step 16: Remove the Inner Circle

Use the trowel to remove the inner circle of styrofoam. Repeat on the other side.

Step 17: Wrap the Tinfoil Ball

Add layers of tinfoil around the ball. Wrap them around and try to keep the layers even. Wrap tightly!

Step 18: Secure the Tinfoil Ball

Wrap a metal wire around the tinfoil to secure it, as well as provide a place to attach to the string. The final ball should be of equal size to the inner circle.

Step 19: Add the Snap Hook

Add the snap hook to the wire connecting to the ball.

Step 20: Wire Circles Around

Wrap the wire around the styrofoam in the circle. Repeat for another wire. Our wire is not strong enough so we twisted 3 wires into one for each circle.

Step 21: Secure the Wire Circle

Use pins to secure a wire circle to the styrofoam. Repeat for the other wire circle.

Tip: The pins may stick out of the smooth side of the styrofoam if they are put in diagonally. Make sure they are put in straight and don’t stick out before you apply the concrete.

Step 22: Secure With Masking Tape

Wrap masking tape around the styrofoam to secure it.

Step 23: (If Needed) Sift Cement

We found that the rocks in the concrete did not attach well, so we decided to sift out the rocks and use just the cement.

Step 24: Mix & Apply Cement

Mix cement. The texture depends on your goal. Apply multiple times as needed. We applied three layers. Make sure to spread concrete on the tinfoil ball as well.

Step 25: Apply Cement to the Ball

Dip the ball in cement.

Step 26: Other Side of the Sculpture

Apply cement to the other side of the sculpture once it dries. It ended up looking a lot smoother because we used a more watery texture.

Step 27: Patch Up

Patch any holes up with cement and do the rim.

Step 28: Plant!

Add a pot and a vine plant. We used a morning glory (a fast-growing plant!). Try to make sure the vine goes through the sticks and the wire. We also added another plant at the base.

Water as needed.

Step 29: Hang the Ball

Use a piece of string to hang the ball from the wire. If you can find something natural to hang it with, like a woody vine, that would be better.

Introduction: How to Make a Concrete Tiki Garden Statue

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

Tiki Garden Statues are fun, lightweight statues that will liven up any garden.

This is an easy, inexpensive project with very few ingredients or special tools needed.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Rapid Set Cement-All

Blue Foam Mat – ¼” thick

Stainless Steel bowl and spoon

Old Paint Brush

Step 2: Concept

The main body of the tiki is made from a single piece of blue foam mat rolled into a cylinder shape.

You can buy these mats at most stores that sell camping equipment.

Each individual design element such as the eyes, nose, and mouth are also cut from blue mat material then hot-glued to the main body. Then the entire foam statue is then covered in concrete.

Step 3: Design

Design your Tiki on paper and print it out the actual size you would like the statue to be.

Keep the shapes simple with lots of space in between each design element.

The concrete goes on pretty thick, so you will lose a lot of detail on each shape.

Step 4: The Main Body

This statue is 11 inches high. To make your statue this height, cut out a square piece of foam 11 inches high by 15 inches wide using an X-Acto knife (box cutter.) Roll the foam into a cylinder shape so it overlaps several inches.

Tape all around the cylinder with masking tape to hold the cylinder together. (I live in Canada, so I used white hockey tape, which everyone here has lots of). Hot-glue the seam from the outside and add some more tape vertically along the seam to smooth it out a little. The seam won’t be perfectly smooth, but it will be at the back of your statue and won’t matter too much.

Step 5: Add the Design Elements

Trace the top and bottom of the cylinder on some blue foam. Cut out the 2 circles and glue them in place using the glue-gun.

Cut out each design element from your paper copy and trace the paper pieces onto more blue foam and cut them out.

Glue on the eyes, mouth, nose and all the other elements on to the main body. Add a strip at the top and bottom around the entire tiki. Add some extra hot-glue to round off any elements you want to stand out like the eyes, lips, chin, or nostrils.

Step 6: Cover in Cement

Rapid Set Cement-All is perfect for this type of project.

It sets in around 15 minutes and hardens in an hour. It’s extremely strong and doesn’t shrink much. If this statue were solid cement, it would be extremely heavy, but because it’s mostly air and foam, it’s not heavy at all!

The ratio is 4 parts cement to 1 part water. Start with ¼ cup of water in a stainless-steel bowl, then add 1 cup of Cement-All a little at a time, stirring as you add.

For this tiki, I wanted to simulate a brown ‘wooden’ look so I mixed some brown paint right into the concrete mix.

Spread the mix onto your sculpture using a spoon, stir stick, or an old paint brush to get it into the small areas. It doesn’t like to stick to smooth surfaces, but don’t worry if you don’t get everything covered on the first pass. Just make another batch and hit the uncovered areas until you can’t see any more blue foam.

Step 7: Highlight the Design Elements

To highlight the design elements, make a small batch of cement with more brown paint and less water.

“Paint” the design elements (except the teeth) with the darker brown concrete mix with an old paint brush.

If it’s too thick to paint on, just add some more water.

Step 8: Outdoor Plant Pots

You can also use this same method to make outdoor plant pots. Here’s a Tiki plant pot I made by wrapping the blue foam around a plastic container with holes drilled in the bottom. Perfect for outdoor plants!

I didn’t mix any paint into the cement mix for this pot. This tiki was covered with the natural gray cement. Everything except the eyes and teeth were painted with watered down acrylic paint, then sprayed with an acrylic sealer.

Step 9: Tips

You don’t necessarily have to use foam mat for the design elements. You can use any kind of foam as long it’s flexible enough to follow the contour of the cylinder shape. If the foam is too thin, the cement will cover right over it and it won’t provide any 3D detail. I find the ¼” foam mat material the perfect thickness.

If you would like to see what a true artist can go with concrete, be sure to check out Made By Barb for more expert advice, techniques and ideas for concrete creations. I learned a lot from her posts.

You can see more of my creations on Instagram at Mad Props Design.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

Styrofoam Head Planter

Would you like to add an exotic touch to your decor? Here’s a fun little DIY project that can go off in a lot of different creative directions. I first saw these on Pinterest and immediately had to try one.

The use of human form in garden art really intrigues me for some reason, so I was ready to experiment with this inexpensive craft project. There’s plenty of good tips along the way and additional ideas at the end, too!

This version is fairly simplistic. It’s also the first one I’ve ever made. You may find it a little “different”. But if you end up liking it, then you can try some of the other approaches and kick your creativity into high gear.

Materials for styrofoam head planter

  • Styrofoam Head (most craft stores like JoAnn or Michaels)
  • Faux stone spray paint (Hardware stores like Lowes or Home Depot)
  • Small drop cloth
  • Pen or magic marker
  • Tape measure or ruler
  • Serrated kitchen knife or other similar cutting tool

available at craft stores

Styrofoam heads are readily available at craft stores like Michael’s or JoAnn for around $10.00 dollars. They are typically used by crafters to display knit or crochet hats, or polar fleece hats and headbands.

Directions for styrofoam head planter

TIP: working with styrofoam is messy! There will be lots of tiny styrofoam particles from cutting and scooping, so do this out in the garage or outside and use the drop cloth to contain particles. Prevent styrofoam particles from going down a drain.

1) Start by slicing off the top part of the head.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoamturn headpiece on its side

Mark your cut about 1-1/2″ above the eyebrow. The best way to do this is to turn the headpiece on its side. Use a serrated kitchen knife and cut straight across like you were cutting a melon.

Be very careful! Styrofoam is a bit difficult to cut. It’s not a smooth motion and you’ll have to do a bit of sawing.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoamCut head about 1.5″ above the eyebrow

2) Hollow out or “core” the center

Scoop to form a cavity. Don’t go too thin. Leave about 1/2 inch thickness around the edge.

This step is similar to a Halloween pumpkin. Only it’s fussier with styrofoam. This part will also produce lots of particles. I tried using a small knife to core out the center, but again, it requires a bit of effort. You might also use a spoon to scrape the insides. Whatever works!

Use a file tool to smooth and even out the edge.

3) Make drainage hole

There’s a small diameter hole in the bottom of the headpiece, so you can punch right through to make a drainage hole for the plant.

Spray paint the head

Spray paint the head with a gray-colored spray stone texture. I used this product by Rust-oleum, but anything similar will work. It has a really strong odor. Be sure to read and follow directions on the can.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

TIP: secure the headpiece before spraying or the force of the spray may knock it over. It’s shooting bits of texture. One solution is to insert a wooden dowl or post into the bottom of the head. This will hold the head in place while you spray.

