These “milk carton” concrete candle holders are easy, cheap and do not take a lot of effort to make - what’s not to like?
The raw concrete with it’s small imperfections can be a powerful contrast against clean lines in a minimalist styled setting.
There are loads of possibilities to customise and embellish the basic structure to personalise your creation; vary the height, add die to the concrete mix, stick foam board letters inside the moulds etc.
- Wire cutting tool (pliers)
- Bucket+trowel (or a big spoon)
- Milk carton
- Strip of cardboard
- Tea light
- Packing tape (or any other tape you can scavenge)
- Cement + sand
- Galvanised wire or mesh
- (optional) Felt furniture pads
- (optional) Concrete sealer
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Step 1: Making the Mould
First create the basic mould by cutting the top off the milk carton. Milk cartons are a great starting point for a mould as it has a coating on the inside that acts like a release agent.
Then cut a strip of cardboard that fits around the tea light. Fold the cardboard strip around the tea light and tape the ends. The strip only needs to go around the circumference once. Tape the ends of the tea light as well. As a final flourish fix a piece of tape with the sticky side out at one end of the “tea light tape cylinder”.
Carefully place the tape covered tea light at bottom of the milk carton with sticky side down. Try to centre it best you can.
Mould done, next concrete!
Step 2: Mix, Pour, Wait, Reveal
Wear appropriate PPE when working with cement.
First mix a batch of concrete. I used 1:1 cement and sand. Don’t go crazy when adding water as it will make the concrete brittle.
Quantities: To make 1l of wet concrete you need ~1.5l dry volume of sand+cement.
Then spoon a little into the mould and ensure that the concrete goes all the way down the sides of the tape cylinder. Then fill to the desired height and put in a wire support. Lastly vibrate the mould (I just tapped the mould on a table a couple of times).
Set moulds aside on a level surface for 24-48 hours. Try to leave the mould alone, handling them prematurely could leave marks on the concrete.
When it’s time to release the concrete from the mould, simply rip the carton down one side and remove it. Then fish out the tape cylinder and free you tea light.
Step 3: Finishing Touches
The candle holders are essentials done now. You may need to clean up the bottom a little to remove any lumps and bumps.
The following suggestions are optional:
- Add furniture felt pads
- Seal concrete
Make your own concrete candle and share your version. Enjoy!
Participated in the
Stone Concrete and Cement Contest