Concrete casting: Making art out of cement, water, and a whole lot of love!

So you’ve read my interview with the inspirational Irwin Lim, co-founder of The General Co, who’s currently offering a special discount off ALL their workshops for all NINGthing readers 🙂 I tried my hand at concrete casting for the first time the other day, and man, was it FUN!!!! The spouse created a clock, while I made a mobile phone stand. Surprisingly, it wasn’t as messy as I’d anticipated and we had a really good instructor. Here’s what transpired:

Yours truly with Irwin. It was a perfect day and parking wasn’t a hassle surprisingly, especially for a weekend! The workshop area was really bright, airy and clean. I really appreciated that positive space, because I’ve been to workshops overseas where the space wasn’t as conducive!

Everything needed is already provided, along with the professional tools needed. Melvin of desinere_sg headed the workshop and was extremely patient with all of us. The size of the group was very cozy too, unlike classes that have too many students who then later struggle and get lost or left behind. If I’m not wrong, most workshops require a minimum of 4 participants to start.

Creating the concrete mix felt like manual whisking during my 3 month stint at Le Cordon Bleu all over again LOL You have to go slow with the cement powder and water, to create that perfect sludge needed. Pour that mixture into the DIY plastic mould you’ve created, and let that sit for a bit. The cement powder we were using is a quick-dry variety that needs only about an hour to harden. Here’s how the other half’s clock is coming along… can you see it?

After the cement hardens, you tear off the plastic confines and toss out the mould. There will be air bubbles and rough edges but you only need to accept it’s Wabi-Sabi-ness and embrace that all handmade products will always be unique. For the sharp jaggered bits, there’s always sandpaper magic you can do!

Not too shabby huh? After sanding them down and patching up some of the holes?

It’s pretty amazing how creative one can get when it comes to cement casting. Apparently our dear artist Melvin had once casted cement furniture! So it’s really all up to your imagination…

That’s yours truly and Melvin, with the geometric mobile phone stand I casted out of concrete. It was a fun stress-free couple of hours spent, with lots of laughing. And I’d recommend this as a family activity. Or even one for couples and friends really. You get to keep your creations of course… so after we got home, we stacked our clock on top of our mobile phone stand and TADAH!

For more info about The General Company, check them out here! They always have reputable teachers who are artisans themselves, so you’re assured of quality workshops. Don’t forget to use your exclusive NINGthing discount when you sign up online… Have fun!



Ning Cai is a Singapore Literature Prize nominated author, who was also long listed for the Epigram Books Fiction Prize in 2016. A bestselling writer, she is also recognised for her illusionist/ escapologist stage character Magic Babe Ning, and recognised by Channel News Asia as South East Asia's first professional female magician.

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