Category: How To’s & Quick Tips


Genius! World’s Most Amazing DIY Slip ‘N Slide

Create your own end-of-summer water party with this incredible DIY slip 'n slide.

In the DIY world, there are great projects, and then there are the truly genius projects that make life a little more exciting. Jennifer at Hope Studios is not just a cool mom, she also creates genius projects worth celebrating.

Some of Jennifer’s kid-friendly work includes a small hockey court made with a sheet of plywood and 2x4s. Yes, please! Or how about the time she hacked curtain sheers for an epic game of glow-in-the-dark flag football. Incredible!

But it’s her DIY slip ‘n slide that’s caught our eye. With a little ingenuity and a lot of plastic sheeting she created the ultimate end-of-summer water slide. And the best part is it that it only takes about 20 minutes to set up, so just about anyone can recreate it.

So where does Jennifer get her inspiration? “I love to browse Pinterest and other blogs,” she says. Even a trip to the hardware store can inspire her next great idea.

Read on to inspire your next epic project—and learn how to create a DIY slip ‘n slide in your own backyard.

DIY Slip n Slide

Photo: hopestudios.blogspot.com

MATERIALS AND TOOLS:
- Heavy-duty plastic sheeting
- Landscape anchor pins
- Hammer
- Garden hose
- Baby soap (optional)

STEP 1
Is it possible to do this in a flat yard? Jennifer says yes, but she was lucky enough to be able to run her 65 feet of plastic sheeting downhill for the ultimate DIY slip ‘n slide.

DIY Slip n Slide - Step 1

Photo: hopestudios.blogspot.com

STEP 2
Jennifer folded her sheeting in half lengthwise to provide an extra layer between the kids and the ground for a sliding surface of 4 x 65 feet.

STEP 3
She anchored the sides of sheeting—making sure they didn’t stick out so little arms and legs were safe on the way down.

DIY Slip n Slide - Step 3

Photo: hopestudios.blogspot.com

STEP 4
Now the fun part. Turn on the hose to wet the slide. Or use Jennifer’s extra fun idea: add some baby soap to make the plastic extra slippery.

She says, “You can leave the hose at the top of the slide for lubrication, or you can attach a sprinkler head like I did so the kids slide through a nice, cooling shower on the way down.”

STEP 5
Admire your hard work. You’ll know it’s paid off by how many times the kids use the slide.

“My kids (and all the kids in the neighborhood) played on it for hours for days,” said Jennifer. “We finally had to pull it up so we didn’t kill the grass.” She recommends moving it around the yard to avoid dead patches on your lawn.

DIY Slip n Slide - Step 5

Photo: hopestudios.blogspot.com

DIY Slip n Slide - Playing

Photo: hopestudios.blogspot.com

Jennifer says, “The baby soap/inner tube combo is SUPER FAST!”

DIY Slip n Slide - Inner Tube

Photo: hopestudios.blogspot.com

DIY Slip n Slide - Racing

Photo: hopestudios.blogspot.com

Thanks to our Genius! DIYer Jennifer at Hope Studios for sharing with us! For more on this project and to learn how she safely anchored her plastic sheeting to the lawn, check out her blog.


How To: Remove Water Stains from Wood

Those white, cloudy rings on your wood furniture don't have to stay there forever. Try one of these methods for removing—or at least minimizing—water stains on wood.

How to Remove Water Stains from Wood - White Ring

Photo: carriegreenedesign.ca

Wood furniture is beautiful, but it’s not impervious to the wear and tear of everyday life. To retain their looks, new and antique wood tables and chairs must be properly maintained. It’s for good reason that your parents sternly insisted that you use coasters: Water and wood are indeed natural enemies.

If the damage has already been done, and you now have to figure how to remove water stains from wood, don’t be discouraged—many have been there before you and successfully eliminated—or at least made significantly less visible—the unsightly marks that moisture can leave in its wake. In fact, for anyone researching the issue, it can be difficult to know where to start, not because there isn’t enough advice available, but because there’s so much. How do you know which of the many repair methods are most reliable? What follows are details on the three approaches that we and others have found to be the most effective. You may need to work through a bit of trial and error before discovering the trick that works in your case. Be patient, and good luck!