Note: The styrofoam will have a bit of a reaction to the paint. The chemical acetones in the paint dissolve (melt) the styrofoam creating lots of little pock marks. This does not “ruin” the piece as it’ll be hard to see. Actually, it helps to give it more of a natural stone look. But the texture conceals a lot of this anyway.

The product is coarse and surprisingly thin. The directions on the can recommend a light coat. Wait 15 minutes for it to begin to set up before adding a second coat. I suggest waiting longer, even until it’s dry to the touch. If it doesn’t dry enough, a second coat just gets runny. I used 3 coats on mine, to really get that desired stone look, but you do what you like.

ATTENTION: DO NOT place your styrofoam head planter outdoors where it will be exposed to rain. It will wash off. But under a dry, covered porch it will do just fine. I have heard some people suggest a sealer topcoat, but I’m not sure how that would work with styrofoam.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

What kind of plant to put in it?

Styrofoam head planters look awesome with succulents, ivies, or a trailing flower such as bacopa. Verticle plants give a spiky, punk look, while trailing plants and flowers are soft and classical.

Creative Alternative ideas

Add Moss:

Some people dip a fine, ‘powdered’ moss in an adhesive and pat onto the headpiece to give it a more ancient appearance.

Get Artistic:

If you really want to go wild, you can spray paint the head any other-worldly color. Just a reminder that the spray-paint will produce pock marks. However, what at first may seem like imperfections actually adds to the ‘exotic’ look, not detract from it. Next, become a “make-up artist” and apply colors with a paintbrush. Add a headband, funky sunglasses and earrings (from the thrift store).

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoamSpray paint causes pock marks

If you do not like the look of the pock marks and want a smooth finish on your face, here is a method to try. It begins with treating the headpiece with a coating of Elmer’s Glue. Video is just 3 minutes.

One more great idea involves a product called “ShapeCrete” which is pliable like clay and dries like concrete. It’s Portland cement-based. Use the styrofoam headpiece as a mold and highlight facial features to make an even more stone-appearing planter. See the excellent tutorial from Lily Ardor HERE.

In closing

I hope you’ll enjoy experimenting with a new craft. It’s fun to make your own whimsical planters. That makes it practical, too! If you enjoy these types of things, why not be a part of our art and garden community? Scroll down just a bit to sign up. I’ll send ya “10 Artistic Ways to Make Your Yard or Garden Beautiful”. Have fun and thanks for dropping by.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

T.J. Neil is a concrete craftsman who has taken his work to a new level of artistry. When many people think of concrete, they may envision a dull, lifeless sidewalk slab, but Neil sees the potential for a soaring eagle, a roaring bear, or even a 65-foot long dinosaur. Extreme How-To spoke with Neil about his forays into concrete sculpture, some basic techniques, and where he’s headed today.

“The first statue I made was a wishing well for my father,” explains Neil. “Someone bought the well right off his lawn, so I thought there might be a few dollars in these concrete sculptures, and maybe I should sell them myself.”

A friend of Neil’s, who owned the Aqua Circus in Cape Cod, Florida, convinced him to create a concrete dolphin as a mascot. As he was building the dolphin, a local radio station covered the story and referred to Neil as a “sculptor.” The term stuck. The next thing he knew, the dolphin was featured on the front page of the newspaper, which sparked a great deal of interest in his concrete craft.

“These days, the power of the internet has really exposed my work to a lot of new people,” says Neil. “I get worldwide publicity, and that otherwise would be impossible.” In fact, Neil has recently authored a book, titled Making Concrete Sculpture, in which he shares his techniques for creating concrete works of art. The book is chock full of in-progress photos of sculptures ranging from fishermen, alligators, whales, sharks, horses, panthers, elephants, dragons and more.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoamShown here is an early stage of the concrete eagle’s armature.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

Sculpting Basics

According to Neil, anyone can become a concrete sculptor, as long as they’re willing to practice, experiment and be creative. The overall design comes straight from the creator’s imagination, and a detailed sketch is the blueprint where Neil begins.

Of course, some basic engineering skills do apply. The process begins with an armature of rebar rods covered with galvanized lath wire. This serves as the skeleton of the structure. The wire mesh is secured to the rebar with black tie wire. Before building, Neil cuts hundreds of 8-inch pieces of black tie wire and keeps them in a coffee can. Every 3 inches on the armature, he bends the wires into an S, hooks them through the lath and around the rods, and twists them tightly.

Neil leaves strategic openings in the lath wire so he can add concrete. The base of each structure is poured solid with 8 to 18 inches of concrete, depending on its size. The larger the statue, the heavier the base. The rebar is housed in this concrete base, extending upward to be bent into the appropriate shape for the armature. This solid base is crucial for the strength of the structure, which is especially important if shipping the finished piece.

Much of the upper portions of Neil’s statues are hollow, but even the hollow areas have 2 to 3 inches of concrete over the lath wire. However, even in the upper portions, strategic load-bearing areas, such as the shoulder joints of arms, may be solid concrete for extra structural integrity.

When sculpting, Neil holds the concrete material with a masonry hawk and applies it in successive coats over the wire with a variety of concrete trowels (point trowel, margin trowel, plastering trowel, etc.). As the coats begin to stiffen, each layer is scratched over the entire surface (Neil uses scrap lath wire to do this). This scratching process roughens the surface so the next coat of concrete has a strong bond with the coat beneath it. Neil also stresses the importance of allowing each coat of concrete, applied about 3/4-inch per coat, to fully cure before the next layer is applied.

“Let each layer cure for seven days,” says Neil. “Then put on another coat and let that one cure for seven days, too. Then apply another inch for detail and let that cure. Do this and you will have a very strong concrete structure.” Neil notes that concrete can absorb water up to 1-1/2 inches below its surface. This is why the statues require such thick coats of appropriately cured concrete—to protect the armature. If the interior rebar is exposed to moisture it can rust, and when it rusts, it expands, which can in turn crack the surrounding concrete. This is also why Neil suggests sealing and/or painting the sculptures with the highest quality exterior latex paint you can find.

“When painting, you first need to apply a base coat,” suggests Neil. “I put on a coat of plain white or gray to serve as a primer so the next coats will have a strong bond. When painting under the hot sun, you may need to thin the paint a little with water so the paint has time to soak into the concrete before it dries.” Neil mixes his paint right on the concrete structure, blending the colors for his preferred hue.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoamT.J. Neil applies concrete to his sculpture, “Freedom’s Flight.”

Recipe for Success

When it comes to the recipe for concrete, Neil suggests using large gravel in the base of the structure to give it strength. Medium gravel is used for the center of the structure. Small pea gravel is used in structural areas such as arms or legs.

For the non-structural areas, such as the finish coats, Neil uses a sand mix. He suggests coarse sand for the base coat, then medium-grade sand, followed with a fine sand mix for the finish coat. Neil prefers to mix his own concrete from sand, gravel and Portland cement. But for a novice sculptor, he suggests that bags of premixed concrete available at most home stores would be a good place to start.

What’s Next?

Soon after this interview, the EHT hometown became the proud exhibitor of a Neil original. Our magazine is head-quartered in Birmingham, Alabama, home to University of Alabama at Birmingham. The local university’s mascot is “Blaze” of the UAB Blazers, which is pictured on countless t-shirts and baseballs caps as a fire-breathing dragon. Neil was commissioned to construct the dragon from concrete, which was installed in front of the university arena as a new landmark.

“This dragon is about 10 feet tall and weighs three tons,” says Neil. “The dragon breathes fire, so we built a smoke machine inside the statue to make the mouth look like it’s smoldering.”

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

Neil at work on the Blazer dragon.

Creative gardening tips, ideas, & DIY projects

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

Garden & yard art are a great way to add focus and interest in the garden. Use this element either in colder months when less is in bloom, or to bring a different dimension to a garden full of life. Either way, art belongs in the garden. After all, nature is our best art inspiration. Since your garden is already such a wonderful expression of self, use the opportunity to create DIY garden decor and art for your yard, using these ideas for inspiration!

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

Yard Art & Garden Decor Ideas

In love with this creative metal yard art from ‘Zest It Up‘. This garden sphere is made from wine barrel hoops, and has a complete tutorial on how to make your own.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

Also from ‘Zest It Up‘ is this cool copper wind spinner. You could make one for every tree in your garden, and it’s not an expensive piece of metal garden art to create. Easy to follow tutorial with lots of step by step photos.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

Love flowers? Add your own DIY yard art flowers with this easy how-to from ‘Urban Gardeners Republic‘. And you are recycling, because this is repurposed garden decor made from old bottle caps. Love it!

