Creating Unique Stamped Concrete Designs
Concrete stamp designs can leave your concrete looking like a completely different material, or they can leave fun or elegant designs in a concrete bench, table or floor. Whether you want your concrete to look like brick, stone or just have interesting designs in it, making your own concrete stamps will is more affordable and can provide you with greater freedom in design.
Tips for Stamping
- Stamp shortly after pouring concrete; concrete that is semi-dry will be difficult to stamp.
- Use a hammer to tap the stamp into the concrete
- When using a large stamp, be careful not to stand or lean on the stamp when you are tapping it into the concrete.
- Always practice with your stamp before using to make sure it will stamp correctly and that you know how to apply it.
- Stamps cannot be substituted as control joints since they should not be pressed in as deeply as a joint.
- Concrete that is too grainy or rocky will be difficult to stamp. Mix about 6 bags of concrete per cubic yard and don’t use gravel any larger than 3/8 inch pea gravel.
Many objects can be used for concrete stamps; using your imagination is important when looking for objects around your home or in shops that will make great stamps. Consider using batik woodprints, tin stars, antique metal cookie cutters, seashells and auto parts. Try overlapping a simple shape, like a circle, to create a new design.
Applying a Release Agent
Sometimes, an object can be used “as is” as a stamp, but often the material will not allow it to break away from the concrete cleanly. A release agent can be sprayed or thinly spread over the concrete immediately before pressing to help the stamp to leave a clear, definite impression.
If your object won’t remove cleanly from the poured concrete after applying a release agent when you are testing it out, make a rubber mold from your object. The rubber mold will take more time and materials but is more likely to leave a clearer stamp. Use a 2 part urethane rubber or silicone rubber mix to make your mold. To prepare your object before pouring the mold mix over it, press it first into a bed of model sculpture clay to keep it from moving (depending on the shape of your object you may not need to do this). Next, frame your object by building a form with wooden or wooden strips to contain the poured rubber mold mix. Make sure the frame reaches about an inch higher than the object. Spray your object with release agent and pour the rubber mold mix into the frame. Allow to sit overnight and test the mold by poking it. If it is firm, remove the frame first and then separate the mold from the object. Now you have a rubber stamp that will be more effective than the original object.