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Tools of the trade

Here are the essential tools you need to create that perfect concrete art piece.

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Sometimes the difference between a good art piece and a great one comes down to the tools you use. We’ve highlighted some of the tools that work really well with concrete and are easily accessible from your local hardware store.

Mixing tools

It’s always important to first ensure that you’re mixing the right amount of concrete for your project, therefore prepping and planning is very important. Make sure that that the area you are working in is well lit and ventilated and that there are no hazardous objects around that can be a danger to you.

To mix small batches, you can use old knives, spatulas or hardwood sticks. For medium-scale mixing you can use small trowels, putty knives or drywall tools. For larger amounts use a hoe or a shovel with a wheelbarrow.

 

Application tools

To apply your concrete mix to surfaces, tools such as trowels, drywall tools or putty knives work well. When using steel mesh, use strong rubber gloves to push the concrete into the mesh and prevent it from coming out the other side.

Use thin vinyl or latex gloves to apply small amounts of smooth-finishing concrete mixes – never use your bare hands, as this can be hazardous to your skin.

Use the edge of a trowel to level off the excess concrete at the top of a casting.

If concrete is being placed in a mould, you can use tampers to tamp the concrete in place.

 

Carving Tools

For carving or texturing concrete that has not set, you can use metal, wood or plastic modelling tools that are often used when working with clay.

For concrete that has set, but can still be carved, you can use old knives, spoons, old rasps or wood files, chisels, saws, hacksaw blades, coarse grit sandpaper or garnet paper. Keep a spray bottle handy for misting work to keep it damp.

When the concrete is hard, after about two days, you can use stone carving tools.

 

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