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

Make these copper garden art flowers with this tutorial from Stephanie at ‘Garden Therapy‘. Made from copper sheeting, these pretty garden decoration ideas will age with your garden. (And, in a good way!)

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

Make this funky and fun DIY yard art dragonfly from old license plates and an old chair leg. This upcycle garden decor piece has complete how-to instructions over at ‘Birds & Blooms‘.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

Now, this is real garden art! This totem pole is painted by ‘Patina & Paint, and she shows you exactly how to make your own. We love the colors, and you have to go check out the photo at night. The solar light on top makes it a 24 hour piece of art!

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

You can make this flower garden spinner yourself with this tutorial from ‘Instructables’. This DIY yard art is made from metal ducting and a copper pipe. You have to go find out how they got this amazing color!

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

So if you have access to a welder, or even a welding student, here is another DIY dragonfly garden art piece that is awesome! Also from ‘Instructables‘, this tutorial takes you through exactly how to make this using scrap steel.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

This garden decoration idea will blow your mind, because anyone can actually DIY this project! From ‘Made By Barb‘, check out this giant concrete leaf orb. And, she has other concrete orb tutorials as well, all of them amazing.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

So. Freaking. Cool. The ultimate garden art is something that is beneficial for the garden as well. Well, let us present this gorgeous bug hotel yard art from Stephanie at ‘Garden Therapy‘! This is nature’s beauty at its finest, and yet it also attracts the “good” bugs to your garden! This is easy to make from simple items you can find around your yard as well. Love. Love. Love!

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

You can make this lovely DIY glass flower art. Just jump on over to ‘Infarrantly Creative‘ and find out how simple it really is! Plus, you will never have to wait for spring for flowers in the garden again!

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

Create this garden globe yard art with anything from washers to glass beads to pennies. We would love to make one covered in stones from the garden for a natural look. How about rusty old metal parts for a rustic look? Find out how at ‘HGTV‘.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

Check out this beautiful diy garden art idea. Use a masonry bit and drill each stone, and then place a piece of rebar into the ground to slide the stones on to the rebar. From ‘Indulgy’.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

Take old wooden ceiling fan blades and create yard art, like these dragon or butterflies. Polyurethane them well to prevent warping. The bodies are old table legs! Photo by ‘Lucy Designs Online‘.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

Love this gorgeous garden decor idea… Drill holes randomly in a wood fence, then place in colored marbles for the sun to shine through.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

Which one of these garden decoration ideas would you like to try, and why? Check out our posts on DIY Garden Mosaic Projects and DIY Garden Trinkets! And if you are looking for something for indoors, check out our Branch Chandelier Air Plant Display Project over at OhMeOhMy!

Note : This post has been freshened with updated projects.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure for more info.

Let your garden be an expression of your personality. Make decorations from your old stuff to make sure that your garden design is unique. Garden junk ideas with old household items are countless. Consider the overall shape and design of the object to decide where it would fit in your garden. If you have a garden fence, you can decorate it with birdhouses, mirrors or chairs or to use unusual flower planters like old boots, a wheelbarrow, old chest of drawers and even an old computer monitor and a sink.

Garden Junk Ideas That You’ll Love!

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

Garden junk ideas are an artistic way to transform your old household items into treasures. Examples of this upcycled art include the use of old ladders as flower stands and decorating with forest vines over old shutters like a curtain. You can fill an old cast iron tub with potting soil and then grow pink and purple petunias in it. This way of upcycling is environmentally friendly because the junk is used to beautify the garden space rather than be piled up in a landfill.

Creative Garden Junk Ideas!

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

The garden junk ideas with upcycled household items or treasures from the flea market are limited only by the imagination of the gardener. Endless possibilities are hiding in everything from old shoes to car tires. Check out our amazing ideas and uncover the hidden potential of your garden!

Chicken wires are very much useful for creating small and big chicken wire sculptures without having to spend much. Just a few twists, turns and locks and you’ll have your sculpture made in a few steps!

1. Dragonfly

From something as charming as an outdoor lantern to something more elaborate and utilitarian like a patio cabinet, there’s nothing that chicken wire can’t lend itself to. Head over to this list for more such outdoor decoration ideas.

2. Giant Woodland Creature

Add a whimsical touch to your yard by creating giant woodland creature caricatures out of the chicken sculpture. This DIYer opted for the elephant shape.

3. Chicken Wire Full-Size Lady Statue

If you’re looking for a front yard display that is equal parts spooky and equal parts quirky, consider creating this full-size lady statue from the chicken wire as this DIYer did.

4. DIY Chicken Wire Fox

Sculpting a fox shape out of chicken wire is easier than you think and you end up with a three-dimensional shelf decor to accompany your books. Find the details in this video.

5. DIY Chicken Wire Sculpture for Plants

In this DIY, a chicken wire has been used as the secret support structure of lifelike animals and fanciful shapes to decorate the garden.

6. Halloween Garden Chicken Wire Ghost

All you need to nail this remarkably cool DIY is get some fine chicken wire and shape it with your hands. While it’s mainly a Halloween decor project, you won’t mind having a couple of these around the year.

7. Chicken Wire Bull Sculpture

This cruelty-free DIY shows you how to create animal caricatures for mural decorations and that too without hunting them down for displaying their carcass.

8. Chicken Wired Bird Sculpture

Don’t feel daunted by the intricate framework of these Chicken wire birds. They are easy to create with just two tools and add a DIY touch to the Christmas tree. Here’s the complete tutorial.

9. Chicken Wire Fish Sculptures

Thanks to their narrow, streamlined shape with patterns that are easy to replicate, the fish shape is much loved among all chicken wire DIYs. Try this one yourself with these instructions.

10. Chicken Wire Flowers

This DIY once again makes us believe in the magic of paint and how you can use it to convert something ordinary as chicken wire into an artistic display. Here’s the DIY.

11. DIY Chicken Wire Ghosts

Add a little glow to dark paint for keeping your chicken wire ghosts lit all night. Here’s the DIY.

12. Outdoor Chicken Wire Ghost

Cheesecloth ghosts and spooky lanterns may do the trick, but if you want a larger-than-life Halloween decor that is sure to get the ghostbuster crews knocking at your door, consider this DIY.

13. Ghost Dogs

At least one home in every neighborhood has a scary, ugly dog that drives off guests. Well, if you want those honors, consider making these barely-there dog impressions from chicken wire. Here’s the DIY.

14. Chicken Wire Cloche

Strange as it sounds, the chicken wire actually works great to keep off chickens from nibbling at your beloved perennials by creating a cloche! Get more details in this video.

15. Halloween Human Size Ghost

Made from gauze and wire, these lifelike ghosts are the perfect kind of front door decoration for greeting trick-and-treaters this Halloween. Or, you can hang them from the tree for jump scares. Find the instructions here.

Concrete is not just a building material. With it you can create wonderful works of art, too. The advantage: They will be waterproof, weather-resistant and very easy to make. Have a look at our small collection of amazing DIY concrete projects that would make your patio more appealing.

Creative DIY concrete projects

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

If you have anyway some concrete mix, one can make something beautiful such as weatherproof table decorations for your patio. A heavy rain or strong wind won’t harm or turn over a concrete candle holder or planter. But the possibilities for this versatile material don’t end here. You can also make birdbaths, stepping stones, tabletops and fire bowls. Find some inspirations in these creative projects below.

DIY concrete projects – Rhubarb leaf mold

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

You need an undamaged rhubarb leaf, sand and concrete mix. Place the leaf on the tapped, moistened pile of sand. Apply the concrete mix on the leaf. Spread quickly before it hardens. After it hardens, turn over carefully and remove the true leaf. With a glaze of cooking oil the rhubarb leaf can be very easily removed from the concrete. Otherwise, the leaf can stick to the concrete and may have to be brushed off with difficulty.

Concrete side table for your patio

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

You need to find some leaves of elephant’s еаr and an old table without a tabletop. Before the mold is filled, arrange the greenery on a plexiglas base. Stir sand into the concrete mixture and hide a layer of mesh to supply the necessary reinforcement.

Find out some more interesting DIY projects using concrete and molds!

