Applying The Mud

Sculpt It

After going over the steps for sculpting the stone, be sure and watch the video at the bottom of this page.

1) Start by piling a good amount of concrete around the base.

concrete coating armature

2) Use your hands to completely fill in between the two layers of wire. Pull the mud from the base of the column up as you press it into the wire smearing it in between the interior tube and exterior hexagon.

coveringarmature concrete

3) Apply the mud by using your margin or pool trowel to cut slices of mortar from a handful of mud and throw it systematically against the armature. It works well to start at the bottom and work your way up. Each time you throw on a slice of mud, trowel it from below upward before throwing one more.

4) Trowel about a 1/2" thick layer of mud all over the entire armature completely covering all the wire. Use the armature as a guide to keep your hexagon shape.

troweling concrete

5) Once the armature is all well covered, there may be an excess of mud that accumulated at the base. Cut this off square and return excess to the mixing barrel.

sculpting concrete garden light

6)  Do the same process to your lid.(Your lid should be stuffed with wet paper as shown on the bottom of (The Mud) page.)When applying mortar to the lid it is a common mistake to get it to thick as it’s a much smaller piece. It’s important to take special care not get it to thick because the finished product will look top heavy and awkward. Getting it exactly the same as the base is ideal however a bit to thin isn’t the end of the world because it is separated by the light shade.

columnar basalt garden light diy

7) Use your margin trowel to carefully smooth the tops of your column. Take time to trowel right against the electrical wire pipe, this will seal and secure the pipe.

wiring channel for light

8) Take time to give the top a nice shape and trowel it very smooth.

concrete light finish

9) lightly go over the entire column with a damp brush patting away holes and imperfections.

texturing concrete

Both the bristles and the handle of the paintbrush can be used as a texture tool to but be careful, sometimes less is more.

concrete rock texture

10) Using a damp paintbrush, press the bristles against the floor so the bristles can be repeatedly jammed beneath the column. (like working a spatula under an egg in the pan)

concrete yard light

This will make a clean solid edge that wont chip or flake when the mortar is cured.

Don't forget the top cap lid.

11) Use the texture roller and gently roll out the sides. Again, less can be more.

concrete stone texture

12) Center the lampshade on the top of the column. It's O.K. if the pipe is a bit off center now that the mortar is done however you will want to center the lampshade on the column, not the pipe.

Gently press it down and wiggle it into the wet mortar about a 1/4 of an inch. Slightly move it over just a smidgen (1/16th") and press it in again. Continue this moving in different direction each time.

diy outdoor lighting

This will widen the track so the lampshade can be easily set in place but not easily knocked off. Also the lampshade could be easily changed out for a 1” Hardware cloth lampshade or replaced if something should to happen to it.

Be sure the top of the lampshade is perfectly level.

13) Cover your work with plastic being careful not to imprint the wet mud with the bag. Let it sit undisturbed for 24 hours.