Water stains show up as white or light-colored rings or clouds. The light color is a sign that the moisture hasn’t reached the actual wood; rather, it’s trapped within the finish. (It’s when the stain is black or dark-colored that you have a real problem and should either refinish the piece yourself or consult a pro.)

How to Remove Water Stains from Wood - Coaster

Photo: shutterstock.com

Method 1: Ironing
As with most stains, it helps to act quickly. If the stain has been there for only a few days, try this: Empty your clothes iron of all the water inside, then bring it into the room with the affected piece of furniture. Plug in the iron, then lay a cotton napkin, towel, or T-shirt over the stain. With the iron set on low, apply it briefly to the fabric before lifting the cloth to see if the ring has diminished. Repeat until (we hope) the white stain has disappeared. Alternatively, you can try using a hair dryer to achieve the same effect. Move the dryer back and forth over the area for about 10 minutes until the moisture evaporates.

Method 2: Mayonnaise 
Assuming Method 1 gets no results, it’s worthwhile to experiment with what may at first sound like an odd thing to put on furniture: mayonnaise. Dab a bit onto a rag, then gently apply the mayonnaise directly to the stained area. Let it sit for at least an hour or as long as overnight, reapplying the mayonnaise if the initial coating dries out. If there’s no mayonnaise in your fridge, petroleum jelly may be used as an alternative. Either way, the idea is for the oil in these substances to seep into the finish, displacing the lodged moisture. Note that if you’re seeing some results but wish the remedy packed a little extra punch, consider bringing cigarette ashes into the equation. Many have reported that the penetrating power of oil works best when combined with the abrasiveness of cigarette ashes.

Method 3: Toothpaste
If the above methods have gotten you nowhere, walk to your bathroom, reach into the medicine cabinet, and pull out a tube of toothpaste—but not just any toothpaste. You’ll need the white, non-gel variety. Squeeze some onto a rag, then massage it onto the stain. You shouldn’t need to scrub hard or for very long to see results. To avoid causing any further damage to the furniture in question, it’s best to concentrate your efforts only on the affected portions, because the toothpaste can wear away the finish.

If the water stain isn’t gone completely, then it may at least have lightened enough to be less noticeable. The ace up your sleeve is that, if all else fails, you can always sand the furniture down to bare wood and refinish it. (If you’re dealing with a prized piece, you may want to consult a pro.) To prevent similar damage in the future, heed your parents’ advice and use a coaster!


Bob Vila Thumbs Up: Announcing the Concrete Projects Competition!

Vote for your favorite among the six DIY concrete projects competing to win this month's Bob Vila Thumbs Up! competition!

Bob Vila Thumbs Up Concrete

DIY Concrete Projects

Every day, we see tons of incredible DIY projects. Some are done by seasoned veterans of the do-it-yourself world. Others are the result of hard work by total beginners. Indeed, no matter your skill level, there’s virtually zero cap on the creativity you can introduce to home projects.

By the same token, it seems like there’s no material that clever people out there haven’t found a way to make beautiful. For instance, concrete—that humble, utilitarian staple of the construction yard—is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of furniture and decor. But around the Web, we’ve noticed DIY bloggers—a select few, in particular—using concrete to create highly functional or super eye-catching pieces for the home. And that—no doubt about it—deserves a thumbs up.

VIEW ALL PROJECTS NOW!

So this month, we’re shining the spotlight on some of our favorite instances of DIY brilliance with concrete. Vote for your favorite, and help us choose this month’s winner of Bob Vila Thumbs Up.

Each of these six special projects represents something extraordinary being made from perhaps the most quotidian building material. So they’re all winners, in our book. But only one competitor can win this month’s prize, a $250 gift card to The Home Depot, so we need you to vote for the one you think is most deserving. Thank you for helping us recognize the incredible work of DIYers like yourselves!

Congrats to last month’s winning blogger, Johnnie of Saved by Love Creations. Read more about her winning Bob Vila Thumbs Up project right here.

Would you like to recommend a blogger for the next Bob Vila Thumbs Up? Tell us about it on Facebook or Twitter!


