Concrete Surfaces

This past weekend I decided to experiment with concrete. I wanted to create a surface with texture and different than wood. I walked through the construction material isles at Home Depot and found the perfect wood to use running at about $10 a piece. I purchased quick mix of concrete, gloves and a few paint colors I wanted to try out. 

Once the concrete mix is ready, you apply a good amount to your wood and begin to spread throughout until you cover the entire area. You get to decide how much texture you want or how smooth you would like it to be.

Once you have the entire surface covered with the desired texture, it should sit for 24 hours to dry. After it has dried, you may choose to sand before painting to remove excess material. 

Now the fun part, you can't mess this up. Get your paint and decide how to apply it. I generally leave the middle section of my surfaces a bit lighter so I start with my darkest colors from the outside in, but with this guy I decided to just have fun.  Because of its texture, you can certainly use different ways to apply your paint, like a brush, rag, spray or sponge. I opted for a painting sponge because I like the way it drives the paint and blends in the colors together and I don't have to do additional blending.

Once done with painting I let the surface dry in the sun.

Making Pallet Surfaces

Lately I have taken on the hobby of creating surfaces for my food photography. I collect pallets, of all sorts, I generally prefer them in pretty bad shape I guess they have more character.

Taking them apart is a lot of work, I choose to remove the nails as I want to feature all the imperfections in my final product. 

Using proper protective gear is very important and gloves, trust me I learned the hard way. Since I use damaged pallets I keep wood glue and clams handy. I finish my surfaces with the glue and a nail gun. I prefer to use brad nails since they pretty much disappear into the wood and the paint I use cover any nail heads that may have been left exposed. 

Here is a surface I created recently:

1. I removed all the nails in the early morning under the soon listening to some house music, surely my neighbors were not happy I started this project at 7am on a Saturday. After I removed all the nails and selected the pieces I wanted to use, I laid them on the ground and numbered them in the back.

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2. I glued the broken pieces I wanted to use and marked my desired width and height for my backdrop.

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3. I cut to size with a handsaw and sand all edges and any sharp areas. Also I sand taking into consideration how much wear and tear I want to leave or remove or how much of the original wood I want to reveal. 

4. I select my base paint. This is something I plan in advance. I wanted this particular one to be a 3 tone backdrop with a rich dark base and bright color accents.

I decided to go with an almost stain I bought from Home Depot. I applied it with a rag, nice and heavy only on one side and left it out to dry.

5. The next day, after the stain was completely dried I selected my accent color. I got the small container from the sample sale bin at Home Depot for a buck! 

6. Applying accent color. Again, I used a small rag and focused on the edges of the wood and creating an uneven application. Areas where I felt I had applied a little too much I went back and wiped off. After I was happy with the application, I left out to dry.

My intention was to apply a white wash overcoat and do some very light sanding to finish it off but after it had dried I decided I loved the richness of the colors and they way it photographed so I decided to stop here. 

Here is sample of an images using the pallet: