Hot home design trend: DIY concrete projects that add personality

(BPT) – Want cool, whimsical and funky design in your home? One of the most simple and seamless ways to translate your personality into home expression is with concrete.

In just a few easy steps, anyone can cast concrete into a lamp, vase, shelf, stool, coat rack, planter, candle holder or some other household decorations or accessories. These items not only reflect your unique style, but serve a functional use around the home. Plus, making these household items yourself will cost a fraction of buying them at a store.

A great example of an easy and inexpensive project that adds a combination of designer flare and practical value to a house is a pendant lamp made from a pre-mixed packaged concrete like QUIKRETE. In addition to the concrete mix and a couple basic tools, the pendant lamp requires two repurposed plastic bottles that fit one inside the other and a socket lamp kit. Collectively, the project costs less than $20 in materials and only takes a couple of hours to complete, excluding time required for the concrete to cure.

Note: when working with cementitious products, always wear eye protection and gloves.

Steps for making a concrete pendant lamp:

1. Cut the bottom off the large plastic bottle with a knife or scissors to the desired lamp length.

2. Drill a hole in the caps of both plastic bottles with a standard 3/8-inch bit, so it can accommodate a threaded tube with nuts.

3. Insert the smaller plastic bottle into the larger plastic bottle and connect them by screwing the threaded tube through both caps and using the nuts on each cap to hold them in place.

4. Screw the bottles into the caps and insert 3 1/2-inch deck screws through the sides of each to stabilize them together, which forms the lamp cover mold.

5. Mix the concrete according to instructions on the bag and fill the mold. Shake and tap the mold while pouring to make sure the concrete settles properly.

6. Allow the concrete to harden for 20 hours before using scissors to remove both plastic bottles from the concrete, leaving the lamp cover.

7. Use 120-grit sandpaper to smooth down the rough edges on the lamp cover.

8. Insert the socket pendant lamp kit into the concrete lamp and follow the kit directions for installation.

The pendant lamp can be further customized by incorporating liquid color cement into the concrete during the mixing process or applying stain once the concrete has cured for at least 24-hours.       

A detailed how-to instructional video for making a concrete pendant lamp is available at, along with other tips, directions and information for making a variety of designer household items using pre-mixed packaged concrete.