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Pink terrazzo bookends with books in the middle and a potted plant.

Overview

Terrazzo is traditionally made by adding marble chips, stone pieces or crushed glass to a concrete formula that is poured into a mould, left to harden, and polished. It’s mainly used for tiles and flooring, but it’s becoming more on-trend for homewares. Here’s how we used this crafty technique to create unique bookends.

Tip: For a deeper pink, add more red oxide with less white, and vice versa for a lighter shade.

Safety tip: Always wear the appropriate safety equipment (safety glasses, disposable gloves and a mask, for example) and always follow the instructions for the product or equipment.

Steps

1Make the mould

Use a handsaw with mitre box to cut 64mm DAR pine to make a 180mm base, 135mm side, 95mm top, 50mm top side, plus 85mm end and middle rails. From 12mm plywood, cut a 250mm-square backing.
Six pieces of DAR pine cut to size to make a mould.

2Assemble and secure the frame

Set out the frame following the placement in the image. From the outside of each butt join, pre-drill two holes with a 6G countersinking bit, 9mm in from the ends. Check the edges are flush and straight while securing with 6G x 30mm screws.
An L-shaped mould made of DAR pine.

3Add a backing to complete the mould

Position the frame flush with one corner of the backing, then pre-drill from the back, securing into the frame with a screw into each piece.

Green Bunnings hammer
Tip: Check your placement of the pieces with a combination square and use it to position the holes.
An L-shaped mould made of DAR pine on a timber boar.

4Make up the terrazzo mix

Use a 250ml jug to measure out three parts white cement, one part sand and one part oxide (combine red and white) and sieve through insect mesh into a 4L basin. In the jug, combine one part bonding agent with four parts water, add to the dry mix and combine into a toothpaste-like consistency. Sprinkle crushed glass into the mould, fill with concrete, sprinkle glass again and agitate the mould to remove air bubbles. Trowel the top and leave to dry overnight.
A person spreads a pink terrazzo mix in an L-shaped mould.

5Remove the bookend

Unscrew the backing and frame, gently tapping any stuck pieces with a rubber mallet, and leave to cure for 24 hours.
Green Bunnings hammer
Tip: Weather affects drying times, so leave for longer if the concrete still feels damp.
A person uses a mallet to remove the mould from a cured pink terrazzo bookend.

6Sand and apply concrete sealer to finish

Spritz all over with water before smoothing along the edges and corners with 120-grit abrasive wet-and-dry paper, then sand all over with 180-grit. Wipe away dust. Next, apply two coats of concrete sealer with a brush and leave to dry.

Keep in mind:

• When mixing the cement and during sanding, work in a well-ventilated area that is out of the wind and wear the appropriate safety equipment (dust mask, disposable gloves and safety glasses). Cover bare skin to avoid irritation from airborne material.

• Cement is a dry powder that is combined with other elements including water to create concrete. Choose a white or off-white cement; otherwise, the concrete will be grey.

• Use washed sand rather than builder’s sand. (Builder’s sand contains clay which will make the concrete too sticky and heavy for this project.)

• We used store-bought crushed glass because it’s safer to work with than crushing your own glass or marble mosaic tiles.

 

*Timbers vary by state and territory; contact your local store for further information.

 

A person brushing sealer on a D.I.Y. terrazzo bookend.

7Want to make a terrazzo tabletop to match?

Check out our easy D.I.Y. project on how to make a colourful terrazzo table.

 

Photo Credit: Natasha Dickins

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Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.