How To: Polish Silver

With these simple, totally DIY-friendly tips, you can keep your silver clean, shiny, and tarnish-free with a minimum of elbow grease.

How to Polish Silver

Photo: shutterstock.com

Gleaming silver exudes refined charm, yet over time that lustrous beauty gradually fades with the accumulation of tarnish, the product of a naturally occurring chemical reaction between the metal and the air. To look their best, silver candlesticks and vases, table knives and serving spoons all need regular upkeep. You can choose from several effective ways of polishing silver. While each method differs somewhat, they do share a common starting point: The first step in polishing silver properly is to deal with any tarnish that’s been allowed to build up. It’s only when the tarnish is gone that you can really get down to the business of polishing silver. Fortunately, you more than likely already have on hand the ingredients needed for tarnish removal.

1. Line a saucepan with aluminum foil, fill up the pan with water, then switch on a burner on your range.
2. With the water simmering, add in a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of baking soda. Stir until both have dissolved.
3. Place the tarnished silver in the water, leaving it there for about three minutes.
4. In that time, the tarnish should disappear, leaving the silver looking much brighter.

Note that if your silver has a dark patina you would like retain, skip this step and go straight to the act of polishing. The process outlined above tends to work well—too well, in some people’s opinions. Yes, there are those who’ve tried this technique and been unpleasantly surprised by how silver their silver turned out!

How to Polish Silver - Detail Work

Photo: shutterstock.com

Commercial Polish
When you’re shopping for silver polish in your local hardware store or home center, remember that silver is quite different from copper and brass and other metals. That being the case, it’s important to use a polish formulated for use specifically with silver. Apply the polish by means of a soft sponge or cotton ball, rubbing the silver (not the applicator) repeatedly back and forth (not in circles). Don’t rub too hard, and use a toothbrush if the object you are polishing has any hard-to-reach areas. When you have finished polishing, rinse the silver under running water before drying it with a soft, clean cloth.

Homemade Polish
Tempted to experiment with homemade silver polish? Many homeowners swear by one or another ingredient (or mixture of ingredients), and these techniques often filter down through multiple generations of a family. If you’re looking to establish a new tradition with an easy, fail-safe homemade silver polish, look no further than your bathroom cabinet. It turns out that toothpaste—yes, toothpaste—works wonders. There’s only one catch: Make sure to use nonwhitening toothpaste, as whitening formulations typically include abrasives that can leave scratches on silver, a soft metal.

Preventing Tarnish
Polishing your silver as often as once a week is one way to prevent a deep layer of tarnish from setting in, but without a butler at your service, sticking to that sort of regimen is virtually impossible, no? The next best thing is to store your silver with care. After each use, place the silver in tissue paper and then inside an airtight container (for example, a Ziploc storage bag). This may seem like overkill, but such precautions drastically slow down the rate at which silver tarnishes—and don’t you just love it when your silver gleams?


Weekend Projects: 5 Easy-to-Make Pet Beds

Let these DIY dog bed projects be your inspiration and within a single weekend, you can construct something that really makes Rex feel like a king.

Is there a Rufus or Rover in your clan? Even if your pet is allowed on all the soft spots enjoyed by the two-legged members of your household, chances are that your canine craves a haven all his own. No matter your skill level as a maker of things, you should find—as the below ideas demonstrate—that it’s easy to create a DIY dog bed. Because there are so many different ways to go about the project, you can choose the DIY dog bed you feel the most capable of completing and whose style most closely matches your taste. Scroll down now to see five designs you can mimic. Perhaps they’ll inspire you to devise a doggy divan of your very own!

 

1. MAKE A MAISON MODERNE

DIY Dog Bed - Modern

Photo: ournerdhome.com

From Our Nerd Home comes a DIY dog bed project fit for anyone with intermediate woodworking experience. To start, build a simple plywood box. Next, attach the legs (buy these premade at your local home center), then finish by applying a coat of paint in your favorite bold hue. Add a pillow, and that’s it—Fido’s home.

