When I told my Mom and my Mother In Law that their Mother's Day gifts were made out of cement and skunk cabbage, they both had the same quizzical look.
A friend of mine had shared the "recipe" for making these beautiful bird baths, and the kids and I made them for the grandmothers.
The technique is called "sandcasting". Here's what you'll need:
Sand, trash bags, a mixing container, cement (the non-rocky kind, preferably quick-dry), rubber gloves,a large leaf, such as skunk cabbage, paint and sealer are optional.
First, lay out your plastic bag as a work surface. You'll want to do this in a flat area, preferably outside. Keep in mind that you'll need to leave it there for a bit while the cement cures, so don't make it on the same table where you expect to eat dinner in an hour.
Mound the sand in a general leaf shape, with a higher mound near the largest part of the leaf. Make it a shallowish and natural shape. Your goal here is to provide a surface to support the cement while it is drying.
Next, layer another trash bag over the cement. (Make sure there are no seams). Then lay your large leaf over the sand form upside down. Now, mix the cement with your hands, using the rubber gloves. I got the "just add water" quick dry cement. You'll want the cement to be the consistency of cake batter. Start smoothing a thin layer of cement over the leaf, then, layer the cement on until the whole leaf is covered by at least 1/2 an inch of cement. Take the cement right up to the edges of the leaf. If you'd like, use something flat, like the bottom a bucket, to make a flat spot on the top of the cement (this will later serve as a flat spot for resting your birdbath).
When the cement is dry, flip your creation, peel the leaf out of the cement. You'll be left with this beautiful, natural leaf shape that will hold just enough water for a bird to splash around in.
If you'd like, you can paint your leaf with acrylic paints, and seal it with cement protectant.
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