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

My garden is my paradise, so I love to add some sculpture to it. This project is a personal endeavour that has been brewing in my mind for a while. Contrary to what you make think, sculpting is not as difficult as you may think if you give yourself a chance. I’ll provide you with a few key points to keep in mind and then you too can also add ‘sculptor’ to your resumé and make your own Concrete Face Garden Sculpture.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

I fell in love with the huge faces by Igor Mitoraj! They are not complete, somewhat flat and can be placed just about anywhere. It’s a great idea as it does not need to be so perfect or so complete.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

Step #1: Make a plan

As I usually do, I make some sketches to keep track of those many visions in my mind’s eye. This was not going to be a vessel or planter so it was really quite easy… Since it is a mask shape (halloween has many masks right now) you could possibly find one to make this project even simpler

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

Some memories of college crept back into my mind, drawing the planes of the face and basic proportions. You can always make an interpretation; be your own Picasso!

  • Notice that the face is 5 ‘eyes’ wide.
  • the nose ends about 1/2 way from eyes to the chin.
  • the lips are about 1/3 from nose to chin.
  • Take note of side view as well for comparison of depth

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

Step #2; Create a Substructure

To give myself a starting structure that is light and sturdy, easy to manipulate (no heavy duty tools) I used styrofoam. I used that type meant for home insulation and comes in large sheets as I find it cuts cleaner than the white type used in packaging.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

Plan the basic proportions on the styrofoam sheet. It cuts easily with a large exacto knife and glues quite well with a lower temperature glue gun. It was quite fun cutting and gluing, adding layers to also create the height of the facial features.

I wanted this DIY Concrete Face Garden Sculpture to be larger than life-size for maximum effect. Mine is about twice life-size; about 14″ wide by 18″ tall.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

Cut and glue and cut and glue, slowly getting more details. The face is symmetrical, and can be broken into planes. Think of the flat planes first and then add the smaller details.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

Check the depth of the nose and lips, use pictures as reference. Look in the mirror. It is quite an exploratory exercise.

Take a break and look at again with ‘fresh’ eyes to see what you may have not noticed before.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

Step #3; Add the ‘Skin’

Once I had the rough ‘face’, I needed to decide how this was going to go further… My plan was to be able to make a mold of the final sculpture, so I needed something that would harden without baking (styrofoam melts). Well, air dry clay recipes did not make me feel confident that they would be quite workable. So, I fell back to my usual, RapidSet concrete.

A true sculptor would argue with me, as it is a medium that does not allow subtractive work. But it sets quick, can be manipulated and is darn hard when done. So it was fine for me…

Mix up small amounts of the RapidSet Cementall (or similar quick setting cement) so that it does not set before you can use it up. It should be of a stiffer consistency that allows it to stay put. After about half a minute it will be a soft pliable ‘icing-like’ consistency.

If you need to continue and it has dried somewhat make sure to wet it (spray bottle works well) before adding wet concrete to it.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

This was like putting the ‘skin’ on since the basics were already done. Smooth it on, use the gloved hands, trowel, palette knife, plastic utensils, popsicle sticks, whatever you can scrounge up.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

It is just a matter of filling in the features. I was not that concerned that it was super smooth as I like the look of aged and pitted concrete as then it looks more like an ancient deteriorating sculpture of an old master artist… If you need some reference, grab a simple cheap Halloween mask to look at, all artists use reference materials.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

Those are some big lips! It was also easier to sculpt since it was so large.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

Eye lids, simple open eyes, remember eye balls are round…

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

There are so many different noses out there! Pointy, squared, up-turned… whatever you like.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

Use an old brush to get rid of any crumbles or brush on a thin layer to even out roughness.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

Whew, the face is sculpted! It will still be light and the concrete holds quite tight to the styrofoam. You could keep it like this, however I did not want the bulk of the back so I will take it to the next level.

This will become the ‘master’ for the mold! Stay tuned as it will be posted quite soon…

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam


I’m an artist & I make things. all kinds of things.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

You know those adorable concrete mosaic kits that they sell in all the big-box craft stores, the ones with all the stuff that you need to make one concrete mosaic, handprint optional, to put in your garden path in the spring? The ones that look really fun to make, and you’re pretty sure that the grandparents would just adore one made by your kids?

Yeah, you can make dozens and dozens of your own concrete mosaics for the same price as one of those mosaic kits, and even more cheaply, if you use found and natural objects for the mosaic tiles, and recycle plastic packaging for the concrete molds.

Seriously, the only material that you need to buy to make concrete mosaics is the concrete. And yes, you can buy fancy-pants mosaic concrete if you want to spend the money, but you can also head on down to your local mom and pop hardware store and just buy yourself some…concrete. That’s it. Whether it’s called concrete or cement, it’ll work, and it’s cheap, so I’m telling you right now to spring for the more expensive, higher-grade concrete. If you buy the cheapest concrete you’ll find yourself out in the yard for half the day sifting all the pebbles out of your concrete, and you just don’t need that kind of hassle.

You can also substitute cement mortar for the concrete, and frankly cement mortar is my favorite, because it doesn’t have the pebbles to sift out.

Before you spend money on concrete, it’s worth trying to Freecycle some–people rarely purchase just the right amount of materials for a particular project, and even a quarter of a bag of concrete is going to do you just fine.

To mix the concrete, get out an old bucket, an old cup, and a paint stirrer. Measure out an amount of concrete that will fill your mold (Do you know how to fill a mold with water and then pour it into a measuring cup to find the volume? Science in action!), and just enough tap water, a little at a time, to give the concrete a brownie batter-like consistency. This is actually the only part of the project that’s messy, since concrete mix is dusty, so do this on the porch.

While you’re Freecycling your concrete, see if anybody has any concrete mosaic molds that they’re looking to get rid of, but take-out containers, deli containers, silicon cake molds, and any crap plastic packaging that you’re stuck figuring out how to recycle also make perfect molds for mosaics. If you’re worried that your mosaic will stick to the mold (it probably won’t), grease it up a little first with cooking oil, lotion, or whatever you’ve got handy.

Scoop concrete into the mold, overfilling it slightly, and lift the mold up and thump it down a few times to release any air bubbles from the mix. Use your paint stirrer like a straight edge to scrape the concrete nice and flat and flush with the edge of the mold.

For mosaic tiles, take a walk around your house and gather up all the little loose bits and detritus of daily living, from beads and buttons to nuts and washers to game pieces and LEGOs. Your kids don’t play Hungry Hungry Hippos anymore? Take the marbles! They’re tired of making friendship bracelets? Grab the pony beads!

Thrift store plates, smashed to smithereens, also make excellent mosaic tiles, as do river rocks.

This is a really, really simple mosaic, basically the simplest there is and thus an excellent introduction to the art and a good project for beginners, so we’re not worrying about grout or any other nonsense. All you have to do is push each mosaic tile into the concrete until it’s flush with the top of the mold. As you can see from the photo, kids can do this, and you can do this at your living room table. It’s simple.

Slide your concrete mold somewhere out of the way (don’t try to carry it around yet!) for a few hours, then go over each mosaic tile with an old toothbrush to brush away any concrete bits. Later, when you’ve reached the curing time listed on your bag of concrete, go over the tiles again with a damp cloth to clean them off and shine them up. Give away your mosaics for Christmas, and plant them in your garden in the spring. Finally, you’ll have a nice place to stand while you admire the basil!

Rain chains, wind spinners for gardens, wind chimes, and much more: We love the way garden art transforms our surroundings! But how to protect outdoor items from damage caused by exposure to the elements? Whether you’ve purchased your treasures from Happy Gardens or elsewhere, we’d like to help you learn how to preserve them and help them last longer.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

Out of interest, here are some of our best selling metal garden products:

Protecting Metal Garden Art

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

All of our metal products are made of steel with a powder coated finish, which provides protection from the elements while resisting fading, chipping, corrosion, and other signs of wear. While powder coating is long-lasting and much harder than traditional paint, no finish lasts forever! That’s why we recommend that you treat your garden treasures to a coat of clear polyurethane before displaying them, and repeat the process from time to time to keep the finish looking new.

While polyurethane can be applied with a brush, you may find it far simpler to use spray polyurethane, which comes in your choice of matte or glossy finishes. Inexpensive and easy to use, it goes on in seconds and dries quickly. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safety and smooth application.

Quick tips for protecting metal from rust:

  • Clean the item with a lint-free cloth, even if it’s brand-new. It’s a good idea to treat your garden art to a quick wipe down with mineral spirits, too. This will remove any residue that might prevent the polyurethane from bonding to the item’s surface.
  • Protect your work surface with a dropcloth and lay the item flat.
  • Apply one light coat of polyurethane to the exposed surface, and then allow it to dry.
  • Flip the item over and apply a light coat of polyurethane to the opposite side.
  • Repeat the process a second time for added protection.
  • Once all sides have been protected, display your item!

