DIY Concrete & Copper Pipe Pencil Holder

A stylish industrial-look pencil holder makes for a clutter-free desk and is a craft kids can make with a little help.

coopper holder

Add chic substance to an office space by crafting raw, textured furniture and accessories out of concrete and hardware-store pipe. Artisnal concrete mixes in a range of pigments and finishes ensure handsome results for first-time concrete crafters and aficionados alike.

Materials

  • Large-diameter copper pipe coupling (should be able to house several of the smaller pipes, as shown)
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Disposable gloves
  • 10-pound tub of Buddy Rhodes Artisan Concrete Mix
  • Plastic bucket or mixing bowl
  • Small-diameter copper pipe couplings (to fit a pencil or pen)
  • Scissors
  • Sanding block or sandpaper

Directions

1. Set your large copper pipe coupling upright on plastic sheeting. The sheeting keeps surfaces clean and peels off once the concrete has dried.

2. Wearing gloves, mix concrete until the consistency of pudding. Although concrete needs water to activate, adding too much can cause it to slump, or settle or spread. In the case of too much water, wait for the mixture to stiffen then remix, or add more concrete to the batch. 

3. Pour concrete into the coupling, filling to approximately 1 inch below the rim. Gently tap the sides of the coupling to get rid of air bubbles and level the mixture.

4. Cut small circles from plastic sheeting and wrap around one end of each of three small copper couplings so they don't fill with concrete as you insert them into the larger form. Insert in desired pattern.

4. Let everything dry for 24 hours, then peel off the plastic sheeting, and sand any rough edges.

Tip: When concrete mix comes in contact with water, a chemical reaction occurs and the mixture starts to harden, which allows projects to eventually retain their shape. But you want to slow that chemical reaction to allow time to complete your project. Warm conditions (above 70°F) accelerate the hardening; cool water slows it. The desired water temperature depends on the length of time you'll be working and the ambient temp: Outside in the summer sun? Add ice! Inside the garage during winter? Cold tap water is probably OK. The manufacturer says aim for 60° water.

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