How to Sand Mold a Rustic Concrete Cross
When last did you build sandcastles or just sit on your butt and draw doodles on the beach? It’s been a while for me. We don’t get to go down to the coast that often anymore. Work kinda gets in the way and we have fur babies to look after too. But this weekend, I decided enough is enough. If I can’t sit on a real beach, I can at least play with a sand mold and make something special for our home; something like this rustic concrete cross.
I hung my concrete cross outside in amongst the ivy, and she makes such a striking statement.
She would look just as good inside, or propped up on the mantle or bookcase. But since this month’s International Blogger’s Club challenge (IBC) is “Hang Her Up”, I thought I’d share how to make the hanging version. You’ll find more interesting and unique “hanging” ideas at the end of the post.
Okay, before we get to the “sand mold, rustic concrete cross” tutorial, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram. And don’t forget to subscribe so you’ll never miss a post!
What you need
Casting concrete in a sand mold is an inexpensive and easy way to make simple concrete objects like this rustic cross. It’s as easy as child’s play and as much fun 😉 All you need is fine, damp sand, which acts as a mold for the object. I used play sand for my sand mold. You’ll also need:
- Rectangular dish that’s at least 5 cm (2″) deep
- Ice cream stick
- Cling wrap/saran wrap
- 80-grit sandpaper
- Concrete mix (cement and water)
- Wooden beads and twine (optional)
How to make a rustic concrete cross using an easy sand mold
Fill the dish with clean sand. If you don’t have a suitable dish, you can cobble something together with plywood. I used an old roasting pan. Add a little water and mix well.
Push the sand down firmly with your hands so it’s compact and fills all the nooks and crannies. Don’t make the sand too wet. Think back to those days when you built sandcastles on the beach. The sand should be just wet enough to hold its shape. If it crumples into a sandy heap, it’s too dry and needs more water. If you squeeze it in your hands and drops of water come out, it’s too wet, and you’ll need to add more sand.
Level the top of the damp sand with an ice cream stick.
Use your hands, a knife, or that ice cream stick to carve a cross shape into the wet sand.
If you’re not happy, flatten the sand out, and start again. And if you are happy and you still want to play, go for it 😉
The larger your cross, the deeper you’ll need to carve. My cross is 26cm x 18 cm, so I cut about 2cm down into the sand.
When you’re done playing, cover the “sand cross mold” with cling wrap/saran wrap to prevent the sand from sticking to the concrete.
Adding concrete to the sand mold
Pour dry concrete mix into a bucket and add a little water according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Mix well. Gently pour or scoop the mixed concrete into your sand mold. Spread the concrete being careful not to tear a hole in the plastic wrap.
Tap the bowl or dish to get rid of any large air bubbles and cover it with plastic wrap. It helps trap moisture and heat, and speeds up the curing process.
Leave the sand molded, concrete cross on a flat, level surface to harden. I used a rapid set concrete mix so it only took a few hours. Humid weather and larger projects will take longer. When the cross feels dry to the touch, remove it from the concrete sand mold and allow it to cure for a few more days.
Use 80-grit sandpaper to smooth out the little wrinkles left by the cling wrap.
Hanging the concrete cross
Drill two small holes at the top of the cross and add a string of wooden beads to hang.
Decorate the concrete cross if you’re that way inclined. I just glued a small rusty heart on with E6000.
And that’s it. You’re done.
Easy right? BTW, for something a tad more complicated but still surprisingly easy, then go have a look at these giant concrete buttons. They were made with a drip tray mold, but you can use a sand mold to make them too. Any basic shape will work.
Have you tried sand molding before? What did you make?
If you like the idea of making a rustic concrete cross using a sand mold, don’t forget to pin it for later.
Sharing is caring
More “Hang her Up” Ideas
Hanging things up is a great way to spruce up your home and keep your space organized and tidy. My fellow IBC’s have come up with some unique hanging ideas for you to explore.
- Unique Creations by Anita shared a tutorial to make a gorgeous 3D wooden sculpture.
- The Fifth Sparrow No More repurposed an ordinary hanger and turned it into something so unexpectedly cool.
- Tea and Forget Me Nots used rice paper to take a hanging clock to a whole new level.
- If you need a truly unique idea to hang your air plants, Birdz of a Feather doesn’t disappoint with this tutorial.
Oh, and if you’re looking for some of the things we used, we’ve got you covered. Disclosure: Clicking on the links below means we may receive a commission from Amazon. But don’t worry it won’t come out of your pocket, and it helps us make more amazing crafts to share with you 😉
And if you prefer to buy rather than DIY, then maybe these beauties will appeal.
And as always, wishing you a wonderful, crafty week filled with lots of love. Thank you for popping in for a visit.
18 thoughts on “How to Sand Mold a Rustic Concrete Cross”
That is really a good idea! I never thought about doing such thing! I love decoration and gonna try this one too for my rooftop!
So happy to hear that, Mary. I hope you have loads of fun making yours
Super cute! You make it look so easy. My last dealing with concrete was a disaster, and I haven’t tried since.
Oh dear, I’m sorry to hear that, Linda. Check the expiry date on the mix. I bought a batch that was well past its sell-by date, and the mixture wouldn’t set properly either.
Oh my Michelle this looks like fun. I first wondered how you’d use the sand, and of course it was for a mold. This is such a fun idea that I can do with grand daughters. Pinning.
Your granddaughters will love doing something like this with you, Leanna. I hope you all have loads of fun experimenting with different shapes.
Sanding molding looks like a perfect fun craft project to do with my grandchildren. Your heart-embellished concrete cross is AWESOME! Thanks for the tutorial, Michelle. 🙂
You’re spot on, Marie and you can cast their little footprints in the same way.
This project is just so creative and the results were stunning. Just to make you jealous I was playing with the sand on the beach 3 days ago. lol You also gave the cross the perfect position among the ivy, very effective.
😀 Well I’m definitely jealous, Anita. I hope you had a lovely time and brought some sand home to try this one.
This is a great idea – I’m thinking unique patio pavers would be a great thing to make with this method!
It would be perfect for patio pavers 😉
What an innovative way to make a mold! Love this idea. Now have to think about what I can use it for!
Thanks, Rachel. This technique is probably one of the oldest ones around, and it’s so easy.
I’ve never tried this technique, but one thing’s for sure, I’ve got plenty of sand on this island to play with! 😉 Lovely cross.
Oh right, you have a beach almost on your doorstep. Lucky fish 😀
This is fantastic Michelle! Now I want to play in the sand too! I can’t wait until our weather is better so I can search the garage to see if we have some left over sand from our pond project.
I hope you find some leftover. It’s such a fun and rewarding craft.