Remember to repeat your polyurethane treatment at least once a year. With a little bit of extra finish and a few minutes of your time, your metal garden art will provide many years of enjoyment. If possible, bring your items in to a temperature-controlled area during freezing weather. They’ll last even longer, and you’ll spend less time maintaining them.

What If I Notice Rust?

Polyurethane clear coats do a great job of preventing rust, but outdoor décor can sometimes be subject to impacts that damage the finish and leave metal exposed to the elements. It’s a good idea to inspect your metal garden art periodically. The sooner you catch damage, the easier it is to repair, and the longer you’ll be able to enjoy your favorite pieces.

There are many ways to get rid of rust. You can try using a commercial rust remover or rust converter, or you can soak your item in white vinegar to dissolve the rust. Once you’ve gotten your item back to bare metal, dry it and apply a protective coat of polyurethane. Be sure to let it dry before exposing your art to the elements.

Protecting Stone, Cement, Ceramic, and Resin Garden Art

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

Stone, cement, terra-cotta, porcelain, ceramic, and resin are common materials used in garden art, such as stone statues.While these offer quite a bit of durability, they can crack when exposed to freezing temperatures – particularly if they’re damp. Dry them in a protected area before freezing weather arrives, and store them in a temperature-controlled environment if possible.

Resin art is prone to fading. Consider keeping colorful items in an area that receives shade most of the day, or treat them to two coats of polyurethane. Choose a brand with UV protection, which will help keep colors bright. Scrub resin art with soap and water before applying the polyurethane. Let it dry completely before applying the first coat. Be sure to get the poly into all the nooks and crannies! Once it’s dry, apply a second coat. Let it cure for about 24 hours before placing it in the garden.

A few more tips for protecting garden art and outdoor items from the elements:

  • Don’t stack pots together without placing a protective layer of cardboard or newspaper between them; they’re prone to cracking when it’s time to separate them and use them the following season.
  • Spray paint can work wonders for a variety of items – even cheap plastic pots can benefit! Choose a finish that you like, clean the item well, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for applying the finish you’ve chosen.
  • Consider purchasing covers for your outdoor furniture or outdoor wall art features , and it’ll last longer. Store cushions in a dry, protected area during inclement weather and over the winter.
  • Metal patio furniture is easy to refinish. Be sure to sand it before applying a new finish, since old, chipped paint can prevent your new finish from staying put.
  • Wood items such as planters, furniture and outdoor painted birdhouses should be treated to an appropriate sealant periodically. There are many options available, so it’s a good idea to conduct a little research and decide how you’d like to proceed. For example the cottage birdhouse may be different to the decorated birdhouses.

It takes a little time to protect outdoor items from the elements, but the results are well worth the effort. Remember, if you have any questions about how to protect and preserve your garden art, reach out! We’re here to help!

Successfully form a concrete planter with QUIKRETE® 5000. This piece can be a great design element for your home or repurposed as an ice cooler for parties and events.

Project Instructions

When working with cement-based products, always wear eye protection and waterproof gloves.

Step 1
Cut 3 pieces of the rigid foam to fit inside the cabinet. Leave about 1 ½” to 2” of space between the foam and the cabinet.

Step 2
Mark and measure where to drill the hole for the spigot. Measure the distance from the edge of the cabinet to the top of the foam. Mark that distance on the exterior side of the cabinet and where the center of the hole should be.

Step 3
Drill through the cabinet at the marks and insert the pipe.

Step 4
Use a knife to cut away the foam to make room for the pipe.

Step 5
Use duct tape and silicone caulk to seal the pipe to the foam and the edge of the cabinet.

Step 6
On the inside of the cabinet, mark a line about 2” above the top of the foam insulation. This will serve as a guide for pouring the concrete.

TIP: If necessary, before mixing and pouring the concrete, brace the cabinet with a ratchet strap, to keep the concrete from pushing out the sides.

Step 7
Mix the concrete until it reaches the consistency of wet cookie dough.

Step 8
Pour the concrete. Make sure that it reaches the corners and fills under and around the pipe.

TIP: Use a stick or a pipe to push the concrete down into the form.

Step 9
After pouring the concrete, use a hammer to shake and vibrate the mold.

Step 10
Place the plywood on top of the wet concrete and push it down, so that it is flush with the surface of the concrete. It may be necessary to put a heavy object on top, to keep it from floating.

Step 11
Let the concrete cure for at least four days before removing the form.

TIP: While the concrete is curing, cover it with a plastic sheet to control the moisture level.

Step 12
After the concrete has cured, remove the cabinet mold. Make sure not to crack or damage the concrete in the process.

Step 13
Then, remove the foam insulation using a knife and prybar.

Step 14
Screw the spigot on and seal it with silicone or latex caulk.

Step 15
Screw the wheels to the plywood and flip the piece over.

Shopping List

  • 80 lb QUIKRETE® 5000 Concrete Mix
  • 2″ Thick XPS Rigid Foam Insulation
  • 1/2″ Brass Pipe
  • Heavy Duty Casters
  • 3/4″ Plywood
  • Caulk
  • Glue
  • 1/2″ Spigot (optional)
  • Ratchet Strap (optional)
  • Old Cabinet
  • Stick or pipe
  • Crow bar
  • Hammer
  • Pencil or Pen
  • Waterproof Gloves
  • Safety Glasses

More From QUIKRETE ®

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam


– Technical Data
– Application Instructor
– Get more details

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam


How much do you need?
– Concrete Slabs
– Masonry Walls
– Set Posts
– Seal Cracks and Joints

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam


Subscribe now to get updates on products, offers and all things QUIKRETE ® !

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam


Subscribe now to get updates on products, offers and all things QUIKRETE ® !

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam


Free Download! With one-touch product and project information for homeowners and professionals.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam


View commercial projects built on QUIKRETE ® products.

Related To:

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

Garden Ball Washer Beauty

A beautiful gazing ball adds a multi-season accent to the garden, reflecting its surroundings and adding light and sparkle. Here’s a fun project creating garden art that will last many years.

A beautiful gazing ball adds a multi-season accent to the garden, reflecting its surroundings and adding light and sparkle. Here’s a fun project creating garden art that will last many years.

Materials Needed:

  • bowling ball
  • sandpaper or sanding block
  • silicon sealant or epoxy adhesive
  • painter’s tape
  • length of string, at least as long as the width of the ball
  • large rubber band
  • chalk
  • decorative embellishments (metal washers, glass beads, mirrors, ceramic tile, marbles)

Prepare the gluing surfaces.

Sand the bowling ball and wipe it clean to remove dust.

For better adhesion, lightly sand one side of embellishments that have smooth finishes.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

Sand Garden Ball

Find the ball’s widest point.

1. Place a rubber band around the bowling ball to find the widest part of the bowling ball. Once you have found the center of the ball, mark it with chalk (image 1).

2. Wrap the length of string and wrap it around the bowling ball along the chalk line. Cut string where the ends meet. This will give you the circumference of the bowling ball at its widest point.

3. Lay the string down in a straight line, and place the embellishments alongside it. This will help you know how much space to allow between each embellishment on the ball.

I love anything that has an “old-world” look, and I’ve always admired the ancient-looking concrete water troughs that I’ve seen around Europe. Many of them have been converted into garden art or planters that grace the gardens and town squares of quaint villages.

But, around here, concrete troughs usually have three significant disadvantages: They are hard to find, they’re expensive, and they are very heavy. So today, I’m sharing how I recently made my very own “old-world,” lightweight(ish) concrete trough.

Start With A Styrofoam Box

This project is not my brainchild. I found the method years ago in a magazine – most likely Better Homes and Gardens or Martha Stewart Living. What I loved about it was that these concrete-wrapped Styrofoam planters were lighter than similar planters made entirely out of concrete. And it seemed like a great way to repurpose a Styrofoam container.

Back when I first came across the magazine article, I tried the method using a small rectangular Styrofoam box. After many years, that smaller concrete planter is still holding up very well (although it’s actually too small to be of any practical use and has been relegated to the no-man’s-land behind the garage).

For this recent project, though, I used a much larger Styrofoam shipping box that had been taking up space in our basement for some time. I’d been saving it because, measuring at 32″ X 13″ X 10″, it was just the right size to serve as the inner core for a small concrete trough.

These DIY concrete planters are simple to make in just a weekend and with materials you may already have around the house. They look modern with unique shapes that come straight from the recycling bin! Grab just a few supplies and let’s make concrete garden pots!

