I’m not personally a smoker, but I am an avid host who loves having friends over, especially in the summer. I’m also an extremely neat person who can’t stand the sight of discarded cigarette butts on the ground around my home, especially near the porch in the yard where my kids play. I don’t mind at all when guests smoke out there, but I always like to make sure they have a place to put their cigarettes when they’re finished so that things stay neat and I can dispose of them properly after everyone has left. That’s why I decided it was time to make my own ashtray for the porch! Of course, I know I could just go out and buy one, but making things yourself is always a lot more fun and a lot more satisfying. I’ve been really obsessed with making DIY concrete projects lately, so naturally that’s the route I decided to take with this craft! It was a great material choice because then I could leave the ashtray out there on hand at all times without worrying about rain and weathering ruining it too much to be used.
Since I’ve always enjoyed other people’s tutorials and seeing how they make their own unique projects, I also think it’s nice to return the favour every once in a while and make tutorials of my own, letting other crafters follow along and try their hand at whatever projects I’ve been cooking up lately. Check out these step by step instructions complete with photos! If you’d rather follow along with a video tutorial instead of written words, scroll to the bottom of this post to find just what you’re looking for.
For this project, you’ll need:
- DIY fine particle cement
- A plastic mixing bowl
- A rounded ceramic bowl
- A spoon
- A paintbrush
- Acrylic Paint (blue, silver, and gold)
- A styrofoam ball
Gather your materials!
Mix your DIY concrete! Slowly add water to the powdered mix in your plastic bowl and stir it with a spoon until the consistency is correct. Follow the instructions on the package to get the right ratio of water to powdered mix, since it can vary from brand to brand and you want to do what’s right for the kind you’re using to get the best results.
Set the mixed concrete aside for the moment and, with decent speed (you don’t want your concrete mix to start drying in its mixing bowl, but you have lots of time before that starts), use a larger paintbrush dipped in oil (vegetable, olive, or canola will do) to coat the entire inside surface of your ceramic bowl. This will be the mold for your ashtray’s shape and the oil will stop the concrete mix from sticking to the sides of the bowl, making it easy to simply tip the dried concrete shape out later. Then apply oil to the surface of your styrofoam ball; you’ll be using this to make the indent in the centre, so you want to make sure it sticks to the concrete mix and dried concrete as little as possible as well.
Pour your concrete mix into your oiled porcelain bowl and even out the surface with your spoon. Tap the bottom of the oiled bowl lightly on the tabletop to even out the surface and get rid of clumps and air bubbles. Place your oiled styrofoam ball in the centre of the concrete mix, pressing it into its surface until the ball is about halfway covered; you do not want it to touch the bottom of the bowl, or the concrete might dry with a hole in the bottom of your final shape. Styrofoam floats and the sphere will try to move around, so use two strips stuck across the top of the ball from edge to edge to keep it held in place. Set the whole thing aside to dry thoroughly.
Remove the dried and shaped ashtray! Pull off the tape, flip the bowl upside down to let the whole tray fall out (it should be very easy to free from the sides of the porcelain bowl, but it might take a little bit of jiggling and prying), and pull the styrofoam ball out from the centre. The depression the ball made in the surface will be the part where people’s stub out and dispose of their finished cigarettes.
Add colour and detail with paint! I decided to paint the inner circle of the ashtray dark blue and then turn my paintbrush around and dot that blue surface with alternating metallic bronze and gold dots, to look a little bit like stars in a night sky. Set the ashtray aside once more to let the paint dry and voila!
That’s really all there is to it! Of course, you can absolutely change up the shape and colour scheme of your ashtray but still follow this basic technique and concept as a guide. Just in case you’d like to try this project out for yourself, here’s a fantastic tutorial video to help you!