Friday, November 28, 2014

DIY Concrete Candle Holders from Pringle and Coffee Cans

Concrete candle holders made from Pringles cans and a coffee can
Concrete isn't just for sidewalks or garden decor-it is an extremely versatile medium that can be used for a ton of different projects.  Even those for the inside of your house.  Not only is concrete versatile  it is extremely easy to work with once you get the hang of using it.  I tell everyone it is a lot like Jello-you make it, put it in a mold, wait for it to firm up, then unmold it.  It is that easy!  I personally prefer to make my own concrete-but it is entirely OK to buy it in a bag or bucket.  That's why they sell it:-))  One thing I have to mention is if you are making smaller projects make sure the product does not contain large gravel or rock.  You can sift it out if you can not find any without.

Molds for concrete projects are really easy to find.  Many household containers can be used.  I stay away from items that can not be easily cut away if the concrete gets stuck.  Nothing is worse than struggling to release your piece.  Plastic is usually my first choice-but I will give just about anything a try.  With this project I chose some Pringles cans and coffee cans-which are not really cans at all.  They are cardboard sides with a metal bottom.  The metal bottom is important-it prevents the weight of the concrete from sagging and making an uneven bottom on the finished product.  Here is a pic of what I mean:
Bottom of coffee can
A bottom like this will not work for a stable bottom-it will sag when filled with concrete:
Bottom of a bread crumb container

There are many different containers that you could use for this project-just raid your recycling bin.  You will also need molds for the inside-something a little bit larger than the candle you want to use.  I used small condiment containers and a lid from my cooking spray.  Here are some containers and interior molds that could be used:
Here is what you will need for this project:
1.  A concrete mix or recipe  (A good "recipe" for this project: 1 part portland cement/3 parts sand/
1/2 part water-I use a cottage cheese container as measurement )
2.  Good quality mask
3.  Gloves
4.  Bucket or tub to mix in
5.  Empty Pringles cans and/or coffee cans
6.  Mold release spray-I use cooking spray. 

To start this project you need to spray the molds with the mold release and then wipe it off.  You do not want a heavy coating of it-it will cause excess air holes if excess is not wiped out. 

Next you need to mix your dry ingredients in your tub or bucket-if you are using a mix just pour it in (don't forget your mask and gloves!).  After your dry ingredients are mixed start adding water.  Start with half of the amount then add more slowly as you mix to get the consistency you want.  It should be almost like peanut butter.

After you have it mixed it needs to sit for about 10 minutes to hydrate.  Don't worry-you have plenty of time before it hardens:-))

After 10 minutes you can begin filling your molds-don't fill it all the way. 
Tap the sides to release air bubbles:
I like to firmly tap it on the ground to make sure the concrete settles and to release even more air bubbles:
After you have tapped it fill the interior mold with some sand or rocks (for weight) then set it in the center and press it down into the concrete.  Do not push it all the way-leave it sticking up a little so you have something to grab when you pull it out.

Here are the three I filled for this project:
Let them sit for at least 24 hours to set before you unmold them.  Trust me on this:-)) 

To clean up fill your tub or bucket with water and let it set until the sediment settles on the bottom.  After it has settled you can pour the water off then scrape the sediment up and put it in a bag and dispose of it.  Never dump concrete or the sediment down the drain.  It will ruin your drains.  

When the concrete is set pull the interior molds out (it is easier when the rocks or sand are dumped out).  Here I used a pair of pliers:

Now take a pair of scissors and snip the top of the mold:
Then take your hands and start pulling the paper off:

For a smooth finish on top you need to sand it.  I just use a sheet of snadpaper and rub it until it is smooth:

Rinse the concrete off-try to get rid of the sand from rubbing it with sandpaper.  Your next step is an important one.  It is the "cure".  In order for concrete to cure properly it needs to stay wet and the temperature should stay above 55 degrees.  I always try to water cure my items-it is the easiest and best way to accomplish a good cure for smaller items.  This will take a week.  I just fill a plastic tub with water and place the items in changing the water daily.
After a week pull them out of the water, rinse them off and let them dry. 
When they are completely dry you can paint decorate them if you would like.  I spray painted mine with gold spray paint.  Here is what I did:

I then coated them with a concrete sealer and let them dry.
Here they are all done:-))
I really love the way they look-perfect for holiday decorating or for a nice handmade gift.  You can paint or decorate them any color you would like.  Here is a pic of three I made using brown dye in the mix:
If you are concerned about them scratching your furniture you can cut a piece of felt or cork and glue them to the bottom or you can use the lids from the cans. 

I hope you give this project a try!  As with all of my projects you can tailor them to suit your taste and style.  If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them below.  Until next time-

Happy Planting!


  1. What a great idea! I've just stared looking at concrete as a craft medium and your blog is priceless!

  2. Upgrade your candle holders and oil testers with these rustic and classic ones. Each candle holder and oil tester has its own unique style and you have to choose that which relates to your lifestyle. Made from stoneware, delight in the fact that you're using a pottery uniquely handmade and crafted for class and simple elegance.


  3. This gonna be the strongest candle holder DIY project i have ever met. So cool.