It’s back! I’m so pumped to start up the Make and Give series again for the 2013 holidays. I loved giving so many handmade gifts last year, and I hope some of them came in handy for you, too. This year I’ve brainstormed up another batch of affordable, easy, super-cool DIY gifts for everyone on your list, from dudes to kids to your best friend. Up first? DIY cement gem ornaments.
- silicone gem ice trays (I found mine at Muji but there are similar ones here)
- Cement All
- disposable cups
- popsicle sticks or another disposable stirring tool
- measuring spoons
- eye pins
- needle nose pliers
- baker’s twine
- plastic wrap
Make Time: 15 Minutes plus one hour drying time
Start by prepping your materials. It’s important to have everything ready to go once you start mixing the cement, because this stuff dries fast. The gems can be made with either an eye pin in the center to make it into an ornament, or no pin to make it a decorative item. If you’d like ornaments, bend 1/8″ of the end of your eye pin at a 90 degree angle, using the pliers. Set these aside. Rip off a small section of plastic wrap and set aside as well.
In your disposable cup, measure 12 tablespoons of Cement All (water to cement ratio is really crucial, so I recommend leveling off the tablespoons). Then measure in 3 tablespoons + 1/2 teaspoon of water. Stir immediately and vigorously, being sure to get rid of all dry chunks of cement.
The mixture should be a bit runny (kind of like the consistency of a Jamba Juice!). Start pouring into the molds immediately. Using the stick as a spatula to get the cement neatly into each mold helps quite a bit. As you pour, put the popsicle stick down into each mold and ensure that the cement gets all the way to the bottom with no bubbles. Take the stick out and pour one last bit on the top of each mold to create a smooth surface.
If the tops of your molds are not as smooth as you like, you can set the plastic wrap down over the top of them, smooth, and remove. This should be done within about 2 minutes of pouring. Again, as soon as you pour this stuff, it starts to harden.
Finally, insert the eye pins if you are making ornaments. Insert the bent end first, rotating as you insert so that the hole it makes is as small as possible. Sink the pin up to just below the eye.
Set the molds aside to dry for one hour. At the end of an hour, remove the gems and break off any extra jagged bits around the top. (FYI, I left one batch in overnight and had a heck of a time getting them out the next morning. I recommend a prompt removal unless you want to go to battle with your mold tray.) If you’re making ornaments, tie a loop of baker’s twine through the eye.
That’s it! I promise it’s not difficult — I just tried to give as much detail as I could, as I learned a couple of tricks along the way. The cement is surprisingly easy to clean up and really fun to work with once you get the hang of it. I included these little ornaments in the gift bag for the West Elm event I did recently and people loved ’em! And I love that they can be ornaments, gift toppers, decor, or just about any old thing. They’re great to make in big batches, so give them to everyone you love. xoxo
P.S. Head to You Are My Fave to enter today’s 24 Merry Days giveaway!