 

2. SEW A PATCHWORK PILLOW

DIY Dog Bed - Patchwork

Photo: apartmenttherapy.com

If your pooch seems to like wearing a sweater on winter walks, then imagine how cozy he would be on a patchwork DIY dog bed sewn from fuzzy old sweaters. This bed is a great way to save retired clothing from the landfill, and it’s great practice for those who are new to threads and needles. For instructions, head to Sew Darn Cute.

 

3. UPDATE A VINTAGE SUITCASE

DIY Dog Bed - Suitcase

Photo: moxandfodder.com

When you’re roaming through thrift stores, you often encounter the odd vintage suitcase. You love how the luggage looks but can’t see yourself actually traveling with it. Well, here’s a reason to finally get one of those very tempting valises: With little hassle, you can transform it into a DIY dog bed. The clever couple at Mox & Fodder explain how.

 

4. CREATE A CRATE

DIY Dog Bed - Crate

Photo: home-frosting.blogspot.com

Scrap wood offers something like a blank canvas for creative do-it-yourselfers. A DIY dog bed is just one of the many useful objects that can be made with a pile of leftover 1x4s. Particularly when the bed is decoratively painted, as Home Frosting has done here, the result is a stylishly rustic-looking crate, handily portable, thanks to casters.

 

5. WORK WITH A WINE BARREL

DIY Dog Bed - Barrel

Photo: thegildedhorn.blogspot.com

The Gilded Horn demonstrates how to convert a half- or full-size wine barrel (available online and often at home improvement retail stores) into a remarkable DIY dog bed that looks like fine furniture. To maximize the effect, choose a stain that closely matches the color of wood already in your home.


DIY Concrete Countertops

Concrete countertops are a time intensive DIY project, but the results can be simply stunning.

We loved Jessie’s concrete countertops at Imperfectly Polished and couldn’t wait to feature them. The entire project took her almost one month to complete. Here’s a look at the final countertops. Wow!

Concrete Countertops Finished

Every kitchen—and therefore every DIY concrete countertop project—is different. But here’s a brief glimpse into Jessie’s tutorial to create your own concrete countertops. No matter what size your kitchen counters, be sure to measure multiple times before you build your forms for the concrete counters—or your brand new counters might not fit!

MATERIALS
- melamine board
- concrete  (countertop mix)
- table saw
- screws
- drill
- tarp or plastic sheeting
- painter’s tape
- silicone caulk and caulking gun
- mesh lath
- work gloves
- wire cutters
- concrete release agent
- concrete mixer
- trowel
- sandpaper (50 grit and 400 grit)
- power sander
- level
- high-gloss concrete sealer
- paint roller
- food-safe wax
- rag or sponge

STEP 1 

Melamine Boards for DIY Concrete Countertops

You will need a table saw to rip the boards to size. You have to cut the bottom boards, sides, and all the smaller pieces for the backsplash forms. Your sides will need to be up to the thickness of your counters so measure correctly.

STEP 2

Melamine Forms for DIY Concrete Countertops

The next step is to assemble the forms.

STEP 9 

Release agent for DIY Concrete Countertops

It is important to use some sort of release agent, otherwise, you may have trouble getting your counters out and you don’t want to ruin those pretty things. We poured the release agent into a small spray bottle and lightly coated each form. We wiped them all down with a napkin because the directions say to use a thin, even layer. It worked like a charm. Don’t forget the sides!

STEP 10

Mixer DIY Concrete Countertops

We rented this mixer for $40/day. We hooked it up in our drive way and then poured the mixed concrete into a 5 gallon bucket to take into the garage. This way we wouldn’t waste a lot of concrete by spilling pouring directly into our molds. We had some very narrow forms for the backsplash pieces and knew it would be easier to shovel it in.

STEP 11

Mesh Lath for DIY Concrete Countertops

Once you have the right consistency, pour enough concrete to fill your form about halfway up. Then lay down your mesh. Make sure it is good and centered. Then fill the form the rest of the way with concrete.

STEP 13

Screed DIY Concrete Countertops

Once it is full, use a smooth board to screed it. What’s screed you ask? Let me explain (because I know these things now).

