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How to Make Ferro Cement

By Marsanne Petty ; Updated September 21, 2017
Make decorative planters out of ferro cement.

Ferro cement is a cement aggregate typically used for decorative projects. The ferro cement is placed over a rebar and wire mesh frame to provide an appealing appearance. Making the ferro cement itself is a fairly straightforward and simple process, but it may be useful to have an assistant on hand for completing the project. Although the ferro cement will remain workable for several hours, work in the shade to extend your working window.

Step 1

Create the framework of your project. Projects can range from planters, benches, stepping stones or any other piece that you can imagine. Make sure the framework is sturdy and use rebar to represent the main lines of the structure.

Step 2

Cover the main rebar infrastructure with wire mesh, expanded steel lath or chicken wire. Pull the wire mesh over the framework, using metal ties to secure the mesh to the rebar. Wire all joints together and use additional ties when a length of rebar is 6 inches or more.

Step 3

Mix the ferro cement with a hoe in a wheelbarrow. Combine five or six shovels of builder's sand with one shovel masonry sand and a half shovel of Portland cement. Add water, mixing the ingredients with a hoe until the ferro cement is easily workable. Add one handful of fibermesh fiver and mix it in thoroughly.

Step 4

Apply the first layer of ferro cement to the framework by hand, while wearing thick rubber gloves. Press the cement mixture into the mesh, so there is cement on both sides of the wire mesh.

Step 5

Add subsequent layers of the ferro cement to the framework with a steel trowel. The number of layers you add will depend upon how thick you want the ferro cement to be. Make sure that each layer you apply is only a half-inch thick.

Step 6

Allow the ferro cement to dry for one to two hours, then place a large piece of plastic sheeting over it. Spray the cement with water about 6 hours later. Wrap the piece with wet rags or burlap and cover it again with the plastic. Spray the rags down every few hours to keep the ferro cement moist.

Step 7

Apply another coat of the ferro cement to the piece the next day. If you want a colored piece, add cement color additives to the mix. Allow the ferro cement piece to dry overnight before using.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Rebar
  • Wire mesh, expanded steel lath or chicken wire
  • Metal ties
  • Wire cutters
  • Hoe
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Shovel
  • Builder's sand
  • Masonry sand
  • Portland cement
  • Water
  • Fibermesh fiber
  • Heavy rubber gloves
  • Steel trowel
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Rags or burlap
  • Water hose

About the Author

 

Marsanne Petty has been a writer and photographer for over ten years, and is currently pursuing the combination in tandem. She attended Madison Community College, receiving a degree in Administration. She has published several articles for magazines, including Jack Magazine, and the local newspaper, the Jasper News. Her latest creation, a pictoral history of Hamilton County, Florida, was published in early 2009 through Arcadia Publishing.