How to Mix Concrete by Hand

Whether you want to pave your patio or give someone cement shoes, here's how to mix concrete like an expert.

You will need

  • Portland cement
  • Sand
  • Gravel
  • Water
  • A hose
  • A wheelbarrow or mixing trough
  • A shovel or hoe
  • A Styrofoam or paper cup
  • Bags of premixed dry concrete ingredients
  • A bucket
  • A gasoline or electric power mixer
  • Sugar

Step 1 Make the dry mixture Basic concrete is made by adding water to a mixture of gravel, sand, and a kind of cement called portland cement. To make the dry mix, combine one part portland cement, two parts sand, and four parts gravel (also called coarse aggregate) in a wheelbarrow or trough. For smaller jobs, you can purchase bags of premixed dry ingredients.

Step 2 Add water Take a hose and slowly add water to the mix. If using premixed concrete, consult the directions on the bag for the amount of water needed — then measure it into a bucket, and add it to the mix.

Step 3 Begin mixing the concrete With a hoe or a shovel, begin mixing the concrete. Make sure all the ingredients are uniformly mixed.

Step 4 Check the consistency After mixing thoroughly, check the consistency. Punch the bottom out of a Styrofoam or paper cup and fill it with your concrete, as if you were making a sand castle. Remove the cup and watch the pile slump down — ideally it should sink to about half the height of the cup. Add water to the mix to adjust the consistency as needed.

Step 5 Pour concrete Now pour your perfectly mixed concrete quickly, as it will begin to dry within 15 minutes.