I mentioned before that I made a primitive bee skep this past Sunday. I think it turned out pretty well and I'd like to share it with you. I came across this "craft recipe" on Primitive Blessings' website. There weren't any pictures, so I have nothing to compare it with. I was a little nervous at first, but my hubby has his own concrete business and has worked with concrete for a little over 30 years, so having him by my side to help, lessened the fear.
The recipe called for concrete mix, but my husband said that mortar mix would work better. I didn't ask why, I just trusted his judgement.
Okay, so here we go. . . .
quickrete mortar mix
straw or hay, cut up
Molds - flower pots, sand pails, plastic cups, road cones
This is a little messy so you'll probably want to do this outside or in a garage. I laid a plastic table cloth over a 2' x 4' piece of plywood; that way I could move it if I had to.
Decide what you want to use as a mold. I listed some examples above. I used a 10" plastic flower pot. If you want to reuse your mold, coat it with vegetable oil or spray with Pam. My hubby suggested covering the pot with a plastic shopping bag which worked out great. It peeled right off. If you don't care about saving the mold, don't use anything and leave the bee skep on the mold.
How much mortar mix and water you'll need depends on how big and how many bee skeps you want to make. For my 10" flower pot, I used 1/2 bag of the mortar mix and 3/4 of a gallon milk jug of water. You'll want the mortar to be "tight", as my hubby calls it. In other words, thick like cookie dough. If the mortar's loose, it'll be harder to shape and take longer to dry.
Once the mortar is mixed, add some peat moss and straw pieces. Use these sparingly. Hubby says if too much foreign additives are mixed in, the strength of the mortar will weaken, causing it to crumble :( I only used a cup or two of the peat moss and a couple of handfuls of straw.
Once all that's mixed in, start taking handfuls of mortar and press onto your mold; blending the seams together.
When the mold is completely covered, smooth out any bumps and form the rings. I started at the top and worked my way down. Use a stick or spoon (I used my fingers) to scoop out a hole for the opening.
After I was done with that, I took peat moss and rubbed all over it. Leave it set for a day or two, depending on weather conditions, before taking it off the mold. Cooler weather slows the drying time. I made mine on Sunday when the weather was cold and rainy and was able to remove the mold on Tuesday.
Most of the peat moss stayed on, but I had a couple of bare spots. After it was off the mold, I brushed on some exterior wood glue and then patted on some peat moss. I don't know how it'll hold up in the rain. I think I'm going to spray it with concrete sealer and see if that seals in the peat moss. If not, I'll be gluing and patting after each rainfall!!
Overall, I think it looks kind of neat. It's different, which i like, and it was easier to make than I thought it would be. So if anyone wants to make one, I say "Go for it! You can do it!" LOL
I hope my directions are easy to follow. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
For my next post, I'll have a tutorial to make a bench.