How Are Concrete Statues Made?

Concrete statues make a great conversation piece for your outdoor space. However, they can be costly so you might want to make one yourself if time is not an issue.

A wireframe can be used to make a concrete sculpture, or you can cast one using a mold. Or, you can sculpt small shapes by hand. 

The mix for basic concrete for larger statues is 1 part cement, 1 portion coarse pebbles, and 2 parts sandbox soil. Medium and small statues will require more sand.

Let’s get into the details. We will be discussing how to make concrete molds, mix concrete, and design concrete statues. We will also discuss how to repair and sculpt your concrete masterpieces.

How do you make a concrete statue?

Concrete statues are easy to make. It’s also fun! A wireframe can be used to create a statue, or you can cast it with a mold. Or, you can sculpt a small concrete shape that is free-form.

Concrete is a mix of aggregate, cement, and water. An aggregate is a mixture or collection of materials. Concrete aggregates can include sand, vermiculite, and limestone dust.

Concrete is liquids so you can dip everything in it, then drape them on objects or frames and let them harden. Dip towels, crocheted doilies, and socks. Dip leaves and sticks.

Concrete can be poured into and around almost anything. You can immortalize your favorite pair of high tops, even if they are worn out. Or your beloved wellies.

You can make a wireframe using chicken wire. However, you might also find more wire mesh at your local hobby shop. Smoothen concrete over the frame. For large and heavy pieces, rebar is an option.

You can also use cement to create a free-form sculpture. Grab some concrete and form a shape. Let it dry. Use a knife or another sculpture tool to shape the form. You can add small pieces of glass, shells, or writing.

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Make a silicone mold from your favorite piece. Put the concrete in and voila!

This video shows how they used an old ball, wastebasket, and blanket to create a cement sculpture.

What is the Best Concrete for Sculpting?

Experts recommend Portland cement, such as Quikrete or Cement All, with some sandbox (fine and nice) sand added. Use small pebbles if you want to make a more coarse statue. You can reduce the amount of sand if you’re making a small, fine piece.

For a basic statuary mixture, you will need 1 part cement, 1 portion coarse pebbles, and 2 parts sandbox soil. Pebbles are not necessary if you’re making a large, intricately detailed statue. You can replace the pebbles with sand. The proportions should be 1 part cement to 3 portions sand.

Experts recommend that you reduce the amount of cement used to make a small piece. Or, don’t add sand.

Concrete sculptors believe creativity and willingness to experiment are the keys to success. Concrete is no exception to this rule. There are many types of concrete, as well as different mixes.

Many times, sculptors use multiple mixes for the base. They will use heavy concrete with coarse aggregate and then use finer concrete or cement for specific areas.

Each sculptor uses a different method to achieve their unique style. Experts suggest that beginners begin their first project by using a premixed bag of concrete. Then, go from there.

Wear gloves when mixing concrete as cement can be acidic. To protect your airways against fine silica dust, you might consider wearing a mask.

This video is for concrete statuary.

How do you make cement molds?

It is easy to create a mold from a piece of art and then reuse the mold. Many great latexes, fiberglass, and silicone products are available at hardware and hobby stores. There are also many videos that can be helpful.

It is not okay to copy someone else’s work for your own profit. You should always get permission from the artist to copy their work or create your masterpiece.

Next, create a waterproof box around your piece of art. To create the box, you can use waterproof materials like plastic, acetate, or melamine. You can also repurpose old containers at hobby stores.

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Make a base that is at least two inches larger than your artwork. To secure your artwork to the base, glue or use double-sided adhesive.

You can either cut walls to fit around the base or reuse a plastic container. Use a plastic container to glue the base. Use a silicone sealant to seal the edges of a melamine box. The box should be watertight.

Check for leaks by pouring water into the box. You can also pour water into your box to get an idea of how much silicone (like Smooth-On), you will need.

Many mold-making products include tutorial videos. Make sure you have good gloves after watching the videos and following the instructions. Mix the silicone. 

Most silicone products can be mixed with two compounds. Next, pour the silicone mixture into the mold and allow it to harden.

Once the mold is set, you can use your favorite concrete recipe to pour it or spoon it in. Be sure to reach all cracks. To release any air bubbles, vibrate the cement. Wait until the cement is set. Check your timing instructions.

To remove the cement art, you can make small cuts in the silicone mold. Experts recommend using a heat gun for softening the silicon. This makes it easier to mold.

This video shows you how to make a basic mold.

How do you glue concrete statues?

Special concrete repair products are available at many hobby and hardware stores. Concrete statues can be repaired more quickly than other types of statuary.

Clean the surface. Use water and a soft brush to remove any mold or leaves. Allow the statue to dry overnight. Refer to the epoxy or glue instructions and view the tutorial videos. Gloves may be required.

If you find a broken piece, glue it or epoxy it to the damaged side and press it in place. Apply epoxy to the piece if it is not there. Smoothen it with a putty knife.

After 15 minutes, epoxy or glue should be still soft enough to be able to use a putty blade to remove drips and ridges.

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Let the epoxy dry in a protected place for at least 24 hours. If possible, cover the statue with a cloth so that rain or dew don’t affect it.

How do you smooth concrete statues?

Experts recommend that concrete be smoothed while it is still being cured. Use wet/dry sandpaper or a bristle brush. Rub bricks are sometimes used by some sculptors.

You should be careful as you might overdo the smoothing and end up with gouges.

Spray some water onto concrete that is already dry and let it soak in. Use sandpaper, or a hand plane to smoothen the concrete. A belt, orbital, or palm sander can be used if you have them.

How do you reinforce concrete sculptures?

Concrete sculptures of large dimensions are usually made with wire or rebar. Sketches are the first step in concrete sculpting. Next, sketch out the design and then build a wire- or rebar version. Every bend should be reinforced with wire.

One sculptor described his wire version as an “armature”, consisting of short rebar rods covered with galvanized wire and tied with black tie wire. The base of the sculpture is concrete poured with a heavy aggregate.

Next, layer up to 3 inches worth of concrete over the wire design. Each layer can be dried for up to one week.

Concrete can absorb water up to 1.5 inches deep. Experts recommend sealing any sculpture that has less concrete than wire or rebar to prevent corrosion.

When you’re done, pour the concrete

Concrete can also be reinforced with fiberglass or nylon fibers (these mixtures will say GFRC, glass fiber reinforced concrete).

Here’s a hyperlink that explains how a concrete sculptor creates large reinforced designs.

Final Words

Concrete statues don’t need to be made in stone. ).

After you have drawn your statue, you can mix your concrete.

You can create stunning outdoor statuary using any method, regardless of your experience. Let’s get creative!

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