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

I made these concrete planters many years ago, and have since made many more for gifts and to decorate my home garden.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

At the time I didn’t write out the whole tutorial with steps and materials, so here it is. I know you’ll enjoy this project in your garden as much as I have.

What Kind of Concrete Should I use for Concrete Planters?

Before you start grabbing bags of concrete from the local home improvement store…stop! You’ll need to find topping or repair concrete rather than your standard mix.

The reason for this is that standard concrete has gravel in it. These larger stones will affect the overall look and function of your DIY planters.

Instead, look for a smooth concrete made of sand without large rocks. This is typically the type of concrete used to repair concrete or as a top coat for rough surfaces. As long as the planter isn’t huge, this will be the best concrete to choose.

How to Make Concrete Planters

You’ll be plesantly surrpised at how easy these planters are to make.


  • Plastic containers to use as concrete molds—choose all sorts of shapes for the molds, but make sure that the plastic is strong enough to hold the shape of heavy concrete. If the sides of the container are too flimsy, they will warp and you will get some weirdly-shaped planters (although they may also turn out kind of fabulous!).
  • Cooking oil – we’ll use this to grease the molds, so it doesn’t need to be anything fancy.
  • Foam brush
  • Fine concrete – see notes above
  • Trowel
  • Rocks
  • Drill
  • Concrete drill bit

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

Make it!

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

Thoroughly grease the containers with cooking oil so that the concrete doesn’t stick. I’ll write it again for emphasis: thoroughly. It can be tough to get the concrete out of the molds, so take some time and grease them up well.

You will thank me later. 😉

Mix the concrete by following the instructions on the package. Next, scoop concrete into a large mold and set a second, smaller mold into the first one. Make sure that you grease both the outside and the inside of the smaller mold.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

You can fill the smaller one with more concrete and insert an even smaller mold in that one. Keep going until the planters get too small and fill the final one with some pebbles to weigh it down.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

Top up all of the planters with more concrete and tap them to remove bubbles. Smooth the surface so they even out.

It’s important not to skip this step as bubbles will create weak points in the planter which can lead to cracking and breaking.

Let the concrete planters dry for 24 hours. Unmold them by shaking the concrete loose, or cutting it away where it is too difficult to remove. It may take a bit of work, but if they were well oiled this is where you will thank me.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

I have used the same containers many times over now, so it is possible to get them out with some upside-down shaking.

Now, let the containers cure for another week or so to ensure that they are fully ready for drilling. Use a concrete drill bit to drill a hole into the bottom of the planter for drainage.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

Plant them up with some succulents or your favourite annuals and keep them well watered. Set them around the garden and enjoy!

FAQs About Concrete Planters

Concrete pigment or dye is the easiest way to stain your planters. I made a version of these planters with concrete dye layers for my book, Garden Made.
How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

Yes, you’ll need drainage holes in these planters. There are two ways you can do this. Each has its merits and both require some finicky work.

Firstly, you can follow the method mentioned above with drilling holes into the bottom of your planter.

Secondly, you an add PVC pipe for drainage, which is what I did in the colorful planters above.

The PVC pipe requires measuring it and cutting it to the right height to go from the inside planter to the outside one. Oil it well and pour the concrete around it.

With the PVC pipe, you will inevitably be chipping at it (or drilling it!) to get the excess concrete out of the hole, so choose your method based on what you have on hand.

More Garden Projects with Concrete

  • Leaf Print Stepping Stones
  • Adorable Hopscotch Stepping Stones
  • Large Leaf Cast Stepping Stones

Or you can visit my other concrete garden projects. Happy creating!

N ichols Bros. Stoneworks is one of the nations leading manufacturers of cast concrete garden statuary. From common pieces such as gnomes, birdbaths and wall hangings to our extremely innovative creations of birdwatching cats, dogs with guitars and latte kitties our line of garden statuary is unsurpassed. Bringing joy and whimsy to gardeners all across the country for over 30 years, Nichols Bros. Stoneworks is proud to offer the full compliment of our statuary items on-line. We are currently revising our online presence, and our Garden Statuary is also available on our second online store, located here:

“Every casting of Nichols Bros. Stoneworks garden statuary is created in durable, long lasting stone. These pieces are designed to last outdoors in all weather conditions for years to come. As opposed to resin and fiberglass garden art, Nichols Bros. Stoneworks’ concrete castings will bring happiness to your garden or patio for several years.”

Nichols Bros. Stoneworks casts its garden statuary on site at our production facility located in Snohomish, WA. USA. After removal from the mold the items can be stained to enhance the individuality and personality of the casting. Pieces are available in five colors, the Antique Gray, (cements natural color), Weathered Bronze (Green/Yellow Tint), Dark Walnut (Brown), Terra Cotta (Orange Tint) and Copper Patina (Sky Blue).

Having our own mold shop on site allows Nichols Bros. Stoneworks to create new items to keep our line fresh and interesting. Our sculptor is always on the lookout for new and interesting pieces to create to add to the Nichols Bros. Stoneworks collection.

Nichols Bros. Stoneworks packages its garden statuary in custom made, foam fitting boxes for shipping with UPS or Fed Ex. Larger orders can be shipped on a pallet via common carrier truck line. Most orders ship in a matter of days and reach their destination within 8-10 days. Larger, pallet size orders typically take 2-3 weeks.

The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation (R) cast stone gift items are also reproduced by Nichols Bros. Stoneworks and are available under authorization of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. Nichols Bros. Stoneworks has had the exclusive rights to produce these fine Frank Lloyd Wright stone ornaments for over three decades.

Making your own DIY concrete stepping stones is a way to create functional art for the floor of your garden. Stepping stones are necessary for being able to move throughout the garden without disrupting the soil, but they also create focal points and structure, and add a little bit of personality! Learn how to use concrete to make six different kinds of DIY stepping stones for your garden pathways.How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

The Best Concrete to Make Stepping Stones

Not all concrete is created equal. Some concrete has large chunks of gravel to give it extra strength when creating large slabs, frames, or sidewalks. Unless your pavers are meant to be quite large, it’s best to choose a finer concrete mix that doesn’t contain large gravel pieces. The concrete you want is usually sold as “repair concrete.” This finer textured concrete will give you a smooth look and takes decorative imprints much better.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

How to Mix Concrete

When you purchase dry concrete it will have instructions for mixing it on the package. You can find ready-made concrete in home improvement stores in smaller batches. Ready-made concrete is good for repair jobs or doing just a few stepping stones, but it’s much more expensive. If you want to make a larger number of concrete projects, then mixing your own is the way to go. You don’t have to use the whole bag at once. You can mix up as much concrete as you need for your project and store the rest in a dry area indefinitely.


  • Repair concrete
  • Large bucket or wheelbarrow
  • Old trowel for mixing repair concrete or
  • Concrete mixer
  • Water
  • Safety glasses, gloves, dust mask

Make it!

Get started by collecting your materials. You’ll want to use a large bucket or a wheelbarrow to mix your concrete in. A trowel makes a good mixing tool, but you can also get a special concrete mixer. The items you choose to use when making concrete will take a lot of wear and tear and may never be completely clean of the concrete residue, so choose items that you don’t mind getting dirty. Also, keep in mind that concrete is corrosive and so it’s best to use proper safety protection when mixing. Safety goggles will protect your eyes from splashes, gloves will protect the skin on your hands, and a dust mask will protect your lungs. Safety first!

To mix your own concrete, measure out some of the dry powder in your bucket or wheelbarrow. Add water as per the instructions on the bag of concrete. I like to add a little less than the instructions suggest, then mix the concrete and adjust the consistency by adding more water for a looser mix, and more concrete powder for a dryer mix.

If you are pouring concrete into molds, the mix should be looser so that it pours and settles into the form. In most stepping stone projects, however, you’ll want the concrete mix to be the consistency of wet sand. It should hold together in your hands well but not crumble or spill.

DIY Concrete Stepping Stones

Now on to the projects! Here are a bunch of concrete stepping stone ideas to get you started. Follow the links for detailed instruction how to make each type of cement stepping stone.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

1. Round Stone Mosaic Stepping Stones

These round stepping stones can be made with any mosaic pattern you can think of. I made them with numbers to become a hopscotch path in my backyard play garden. See How to Make Hopscotch Stepping Stones.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

2. Square Leaf Print Stepping Stones

These stones can be made from the contents of your recycling bin! Choose plastic tubs or even pizza boxes for cement molds and make square stepping stones following these instructions: How to Make Leaf Imprint Stepping Stones.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

3. Round Leaf Print Stepping Stones

Follow the instructions for making the Hopscotch Stepping Stones but use the Leaf-Imprint Stepping Stones to decorate them.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

4. Monogrammed Stepping Stones

My crafty friend, Kimberly, came up with the idea to make these Monogrammed Stepping Stones when we were crafting together one day. Simply get a foam letter and oil it well, press into the form, and voila!

