A while back, I bought a concrete garden marker kit at a thrift store for a dollar. It contained everything necessary to make small garden bricks with words on them.
Such a perfect combination of two very fashionable decorating trends–words and concrete.
Unfortunately, the kit itself is no longer available. Bummer, right? But I’ve provided similar products below, so you can easily make some concrete markers of your own.
The general process for making these rustic little bricks is pretty straight forward, but there are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind that I’ll tell you about along the way. Sound good?
Materials for Making Concrete Garden Markers
Note: This post contains affiliate links for [the same or similar] products used to complete this project. This is both for your convenience as well as to support my website, since I receive a small compensation whenever you click on a link and make any sort of purchase, for which I thank you 🙂 See my full disclosure here.
Pro Tip: You can use small loaf tins or pint-sized half-and-half cartons in lieu of the brick form I linked to. Just be sure to spray them with vegetable oil spray first and leave the bricks in these containers until mostly dry before removing them.
Preparation for Making Cement Markers
After you’ve assembled all of your supplies, you’ll need a hard surface to work on and something to cover it with (I used a cafeteria tray covered with wax paper).
[I don’t recommend cardboard, which is what I used the first time around, because there’s water in the concrete and it will leach into the cardboard and create an uneven surface, which may result in cracking. Trust me, I know.]
Mixing the Cement
To make one small brick (2″ x 4″ x 1″), I measure just over 1 cup of concrete mix and added 1/2 tsp of dye.
To make one larger brick (2″ x 7″ x 1″), measure just over 2 cups of concrete mix and 1 tsp of dye.
Slowly add enough water to create a mixture the consistency of soft ice cream. Be sure to stir well with your trowel to ensure the dye mixes evenly into the concrete.
Shaping the Cement Marker
Fill the mold with cement until it is level with the top of the mold. Smooth the surface with your trowel and tap the sides of the mold to make sure there are no air bubbles.
Avoid Making the Cement Too Watery
With my first brick, the concrete too watery and I had to wait almost an hour before I could imprint it with the letters.
You can see in the photo above how water is pooling on the left side of this brick. That means it’s not dry enough to impress with letters yet.
This is an example of what happens when you place your letters in cement that’s too wet. After removing the letters and the form, it kind of squashed in on itself and then eventually cracked. So sad.
Making the Words
To get ready for impressing the letters, line them up above the mold so you can see where you want to place your first letter.
Here you can see the concrete is much drier than in my previous example. Because I made it thicker (like soft ice cream), I only had to wait a few minutes after pouring it into the mold for it to be dry enough to impress with the letters.
Pro Tip: You can tell the cement is ready when you poke a toothpick into the cement and the hole holds its shape. If it doesn’t fill in, then your brick is probably ready for letters.
Remove the Mold
Clean off the edges of the mold and remove it after placing the letters. You may need to push down on top of the brick mold (on each end) to facilitate its removal.
As you can see here, both the letters and the brick itself are holding their shape nicely. Let your bricks air dry for 48 hours, and then sand any sharp edges or little bumps with a sanding block.
Cleaning Your Supplies
Be sure to wash your supplies outside, since the concrete could mess with your pipes.
How to Display Your Garden Markers
You can tuck them into planters.
Or place them in your garden areas.
Wherever you choose to place them, they will certainly add some rustic charm.
I hope you’ll take a few minutes to visit my very special, Thrifty Chick girlfriends to see their thrifty garden projects. You won’t regret it!
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