A few weeks ago I attempted my first ever leaf casting. We were putting some hand prints of the my children and nieces in concrete for my parents to add to their garden and had some leftover Portland cement to use. Conveniently my parents had a pile of sand in their backyard behind their shed (leftover from the patio/pavilion) that was perfect for this project. I didn't mix a hypertufa recipe but I did incorporate a little sand into the cement. (Hypertufa recipes use peat moss, sand, and cement. The peat moss breaks up over time which leaves behind a weathered look on the remaining stone. Very cool stuff.)
Here's how I made my leaf casting:
- I mounded the sand into a gentle rise. Higher in the center and lower on the outside.
- Then I covered the sand with a plastic trash bag to prevent the sand from getting into the casting.
- Next I layered three large sunflower leaves with the base of each leaf on top of the mound of sand and plastic layer so that the points radiated outward.
- Then I carefully spread the mixed cement over the leaves with a spade. I had to take special care so that I didn't tear or move the leaves. I started from the center to anchor the leaves in place and worked outward.
- When all the cement was in place I covered with a second plastic bag.
I waited about three weeks before attempting to move the leaf casting. The shady location in the back and all the rain we've had helped because the longer cement stays wet the stronger it becomes.
Here's the result of the leaf casting:
The large veining pattern on the sunflower leaves left some really nice deep grooves in the birdbath. This one stays at mom's house so I'll have to make another one for us before the sunflowers are gone!