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I am already dreaming up the next leaf sculptures that we will be creating!
Step One: Gather Your Leaves
We began by harvesting a few Rhubarb leaves for their great vein patterning and impressive size. (They also make excellent garden fairy hats!)
Step Two, Three and Four: Setting Your Workspace
Set up a work table outside in a shady spot. (Chose a shady and quiet spot so that the finished work will stay untouched and will not dry too quickly or cracking may occur.
Open up the bag of play sand to begin the next step.
Step Five: Creating a Pile of Sand
On your work surface you will create a mound of packed sand that is the same size as the leaf you are working with. This will give the leaf a form to lay upon.
If you would like your finished leaf to be concave and hold water like a bird bath, add some additional height to the center of your sand pile by packing more sand.
Step Six: Securing The Workspace
Using a thin trash bag cover the pile of sand you just created. This will keep the sand out of your finished concrete sculpture.
Place stones on the four corners of the trash bag to hold it in place.
Place the leaf you have chosen front side down, leaving the back facing you.
Step Eight: Making your cement mixture!
For Portland Cement: Take 3 parts of fine sand, 1 part of Portland cement and add water in small amounts. Continue to add water until the mix is the consistency of toothpaste.Step Nine: Mixing The Cement!
Gather up all of your project helpers and mix! Mix! Mix!
With a garden trowel, scoop up some of the cement mixture and place the concrete in the center, working your way out and smoothing as you go.
Continue this process until the leave is thinly covered with concrete. Take care while you feather the mixture out to the very edges of the leaf to capture each detail for your finished garden sculpture!
Step Eleven: Cutting The Chicken Wire!
Cut a piece of chicken wire in the same shape as your leave. If you notice that you missed a spot go ahead and add a few patches.
The use of the chicken wire will protect your leaf from expansion in freezing temperatures.
Step Twelve: Frosting With Cement For The Second Time!
Repeat the same process of layering a thin amount of concrete over the chicken wire while carefully feathering the mixture to the edge.
Now we are almost done!
Step Thirteen: Adding a Personal Touch
We chose to mark the bottom of our concrete leaves with the year 2010. We thought it would be a good reminder years from now of this summer.
Handprints, names or a personal note for gifts would also be a lovely finishing touch!
Step Fourteen And Fifteen: Curing Your Leaf
Cover the finished work with a thin trash bag, making sure to place each corner under the stones that are already set in place.
Your Concrete Leaf will now sit for two days to cure. Once your Leaf has fully cured you can remove the covering and peel away the green leaf.
Step Sixteen: Cleaning Your Leaf Sculpture
Use a pair of scissors or a thin screwdriver to dig out the remaining green leaf that may have attached itself into the deep crevices of the concrete.
Now gather up your project helpers once again and find the most beautiful spot for your new handmade garden art leaf sculpture to live!
.: It is in these processes that we find meaning in the time that we spend and the work that comes from our very own hands :.