Firmly press a board across the top of your form. This will make it nice, smooth, and level. Since the top of your form is actually the bottom of your counter, you want to this to be level so your counters sit nicely on your cabinets.

Once you have done these steps over and over and over again until you have all your forms filled, lay your plastic sheet over top.

STEP 15 

Demold DIY Concrete Countertops

Before you can finish the surface, you need to de-mold the counters.  Since we used the release agent, the counters literally slipped right out of the forms as soon as we turned them upside down.

We laid the counters onto a foam board to give them a soft place to land.  We left them on the foam to do all the finishing work.  Before sanding, we filled in all the little air bubble holes.

STEP 18

Installing DIY Concrete Countertops

After you have sanded it all smooth, it’s time to install. We dry-fit the pieces first and checked to make sure they were level.  If they were not, we simply shimmed ‘em up.

Here’s what the counters looked like after being sealed and waxed!

Glossy DIY Concrete Countertops

Thanks to Jessie at Imperfectly Polished for sharing!

Want the full details? Be sure to check out the steps to prep and planning, pouring and curing, and installing your DIY concrete countertops at Imperfectly Polished.


DIY Concrete Letters

This DIY monogram project takes simple materials to new heights.

When we came across this DIY concrete letter and ampersand from Katelyn at Learning, Creating, Living, we had to share it. This project is proof that even the most humble of materials can be downright decorative. Katelyn used cardboard letters to make her initial, with plans to make her husband’s as well. Take a look at her tutorial.

DIY Concrete Letter

MATERIALS
- bucket
- 10 lb bag of concrete
- sheet
- cardboard ampersand and letter (these can be purchased at a craft store)
- stirrer

DIY Concrete Letters Materials

STEP 1

DIY Concrete Letter Molds

Before mixing the concrete, I cut off the top parts of the cardboard, that way I could pour the concrete into the letter & ampersand. This was really easy to do & once you get a cut going, you can pretty much pull off the rest.STEP 2DIY Concrete Letter Wet ConcreteI then mixed the concrete & poured it into the letter & ampersand. I didn’t care that it wasn’t smooth because I planned on sanding it once it dried. I let it dry for a day & then sanded certain areas that needed it.DIY Concrete Letter AmpersandDIY Concrete Letter KSTEP 3Once they were dried, the cardboard was moist, so all I had to do was peel off the cardboard, super easy!DIY Concrete Letter Finished
That’s it you guys! I find it weird that the texture is so different with both of them considering I used the same concrete & poured it in at the same time, but I love the texture & look of them both. I plan on making my husbands initial and a few other things, but I ran out of concrete this time around since I did a few other things with it.Thanks, to Katelyn from Learning, Creating, Living for sharing! Check out her site for even more concrete projects.


DIY Concrete Lamp

Cold, hard concrete meets warm and homey lamplight in this inventive DIY.

Concrete is one of the most versatile materials. And unlike many raw materials, concrete can be molded into any shape you like with little more than the proper form and time to set. So when we saw this concrete lamp from Meg at Happy Looks Good on You, we were bowled over. Read her tutorial to see how easy it is to elevate this ordinary material into an amazing home accent.

DIY Concrete Lamp Tutorial

If you have all of a sudden become obsessed with having a concrete lamp of your own you, my friend, are in luck.

I will show you exactly how to make one and by the time you finish reading this post you’ll think, “Well that doesn’t seem too hard. I could probably do that.”

Yep, you totally can.

MATERIALS

- glass jar (for lamp base form)
- ceramic tile drill bit
- drill
- lamp kit
- tubing
- threaded rod
- concrete
- hammer
- safety glasses
- shop brush
- felt pads

STEP 1

First, you’re gonna want to find a glass jar that you think would make a good lamp base shape. You also want to find one on the cheap since you’ll be shattering it into hundreds of pieces. Thrift stores are a great place to look. I picked this one up for $1.50.

Supplies for DIY Concrete Lamp Mold

STEP 2 

You’ll need a ceramic tile drill bit for this next part because you need to drill a hole in the glass jar. Which is not at all scary like it sounds. Promise. I have found that Rigid (found at Home Depot) is the best brand to get.

