8 Great DIY Ways to Use Cinder Blocks

Coming in at less than $2 per block and useful for a wide variety of purposes, cinder blocks are—you might say—worth their considerable weight in gold. These load-bearing concrete construction units typically remain hidden, performing their structural work behind the scenes. But their no-frills appearance and easy customization make them ideal for more high-profile work around the house, too. Click through to see seven projects that showcase the versatility of these hefty home helpers.

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  1. Stacks on Stacks


    There's beautiful simplicity to this project: Simply lay plywood on the floor (to prevent scuffing), then alternate boards with cinder blocks to create shelves for paperbacks, hardcovers, and miscellaneous tchotchkes. For a less utilitarian look, cover the plywood in a coat of paint and let your colorful volumes really pop.


  2. 2-in-1 Planter Wall


    To separate different parts of your outdoor living area—or merely to create a little privacy from the neighbors—put cinder blocks to work. A straightforward cinder block wall would do the trick, but we think it's more fun to lay the blocks in a rickrack pattern to form simple, scattered planters.


  3. Sitting Pretty


    It's no mean feat to measure and cut your way to building a bench out of wood. Much easier is to make yours from cinder blocks. In awkwardly-shaped areas outdoors, cinder block benches are wonderful, functional space-fillers that stand up well to the elements. In good weather, add cushions and pillows, and you'd never know you were sitting on concrete.


  4. Stackable Sculpture


    If you're feeling particularly inspired and have access to a bounty of cinder blocks, why not get creative and make an outdoor sculpture? Depending on your design, the sculpture might be decorative and functional like the one pictured.


  5. Desk Dreams


    For minimal effort and maximum reward, stack cinder blocks into two towers, stretching a panel of wood across them. Suddenly, you've got yourself a new desk. Bonus: You can use the hollow parts of the blocks for storage.

    Related—Buy or Build: 15 Desks We Love


  6. Get Cooking


    You're not a grill master until you have your very own fire pit. Additional materials are needed, but cinder blocks form the base of the structure. A word of warning, though: Once word gets out in your neighborhood, your backyard is bound to become the default locale for outdoor get-togethers.


  7. Spruced-Up Planters


    The negative space in a cinder block serves as a natural and completely customizable pot for herbs, succulents, and flowers—or even all three. While the angular shape of cinder blocks means they fit very neatly into forgotten corners, don't limit yourself: Cinder blocks are handy in more ways than one, even serving as no-frills landscape edging.


  8. Wine Cellar


    Wine drinking can be an expensive habit. Cut back on costs by storing bottles in stacked cinder blocks. As your collection grows, expanding your storage capacity is as simple as putting additional blocks onto the assembly. 

    Related: 5 Easy DIY Wine Racks You Can Make in an Afternoon


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