Amy Dixon: Botanical Leaf Casts Are A Creative Addition To Any Garden |

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A bag full of play sand is sufficient to make a cast of large sheets or can be formed into several stacks to accommodate several small sheets. The leaves are then placed upside down on the sand, making sure that the leaf fits with the underlying mound. This is also the best time to cut the stalk.

Once the leaf is in place, the concrete is ready to be mixed. Hawks uses Portland cement, which is cheap and easy to use. Before adding water, she adds a little sand to the dry cement, which helps with the texture.

“Usually it’s three parts cement for one part sand,” Hawks said. “The sand makes the cement more durable, stronger and helps it bond.”

After dressing in latex gloves, participants then added water and mixed the cement into a slurry.. For the workshop, Hawks placed full watering cans at each workstation. It was much more convenient than using a hose, which could add too much water too quickly. I would recommend everyone to use a watering can, in fact, as it is much easier to control.

The cement was mixed in small buckets with hand trowels until the right consistency was reached. Even though most of us were on a learning curve, we quickly realized that adding more water helped achieve a good level of thickness. If the slurry got too runny, we just had to add a little more cement. The pancake batter had the desired consistency.

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