Drill Hole for DIY Concrete Lamp

STEP 3

Be sure to snag a lamp kit, 1-2 feet of tubing, a threaded rod (found right next to the lamp kits in lighting) and a bucket of Quikrete. I like the buckets of Quikrete opposed to the bags because then I have a place to mix the concrete.

STEP 4

Then you’ll force the tubing over the end of the threaded rod.

Tubing Lamp Kit DIY Concrete Lamp

Like so.

Lighting Tube for DIY Concrete Lamp

This is how the lamp cord will run up through the concrete to the socket.

Making a DIY Concrete Lamp

STEP 5

Fill the jar with concrete, making sure to keep the threaded rod centered in the middle of the jar. Also make sure you don’t get any concrete down in the rod or there are going to be problems when it comes time to wire up the lamp. Then you just let it dry for a couple days.

Mold for DIY Concrete lamp

STEP 6

I thought this part was going to be much crazier than it actually was. I imagined flying shards of glass and barely escaping with my life. It was all rather benign.

Use a hammer to crack and break the glass off the concrete. It really doesn’t take too much force to achieve this. Once all the glass is off you’ll want to go over the concrete with a shop brush to be certain all the tiny bits and glass dust are removed.

Breaking Mold for DIY Concrete lamp

STEP 7

It’s now time to wire this baby up!

Remember the tubing that is now sticking out of the back of your lamp base like a tail?

Ready to Wire DIY Concrete Lamp

Take a knife and cut it as close to the concrete as you can.

Wiring DIY Concrete Lamp

STEP 8

Then you’ll run the lamp cord through the tubing and out the top of the threaded rod.

Wired DIY Concrete Lamp

STEP 9

Lamp kit hardware is always a garish brass so I prefer to paint it. A nice glossy white will do perfectly for this project.

Painted Lamp Kit DIY Concrete Lamp

STEP 10

Wiring a lamp is easy peasy. There are simple instructions on the back of the lamp kit package.

Steps to Make DIY Concrete Lamp

STEP 11

The final touch is some felt pads on the bottom of the base so the lamp won’t scratch any surfaces. Also, apparently the inside of my jar wasn’t level. It teetered a bit, but the felt pads fixed that right up.

Felt pads for bottom of DIY concrete lamp

And here it is. In all it’s glory. I love the juxtaposition of the warm wood and the cool concrete.

Finished DIY Concrete Lamp

Thanks, Meg from Happy Looks Good on You! You can find even more inventive concrete projects at her blog.


DIY Concrete Candle Holders

Give your home a catalog look with your own DIY concrete hack.

Inspiration comes in many forms—sometimes even in a store catalog. When Diane of In My Own Style saw these Concrete Fire Columns from Restoration Hardware, she realized she could make her own inexpensive version using building tubes as molds. That’s ingenuity! We loved her inventive and affordable hack so much, we had to share it. Read on for her tutorial.

Restoration Hardware Concrete Fire Column

Here are the three concrete fire columns I made – they are not eco-friendly gel fueled, just plain old candlelight fueled.

DIY Fire Column Restoration Hardware Hack

DIY Concrete Fire Candle Holders Finished

I sit out on my patio in the autumn a lot as it is my FAVORITE time of year. I wanted to get it all ready for the season by adding some ambiance for nights I like to go outside, relax on the chaise, and stargaze into the autumn sky.

Patio View of DIY Concrete Candle Holders

The hardest part of the entire project is picking up the 80 pound bag of concrete. I had my hubby help me with that.  I bought the rocks at the Dollar Tree.

Knock Off Restoration Hardware DIY Concrete Fire Column

MATERIALS

- (1) quick tube – they sell them in the building supplies areas at home improvement stores. Cost about $8.  I used an 8” diameter one that was about 4’ high
- (2) 80 pound bags of  commercial grade Quikrete – this was enough to make all three.   This mix has fewer stones in it and will produce a much smoother surface then the other mixes.
- mixing bucket
- stirring stick
- water
- gloss paint in any color – I used spray paint
- piece of plywood or a plastic drop cloth
- level
- coffee can
- rubber gloves
- eye and nose protection
- box cutter
- sanding block and coarse sandpaper

STEP 1 

The cardboard building forms look like this. They come in many different diameters. I used an 8” one. Make sure you are getting one that is at least 1-inch wider than the glass hurricane you plan to use to put on it.

