Turn a leaf into a treasure with this simple cement casting project. Display the “fossil” in your room or use it as a stepping-stone in the garden.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
- A nice-looking fresh leaf
- 1 lb. of modeling clay
- 10-lb. box of quick-drying cement
- Bucket in which to mix the cement
- Garden trowel
- Dust mask
- Kitchen gloves
- Smooth surface that the cement won’t stick to (A piece of melamine is perfect, but you can use almost anything rigid that has a smooth surface.)
- Spray adhesive
- Sheet of paper or newspaper
- Spray cooking oil
- Plastic bag or sheet of thin plastic
- Pushpin or other small pointy object
WHAT YOU’LL DO
1. Build a clay wall about 2″ high on the smooth surface. Make sure it is large enough to encircle the leave and provide plenty of space around the leaf.
2. Turn the leaf over. Put the leaf on a sheet of paper or newspaper. Put on the dust mask, choose a well-ventilated space and spray the entire bottom of the leaf with the adhesive.
3. Stick the leaf onto the smooth surface inside the clay wall. Try to make the leaf as flat as possible. After the leaf is glued down, spray the leaf and the inside of the form with a light coat of cooking oil.
4. Now you’re ready to pour the cement. Put on the dust mask and kitchen gloves. Follow the directions on the cement box. Use the trowel and mix enough cement to fill the clay form to the top. Use your hands and the trowel to spread the cement inside the form as you go along. You need to be working with the cement in the shade, not in the sunlight.
5. When the form is filled to the top, tap around the outside of the clay form with the hammer. This will cause any bubbles to rise to the surface of the cement. Cover the wet cement with the plastic. This will help it cure properly. Allow the cement to cure overnight. Remove the plastic and clay wall.
6. Flip the hardened cement over. Use the pushpin to help remove any of the leaf that might be stuck to the cement. Once the leaf is removed from the cement, your “fossil” is complete.