1 round wicker basket
10 Dixie cups
9 tea-light candles
2 one-litre milk cartons
2 kg pail of cement floor patch
2 bolts with nuts (1-1/2" long), or epoxy
1 piece of wood for base (8" long x 2-1/4" wide x 3/4" thick)
2 pieces pink Styrofoam, wood, or cardboard spacers (7-1/2" long x 2-3/4" wide x 3/4" thick)
1 piece of wire mesh (16" long x 2-1/2" wide), 1 pair of chopsticks, or 1 wire coat hanger
Varathane for fishing.
1. Trim 9 of the Dixie cups to a height of 7/8" from the bottom with an exacta knife or scissors. Cut them as evenly as possible. You might want to make a "donut" template from cardboard, with a hole equal to the diameter of a Dixie cup 7/8" from its bottom. Fit the cups into the template and use as a guide for marking.
2. Each milk carton will have one long rectangular side with a seam. Cut this side off each carton along the edges. Save each piece.
3. Cut the spout ends off of the cartons. Keep the cuts straight and perpendicular to the long edges keeping the remainder of the carton as large as possible. Use the packaging label as a guide or use a ruler.
4. Cut one of the removed sides from step #2 into a long 2" wide strip. Cut the other removed side into two 2" x 2-3/4" pieces.
5. Using the 2" wide strip and glue gun, couple the 2 cartons together to end up with one long trough. Put a thin strip of glue on the outside of each open carton edge and wrap the strip around the outside. Hold together until glue sets. It might be easier to do one edge at a time.
6. Glue the 7-1/2" long spacers into the bottom of each end of the carton. Use glue along the bottom and sides of each spacer. Squeeze the sides of the carton onto the spacer as the glue sets. If using wood or cardboard, rub a thin layer of Vaseline onto the exposed surfaces of the spacers so that they won't stick to the cement.
7. Glue the 2" x 2-3/4" scraps of carton from step #2 to the inside of each end to create a smooth inside surface for your mold.
8. Glue the shortened Dixie cups to the inside base of the mold. Put 3 drops of glue on the inside edge before inverting and fixing in place, spacing evenly. If done quickly, the glue should slowly drip down the inside edge and attach to the base. Be careful at this stage because any glue outside the cups will show up as a blemish in your final cast. (Hint: pre-arrange the Dixie cups on the bottom and draw outlines as a guide).
9. (Optional) To avoid the use of epoxy, you can cast bolts into the bottom of the cement for attaching the base. Cover the threads of each bolt with Vaseline and screw on each nut about 3/8". Remove the Vaseline from the tip of the bolts and vertically glue each one to the top of the two Dixie cups on either side of the centre cup.
10. Put on a respirator or dust mask. Add 14 to 15 Dixie cups (use the tenth cup) of cement powder into your mixing container. Add enough water to make a thin, pourable mix. Pour into your mold to a level of 3/8" above the Dixie cups. Add the wire mesh or stagger a couple of chopsticks or coat hanger segments across the middle for structural support. Pour in the rest of the cement up to the lowest top edge of the carton. Carefully shake the mold to evenly distribute the cement.
11. Let it dry for 4 hours at room temperature. Carefully cut away the carton and remove screws. Clean up any edges with a knife. Let dry overnight.
12. (optional) Surfaces can be sanded smooth with 120 then 220 grit sandpaper.
13. Align and drill holes in the base for screws and attach, or attach base with epoxy.
14. Rub Varathane into cement and base with a cloth to finish.