Supplies for DIY Concrete Candle Holder

STEP 2

Figure out how tall you want each column. I gauged mine on the height of my chaise and then cut the other two in  half size of each other. The smallest one can go on a table by itself when you want candlelight for dining.

Cut Building Form for DIY Concrete Candle Holder

STEP 3

The directions from Quikrete said to use a release agent when you want to remove the cardboard tube. The guy at Home Depot told me they didn’t sell it, but told me to spray some gloss paint inside the tube and let it dry. The gloss surface would make it easier to remove the tube when the concrete was dry.

Tutorial DIY Concrete Candle Holder

STEP 4

Make sure the top and bottom of your cut tubes are level.

STEP 5

Then I made a bottom for each tube using a foam plate. I used duct tape to secure each plate to the bottom of each cut tube.

Making Form for DIY Concrete Candle Holder

STEP 6

Then I placed the tubes on a big piece of plywood I had. Make sure the surface you place the tubes on is level. You don’t want Leaning Towers of Pisa. The plywood or plastic drop cloth is to protect the surface you are working on from the concrete.

Molding concrete for DIY concrete candle holder

STEP 7

This step is the hardest only because the 80 pound bag of concrete is hard to move. Get your bag of concrete right next to your mixing bucket. Fill the bucket with 2- 1/2 quarts of water. Put on a pair of rubber gloves to protect your hands—then use a scoop (I used a plastic container) to slowly add half the bag of concrete to the water in the bucket.

Supplies for DIY Concrete Candle Holder

STEP 8

Mix it gradually and make sure you stir it well before adding more mix. Do not add the whole bag you will never be able to stir it! Add slowly a little bit of mix and stir. The directions on the bag say to  wear safety glasses and one of those little white masks as you add the mix to the water. The mix is very fine and you don’t want to get it in your eyes or lungs.

You can add a bit more water if needed to get a nice smooth consistency.

Smooth concrete for DIY Concrete Candle Holder

STEP 9

Once you like the consistency, use your scoop to add the concrete to the tube. Push the PVC pipe into the tube once it is 1/3 of the way filled to make sure you are packing the concrete in and getting rid of any air pockets. Keep filling and pushing the PVC pipe  until the tube is filled. If you run out of concrete mix. Start another batch and then continue to fill the tubes.

Fill tube for DIY Concrete Candle Holder

STEP 10

To make the indent for the glass hurricane to fit in, press a coffee can into the top. This coffee can just happened to be the perfect size. You may have to find something that is a bit wider than the hurricane you are going to use.

Center it and gently push down. This will make some of the concrete come out. You want the coffee can down at least 1/2”– 1”.

Making DIY Concrete Candle Holder

STEP 11

Smooth around the can with your gloved finger until it is smooth getting rid of the excess that has spilled out. Gently rotate the can a few times to make sure the concrete on the sides of it are not going to dry to the column. As the column dries repeat rotating the can during the first few hours of drying time to ensure it doesn’t become a permanent part of the column.

STEP 12

After a few hours you can remove the can. It will look like this. Let the column dry at least for 24 hours or longer depending on how humid the air is.

Molded DIY Concrete Candle Holder

STEP 13

Once the column is dry, use a box knife to cut away the cardboard tube from the column. Spray it with a hose if needed to help you remove the tube. Mine came off easily.

Dried DIY Concrete Candle Holder

STEP 14

Tip the column to the side to remove the plate from the bottom.

STEP 15

The excess concrete along the bottom edge will come off easily with sandpaper.

STEP 16

Put coarse sandpaper on a sanding block and go over the top surface to smooth.

Sandpaper for DIY Concrete Candle Holder

STEP 17

You can also use the sandpaper to get rid of any ridges along the bottom and sides of the column as well as any paint or cardboard that might have stuck. It comes right off with the sandpaper.

