Craft & Design Workshop
Experimenting with Piping Cement to Make Decorative Objects

I really love “permission to play” experiment videos like this one. Here, Peter Brown had the crazy idea to try making a bowl out of cement by piping the material from a plastic bag (like you would pipe frosting onto a cake). He tries out a number of experiments, all not that inspiring.

Then he tries the piping technique on some other applications. He tries piping a lattice onto a flat surface, not even sure exactly the goal, but just trying it out. You have to love any making experiment where the person says: “You have to ask yourself, did we do something cool or did we do something disgusting?”

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Peter’s first tentative and not very impressive results.

Peter is starting to lose hope when his wife, Patricia, comes in. She injects some new ideas (and hope) into the project. She tries piping some cement onto printed patterns (after covering the paper patterns with tape to protect them) and gets much better results. Then they try some other experiments, like piping onto patterns placed onto curve surfaces.

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Patricia’s first attempts, using a paper template.

In the end, they end up with some decent looking candle holders, some cement butterflies, and Celtic knots. They also have a newfound level of understanding of how cement can be used in new and interesting ways.

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Starting to look like something, a curved lattice with an added base to make a candle holder.

It’s really fascinating to watch an experimental process like this, to hear Peter’s thinking and doing, and then to see how the whole dynamic changes when Patricia gets involved. And then, reading the comments and the many suggestions and criticisms take the whole project to another level. I hope the video does inspire other people to try similar experiments. As one commenter points out, they would have had much better results by using actual piping tips instead of just cutting a corner of a gallon ziplock bag.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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