Have A (Cement) Heart

February 08, 2012   //  Posted in: Decor, DIY, Entryway, Holiday-Related Projects   //  By: Emily   //  14 responses
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Maybe it’s because I’m a heart-lovin’, love-lovin’, Valentines-Day-anticipating girl, or maybe it’s just because I’m feeling crafty, I whipped up some portland cement this week and made a darling little doorstop.

That’s it. Way down there. Little 3-lb heartsy.

Heartsy, a propped open door.

I guess it’s fitting that it’s displayed in the house this time of year, but in all likeliness, it’ll remain a piece of year-round decor.  Who says the hearts need to be buried once the upcoming-lovefest-holiday wraps? It’s cute. And functional. Right? Totally right.

Our bedroom door needs a little help staying open, especially during the summertime when a breeze comes through the windows (not that we’re dealing with that in February), so I took an opportunity to make a fix, and stop the door sway. Because I couldn’t find a heart mold large enough to be substantial and thick (cookie cutters were briefly considered but decidedly too thin and tiny), I created a mold out of newspaper. Simply, I cut a strip from the long folded end of our local paper (a thicker section).

Cut a long piece of newspaper to create a custom form.

Using the fold in the paper to my advantage, I curled it up and taped it lightly to create a heart formation.

Custom heart mold.

I haven’t used portland cement aside from making a few cement planters (shown here and here) but I knew enough about its consistency through those experiences to trust that sitting the paper form on a piece of cardboard on the concrete basement floor it would be fine, not too messy, and not gushing around anywhere; it wouldn’t require extra sealing around the base to keep all of the cement in place, but that’s because I made the mixture thick-thick (keep a-readin’). To help reinforce the shape of the simple newspaper mold, I did place some scrap wood along the edges and poke a mitered slab into the heart-dent. It’s heavy enough to hold the form in place and not shift under pressure from the wet cement.

Heart mold, reinforced with scrap wood.

I mixed up about 1 quart of leftover portland cement until it was thick in a big plastic watering jug. Purposely making it thicker than the bag instructed, thicker than what I mixed when I made the cement planter, it was really more like a peanut butter or cookie dough consistency. More like heavy mortar than runny cement you’d mix in your wheelbarrow with the garden hose.

Poured and scooped into the mold, it still had enough natural liquidity to it settle into the nooks and crannies, slowly evening itself out until the top exposed layer was very smooth. I shook the mold and the pieces of wood a little bit to relieve any trapped air bubbles (which there seemed to be plenty of), and then left it to sit and self-level on the cardboard.

Portland cement mixed thick, being poured and scooped into the mold.

It began to visibly cure within just minutes, a cool phenomenon. But nonetheless, kind of like watching Playdoh dry.

Portland cement mixed thick, being poured and scooped into the mold. Beginning to settle.

I left it alone to dry overnight, but brought it upstairs to bask in the sunlight the following morning It was still wet but definitely a solid form, like a piece of cement that you dunked in the pool. (Note: that a piece of plastic beneath that paper to keep any remaining moisture from hitting the hardwoods.)

It lifted easily from the cardboard base (no stickage) and the newspaper flaked away effortlessly, even in the heart-dent area where I was secretly semi-concerned that the paper would be solidly locked for eternity.

A solid heart doorstop.

Letting it dry another day in the sunlight, it had cured a little more and I took a piece of light sandpaper to smooth out the edges and any little bumps of roughness. It was nowhere near “flawless” but it was plenty sweet to me. I was impressed.

Lightly sanding the curing cement smoothed out rough edges and lumps.

Finished portland cement doorstop.

Finished portland cement doorstop.

Resting in front of the bedroom door, it’s at home. And simple. And effective. At about 3 pounds (yes I weighed it), it’s strong enough to do the job but not heavy enough to scuff up the floor if it slides around. It could always be wedged like a traditional door stopper, but I think I’m more likely to kick it while it’s positioned like this.

Finished portland cement doorstop.

Better off keeping it fully exposed, resting on it’s side in front of the door.

Finished portland cement doorstop.

Surely I could segue this into something lovey and Valentine-related for you v-day project seekers out there thinking about DIY gifts, but I’ll let you use your own imagination and make your lover something special. Enjoy!

Comments
  • scott hamilton
    2 years ago - Reply

    How sweet. neat. i like how you used newspaper for a mold. i would have over engineered that for sure! i got a jar or two of red cement dye if you need any. I was going to use it when i poured the apron leading out of my garage but decided not out of laziness. My wife can make two of these for me to use as ankle bracelets. that would be good irony. a great v day gift.

    • Emily
      2 years ago -

      Ooh, red dye. That would have been good to have!

  • Genevieve
    2 years ago - Reply

    How adorable and so simple! I love it.

    • Emily
      2 years ago -

      Thanks Genevieve!

  • Elisa
    2 years ago - Reply

    Brilliant! I’ve been eyeballing my leftover (read: almost full) tub of cement too. And I think that’s the beauty of concrete in general: flawless looks weird. Hah.

    • Emily
      2 years ago -

      Glad you like, Elisa!!

  • Kate @ Twenty-Six to Life
    2 years ago - Reply

    That’s really neat. I had no idea using cement could be so easy!

    • Emily
      2 years ago -

      Easier than I thought too, pre-cement experiences. Just a little messy + drain clogging if you’re not careful!

  • kit @ DIYdiva
    2 years ago - Reply

    I’ve got a little thing for concrete myself, and I love the way your heart turned out. Great idea, simple project… the best!

    • Emily
      2 years ago -

      Thanks Kit, glad you like!

  • scott hamilton
    2 years ago - Reply

    yea the dye is in the same area as the mix bags. also wire mesh as to prevent cracking with thicker slabs. i always wanted to make a concrete counter top. so much you can do with concrete. when i did the drainage project leading into my garage i laid some plastic over a footer pour by accident and when it dried i pulled up the plastic the concrete was like glass. its surface mimicked the surface of the plastic. it got my wheels turning. a material with such creative potential…so little time.

  • Ashley @ DesignBuildLove
    2 years ago - Reply

    soooo fun! I LOVE that little heart!

  • Gisselle
    2 years ago - Reply

    So cute! I love hearts and will try this! By the way, I read your guest post on Kara’s blog and it was very inspiring! So, thank you. I hope to one day find my passion and have the guts to go for it! Congrats!

    • Emily
      2 years ago -

      So glad you found inspiration in my post over on Kara’s blog! Thanks for stopping by!

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