Truth be told I was scared to start this project!
I stared at this revolutionary concrete mix for two weeks drowning in thoughts at the idea of sculpting something out if it! A little background on the subject… I have never ever attempted to work with clay or sculpt any sort of figure or object. The closest I got to sculpting was messing around with the clay wheel in high school for 2 hours. Let’s just say my first attempt was not successful.
Now that we have that out of the way, let me tell you what I had in mind for these head planters.
So.., I envisioned my concrete head planters to be angelic but grown up. HAHA! Sorry I couldn’t find any other way of describing it. Instead I got a dude that looks like a roman emperor and a cool girl with dread locks! Not bad! I’ll take that!
I think this shapecrete concrete mix helped A TON as far as this project not being a complete fail because, It’s so easy to work with!
Before we jump in to this DIY I want to say thank you to the folks at Sakrete Canada for sponsoring this project. They sent me a pail of Shapecrete to try and I’m so glad they did! I had way too much fun creating with it! The possibilities are endless with this stuff! ( already have more projects planed )
The first one took me about 2 hours to make and the second one was around 1.5 hours. I think the more you make the easier it is. Also.., I promise it’s a lot easier to make then it looks.
$30-$35 Keep in mind you’ll have concrete left over if you make only one planter. You can probably make a total of three planters from one pail of shapecrete depending on the size of your planters.
- Styrofoam head ( they sell male and female heads)
- bucket + mixing stick
- metal tube and some tape
- a plant or two
- Shapecrete Concrete Mix
If you are Canada based you can get the shapecrete here.
If you’re US based here’s a link to purchase the shapecrete.
Here are some affiliate links for Styrofoam heads.
Prepping your Styrofoam head!
To begin start by marking a circle around the top of the head. Make sure the circle looks even when looking at her head from the front.
Then use a knife to cut away the Styrofoam to make room for a plant.
If you want your planter to have a drainage hole insert a small hallow tube into the head. Tape it off a bit at the top to keep the concrete from entering the tube when you’ll be coating it. The tube will help your water drain without soaking into the Styrofoam. (video shows more footage.. Scroll down for video)
Mixing your concrete!
Next start by adding a little bit of water to your bucket and mix in the concrete. I used an old bucket that I got a while back from the $1 store and started with 1 cup of cold water. You can always mix more later. Make sure and wear gloves before working with concrete. It’s rough on the hands. To sculpt the face it’s best to have tight fitting gloves. If can’t get a hold of some fitted gloves use whichever gloves you can get as much as possible and once you get to the finer details like making the eyes and nose you can use bare hands for smoothing.
Here’s what the consistency of your concrete should look like once mixed.
Sculpting and creating the main facial features!
Okay now take chunks of concrete and start adding them to your Styrofoam head. Spread it out working your way all the way around keeping in mind where the eyes and nose originally were. Use your hands to do this. Your concrete coating should be about 1/2 inches in thickness all the way around. Don’t worry about it being perfect right now. You’ll be fixing that later.
Once you’ve cover the whole head in concrete use your hands and dip them in water before smoothing out the face. Don’t worry about staying to close to it’s original Styrofoam shape. Instead create your own face with the Styrofoam working as a base. Don’t use too much water for smoothing because, it becomes mushy and is hard to work with. I learned it works best if you sculpt the main features of the face before going into the details. I created my eyebrow arches, nose, cheeks and eye shape before going into the details.
To bring out her nose I added a small ball of concrete to the tip of her nose and smoothed it out with my fingers. Use a few drops of water to blend if needed.
Then I did the same with her eyebrow arches. (photo below is showing the arches before they were smoothed out.)
Here’s how they look after a little bit of smoothing out. (photo below)
How to add finer details to your head planter!
A pencil will be your best friend as far as details go. I could not do this with just my fingers alone. Once you have the face looking somewhat familiar to a face start by adding the eye brows using the sharp tip of your pencil. Very lightly draw them on and smooth it out with your fingers. You might need to use bare hands to smooth it out. Any folds in gloves will be in the way of creating detailed and smooth work.
Creating the Nose!
Then use the eraser side of your pencil and add indents to both sides of her nose as well as creating two nostrils for her. Following that as before use your fingers and lightly smooth it out.
Sculpting the Eyes and Lips!
Once I was done shaping here nose I moved onto the eyes. Add two balls of concrete to her eye area and smooth them out a bit. Don’t flatten the eye area all the way. You need to keep the eye shape there.
Since I was making her eyes closed I used the sharp end of my pencil to create her lid lines.
Next to make her lips I added concrete under her nose and smoothed out the edges a bit.
I used the pencil again to create her lip line and added a bit of concrete to the edges of her lips. LOL! She looked a bit funny at this point! But I didn’t loose hope! I noticed her chin was very small so I added A LOT of concrete to pull her chin out more and added way more concrete to create bigger cheeks. To finish sculpting her face I got into a comfortable position and kept adding, removing, and molding until I was happy with her face. This took about an additional 35 minutes off camera. Sorry I couldn’t get this on camera. I record everything on the floor and it’s so hard to sculpt while it’s that low to the ground.
Here’s what she looked like once I was done.
Then to finish it, coat the inside of the planter with concrete.
If you want to add a base like I did. Line a flat surface with saran wrap and and build your base on it. Once the concrete sets, it should come right off and not get stuck.
Optional : Paint Staining for Contrast!
I decided to paint stain my head planters once they were set. To do this I simply watered down black acrylic paint with a lot of water and brushed it on outlining the facial features. Don’t forget to blend it out with clean water.
Here’s the paint stained planter vs one that’s not.
Optional: Overgrown moss look!
Okay so to add more character I decided to give my planters a mossy look. This method is not waterproof. This is only an effect. If you want real moss I’ve heard people blend moss with buttermilk and apply it. It should grow real moss.
To apply my moss effect I blended some $1 store moss in an old blender. Than I sifted it through a fine sifter and was left with a fine moss powder. Following that I applied matte mod podge onto the planter and used my sifter to sprinkle moss onto where I applied the glue. The moss should stick right to it. That’s it! Super EASY! DONE!
Here’s how they look outside. My awesome neighbor let me use her beautiful yard for the photo shoot! She’s so sweet! Isn’t her yard amazing!
I love her face!! She turned out so pretty!
And that hair!!! I want my hair braided like this!
I can officially say I made a MAN!! HAHA Didn’t think I’d ever be saying that!
I will say.. I do like his lips and dimples! LOL These planters sure make some cute garden decor!
Here’s a quick video version of the DIY.
That’s it!! I hope this inspired you to make your own concrete head planters!
Happy Spring! I’ll see you all in the next post!