Art Concrete How-to
7: Books

THIS PAGE is one of several explaining techniques about how to use concrete in small-scale art projects.

Book: Concrete Handbook for Artists: Technical Notes for Small-scale Objects. More information?

I have found several good books on using concrete and cement as an art material. Your input and suggestions are increasing the list.

Concrete Handbook for Artists: Technical Notes for Small-scale Objects, is my own book. It's based on this web site but has a lot more information. My intent is to explain the theory and principles of concrete, to give you the tools to understand what is happening, rather than the details in making a particular object. The book is about working directly with concrete, not about casting multiples. Beyond the basic principles of concrete, the book explains mixes and additives and how these mixes must be changed for different uses. It explains several methods of forming concrete. I have also intentionally set limitations of scale: jewellery, sculpture and small functional objects. 135 pages, 7.5" X 9", black and white photos and line drawings. Paperback binding (lay-flat). ISBN 0-9730223-0-2. Revised in 2006. Cost is $29.95 USD or $29.95 CAD plus shipping. More information?

Sthreshley book ocover Creating Concrete Art Furniture by Charles Sthreshley, 2008, is an all-color step-by-step manual for making concrete furniture. It's as close as you can get to being in the studio with Sthreshley. Recommended.
[order from amazon.com]


Creative Concrete book cover Top of the list for other books would be the newly published Creative Concrete Ornaments for the Garden : Making Pots, Planters, Birdbaths, Sculpture & More by Sherri Warner Hunter , Lark Books, 2005, ISBN: 1579905854 [order from amazon.com]. (And I'm not just recommending this book because several of my techniques are in it...) The book has excellent instructions for different types of concrete for many different techniques: casting, armatures, using foam, carving, surface treatments. There are also many projects to follow -- about 30 -- with excellent photographs. Hunter, a Tennessee sculptor, has really done her technical research, and she's got the right idea in using different mixes for different purposes. This book is all you need to start and continue to learn with. I recommend it highly.


Making Concrete Garden Ornaments by Sherri Warner Hunter is her first book. Originally published as Creating With Concrete : Yard Art, Sculpture, and Garden Projects. [order from amazon.com]

I would also recommend Sculpting With Cement : Direct Modeling in a Permanent Medium by Lynn Olson, Steelstone Press, 1982, ISBN: 0960567801, now available again. [order paperback from amazon.com]. The book suggests using very fine steel wool mixed with portland cement for strength (similar to the plastic fibers above) in small-scale work. There are excellent sections on surface finishing, reinforcing with steel, carving and additives.

Concrete Countertops: Design, Form, and Finishes for the New Kitchen and Bath by Fu-Tung Cheng, Eric Olsen, Taunton Press, 2002, ISBN: 1561584843. [order from amazon.com] Although this book is about countertops, it has good solid technical information. A lot of the methods used here can be used in artwork. You can also buy the video Concrete Countertops DIY instructional DVD. Their newest book is Concrete at Home, and includes information and images on floors, walls, fireplaces, countertops. It's exceptionally good.[order from amazon.com]

Concrete at Home : Innovative Forms and Finishes: Countertops, Floors, Walls, and Fireplaces by Fu-Tung Cheng, Eric Olsen, Taunton Press, 2005, ISBN: 156158682X. [order from amazon.com]. This book shows other ways that concrete can be used throughout the house.

Cement Sculpture : A Studio Handbook by Dik Schwanke and Jean Lahti-Wagner, University Press of America, 1985, ISBN:0819146250 (currently not available) describes the technique of carving into cement when it is partially set. This gives rapid and pleasing results. There are lots of formulae and sections on casting and modelling over various supports.

Sculpture in Concrete by John W. Mills, Praeger, New York, 1968 (ISBN: 0853340161, out of print) describes making a multi-piece plaster mold around a clay form. The mold can then be used to cast one solid concrete sculpture.

Sculpture Casting: Mold Techniques and Materials: Metals, Plastics, Concrete, by Dennis Kowal and Dona Z. Meilach, Crown Publishing, New York, 1972 (ISBN: 0517500590, out of print) has a chapter on concrete and plaster casting, with other sections on mold making.

Design and Control of Concrete Mixtures (Seventh Canadian Edition), S.H. Kosmatka, B. Kerkhoff, and W.C. Panarese, Cement Association of Canada, ISBN: 08913122181. An excellent reference, written for the construction industry, so the technical information is impeccable. The association says: "This premier publication on concrete technology includes the latest in product advancements...the fully revised 7th edition represents the book's most extensive update and expansion with special focus on blended cements, high performance concrete, supplementary cementing materials, and fibers." Order #EB101 from http://www.cement.ca/. If you want the U.S. version it is available from http://www.portcement.org/ in their online catalogue as #EB001, and also available on CD.

Also, here's a two-page PDF file of some of my workshop notes.

Other readers suggest:

Easy Concrete: 43 DIY Projects for Home & Garden by Malena Skote, Paperback, Hardcover, 2010

An Introduction to Sculpting Ferrocement Faux Bois by Donald Tucker, Paperback, 2011

Glass Fibre Reinforced Cement, by A. J. Majumdar and V. Laws. BSP Professional Books, Oxford, 1991 (ISBN 0-632-02904-8) is a highly technical research book on the combination of alkali resistant glass fibres and cement. The book may be difficult to find. Although it is not an art book or a how-to manual, I mention it as there are few books on this subject.

The Encyclopedia of Sculpting Techniques, by John Plowman, Running Press, 1995, ISBN 1561385328. "Covers carving aerated concrete blocks...lots of photos of process."Order from Amazon.

Living Materials: A Sculptor's Handbook, by Oliver Andrews, University of California Press, 1988, ISBN 0520064526. "Good coverage, including technical background, aggregates and proportions for different purposes, carving, casting, modelling over an armature, stressing (pre- and post- tensioning) and finishes." Order from Amazon.

Casting in Ciment Fondu, by Edward Folkard FRBS, published and sold by Alec Tiranti, 70 High Street, Theale, Reading, Berks, England, 1983, ISBN 0854566407. "20 pages, very focussed information covering molds, casting techniques, fault avoidance, repairs, surface treatment and colours, and a brief section on uses apart from casting." Tiranti confirms that it is still available at 1.75 plus p & p (which in the UK is 35p). They have a web site at http://www.tiranti.co.uk.

The Technique of Sculpture, by John W. Mills, published by B.T.Batsford Ltd., 1976, ISBN 0713430516. "Covers casting, good coverage of armatures (not discussed by Folkard to any depth), has some photos." It is out of print. I have two other ISBN numbers to search for: 0823052109 and 0713425091.

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Last update: 2016