Casting leaves is one way to capture the unique shape and texture of a leaf. Cast leaves can be used in a wide variety of garden decorations including birdbaths, stepping stones or fountains. Although the process is complex, it becomes simpler with practice. It is best to begin by casting smaller leaves and working your way up to larger ones. Hosta leaves are ideal for leaf cast projects because they grow in a variety of sizes.
Put on all protective gear including goggles, gloves and a breathing mask. Concrete mix is caustic, so wearing protective gear will help keep you from breathing it as well as keeping it from your eyes, and off of your skin.
Scoop up sand with a measuring cup and place it onto a clean work space such as a bench in a well-ventilated workroom or a patio outdoor. Mist each cupful of sand with your spray bottle until the sand is damp enough to stick together. Continue to do this until you have a pile that is larger than your hosta leaf.
Shape the sand pile into a round loaf.
Place your hosta leaf vein-side down onto the sand pile and press down gently. Use even pressure so that the impression will be uniformly deep in the sand pile. Press the leaf into the sand just deeply enough to create a mold. The deeper you press your leaf into the sand, the thicker your final cast will be.
Remove the leaf; cover the sand with plastic wrap to keep the cement from touching the sand. The plastic should extend well beyond the leaf mold. Then return the leaf to the depression.
Place approximately five cups of concrete mix into a five gallon bucket. Add water from a garden hose slowly and mix by hand until the contents are the consistency of dough.
Hand pack the cement into the sand mold so that it fills the mold halfway.
Cut chicken wire into strips that are smaller in size than the leaf. Press these strips into the concrete.
Pack concrete into the mold over the chicken wire and finish filling the mold. Mist with the water mister and cover with plastic.
Wait 72 hours for the concrete to dry and cure. After 48 hours, uncover the mold, mist it with the water bottle and cover it back.
Carefully pull the concrete away from the plastic wrap and peel the leaf off of your concrete casting.