I’m excited to share my DIY Decorative Concrete Art tutorial with you today. Do you remember when I told you about the thrift store challenge that I was participating in with 15 other bloggers? In the challenge, we each received a few random thrift store items and were challenged to upcycle one of the items in a creative way.
My thrift store package came from the very talented Paula who blogs over at Virginia Sweet Pea.
Among the items in my mystery box from Paula was some dated wooden art /signs. The minute I pulled the old signs out of the box, I knew I wanted to upcycle them into something very modern. I chose to make them over with concrete and I’m really happy with the result. . I hope you like it as much as I do!
Before the Upcycle
Here is the thrift store art I started with…
The wooden wall art was simply a board with printed paper of reproduction art adhered to the front. The top of the board had a metal loop hook to hang the plaque on the wall. I removed the hanger first. It unscrewed out easily. Next, the paper art had to go. I sanded the top of the board with my orbital palm sander. After the paper was removed I was ready to begin the concrete sign art project.
Concrete Sign Art Supplies
Wooden board – to use as the base
Portland Cement – for cement mix
Play Sand — for cement mix
Water — for cement mix
Cement Bonding Agent — for cement mix ( Most of the supplies can be found at your local home/ hardware store but the bonding agent, I had to order online. I ordered mine off Amazon. I will put the affiliate link for this product at the bottom for those of you who are interested)
Small plastic tub to mix the concrete
paint stir stick to mix concrete
Transfer paper to transfer design
Paint pen or acrylic paint for decretive design
Frame – complete the look!
Start with a basic Board
This is what my sign looked like after I sanded off the fancy fruit
art paper. I know, it was such a shame to get rid of the low quality reproduction art print. But, it had to be done to get the concrete to adhere.
Next I mixed up my cement…
I used one part sand to two parts Portland cement . I mixed the dry ingredients together first and then in a separate cup I mixed one cup water and one cup bonding agent together. Once I had my liquid mix I slowly added the water & additive mix to my dry ingredients. You do not want to add too much liquid. Your mix should be thick like peanut butter. I used a stir stick to mix the concoction together. You will want to use gloves to protect your hands too. I have learned this the hard way in the past. Trust me, concrete can irritate the skin.
A note on concrete, Portland cement is different than a ready mix bag of concrete. Bagged concrete mixes are full of gravel and the mix is very chunky and rocky. Sometimes you can get fine concrete mixes suitable for projects like these at craft stores but I prefer to mix my own.
Adding the cement skim coat…
With a putty knife add a thin skim coat to your board. I tried to make it as smooth as possible so it would be easy to paint my design on. It’s pretty straight forward. Because the sign is going in a frame, you don’t need to skim coat the sides. I wiped off any cement that got on the sides with an old rag. Set aside your board and let dry for several hours.
Originally, I put some mesh tape over the board thinking it would help the cement to adhere better. It turns out this was a bad idea so I ended up pulling it off and starting over because when I had the mesh tape on the board, I had to use a thick coat of cement to fully cover the tape and it didn’t look good. Starting over, I applied the cement directly to the board. The bonding additive I used in my concrete mix worked so well that I didn’t have any problems with the cement sticking to the board after all.
Transfer Your Design…
To get the letters, I typed out the text on the computer and printed it and then used white transfer paper to trace my design onto my board. Once I had my letters traced I painted over them with a some white acrylic paint. No worries if you are not a painter, just use a paint maker and trace over the transferred letters. Easy breezy!
After the sign is painted, all that is left to do is fame the new art. And in case you are wondering, the new sign is very light weight because it is simply a piece of wood with a light skim coat of concrete. This makes it easy to hang.
Finished Decorative Concrete Sign Art…
What do you think? I am also remaking one of the other items that Paula sent me and I’ll share that project later this week.
Don’t forget there are 14 other amazing upcycle projects. Check out what the other bloggers in this challenge came up with…
Shepherds and Chardonnay
One More Time Events
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What a creative idea! Your signs turned out great! Coating them with concrete was a great touch.
