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I also am going to tell you how and what to use while you’re making your concrete statuary. In this post, I’ll tell you how I do it from beginning to end. It’s a very straightforward process and this is the way I been doing it for years.
How To Make Concrete Statues
How To Make Concrete Statuary Molds? Well, making concrete lawn ornaments is fun and can be very rewarding if done right. The 3 main things in making concrete lawn ornaments are cement, sand, and water. Making and painting concrete lawn ornaments is fairly easy and straightforward process.
CEMENT: There are a bunch of different types of cement on the market today. The kind you want to get is normal Portland cement. They make white Portland cement, but it’s more expensive.
SAND: I use Jersey sand. You don’t want to use a fine sand, like a beach sand, it will make your concrete statues weak and won’t last over time. It is also important to dampen your sand. What I do is fill a tub with sand (make sure water can drain out the bottom of the tub) and drench the sand with water and let it sit overnight. The water takes the air out of the sand. That helps big time with minimizing pinholes in the finished product.
WATER: Good clean water is what I’d recommend. Never really want to use stagnant or dirty water.
You could use a cement mixer, but to start I’d recommend using a mixing tub. That way you get a better idea of the kind of consistency you need. You want a soupy or liquidy type of mix to pour into your molds. That way theirs less chance or trapping air and it fills in the mold better as opposed to a stiffer mix.
Best Concrete Mix For Molds
You want to use a ratio of 3 to 1, 3 part sand 1 part cement, ( the sand I use has pea gravel in it) and you mix this in the wheelbarrow till you can’t see the color of the sand. It should all look grey, like the cement. Then add water till you get a soupy consistency. That is how I do it. It’s been working for me. With it being “soupy” it will pour easier and more effectively because there will be less air trapped in the mold, which means fewer pin holes on your ornament and in turn will lead to less patching after you take it out of the mold. Don’t get frustrated if you make it to runny, just mix a separate 3 part sand to 1 part cement and dump it into your runny mix and that should fix that problem.
Concrete Mold Release
If you’re using fiberglass or aluminum molds, you will have to prepare your molds to ensure you can take them apart after there poured and have cured. Not maintaining or prepping your molds before use will shorten their lifespan and new molds are not cheap.
Use either a brush or spray bottle to apply the mold release prior to pouring. There are 2 different oils I use. Castor oil mixed with denatured alcohol or 91% rubbing alcohol for latex rubber molds and non-detergent motor oil for aluminum molds. You can find these things on Amazon here, Castor Oil and Denatured Alcohol and for aluminum molds, you want this, Non Detergent Motor Oil
The mix ratio of castor oil and denatured alcohol is 8 parts denatured alcohol to 1 part castor oil. Spray or brush it on the inside of the latex rubber before pouring cement in. Make sure there are no puddles inside the mold after the mold release is applied. The concrete won’t set where the puddles are and it will be sandy when you take the ornament out of the mold. Never, ever, use any motor or petroleum-based oil on latex rubber. That will ruin the rubber. Also keep the latex mold out of direct sunlight or the rubber will weaken.
Aluminum Mold Release
Aluminum molds are pretty straightforward. Just brush on non-detergent motor oil and make sure there are no puddles and then it’s ready to be poured. The thing with aluminum molds is they are not as detailed as latex rubber molds, but in some cases more expensive. I always preferred fiberglass latex rubber molds over aluminum molds. A detailed piece is more fun to paint, plus it looks a lot better when done and you can get more money for it if you plan on selling it.
Mold Release for ABS Plastic Molds
For these type molds, you can use Pam cooking spray (Link To Amazon). Just cover the inside with the spray and use a paper towel to wipe as much of the cooking spray out as you can. Avoid puddles or the concrete will not “set” right and you will have a sandy finish instead of a smooth finish.
Pouring Concrete Statue Molds
Pouring your concrete statue molds can be tricky. The best way I found to do it is by slowly pouring the cement down the sides of the latex rubber till the bottom is covered and then slowly dump in the center of the mold and after the mold is full, tap around the bottom of the mother mold with a rubber mallet (but don’t tap to hard, you’ll be doing more bad than good) to release the trapped air in the cement. If it’s a small mold you can shake it to. Once filled, let it sit for about a day and then carefully take the mold apart. Green concrete isn’t that strong, so take your time doing it.
Curing Concrete Statues
Let it sit a day and then submerge it in water for a day. That will help the curing process and strengthen your concrete. After you take it out of the water, wait about a week or so and then paint it. It should be a light grey color when its dry. Painting any sooner can result in your paint peeling when it is outside in the sun. To find out how to properly paint your cement statue, check out my guide on painting here, How To Paint Concrete Statues
How To Make Latex Molds For Concrete
Making latex molds for concrete is relatively easy, and cheaper than buying concrete molds, the most important part is your first 2 coats of latex rubber. Put it on thin so it catches all the detail of the piece you’re making a mold of. After that, you can brush it on normally like you would if you were painting a wall. I personally use 30 coats of latex per piece. I don’t use a thickener. For bigger pieces, you can apply more for added strength. I use Holden’s Latex rubber because of its durability. I buy by the gallon. You can get it on Amazon here, Holden’s Latex rubber
After your latex rubber cures, you will need to make a mother mold for it, so it holds its shape when you pour cement in it. For that, you’re going to need isophthalic resin. This stuff has a very powerful odor. Be sure to be outside or in a ventilated area when using that stuff! The isophthalic resin should come with a hardener that you mix with the resin before use. You’ll also need fiberglass mat.
What I do is tear the Fiberglass mat up into small squares (depending on size latex rubber model) before I start fiberglassing. Once the resin is mixed with the hardener, you only have so much working time till it sets up.
How To Make Latex Molds At Home
The best way to show you how to do this is by watching a video on youtube. The guy on the video isn’t me but, He shows you spot on, on how to make a fiberglass mother mold. It’s a lot easier to see it done than to read about it. It’s kind of hard to get the hang of it but once you do, it won’t take you long to finish a piece. Here is the video.
If you get good at making these type molds. You can make good money selling them on eBay. The more detail the mold has the higher price you will get for them. Also the bigger the mold the higher the price.
The best part of the whole process is, after your done making the mold, is pouring the mold with concrete and demolding it the next day to see how it turned out.
Making concrete statue molds and selling them can be a very rewarding hobby. Also making concrete statue molds can be very profitable. The profit margin is high and people love them, especially bird baths.