Okay, so I'm not going to lie....concrete countertops were never intriguing to me for a kitchen/bathroom, etc. I always preferred a natural stone. BUT, when we decided to make an outdoor island/bar cart, I knew it was the perfect choice. There are a few different ways to do this, but for the size we were wanting, a mold was the perfect choice. It's small enough to move the mold around easily and flip it over when it was time. If you are doing an extra large piece of concrete (say for a kitchen or large bathroom, you can still use this method but it may take a couple of extra hands to help you move/flip it)
-Melamine sheets (in the shelving section on Home Depot or Lowes)
-Circular Saw or Table Saw
-We are actually using MORTAR. We used this one, it's exclusive at Home Depot.
-Buckets for mixing and clean-up
-Sander to vibrate out bubbles
As with any DIY, make sure you are wearing protective gear including eye/ear protection, gloves, mask, and working in a well ventilated area.
We made our mold with melamine sheets. They have a plastic exterior so the mortar doesn't penetrate into the mold and slides out easier. We figured out how big we wanted the countertop first and then cut the pieces using a table saw and a circular saw for shorter cuts. (You can find our cuts for this 20"x38" countertop in the Bar Cart Tutorial). Make sure you cut the sides to match the thickness of the countertop you want as well, that way you can screed the top. Once you've made your cuts, attach the pieces with a drill.
Prepping the Mold
Apply a silicon caulk to the points where the pieces of melamine meet and let dry (where the sides meet the bottom sheet and the corners) You want to make sure there are no cracks for the mortar mix to seep into.
Once the caulk is dry and you're ready to pour, apply a thin coat of WD40 and wipe with a dry cloth. Almost like you're greasing a cake pan. Set up the mold in your work zone and ensure the mold is level (we placed ours on 2 buckets side by side).
Now for the fun stuff! PREPARATION IS KEY when it comes to this one hour mortar mix. You'll need to have all the tools close by and READY because this stuff dries fast.
*Don't forget a bucket of clean water for tools and have your sander plugged in and ready.
Mix your mortar according to the directions on the bag. We used 1 1/3 of 55 lb bags for our 38"x20" countertop. Once you pour it, it's going to set quickly, so use your trowel to spread it evenly and a sander to vibrate out any bubbles. You can use flow control in your mixture to make this process easier. It will thin out the mortar a little without affecting how it sets.
Set your timer for ONE hour and then flip your mold. We used a rubber mallet to gently tap up on the edges of the mold once it was flipped over to encourage separation of the mortar and the mold. We had a few bubbles on the edges but I still love how it turned out! It adds some texture up and ended up looking amazing on our bar cart!
If you use this method, send me a message! I'd love to hear how it turns out! You got this!