Spend more time in your backyard and hold on to those crisp evenings sitting around this super simple concrete fire bowl. To make the concrete bowl, use two different-size plastic planters as molds—we trimmed off the lip of the smaller planter—and fill with a customized concrete mix. Once the concrete has cured, remove the molds and fill the concrete bowl with fire-safe stones from a fireplace store (ordinary rocks might contain air pockets and moisture that cause them to break or burst). Then, tuck cans of gel fuel made for fire bowls and pits into the rocks—or simply use logs.
Editor's Tip: Before you put a fire bowl in your yard, check your local municipal fire safety codes and association rules to make sure your fire bowl—and the location you intend to place it—is up to code.
Wearing a dust mask and gloves, blend equal parts of white cement, quartz sand, and perlite in a large tub. Slowly add water, and mix the concrete with a plastic trowel to form a consistency of soft dough that holds its form when squeezed into a handful.
Safety Tip: Always wear a dust mask when working with concrete and cement to avoid the small particles getting in your lungs.
Use a hot glue gun to attach a short piece of pipe to the center of your large planter. Let dry. This will create a drainage hole when you add the concrete.
Prepare the planter molds by spraying vegetable oil on the inside of the large one and the outside of the small one. If the containers are not oiled, the concrete will adhere to the plastic mold. If you don't have an oil spray on hand, using a paintbrush to rub oil on the molds works, too.
Working quickly, shovel prepared concrete into the large planter, roughly forming a bowl shape approximately 2 inches thick. Avoid shoveling concrete over the pipe opening.
Press a sheet of chicken wire into the concrete, bending it into a bowl shape. This will provide extra support inside the finished concrete "walls." Press the small planter firmly into the center; push hard to shape and smooth the inside of the fire bowl. You may need to set some bricks or heavy rocks inside to hold it in place while you add additional concrete around the edges. Cover the concrete bowl with a sheet of plastic; let cure for three days before you move it.
When cured, remove the plastic and inner planter, carefully turn over the large plastic planter, and tip out the concrete bowl. Wrap the concrete bowl in the sheet of plastic, and allow it to cure in a shaded place for three weeks. When hard and dry, file the top edge of the bowl smooth.
Fill the concrete bowl with fire-safe decorative stones. Tuck cans of solid-gel fuel among the stones, using one, two, or three cans of fuel—the more cans of fuel, the hotter the fire. If you prefer, the concrete is also safe to use with logs.
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