Crafty: Decorate your patio with simple concrete projects

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  • Concrete countertop mix (available at Menard’s or Lowe’s)
  • Wooden dowels—1 ½-inch diameter, and ¼-inch diameter
  • Tealight candles in aluminum holders
  • Saw
  • Sandpaper
  • Silicon ice cube trays
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Newspaper
  • Strong glue
  • Sponge
  • Old bucket for mixing concrete
  • Trowel or old spoon for mixing concrete

Decorate your dinner table or patio garden with these easy concrete projects. To make a planter, you’ll use dowels to create a negative space for your tiny plant and drainage holes. To make candleholders, you’ll use the aluminum holders from tealights.

Step One

If you’re making planters, cut your dowels down to appropriate lengths by measuring the depth of your silicon ice cube trays, which will act as your mold. Use a saw to cut your 1 1/2-inch diameter dowel into pieces that measure three quarters the depth of the mold. For example, my mold is two inches deep, so I cut my 1 1/2-inch diameter dowel into 1 1/2-inch lengths.

Step Two

Sand down any rough edges on the dowels. Cut the ¼-inch diameter dowel into sections measuring half the length of the 1 1/2-inch diameter dowel and sand the edges. I cut 1 1/2-inch diameter dowel into 1 1/2-inch lengths, so that means my ¼-inch diameter dowel will be cut into 3/4-inch pieces.

Step Three

Glue the flat edges of a small dowel and large dowel together. Wipe away any excess glue and let dry completely.

crafty 3-4

Step Four

Coat the the sides and bottom of the aluminum holders and dowels thoroughly with petroleum jelly. Spread some newspaper onto a flat surface and place your silicon tray on top. Arrange your dowels and aluminum holders in the bottom of the silicon tray mold. When placing dowels into the mold, put the large dowel end down and center in the mold. For the candleholder version, flip the aluminum holder over so the bottom is facing up, and center in the mold.

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Step Five

Place roughly eight cups of concrete mix into a bucket. Thoroughly wet a sponge under the faucet and squeeze into the mix. Continue this process until all dry ingredients are incorporated, being sure not to overwater. If you accidentally overwater, just add a bit more mix. Using your trowel or spoon, mix for three minutes until the mixture is relatively smooth with no large chunks.

Step Six

Using a trowel or spoon, scoop concrete into the mold, taking care not to move dowels or holders. Fill completely with concrete. Gently tap the tray a few times on the countertop to get rid of air bubbles. The concrete will start to settle and expand a bit. You can use your trowel or spoon to skim excess concrete off the top.

Step Seven

Allow concrete to dry at least 18 hours. Invert the silicon mold, and turn planters and candle holders out. Snip out aluminum holders and remove dowels. Fill with tealights or tiny succulents.

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