Archive for concrete

Casting Cement to Make Concrete Sculptures

How to Sand Cast a Concrete Sculpture

concrete sculptures

I recently built a large sand pit in order to cast cement and make large concrete sculptures.  Although many of my concrete sculptures have been either hand-formed over a metal armature or cast from a form I made, I was anxious to try a new method.  The idea of casting in sand is not as new one, but it does give a sense of freedom and flexibility to a sculpture.

It has been a trial and error process, whereby I have had a few surprises.  I usually have an idea of a shape to start out with and then I wing it from there.  I love the texture of concrete and the addition of casting in sand gives an even added texture that reminds me of stone.  Since I don’t plan on chipping away at stone any time soon, this satisfies my desires for texture.

Sandcasting Concrete Sculptures

Concrete sculpture

Concrete sculpture of a woman


Making Concrete Sculptures

For the past five years, I have been working with cement to create both large and small sculptures.  Most of these have been built around an armature that I make prior to adding cement.  Some of the smaller, concrete sculptures are cast from forms that I design, occasionally adding colored glass.

Recently I have been casting concrete in a sandpit that we made from a wood form and then filled with lots and lots of sand.  The forms are first designed on paper and then, after may sketches, are then dug out in wet sand.  There are challenges, as the sand is not a firm material to work with.  You must also be able to think well in regard to spatial relationships.  As you dig, you need to think about the positive and negative spaces, and what area is going to get filled with the concrete.

The first sandcast sculpture I attempted was a rather simple shape, just so I could get a feel for the process.  It actually turned out better than I had hoped for.  But there is a lot of pre-planning necessary to making a cement sculpture.  One of the most important things to consider is the weight of your piece and what type of base you will use.

Concrete Sculpture Process

Things that have to be considered when working with cement are: weather, temperature, humidity and when to uncast a piece.  I usually uncast a piece within 24 hours and then do most of the finish work before the sculpture is too hard to work with.  There is a 28 day period to consider, when the cement gets harder by the day until that point.

I have tons of sketches that I want to sandcast, and others that will be cast in forms or hand-formed.  There is something so organic and textural that continues to draw me back to the cement.