Sanding DIY Concrete Candle Holder

STEP 18

Place your glass hurricane on top.

Finished DIY Concrete Candle Holders Trio

Thanks, Diane of In My Own Style! You can find even more home decor ideas on her site.


DIY Hand Planters

Here's a unique take on the concrete planter trend.

There are lots of DIY concrete planters out there, but not many are in the shape of a pair of hands. We were so struck by these hand planters from Jenise DIY Fun Ideas that we couldn’t wait to share them. These hands could be molded to look nurturing for a year-round garden or modified to look off beat and ghoulish for Halloween. Take a look at her tutorial to learn how she accomplished this fantastic concrete project—and some lessons she learned about molding concrete.

DIY Concrete Hand Planter with Succulents

MATERIALS

- dust mask
- concrete
- mixing bucket
- garden trowel
- garden gloves
- rocks

Now, while making these DIY concrete hands was super easy, I have to admit I started out with a major fail. So I’ll start by telling you a little about how you can avoid making the same mistakes.

My biggest lesson learned here is that not all concrete is made equal. I picked up the smallest bag of concrete I could find at Home Depot. Their smallest bag was 50 lbs. But it was only $5 so no big deal. I was all ready to get started.

Quikrete DIY Concrete Hand Planter

STEP 1

The first thing you want to definitely make sure to do when you start is where a breathing mask because when you pour the concrete, there is no way you’ll be able to avoid breathing in the dust that flies up. So absolutely wear a mask.

Anyway, wearing my dust mask, I went ahead and poured my dry concrete into a bucket.

Concrete Mix for DIY Concrete Hand Planters

It was all full of rocks! Yup. Apparently, real concrete is rocks mixed with cement. Well, I figured I’d give it a try so I mixed in water based on the package instructions. Then I used a garden trowel to stuff the concrete into an old gardening glove and a few plastic gloves.

Making DIY Concrete Hand Planter

I let the gloves sit over night then started cutting and peeling the gloves off the concrete. It was not looking right at all.

Broken DIY Concrete Hand Planter

I had definitely made a mess of it; couldn’t even get the gloves off without breaking the fingers. Total sadness.

DIY Fail Concrete Hand Planter

But I wasn’t ready to give up. I headed back to the hardware store and this time I asked one of the store clerks what kind of cement I should use for casting.  The clerk went into a spiel on all the different kinds of cement (apparently there are lots of different kinds of cement), but he finally directed me to a product. So my biggest tip is to look for a cement (not concrete) that says “casting” on it. This is what I picked up…

Cement for DIY Hand Planter

STEP 2

So, back to the drawing board, I mixed up my new cement according to the instructions. Aahhh, look how perfectly smooth that is…

Mixing Cement for DIY Concrete Hand planter

STEP 3

Using a gardening trowel again, I started filling my gloves. I found that air gets stuck in the fingers.

Filling Glove for DIY Concrete Hand Planters

STEP 4

I squeezed the fingers of the glove to push the air out and then to get the cement to the bottom of the fingers you have to sort of “milk” the fingers as if you were milking a cow. (I’ve never milked a cow, but I might be pretty good at it now.) It takes a bit to make sure there are no air pockets. I had to work kind of fast because the cement I was using starts to set in 15 minutes.

STEP 5

I filled a total of four gloves this way. On the last two, using a scissor I cut a slit along the pinky side, pressed out a little cement and then pressed the two hands together so that they would dry as one.

Molding DIY Concrete Hand Planters

STEP 6

Then I shaped the fingers the way I wanted them and used some rocks to hold them in place. I did the same with the other two gloves I filled.

Drying DIY Concrete Hand Planters

STEP 7

The cement starts to dry really quickly and the hands got really hot to the touch. By about a half hour in they felt rock solid. But I let them dry a few hours before messing with them. Then I used a scissor to cut the gloves open and peel them off.

Removing Gloves from DIY Concrete Hand Planter

STEP 8

Once the gloves were peeled off, my beautiful DIY concrete hand planters were good to go.

DIY Concrete Hand Planter Finished

Thanks, Jenise of DIY Fun Ideas! You can check out even more concrete projects at her site.