Picture of HomeMade Modern DIY Concrete Lamp

This DIY concrete lamp is cast in an empty milk carton. Its small size makes a great starter project for people who haven’t worked with concrete before. The only cost is for a few pounds of cement and the light fixture.
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Step 1: Supplies + Tools

Picture of Supplies + Tools
Milk Carton
Reclaimed + Recycled
A half gallon milk cartons make excellent form work for concrete. The waxed cardboard is water proof and smooth so the finished concrete will have a smooth stone like finish.

Plastic Drink Bottle
Reclaimed + Recycled
The plastic bottle is used to create a space big enough to house a light bulb.

1/2" Inch Diameter Bolt 6" Inches Long with Nut
Purchase at Home Depot
This bolt holds the plastic bottle in place and also creates a hole for the cord to go through.

Tub Tile or Window Caulk
Purchase at Home Depot
The caulk is used to seal the holes in the milk carton mold. Almost any type of water proof caulk will work.

3 1/2" Deck Screw
I used a single deck screw to help hold the plastic bottle in place.

Quickcrete 5000
Purchase at Home Depot
QUIKRETE® 5000 Concrete Mix is a commercial grade blend of stone or gravel, sand and cement specially designed for higher early strength. It is available at Home Depot and typically comes in 80 lb bags. The hardest part of working with it is moving the 80 lb bag. Mixing the small quantity needed for this project is easy all you have to do is add water and stir thoroughly.

Electrical Stuff: Socket, Switch and Cord
Purchase Online
I bought an E-12 socket and cord set from

RYOBI 18 Volt Cordless Drill with a 1/2” diameter standard bit
For drilling holes for the bolt.

¼” and 3/8” Masonry Bits
To drill holes in the concrete. Feel free to experiment with larger or smaller bits.

Wire Cutters
To cut the cord and strip the wires for reconnecting the socket to the cord after putting the socket inside the lamp.

Step 2: Open the carton and trim the edges

Picture of Open the carton and trim the edges
Use scissors or a box cutter to cut back the folded top of the carton.

This is really cool and yet so many decorating options available to one's liking. Just a few suggestions that would reduce one's labor and construction time and, make it prettier if preferred.

1-no need to drill holes; pre-cut varying sizes of Cylinder tubes made from PVC, copper, straws, beads w/holes and/or clear or colored glass stones. Drill holes through both containers before filling. Then reach through opening of the pop bottle top and insert your choice of pre-cut cylinder tubes that which the width do not extend beyond either side of the walls of the cement once dried. Pour cement and let dry. No need to remove any cylinder type parts or drill any holes, as the choice tubes and/or decor stones etc. for the holes are permanent, h2o proof and non-flammable.

2-you could exclude the cost of, and lighting materials, while obtaining the same light effect by placing a battery tea light candle underneath the light box on a surface.

3-use pint size milk cartons for a smaller versions, to create a string of hanging lights or a personal one for each person at a meal setting.

4-use colored cement, add jewels, stones, glass beads, any decor that can be glued to the exterior side or pushed through the wet cement to permanently set one's choice of decor pieces.

jcewazhere1 year ago

Great idea.

Could you use wooden dowels or even cardboard tubes to form the holes? Then simply burn them out in a kiln, instead of chipping and drilling the holes or trying to dig out PVC.

bobalbury1 year ago
Really cool idea. You could also add colored glass or old camera filters to change the light effect.
Nice job. you've got my vote. B )
B )
Where have you been? The lamps and lighting contest just got over. Just love your concrete lamps :). Thanks for sharing.
MJFallout1 year ago
I don't think it's a reasonable suggestion to buy 80lbs of concrete for a project, that needs maybe 1lbs. Really.
I don't know about you, but if I was making one of these, I would make many more after my test worked out!
fbernier1 year ago
You need a hammer drill to use diamond concrete bits, otherwise, you will waste your bits in a snap.
RadManInTn1 year ago
Did you just cut the bottle to even with the concrete or were you able to get the bottle out?
Good idea
Arghus1 year ago
if i wasn't renting i d' make one tomorrow.. nice work
Tom 71 year ago
if you wax or spray the bolt with something like WD-40 before the pour, it will be easier to remove from the concrete. a plastic 5 gallon bucket would work better for mixing
dh4051 year ago
Please tell me that you aren't actually mending those wires by twisting them and applying electrical tape. If you would, place a note on this instructable letting people know that they should solder, crimp, or at least, wire nut their wires.
TomasuD1 year ago
I would strongly suggest you open the socket and unscrew the wire from it. thread the wire through the hole and screw it back into the socket. Cleaner and safer.
It would probably look cleaner and more polished if you were to glue in place something like a small piece of greased dowel rod or PVC pipe into the mold prior to filling with concrete so that the mold forms around it to leave your holes instead of having to chip away at the concrete until you can start the masonry bit. It might be a little more effort to get the dowel pieces out, but for those who want a clean, finished look and/or don't have access to masonry bits it would be a good alternative.