Last winter after breaking out the serious cold weather gear, I found myself fighting the coat rack next to the front door. It was, to put it bluntly, failing miserably. Tipping over, breaking off, it was a mess. I swore before the next winter I would drive some serious hooks into the wall that would handle all my heavy overcoat needs. I just haven't seen any kickass hooks yet that I liked enough to justify making serious holes in my walls.
Cut to the last few months. As mentioned in my blog ( here, here, and here) I've been playing around, trying to make a concrete lightbulb. Why? Because I find the contrast of blending a new material like concrete in an everyday shape like a lightbulb to be a great design element. So while messing around with these guys, I realized this would be a great excuse to drive lag bolts into my wall for hooks. By embedding a lag bolt into the concrete lightbulb, I could make a wall hook that was useful enough to handle anything I wanted to hang off it. Thus this project was born.
This is an entry in the Etsy/Instructables SewUseful Contest, so if you love this idea but don't want to make it yourself, not to worry! I have them for sale in my Etsy Shop. Click here to order yours today! Yes, it's an entry into a sewing contest without any sewing. Sometimes you just gotta.
Check out my other entry into the SewUseful Contest (also without sewing!) - "Big Brass Ones"
Step 1: Tools and Materials
- Small pair of pliers
- small pair of wirecutters
- small screwdriver
- carbide scribe. You can use something like an awl or even a long skinny nail, but I found my trusty old scribe to be invaluable in this.
- plastic tub to mix the concrete in. I used an empty five pound tub of spreadable margarine.
- a scrap of wood to mix the concrete with. You could use an old wooden spoon or something like that if needed.
- plastic spoon to put the concrete mix into the lightbulb.
- A measuring cup and measuring spoons for adding the correct amount of concrete mix and water.
- a toothbrush you won't be using for your teeth anymore.
- coffee stirrer and plastic cups you "borrowed" from Starbucks
- Gloves and safety glasses. A must because the glass bulb often breaks and little shards go flying in all directions, including straight at your eyes.
- Misc. items like Sharpies, some rags, etc.
"Concrete" is a mix of cement, water and aggregates. My research showed that a sand mix, AKA mortar mix, is good when using a smooth surfaced mold like the inside of a lightbulb. It gives a very high shine when cured. A sand mix is different from your generic concrete in that the aggregates doesn't have any gravel, just various sizes of sand. I decided to do it with mortar mix instead of your standard bag of generic concrete.
- Quikrete Mortar mix. I got the ten pound bag at the local home improvement store for $2. This is enough to do over a dozen lightbulbs. I could have purchased the 60 pound bag for $7 at a much lower cost/volume, but this project really doesn't need that much.
- Lightbulbs. Just the cheapest standard sized incandescent lightbulbs you can find. I got mine at Walmart. A pack of four for 77 cents. Can't beat that with a stick.
- Water. You'll need about 4 tablespoons worth. I kept a bottle of water nearby on the bench and refilled it from the tap when needed.
- Lag Bolt. I'm using a 5/16" lag bolt, 3.5" long. 5/16" was the largest sized lag bolt I could fit into the lightbulb without cutting off the head. I didn't want to do that because the head gives the bolt a lot of grip when embedded in the concrete. With a lag bolt 5/16" in diameter, I can drill in the wall a 1/4" hole to get a good balance between grip and ease of installing. In other words, it turns easily into the wall yet holds really well.