Jesmonite is an Acrylic Composite material supplied in two parts, a powder and a liquid. Water based pigments can be used to add colour and even more effects can be created by using decorative items such as glitter.
When we create products using Jesmonite we use silicone molds. These molds have smooth edges but can vary with what the mold has been cast around. Some can have straight edges and some can have geometric faceted sides to give dimension.
Jesmonite can be used straight from the mold if that’s the look you’re going for. You get a rustic cement pot look. Personally I love this look. If you want to you can take it a step further by using wet and dry sandpaper and smoothing off the edges. It does take some time as this stuff sets up pretty hard. The best way I’ve found is using a little bit of water to help sanding.
Things to make with Jesmonite
Jesmonite is such a versatile material. We are still playing with the stuff and haven’t scratched the surface yet.
Here is a list of ideas to get you going.
- Jewelry. Rings, earrings, pendants
- Plant pot holders
- Candle holders
- Soap dish holders
- Vase for you flowers
- Trinket Trays
Check out Claire’s Crafty Corner on YouTube (she is one of my favourite crafters). She will show you how to make some beautiful items with Jesmonite.
Jesmonite is hard to find in Canada. But there are a few stores that carry it. I purchase mine from Fibertek and the price is pretty reasonable compared to what you will pay on Amazon for it.
What is it good for?
Because you start with a pourable, liquid mix (it’ll be about the consistency of double cream – that’s heavy cream if you are a baker) – Jesmonite is brilliant for using with silicone molds (more on them later).
It comes out of the mold with a chalk feel, but once sanded and sealed it has a hard, satin finish. Depending on the type of finishing wax you use, it can be more or less water-resistant.
Is Jesmonite food safe?
No, you shouldn’t use jesmonite for direct food storage like bowls or plates. But it’s non-toxic, so fruit bowls, platters (for food in wrappers) or similar are all on the table – metaphorically speaking. It also isn’t microwave- or dishwasher-safe.
Is it heat-resistant?
Only partly, so don’t use it for making trivets for hot pans. But it’s fine in direct sunlight or generally warm environments.
Is Jesmonite chip-resistant?
It’s sturdy, but not as hard as substances like granite or quartz. So it shouldn’t be used in flooring, chopping boards or kitchen worktops. But for the tops of occasional tables, trays, jewellery and other decor items, it will stand up well. And because the colour is throughout rather than painted on the surface, even it chips it will still look good.
Can it be painted?
Yes! But you might not need to. Naturally, Jesmonite is an off-white colour and it takes pigment brilliantly. Which means that rather than painting the surface, you dye the substance itself with liquid or powder pigments (more on these later). You can combine colours and techniques to make marble, terrazzo, water-colours and other beautiful effects.
Is Jesmonite water-proof?
Let’s say splash-proof. Once sealed, you can wipe it clean with a damp cloth and use it somewhere it may occasionally get damp, but it shouldn’t be left in standing water – so vases or plant pots should have a waterproof liner to protect the Jesmonite.
Is Jesmonite environmentally friendly?
Overall, Jesmonite is considered one of the more environmentally friendly options within the building community.
This starts with the fact that it is water based. This means that water is a large component of the product.
This is compared to other substances like oil, which are far more damaging to the environment.
Because Jesmonite is water-based, it is also processed more safely.
In manufacturing and processing oil, it is dangerous when volatile organic compounds are released as a gas into the environment.
Jesmonite’s water-base does not have any such side effects.
In fact, when you look back at the historical context behind the development of Jesmonite, the environment was of particular concern.
Jesmonite was recommended as an alternative to fiberglass in many contexts.
Given the environmental complexity of fiberglass, Jesmonite was adopted in order to better adhere to new environmental standards in the 1970s and 1980s.
If you are in Canada and would like to try a Starter Kit of Jesmonite. Check out Fibertek Canada.