Kathryn Griffin says
This is such an amazing idea, Jenny! And, it turned out great! Thanks for sharing. You are one of the fan favorites at the Sunday Showcase from the Make it Pretty Monday party at The Dedicated House. Here is the link so you can check out your feature. http://www.thededicatedhouse.com/2016/08/sunday-showcase-make-pretty-monday-6-13.html Have a lovely rest of the week. Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse
Across the Boulevard (@AcrosstheBlvd) says
What a fun and creative idea! The signs turned out beautifully. Thanks for sharing at Snickerdoodle Sunday. Pinning.
This is my first visit to your blog, I caught up with you through the feature on Up To Date Interiors and I must say that I LOVE this project. I will have to find something to do this to! I will be stopping by more often! Blessings!
This is a wonderful idea. You make it look so easy. I will need to give it a try.
This is such a great upcycle! The concrete has come out really well too and I love the writing. Looks amazing!
Linda at Mixed Kreations says
What a neat sign! It turned out really nice, and you make it look so easy. I will have to give this a try sometime.
Erin - Suburban Simplicity says
I so wish I was as creative as you! I would have never thought of cement, genus! I would have gone straight to some paint. Nice job with the wording as well…love the script you chose.
Wow, they came out so beautifully. And I am glad to learn about the differences in cement. I guess I always assumed they were the same product, just packaged differently. Clearly, I have a lot to learn! (visiting from Brag About It.)
I love using cement in projects, but never thought about it as artwork. This is so beautiful I want to make some now! Thanks for sharing at the Wednesday Showcase party! Pinned.
Chef Carol says
Jennifer, what a creative project. Love the saying. Thank you for sharing on Your Inspired Design Link Party.
Thank you Chef Carol! XO -Jenny
So creative!! Love the look! Thank you for sharing at Dishing It & Digging It Link Party! 🙂
Great idea using cement! Never would have thought of it! Your signs are lovely.
Cool project! Thanks for linking up at Welcome Home Wednesdays!
Lynn at Nourish and Nestle says
Hey there Jenny…so, I’m not the least bit surprised with your brilliant upcycle of the ‘art’ that found its way to you. Love the idea of the concrete and so glad to have read your concrete primer for when I attempt this on my own. Would not have known about the bonding agent. Thanks!
Looking forward to see what you do with the bowl and hanging box!
Have a great day.
Love how these turned out, great job!
Also love the new look! So you and so cool!
Jen, this is so fun, cool and modern. I love it! Never thought about using a skim coat of concrete, it really sets this piece apart. Great way to utilize an old piece of art or a found thrift piece. I’m in love. Swooning!
This is amazing! The signs you made are gorgeous but I especially love that you used concrete instead of just painting the wood. Such a unique idea!
My Life From Home says
Ok, I would never have thought to do this! It is the perfect piece of art! I love love love it. Great job!
Jenny what a great finish! I’m headed out to buy some Portland!
Lol bring your muscles Suzanne, concrete bags are heavy!
Wishing you a great day, hugs – Jenny
These are adorable, Jenny. I love the look of concrete. I am pinning this to give it a try!
Thank you for sharing this week at Brag About It link party on VMG206 (Mondays at Midnight). I plan to feature you next week!
~ Megin of VMG206
Thanks Megin!! It’s really easy as long as you use an additive to give it good sticking power 🙂
What an interesting idea! I love how they turned out.
Thank you so much Kileen!!! XO – Jenny
Adventures of a Cavemom says
I love the way these turned out!
I have to tell you I was really worried about “what could you possibly do with those”. Clearly you are a repurpose genius because you did something very few people would have thought of and you rocked it!
Michelle - Happy Heart™ Made says
Love it…Awesome makeover Jenny!!!
Awwwww Thank you so much Michelle!!! You are so sweet. I really appreciate you stopping by.
Have a great day
I’ve never tried this technique for sign art, but I love these types of signs. Yours turned out great. Pinned!
Thank you Lisa. I love them too. I keep sneaking them in all over my house 🙂
Thank you for the pin! Have a wonderful day-?Jenny
Ashley ~ 3 Little Greenwoods says
Oh my goodness! Your cement artwork is amazing. I love making over art pieces and have never used this technique before. Thanks so much for the inspiration!
Thanks Ashley. I’v never done the cement thing before either. It’s funny how these challenges get your mind thinking up new ways to do stuff. Thanks for stopping by
Tammy Henderson says