5. Store-Bought Stepping Stone Molds

If you have something specific in mind, you can probably find a stepping stone mold that is pre-made and ready for concrete. From sand dollars to butterflies to Celtic designs and even a giant paw print, there is sure to be one to fit your garden. Just remember that you can only make one at a time with each mold. If you are making only one stepping stone, this is a quick and easy way to go. If you plan to make a whole pathway, it could be a more expensive or lengthy task.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

6. Large Leaf Cast Stepping Stones

Forget the form, you can just pick a big leaf from your garden and mound concrete on it! Okay, there is a bit more to it than that. Read all about How to Cast Large Leaves as Stepping Stones.

By: Louise Harding

Always use latex in a ventilated area.

Use fake rocks in a garden for decoration or to conceal spare house or shed keys. Use fake rocks made from plastic latex in planters or indoor plant pots as well. You can make fake rocks easily from a clay mold and liquid latex casting compound. After you master the latex molding technique, you can make a variety of fake rocks and experiment with different sizes. Choose a palm-size rock with lots of definition to make a mold from which to make your first fake rock.

Measure the rock’s height. Locate a box that is at least 1 inch wider, 1 inch longer and 1 inch deeper than the rock. Press oil-based, sulfur-free modeling clay into the box until the clay is 1 inch deeper than the rock. Sulfur reacts chemically with the latex molding plastic. Wet your fingers and evenly smooth the clay’s surface.

Press the rock into the clay until just the very bottom of the rock protrudes from the clay. Because the rock will rest on the ground or in soil, you can make a one-part, press mold that is easy to make and use. Wiggle the rock slightly to lift the rock out of the clay.

Pour 1 cup of latex molding compound, also called liquid latex casting compound, mask latex or slush latex, into a container. Purchase latex at craft, hobby and mask supply stores.

Pour 1/4 cup of dark brown or dark gray latex-based paint into the latex. The Costumer’s Manifesto website maintains that mixing the colorant, or latex-based paint, directly into the liquid latex is the only way to eliminate paint from eventually flaking off or drying and cracking. Mix the paint and latex well with a plastic spoon.

Add more paint, 1/4 cup at a time, until you reach the color desired for your fake rock. If you add more than 1/4 cup of paint, also add 1/8 cup latex compound per additional amounts of paint. Too much paint will compromise the latex.

Pour latex molding compound into the clay mold, filling the mold completely. Monster Makers website explains that latex casting compound is a room temperature setting latex that transforms into a solid product without the application of a heat source.

Allow the latex compound to congeal within the mold for about an hour. Turn the mold over and pour the excess latex into the latex container. An outer, hollow shell or skin remains within the mold. Allow this latex to dry for about 48 hours. You can make a solid fake rock by leaving the latex in the mold instead of pouring off the slush, but this can take a week to dry completely.

Remove the latex plastic rock from the clay mold by carefully peeling the clay away and lifting the fake rock out. Turn the fake rock over with the hollow core resting on a flat surface. Allow the fake rock to air dry until completely dry to the touch.

Dip a sea sponge into black latex-based paint. Dab the sponge onto the fake latex plastic rock to create textured surface color. Allow the paint to dry.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

25 DIY Garden Projects Anyone Can Make

Making DIY garden projects for an inviting outdoor space is fun. I love to sit outside in the evening, especially when the weather is good. This time of the year is ideal for outdoor activities. So, today I am sharing easy to construct garden projects that anyone can make.

These projects are also great for any size backyard. Some of them are just perfect for a small space as well as a big yard. There are so many DIY garden projects you can make for your outdoor space.

What garden projects to make for outdoor space?

Some ideas in this post include:

1. Raised garden beds

2. Build a tree bench

3. Decorative bird cage

4. Scented candles

5. Air conditioner fence

6. DIY bird bath

7. Rain waiter barrel

9. Garden chandelier

10. Stone garden pathway

11. Garden potting tip

12. DIY greenhouse

13. Wooden garden swing

14. Pallet garden table

15. Garden walkway using pallets

16. Pallet garden tools organizer

17. Square foot planting templates

18. Seed containers

20. Make a wind chime or wind bell

21. DIY garden markers

22. Stone border for landscaping

23. Garden bed edging

24. DIY Indoor planter box

Let’s get started with the must have outdoor space DIY garden projects.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

Outdoor mosaics must be made on concrete or stone or masonry, but that doesn’t mean you have to pour a concrete slab or do some other form of heavy construction.

Flagstones (flat paving stones) and concrete stepping stones are readily available at building material stores and lawn and garden centers. The flagstones are great if you want a natural irregular shapes, and the molded stepping stones are great for square and rectangular shapes.

Of course, thinset mortar must be used to attach the tiles, but that isn’t difficult to do, especially if you lay your mosaic up in advance on mosaic mounting tape or mounting paper.

The last section of this article explains why you shouldn’t use plywood, Hardibacker, or (sometimes) even concrete backer board.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam Flagstones for use as mosaic backers are available at lawn and garden centers. The “Lethe” mosaic pictured at the beginning of this article was made on a similar piece of flagstone.


Flat irregularly-shaped flagstones are perfect for making a mosaic “relic” such as fragment of an ancient Roman floor mosaic.

The only potential problem is for the stone to break if it is very large. This problem can be solved by cementing a piece of expanded metal or several plies of hardware cloth (metal mesh) to the backside of the flagstone.

You can even laminate several flagstones together to make a thicker “tombstone” that could stand vertically without breaking. This would be done simply by putting thinset mortar between them to make a sandwich. If possible, I would include a few plies of hardware cloth in that sandwich, but the thinset by itself is probably strong enough.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam Flagstone reinforced with expanded metal on the back side. Note that this would need a second coat of thinset mortar to totally encase the steel to prevent rusting. I would probably cover the entire stone in thinset to make the color consistent.

Tip for selecting flagstones:

Avoid thinner stones and types of stone that tend to break easily. (Of course that means slate is probably a poor choice.) You can get a feel for what varieties break easily by paying attention to the piles of flagstone at the lawn and garden center.

Stepping Stone Bases

If you prefer a square base with straight edges, these are perfect, although they also come in circles and rectangles and other shapes. I prefer square because you can make different mosaics on different stones and then put them together in a “crazy quilt” pattern similar to what Victor Kobayashi did for his mosaic patio.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam Mosaic Stepping Stone Patio by Victor Kobayashi. Each square in the quilt was its own design made at leisure. In this way, the project advanced as time allowed instead of being one master project executed on a schedule with contractors and little opportunity for real art. How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam Cindy’s Garden Mosaic makes great use of contrasting colors in intense hues.

A Case Study

Cindy from Wisconsin made this very colorful mosaic for her garden using a piece of Hardibacker as the base. This presents two problems: The vulnerability of the Hardibacker to mold and moisture being the first problem, and how to support the mosaic.

One way to minimize the risks of mold and freezing rain would be to seal the sides and back with multiple applications of a tile and grout sealer, but outdoor paint might be even more effective since paint is an actual coating. I would also install the mosaic in a way that allowed moisture to drain away from the backer.

There are many ways to install and support a mosaic such as this, and the simplest way might be merely to lean it against a fence with the bottom of the mosaic resting on a couple of bricks to ensure that it wasn’t sitting in damp soil. Other options include stacking bricks or fieldstone to form a support the mosaic could lean against.

BUT, all of these would require some clever use of vegetation or stones or something to make the mosaic look integrated with the garden and less like a board with nothing behind it. That is why I prefer flagstones as bases for steles and “tombstones” and other freestanding vertical mosaics.

What Not To Use And Why

Plywood, Hardibacker, and even concrete backer board each have problems that prevent them from being used as backers for outdoor mosaics.

Plywood cannot be sealed well enough for it to be used as a backer for an outdoor mosaic. Humidity will eventually make it warp and crack grout and pop tiles off. By eventually, I mean surprisingly soon unless you live in a desert.

Hardibacker is great for indoors, but it does contain cellulose fibers that would be vulnerable to mold and moisture wicking. (When installed indoors, the sides and bottoms aren’t exposed to moisture, and that is why Hardibacker is a great backer for inside tile work but not for outdoors.)

