Concrete and Wood Vase or Pen/pencil Holder

2 Materials
2 Days

I've found that mixing materials is a fun way to get creative and spice up your DIY projects. In a cold climate, without a ton of space to work in indoors, I was looking to make something small, simple and versatile. This creation came out of a desire to create a desktop gift for coworkers and use materials I already had on hand. These instructions will walk you through how to make exactly what I did, but with a few modifications you can create a vase that is totally custom and unique to you.
I began by cutting two pieces of wood that fit snugly into an old egg white carton. You could use a milk carton or juice carton as well. I liked the egg white carton for this project because it was a bit thinner than the others. The first piece was a chunk of 2x12. It will go on the bottom of the carton.
The second piece was a thin strip of cedar with 45-degree angle cuts on the end.
I roughed up the lager piece by cutting notches with a Dremel tool.
I also partially inserted screws on both the inside and top of the wood block. This was to ensure the concrete had something to "latch onto."
Next, I inserted the wood pieces into the empty egg white carton. I used a staple gun to staple the carton to the wood pieces so they would stay in place.
Once the form is ready, mix your concrete in a small bucket or bowl. I used concrete countertop mix and poured it into the carton with a small paper cup.
To make the hole in the center of the vase/pen holder, use the cardboard from a toilet paper or paper towel roll. Tape off one end, making sure there are no holes that the liquid cement can enter the cylinder. I recommend having your roll ready to go before you pour in the cement so you can push it down into the center of your carton before the concrete begins to harden. Once the carton was half full, I actually held the roll in place and poured the concrete around it.
Tape the cylinder down so it stays inserted in the wet cement and doesn't rise out of the carton. Let the cement dry for at least 24 hours. Then, peel away the cardboard from the edges and rip the cardboard cylinder out of the middle.
The cardboard tube will create a nice hole for your pens, pencils or flowers.
The larger wood block creates partial wood bottom to the vase.
The block will be visible on three sides.
The cedar strip will be visible on the 4th side. I did have to chip/peel a bit of cement away from the wood with my fingers because the staples didn't seal the wood to the carton completely. But, I actually liked how it turned out and give the vase a bit more of a "rustic" look. I also sanded down the wood and a bit of the concrete where the materials met which created the chipped or porous concrete look in this photo. To complete the project, I sprayed the entire vase with two coats of a clear lacquer.
The project makes a great vase....
or a great pen/pencil holder for a desk. Follow me on Instagram at   @woodyworking for more simple woodworking DIY or home improvement projects. If you give this project a shot, I'd love to see your variations with different kinds and shapes of wood. Shoot me some photos!
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Have a question about this project?

3 of 5 questions
  • HFredda
    on Jan 2, 2020


    What did your co-workers think of the gift you gave them? 🤔

    • Hi! They loved them! I wasn't sure what they'd think, but they're using them and were appreciate of me putting the thought and time into making them something.

  • Maria Rogers Cooper
    on Jan 9, 2020

    I'm so happy to finally see someone posting the steps for a wood/concrete project! Concrete is my passion and my medium of choice, so thank you!

    Did you have any trouble getting the cardboard out of the middle of the concrete??

    • Peggy Riggles
      7 days ago

      I'm no concrete worker, but I'm relatively certain that if it's made for indoor use it's not necessary to use pretreated wood. If it's going to be on the ground outside or like for a fence post, then it would be a problem.

  • Sally
    on Jan 10, 2020

    That looks like you meant a milk carton, not an egg carton???

    • Hi all,

      Yes, it's a carton (just like a milk or orange juice carton) that egg whites come in. You could use any square cardboard carton, but in this case, it was indeed an egg white carton.

Join the conversation

3 of 25 comments
  • Diana
    on Jan 9, 2020

    I was SO not in sync with this project, but love seeing people with different tastes liking this. 🙂👍

  • Annette Thornton
    on Jan 10, 2020

    Great idea to use every day items! 😃 To make them unique for several co-workers & friends, you can use spray paint, stain, colorful beads...the list is endless. I love this project!!

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