When it comes to your tastes and aesthetics, are you always torn somewhere between the modern art look and something a little more natural or rustic chic? I like things very much along those lines as well and I’m constantly having to choose between whether I want to make or buy something along the lines of either. That’s part of the reason I’ve been trying to come up with something creative that I can make for my mantel that combines the two looks in one place. I’ve also been really obsessed with the fun and satisfying process of making DIY concrete projects lately, so everything kind of just fell into place when I had the idea to make this fantastic wood and concrete candle art!
I was so happy with the way that the piece turned out that I actually ended up making a few more of these; some of them I kept and some of them I gave away as gifts. The response was so great that I decided I should make a tutorial as well, so that people can make their own as well. Check out these step by step instructions complete with photos or keep scrolling to the bottom if you’d prefer to see a video tutorial instead!
For this project, you’ll need:
- Fine particle cement mix
- Plastic bowl
- Folding utility knife
Gather your materials!
Use your secateurs to cut your twigs into pieces. You can make them whatever length you please, but try to make all of your pieces roughly the same size. I let mine very a little bit, but I didn’t want to make any too long or too short because I wanted to keep the weight distribution even so the piece would sit correctly and not tip. The concrete weights the finished product down well, but it’s still important to consider all factors.
In the plastic bowl that you’re going to mould your concrete base in, arrange your twig pieces. You want to stand them up on their ends, angled slightly so that all the ends meet in the middle at the bottom and stick out the sides. Set them so they stick out all th way around and adjust them until you’re happy with the look. You’ll be able to move them around a little later even once the concrete mix is in, so you’ll still be able to make changes then, but you won’t be able to move them around anymore once the concrete starts drying; I’d suggest getting the look you want at the start.
Add water to your fine particle cement mix and use your spoon to mix it to the right consistency. You want to do this mixing process in a different plastic container (I use disposable ones that I’ve saved from the recycling box for this step and the one above). Check the back of your cement’s packaging to make sure you get the right ratio of powered mix to water for that kind; it can vary. You’ll notice that I’m wearing gloves to work with the cement; most DIY cement mixes aren’t actually that harmful to your skin, but it can be a hard substance to wash off and it can also dry your skin out or irritate it if you’re very sensitive, so I decided to play things safe and clean.
Pour your cement mix into the container that you arranged your sticks in, pouring it right over the bottom ends of the sticks where they meet each other in the middle. You can use your spoon to help you get a more even pour and really scrape all the excess out. Once you’ve poured it all in, tap the sides of the tub lightly to get rid of air bubbles and even out the top, or use your spoon to smooth the mix.
Set your candle in the centre of your piece while your cement mix is still wet. I set mine right in the middle of the ring of twigs around the edge and settled it into the mix so that it was in well but not sunk so far down that cement would get on the candle’s wick. When you’re happy with the placement of the candle, set the whole project aside to dry.
Once your piece has dried thoroughly and all the way through, use your scissors to make a cut in the edge. This will let you pull the disposable plastic tub apart and away from the concrete in order to make things a little easer to remove. Pull back all of the plastic and free your concrete piece from the container. If you want, you can use a piece of sandpaper or an abrasive block to smooth the outside surfaces and sides of your concrete piece, removing any rough spots or sanding down any inconsistencies.
And there you have it! Your wood and concrete candle holder is all finished. You can feel free to customize your pieces further from here as well; painting or embellishing it, for example, could transform it and add some personality. Just in case you’d like to try this project out for yourself, here’s a fantastic tutorial video to help you!