Regular concrete backer board is durable outdoors if sealed to prevent penetration by freezing rain, but its edges are crumbly, and it will sag and warp if not supported.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

Using History Stones concrete sphere molds is not only an affordable and simple option for creating garden art, but you may customize your creations by using concrete colorants, stains, mosaics. The ideas are endless!

Concrete spheres have been used for ages as finials on posts, pillars and walls and now often find themselves as architectural relics in all styles of gardens from country cottages to classic European estates, scattered about as though they have been nearby for ages. Using History Stones concrete molds is not only an affordable and simple option for creating garden art, but you may customize your creations by using concrete colorants, stains, mosaics.

The Small Column Base or Acanthus Crown molds make a nice base for your spheres.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

10″ Concrete Sphere Mold

The 10″ concrete sphere mold is a plastic mold for concrete or hypertufa spheres. Make your own garden globes using these easy to use molds.

* Strong, easy to use mold will create many spheres

* Use mold to create two halves of sphere and mortar two cured concrete halves together for complete sphere

10″ Diameter Sphere Mold

10″ Diameter Sphere Mold

Material: .080″ high quality ABS for long term use

Mailbox Designs

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam



For years, stucco contractors have tried to produce simulated concrete and stucco mailboxes that would last. The technology used was quite primitive, but was the generally accepted process to simulate masonry mailboxes

The inherent problem with traditional thick coat stucco applied over Styrofoam (EPS – Expanded Polystyrene) was the brittle nature of the coating. Any impact would create fractures in the stucco and allow the foam to break loose from the structure.Repairs are usually futile and hard to hide. The hairline cracks allow moisture to invade the foam and cause the stucco to delaminate from the foam base.

Many older mailboxes had metal corner beads embedded in the stucco. Over a period of time, rust spots develop as the moisture penetrates the stucco.

The New Era in EPS Stucco Look Mailbox Fabrication

We have now entered a new era in foam fabrication. Technology has changed, as has the attitude with regard to EPS Foam products. EPS Foam is no longer considered an “imitation or fake” material, but rather a versatile construction media that has more, creative applications than ever. The key to any EPS product is the finishing process. The material that is used to protect and preserve the EPS Foam core is critical. As described earlier, just applying a thick layer of stucco over the foam is a temporary finish at best.With the advent of new coating materials specifically designed for EPS Foam, we now are able to produce a mailbox that will last a lifetime and will resist most incidental impacts. The key is the coating.

In our manufacturing process, we start with a rough cut mailbox body using 1.5 lb. high density EPS Foam. The base is cut and hand assembled along with any desired architectural accents such as trim moldings, bands, keystones or special features. Standard mailboxes are fabricated to accept a T-1 Aluminum Mailbox insert with exterior flag which is included. Once the structure is assembled it is sent to the coating area. Here the entire fabricated structure is encapsulated in a Poly Urea coating. This special coating seals the structure and prevents water infiltration as well as provides a base coat that has flexibility to resist impact damage to the foam core. While we can’t guarantee this, these mailboxes have been known to “bounce” off of cars when struck. The homeowner simply set it back in its pad and did a little paint touch-up. Once cured, the structure is textured to the desired finish . We do offer an optional Painting , delivery and Installation service at Customer’s cost.

Mailboxes should be installed to be “break away”, which means there is no permanent post or structure embedded in the mailbox core and anchored into the ground. The mailbox is placedon grade, leveled and plumbed, checked for USPS requirements for height and placement and encased in a concrete pad around the bottom of the mailbox base at ground level. This pad is a perimeter band of concrete around the base that is 4” Wide and 4” Thick. Once installed, our mailboxes will give you years of service.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

Garden statuary, bird baths, and fountains are fun and decorative additions to the landscape but just like the garden, they require maintenance. How do you clean a garden statue? Cleaning garden sculptures requires ingredients found in your kitchen, some elbow grease, and little else. Begin by washing sculptures in the garden with plain tap water, a gentle spray from the hose should do it. Read on to find out what to clean garden statues with.

What to Clean Garden Statues With?

For items such as fountains, chlorine tabs make quick work of cleaning, but cleaning garden sculptures is going to require a bit more effort. First of all, there is no need to purchase expensive cleansers when cleaning garden decorations. You will find everything you need in your household cleaning closet.

Whether the statue is made of bronze, concrete, wood, or marble, all you should need are a few drops of liquid dish soap mixed with water. Be sure that the soap is nontoxic so it doesn’t kill your plants. Some sites recommend using vinegar and water, but acidic vinegar can ruin some materials, such as marble, so it’s best to stick with the soap and water when cleaning garden sculptures.

Avoid using chemical cleansers when washing sculptures in the garden, as they may damage or kill surrounding plants and/or tarnish the sculpture.

How Do You Clean a Garden Statue?

Don’t attempt to clean statuary, especially concrete sculptures, if temperatures are near or below freezing. Concrete absorbs moisture and is likely to crack as it expands. Start by spraying the garden statue with a sprayer nozzle attached to a garden hose. Don’t get out the power washer! The forceful spray may damage the statue, especially if it is small or painted. If the sculpture is small and delicate, dispense with the hosing and use a soft paint brush to gently remove dust and debris.

Once you have rinsed off the largest debris and grime, mix up a batch of dish soap and water. Just a few drops of environmentally friendly soap to a bucket of water will be sufficient. Depending upon the level of grime, use either a soft cloth or a scrub brush to remove stains and dirt. Gently rinse the soap from the statue and either wipe dry with a soft cloth or allow to air dry.

For the most part, cleaning your garden statues is just that simple, although there are a few limitations depending upon material. If the statue is made of wood, be sure to wash with the grain of the wood and raise the statue off the ground so it can dry thoroughly. If a statue is made of iron, scrape the metal with sandpaper and then, using a wire brush, wash with soap and water.

Lastly, if your garden statuary is made from bronze, you may need to apply a thin coat of wax after the statue has been washed and dried. Use a clear wax, not car wax, and buff it once the wax has dried to make your statue shine.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

This is a reader-supported site. When you buy through links on this site, I may earn an affiliate commission. Thanks for your support! 🙂

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoam

African Animals Pattern Set.
Save $10
when you buy this three-pattern set. Use the patterns to create memorable gifts, or to bring a little bit of Africa to your own home

Today’s post is by Warren Eggleton, a reader from Australia. Warren has been experimenting with the idea of altering the basic paper mache clay recipe by adding Portland cement. He’s making huge pots with the mixture, along with some of the original paper mache clay, and it looks really promising. You can see how he makes the pots below.

Warren says:

Jonni, I have had some success with the cement paper clay mix which is:

  • 1.75 CUPS CEMENT
  • ¾ CUP PVA


This mixture is quite similar in consistency to your clay mix, not quite as good but ok.

I mixed an 8 roll batch of this mix, the temp was 32c =89f, it took me 1.5 hours to get this applied to the pot armature and I just finished as it was starting to stiffen.

I did one since then where the temp was down to 23c=73f and I had some left over and it was still workable after 2 hours. As we are coming into summer the next big pot that I do will be done with 2- 4 batch mixes. So depending on where you live the work time for the mix will need to be obtained first.

This mix does not harden as quickly as the paper clay because the cement needs time to cure, when it does, which may take a week it is very hard and dense.

I tried some acrylic instead of the PVA and found it not to be a workable as the PVA mix.

Once this mix has set completely I don’t think water is going to have much effect on it, though I would not immerse it in water.

As far as waterproofing is concerned I did some samples using Potassium Silicate diluted 1 part to 4 parts of water. This needs to be spray applied (I used one of those kitchen spray bottles) apply a good wet coat, leave for 24 hours and then another wet coat, apply a third coat the next day, you should find that this coat takes a long tome to soak in, if after ½ hour it is still wet wash off the surplus with water, if you don’t the surface will remain slippery. For the next 3 days wet the object down with water, this causes the growth of calcium silicate crystals in the cement mix, which closes up voids in the mix creating waterproof barrier.

You can also use Sodium Silicate. The Potassium Silicate I used is called Kasil from PQ Corporation. Sodium Silicate is what was commonly called Waterglass.

I purchased 20L delivered from Melbourne to Sydney some 500 miles total cost $165Aus. Rather cheap considering this will make 100L when diluted.

If the cement mix is to be the final finish and it is to be painted I would recommend using white cement.

How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoamStart of the armature (in my brewery) How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoamStarting to apply plaster How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoamArmature coated with joint compound How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoamArmature covered with foil then covered with masking tape. How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoamCement coat split for removal How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoamCement base joined How to create a garden sculpture with cement and styrofoamThis is the finished pot with your paper clay mix on the outside, waiting to be painted