Coloring ShapeCrete with Sakrete Cement Colors
ShapeCrete can be pigmented, stained, painted, and even colored with pigmented sealers. Each method will give different results and each has its pros and cons. The easiest thing to do if you're just getting started is to paint it. Painting won't leave a very durable finish, but you already have paint on the shelf to use, and it's cheap! ShapeCrete will also take any type of concrete stain, and staining can look beautiful with a lot of variation, but it won't always produce vibrant, solid colors. Both staining, painting, and applying a sealer are finishing techniques, done after the concrete has cured. In order to color the concrete all the way through, we add integral pigment. This is done before adding water to the mix, so when the piece has cured and comes out of the mold, it's finished. Of course, you can also paint, stain, and seal any piece that's been pigmented with no problems.
Adding pigment to ShapeCrete is even easier than painting or staining. One advantage is that the color is integral, so if you polish or sand the piece, it's still has color. One downside to using pigment is that it's not as readily available, and certain colors (Blues, Greens, Purples) tend to be more expensive.
Sakrete Cement Colors are dry pigments that are sold in hardware stores nationwide. They're probably even on the shelf next to the bucket of ShapeCrete you picked up. The color samples below represent four of the colors that you're likely to find at the store.
1 Teaspoon of Pigment : 1 Cup of ShapeCrete Powder.
From left to right, Sakrete Color Brown, Buff, Red, and Charcoal.
The grey sample at the top of the last image represents the grey color of ShapeCrete without adding pigment. It's important not to exceed a 10-12% pigment loading. Around that point the pigment will actually start to weaken the piece. Keeping within the 1 Teaspoon : 1 Cup ShapeCrete is a safe ratio to use for your project.
For Step-By-Step Instructions and more information about using piment, go to the Coloring Part I Page.
CHENG Smart Color comes in a wide range of vibrant colors. They have to be ordered online and in a larger quantity than the pigment you'll find at the hardware store, but each bag of pigment can be used with 50lbs. of mix. If you can't find dry cement pigments at the store, but you find liquid pigment, those will work too. A good art supply store should also stock dry pigments for mixing your own paint colors, and these will work with concrete (ask an employee to be sure), but they're probably sold in smaller quantities and will be more expensive than buying concrete pigments online.