It’s no brainer we all want our garden to look absolutely gorgeous. Few things in life can beat that feeling of lounging in your garden on any given afternoon, a cup of coffee beside you, surrounded by the nature and eco-friendly garden ornaments like homemade garden cement mushrooms.
If you’ve been wondering how to make cement garden mushrooms to make your property more beautiful, you are in the right place. This is a DIY project you should have fun with. One doesn’t even have to be very handy with tools to get it right as long as the instructions are followed.
So let’s get down to those instructions and show you how to make mushrooms made of concrete. By the end of this tutorial, you should be able to make different sizes of mushrooms with designs that appeal to you.
How To Make Cement Garden Mushrooms
Generally, the number and size of concrete mushrooms to be made determines how much material to get. Since these are decorative pieces, you’ll want to make quite a few. The size of the garden might also be a factor in how many pieces you make.
It is better though to err on the side of excess materials so you don’t have to make the trip to the shop more than once.
These are the materials you’ll need:
- 25kg Bag of cement
- 10kg bag of sifted sand
- Acrylic paint Vanish
- Mixing bowl
- Measuring cup: it can be any decently-sized container
- Emery cloth or sandpaper
- Pair of scissors
- old t-shirt
- calf-length nylon socks
- 2 brushes
- Spoon and teaspoon
- 2 medium-sized Plastic containers about 8″ high
- Dust mask, goggles, and latex gloves
A workbench covered with strong plastic material to protect the surface of the bench.
Before you start, make sure you wear gloves to protect your hands. Working with water and cement mixture can make uncovered hands look old and worn out real fast.
Instructions for the Cement Garden Mushroom Cap
- Wear the latex gloves
- Cut the t-shirt lengthwise along the seams until you separate the front from the back. You can further cut on of the pieces to get a rectangular piece of cloth. Lay it flat on the workbench.
There are no hard and fast rules about this step. Any piece of rectangular cotton cloth would work just as well.
- Mix two cups of sand and 1 cup of the sand with water in the mixing bowl. Use the trowel to stir the mixture until you achieve a smooth consistency. Your final paste should not be too thick or too watery though.
If it is too thick, molding it to your desired shape would be hard. While it would take a long time to dry if there is too much water.
- Now pour all the concrete mixture above in the middle of the cloth.
- Gather the edges of the cloth over and above the concrete like you want to make a small sack. Gather the edges together in a bunch and tie it with the twine.
- Some of the water should start seeping out from the cloth. That is normal.
- By now, the concrete trapped in the ‘sack’ would have spread out into a circle.
- Use a pair of scissors to cut out the excess cloth above the twine.
- Turn one of the plastic bowls upside down. Then place or sit the cloth containing the concrete mixture on the bowl’s underside. Where the cloth was tied should be facing downwards on the bowl.
In other words, the concrete is now sitting upside down on the plastic bowl to give it an umbrella shape as the concrete spreads out to fill the sides of the cloth.
- Use your hand to sculpt and smoothen the umbrella-shaped concrete until you are satisfied with the result. This shouldn’t take long.
- Allow it to set and dry.
Leave it for about 24 hours. But if you are using quick-drying cement, the time should be considerably less than that.
Instructions for the stem or stipe of the mushroom
Making the stem is all about finding a way to pour concrete into the nylon socks. The easiest way is to spread the opening of the socks over the mouth of the plastic container.
wThe socks’ length should be inside the container with the opening hooked around the mouth of the container to keep the socks upright. With your socks in that position:
- Add water to another 2:1 ratio mixture of cement and sifted sand respectively.
- Use the trowel to stir the mixture. Keep adding water and stirring until you get a smooth paste a bit thicker than the first mixture. This makes it easy to mold your stem in the socks.
- Use a spoon to transfer the concrete from the mixing bowl to the socks
- Remove the socks from the container.
- Press the length of the socks with your hands to displace all the concrete inside to the bottom of the socks. You’ll have to keep manipulating and pressing along the length of the socks until all the concrete is at the bottom part of the socks.
- Tie the socks
- Use your hands to mold it to look like an oval-shaped cylinder with a flat bottom tapering upwards to a pointed tip.
You don’t have to be too elaborate with the shape here. You can have different stem shapes for other mushroom pieces.
- keep it aside to dry and set.
Steps For DIY Garden Mushrooms
- Take your dried mushroom cap and cut the twine. The cloth should come off the concrete easily without too much exertion.
- Use the Emery cloth to smoothen the top side of the mushroom cap if there are bumps.
- Brush off the residual concrete dust using one of the brushes
- Next up, peel the nylon socks off the concrete stem
- Smoothen the surface with Emery clothe. Use a brush to wipe off the dust
- Now make another cement and sand mixture. Make it thick like that used for the mushroom’s stem
- Lay the mushroom cap on the workbench with the underside (grill) facing upwards
- Fill the ‘grill’ of your cement mushroom with the concrete. To avoid overflow, don’t pour the concrete to the brim.
- Stand the pointed end of your stem on this concrete. Use the teaspoon to evenly spread the concrete around the stem. This is to ensure your stem can support the weight of the mushroom.
- Leave everything in that position for at least 24 hours to dry.
After 24 hours (or when it is dry), turn the mushroom upright. The stem should be able to shoot the cap at this point.
Your mushroom is now complete. The next stage is turning the drab mushroom into a colorful item.
Designing and decorating the cement garden mushroom
What would surely set your mushroom apart from others is how you paint it. Most people go with a red and white polka dot design. No law says you can’t design yours with different color combinations.
The dot design on the surface can easily be achieved by cutting cardboard into small round dots. Have as many as possible especially if you want to make several cement mushrooms.
- Use the second brush to paint the mushroom. You could use a different color as the base paint as two layers of paint would be needed to give it the desired look.
- After the paint is dry, place some of the round dots over the surface of the cap. Use light glue to make sure the cardboard sticks to the surface.
Make sure the glue is not strong so the paper can be removed easily without leaving bits of paper on the surface
- Assuming your base paint is white, use a contrasting color such as black, green, red, blue to add a second coating of paint.
- Carefully remove the round cardboard. These would come off to reveal a white circle underneath for the polka dot effect.
- Some of the circles would not be perfect. Use a small watercolor brush doped in the white acrylic paint to make the circles perfect it almost perfect.
- For additional contrast, we recommend that you give the stem a different color too. An earthy color like wine brown would be nice.
- Give it some hours to dry.
- The mushroom is ready to grace your garden.
Go on and make more mushrooms until you have enough pieces for your garden.
Things to note
– If you don’t have enough nylon socks for this project, you could mold the stems directly using only your hands. This works perfectly too. Simply create a shape like a hill with a flat bottom that tapers to a pointed tip. This is easier and you can make many stems in a few minutes.
– For the mushroom dots, a simpler option is to use a dauber. Simply dip the dauber into your white paint and randomly ‘tap’ dots all over the mushroom cap.
– For better effects and durability, you can add two coats of light decoupage glue on the cap. Simply allow 20 minutes between the first and second coats.
– And to make your mushrooms fully waterproof, 2-3 coats of varnish would be nice.
Cement mushrooms offer some of the easiest means of making a garden look beautiful while preserving the natural feel. Placed strategically, the pieces are capable of delivering a garden that matches your dreams.
It doesn’t cost much to make cement garden mushrooms. The cost depends on how many pieces you want and how elaborate you want them to be in terms of the design. Best of all though, in just a couple of days, you can easily have as many cement mushroom pieces as you want.
Hopefully, this tutorial would be all that you’d need to create several decorative mushrooms additions to your garden.