Free. Cannot pass it up. Hubby rolls his eyes and mumbles but I ignore him as I load it into the back of my Expedition.
Oh shoot, I need to start at the beginning: we went to the home of the 80+ year old gentleman to get a radial arm saw he was selling on Craiglist and as we pulled up and looked around at this huge house in the ‘burbs and his garage packed with stuff, he began to point out projects he started but never finished. Anyhow, we bought the saw and got it loaded while the gentleman (I will call him Jim) is still talking and telling us stories of projects he had done or was going to do.
Then as we were about to get into the Expedition and leave, the real fun began for me (and not hubby, my teenage son and his girlfriend and the dogs). Jim kept talking and so to be polite we turned around to listen. As he pointed to the rusty wheelbarrow, a garbage can where the magazine rack sat, and a tote breaking apart filled with dirt he says “take anything you want there”…
Hubby whispering loudly “no we don’t need it”
I walked over and got the magazine rack and picked it up to hear Jim tell me how he was always going to make a top for it. I said “wow glad you didn’t because then I wouldn’t be getting it”.
Hubby by this time is picking up the tote full of bagged potting soil from Jim’s pile and Jim says to me “you can have this wheelbarrow too”. I am excited now because it is a metal rusty one and I already have plans for it. However, at the last minute Jim says “wait you can’t take that yet because I will need it to move things before I move”. I say “okay”. Hubby had a smile at this point and I could see he was relieved for a short second until Jim explained “I will call you when I am having my garage sale to pick it up”. I giggled and looked at hubby who is just looking at me with that “what in the hell are you going to do with it -look”.
Oh shoot I digressed from the project.
I knew I wanted to try to make a concrete top by the time we got home. I knew I had a bag of concrete in the garage so I was so ready to create. I should have went out to buy the better concrete but I was too lazy to run up the road to buy another 80lb bag. Mixing concrete as a novice can be trial and error but one helpful hint is to know what concrete you are working with so your project will last for years and not one season.
For mixing concrete I find adding about 1/2 gallon of water first to the bucket you are using and then add the concrete mix. I am not an expert so I end up with more concrete than needed. However, I use the extra concrete to make stepping stones or small bases for my garden statues.
The second hint (I know I am I am repeating this) is to use the right concrete for the job (which I did not do but it worked anyway). You also need some sort of chicken wire or rebar to put in the concrete when pouring into your mold to help strengthen the concrete.
Note: There are bags of super strength concrete that do not require this for such small projects. It is always a good idea to read the bag for uses.
This project required accurate measurements to make the mold for the top so it would sit down inside the grooves of the rack. I measured and then lined the boards on top of the rack to find the most accurate measurements before screwing it all together. After making the mold I got out my bag of cheap concrete mix and mixed it together to the consistency of batter. I shoveled it into the mold and spread it out until the mold was filled. Then I tapped the edges all the way around to get any air pockets out. When doing this you will see air bubbles coming to the top. I use a float and a metal trowel to spread and smooth the concrete and tap some more until no more air bubbles.
Then I remembered I had some left over tiles from my kitchen project so I gently placed them on the wet concrete and lightly tapped a couple times with rubber mallet to slightly sink the tiles. I then got a paper towel and wiped off the concrete water from the glass tiles. You do not want the concrete or the concrete colored water to dry on the tiles (because you will play hell to get it off).
To be honest, this top is a bit thick for this wire base so if I ever run into another free trash find, I will use the stronger strength concrete and make a thinner top. The beauty of this project is that you could make a concrete top for a wood base or any structure strong enough to hold the weight.
Oh shoot! I almost forgot to mention painting the magazine rack. I used Rustoleum’s hammered spray paint I had leftover from another project (about 1/2 can). I love the brushed chrome look with the concrete. To cover flaws, Rustoleum’s hammered spray paint line is awesome!
I hope I inspired you to look at ‘trash’ a new way!
Creating. Inspiring. Gardening without the rules!
2015 copyrighted material C Renee Fuller @the Garden Frog Boutique