Concrete Hearts // made with love

by Ashley Weeks Cart

I worked on this project last week as part of an interview process for a DIY contributor position for one very awesome, very significant design website. I’m not holding my breath (despite a really positive interview, I just don’t want to get my hopes up), but it did push me to showcase my photography and video skills and kick-off this year’s Valentine’s DIY projects with something a little different than usual. A more modern take on the season, if you will.

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It seems everywhere I look, I’m confronted with cement. And that’s saying quite a bit considering I no longer live in Los Angeles, THE Concrete Jungle. Cement isn’t just for practical, building purposes. It’s on our sinks, dispensing soap. It’s in our gardens, cradling succulents. It’s on our kitchen tables, carrying juice. It’s industrial and strong, yet sleek, simple and understated. And the great news for those of us of the DIY persuasion is that it’s a readily available and inexpensive material.

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While this tutorial could be adapted for any shape, I decided to try my hand at creating cement hearts as a twist on your usual loud, primary-colored take on the season. You can apply the basic steps and materials of this project to make any number of cement molds and shapes. I’ll be handing these out to my colleagues and local pals on Valentine’s Day as a modern twist on the holiday.

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MATERIALS:
+ silicone ice cub trays (I picked two up at Target for under $3.)
+ quick dry cement (Be sure that it’s cement, not concrete as concrete will be textured and peppered with small rocks. You should be able to find it at any local hardware store.)
+ disposable cup and spoon for mixing cement (Not to state the obvious, but DO NOT rinse the cement down your sink. Throw it in the trash when done with the project. And I recommend that you use rubber gloves and work in a well-ventilated space while you’re working with the cement.)
+ safflower oil (Although, arguably, any cooking oil will work, I’ve seen safflower oil the highest recommended when working with cement.)
+ water
+ paper towels

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DIRECTIONS:
Watch the video to see the project in action. You’ll want to follow the instructions on the cement for drying times. Be sure to tap and shake the cement after you’ve filled the tray to help expel any air bubbles.

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And if you want to add the cheese back into Valentine’s Day, you could dole out these little hearts to the one you love with claims that s/he melts your heart of stone. Or with cards that simple say, YOU ROCK! Har. har.