This is a short guide for making a cement recipe for your Magic Garden Moulds and oxide staining and colouring your casts when dry.
Use 2 parts medium fine river sand to 1 part grey or white cement for a strong mixture or alternatively you can use 1 part medium fine river sand to 3/4 parts grey or white cement for a very strong mixture.
Wet your moulds and shake off excess water and have them already set up and supported either on a flat surface, in a bed of sand, or with a backing before you begin mixing.
Using rubber gloves mix all dry ingredients in either a cement mixer, mixing tub or bucket ect. The bigger or wider the surface area of the tub the better air bubble release you will get when mixing.
When all dry ingredients are mixed add water and mix thoroughly until there are no lumps of cement or sand and the mixture is the same consistency as plaster or a thin cake batter.
Tap the container a few times to release any air bubbles to the top and then pour gently into your moulds. Try and pour onto the side of the mould or onto a large spoon ect to reduce air bubbles in the cast. If you wet your moulds before pouring their will be no or very minimal air bubbles.
If your cement mixture is too runny it will be weak and if it is too thick you will get lots of air bubbles so just play around with it until you know what a good mixture looks like.
If you pour your moulds in the afternoon they will be ready to take out the next morning. Dont leave your moulds to dry in the sun and dont leave the cast in the mould too long or it will be very hard to get off the cast. Rapid set cement can also be used but dont leave it in the mould too long.
Once the cast is removed place it in a sunny position and allow up to a week to dry properly and cure depending on the casts size.
Staining and colouring with oxide
There are several different ways to stain your casts, I will discuss 2 here.
Colouring will vary greatly using white cement or plaster as opposed to grey cement.
If you want a uniform colouring add the coloured oxide of your choice to the dry ingredients in the cement recipe above or to plaster casting powder and mix thoroughly before the addition of water. Keep in mind that cement fades in curing so have the colour you want about 2 shades darker than required then once the cast is cured it will lighten by about 2 shades. For a different look try adding the oxide mixed with a little water to your finished mixture of cement or plaster then mix slightly until you have coloured streaks throughout the mixture then pour. When dried the cast will have a marbled coloured appearance.
If you want a washed stained look add the coloured oxide of your choice to a bucket or tub ect that has water in it at a ratio of 20g per litre of water (can be varied by adding more or less stain for a lighter or darker colour). Then simply apply the water/oxide mixture liberally over the whole surface of the cast with a small bucket, paintbrush or sponge. The fine oxide particles will be left in all the grooves and ridges and can then be left to dry and any excess or unwanted stain washed and wiped off with a wet rag. You can also use another coloured stain over the top of the first stain for a different look again or you can mix different coloured stains to achieve a different colour.
For a laquered look over your stained casts which gives a totally different look again just apply a clear gloss or matt laquer over the whole cast.
Use gloves for any of the above applications, soap and water will wash of any stain that you get over yourself.
As you see there a lot of different looks you can create just experiment and have fun.
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