Create an Outdoor Bench with Concrete

This creative bench uses a thrift store find, reclaimed wood, and DIY molded concrete for a one-of-a-kind look that's a blend of contemporary and vintage styles. Matching concrete planters rest atop the bench for the perfect finishing touch.

Concrete Bench

If your style is a blend of modern and vintage, this outdoor bench is the perfect DIY project for you. Here, an Arts and Crafts-era light diffuser found at a salvage shop forms the top of a clever bench. It is framed with the same reclaimed barnwood used in the artwork on the wall above. The seat of the bench rests on two concrete supports, resulting in a sturdy contemporary base.

Ready to build this bench? Find out how to make the base supports, then get step-by-step instructions for how to create the stylish concrete planters that sit atop the bench to complete the look.

How to Make the Bench Base

To make the supports, mix ShapeCrete powder with water for a pastelike consistency thick enough to stick to a spoon when inverted. Press a 3/4-inch-thick layer of the mixture against the walls and bottom of a plastic 5-gallon bucket. Spritz with water and cover with a plastic bag. Repeat spritzing with water every 4 hours until fully dry. The process will take a few days. When solid, carefully invert the bucket and tap on the sides until the form slides out. Repeat for the second support.

How to Make Concrete Planters

To finish the focal point, planters were formed from a concrete countertop mix that was shaped into an inexpensive stainless-steel bowl. Keep reading for the materials you'll need and the instructions to complete these planters!

What You Need

  • Countertop concrete
  • Vegetable oil
  • Large stainless-steel bowl
  • Slightly smaller disposable plastic bowl
  • Scrap pieces of wood 

Step 1: Cut and Attach Wood Pieces

Cut one piece of wood the width of the stainless-steel bowl and the other the width of the smaller bowl. Attach the smaller board, centered, to the larger board.

Step 2: Prepare and Pour Concrete

Rub the inside of the stainless-steel bowl and the outside of the plastic bowl lightly with vegetable oil. Mix the concrete according to manufacturer's directions. Pour just enough into the stainless-steel bowl so that when you place the smaller plastic bowl inside, it will force the concrete out just about to the top of the bowls.

Step 3: Secure the Mold

Place the wood pieces on top of both bowls, with the smaller wood piece in the center of the smaller bowl. Place a brick on top to keep the plastic bowl down inside the concrete. Spritz with water and cover with a plastic bag.

Step 4: Repeat and Remove from Mold

Repeat spritzing with water every four hours until fully dry for roughly two days. Carefully invert the bowls and tap on the stainless steel until the form slides out. Don't worry if you have to bang on the bowl rather hard. (Note there is no drainage hole, so either place a potted plant inside the concrete bowl or drill holes into the bottom.)

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