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on: July 30, 2012 01:17:26 PM 
Started by cmarion3, Message by cmarion3
Relevance: 54.1%
These are so much fun to make. I make them for our church craft fair and have them all over the garden.

I used regular acrylic, but found that certain colors faded. Since I have a motley collection of paint, I have no info on which ones faded. I've actually had more requests for plain ones.

I sealed with Behr Wet Look Sealer for patios and driveways. Gives a nice finished look. We've had one for several years now and as long as you turn it over in the fall so no water freezes it it, it may last forever!

I searched the web for Rhubarb leaf bird baths and found several tutorials. It's been years now, but I bet you find some good ones.

1. Start with a pile of damp sand on a level surface in the shade. Mound it up into an inverted bowl shape. I try to mimic the leaf shape without getting too fussy about it. Make sure that the leaf is bigger than the mold by at least a 1-2 inch margin.
2. Cover with plastic wrap or dry cleaners bags. this makes it easier to keep the sand out of the process. Then cover with leaf. Try to keep leaf from tearing as cement often seeps through tears. Overlap tears if this happens. I like the veiny or back side of the leaf up, it gives a deeper impression. The blue birdbath was made with the front of the leaf. The others with the back.
3. I use a ratio of 1 portland cement (not premixed, just regular) to 3 sand. Add some cement colorant for tints. Add water until it is workable, not too much now. It should hold together when you squeeze, but not ooze out.
4. Pat and shape the cement over your leaf to a depth of 1-1 1/2 inches or more overall. Watch the edges, don't get too thin. I like a fairly even edge, some like it to follow the leaf shape more. I build up a small base about 6-8 inches in diameter and make as flat as I can at the center top of the shape. Really depends on how you are going to use it. On the ground? On a pedestal? Shape as needed.
5. Cover with loose plastic sheeting, paint drop cloths, dry cleaner's bags or old shower curtains work well here and let cure for at least a week. Uncover and turn over. The leaf will be slimy and stuck pretty well, let dry another week and use a hose and a scrub brush to work out the bits and pieces. Don't be too rough, it's pretty well cured but you should still be able to use a rock to rub out uneven parts on the edges. I actually do the edges at one week , but you have to be careful. Let dry for another two weeks, under cover if possible before you paint.

I'm doing workshops next summer, it's a great item to put in our churches Goods and Services Auction. Lots of fun too.
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