DIY $2 Concrete Bookends

4 Materials
24 Hours

Looking for a project from items you have laying around at home? That’s what I was doing! I wanted some bookends for a shelf I have, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of money, so I started googling and came across some similar to these from Crate and Barrel, they were so expensive! I tried to recreate them for pennies, these cost about $2!

A fun way to use up some concrete from past projects! 😊

Cardboard “Molds“

What’s better than getting to repurpose trash? 🤣 I knew these boxes would be the perfect size for me to use and I got to eat the pop tarts, a little added bonus! 🤗

Cut The Top Off


Concrete Time!

Now for the fun part! Start by mixing a regular batch of concrete. Add just enough water to get a paste like consistency. I didn’t really measure it, I kinda just added water a little by little. Take the regular batch and fill the box about 2 inches deep. That will be our first layer! Try and not have it be too watery because the cardboard will absorb the water and become mush. We need it to be able to stand for 24hrs!

Top Layers

For the next two layers, I wanted to create some contrast, so I mixed in a little paint. 😊 Using what was left from our first batch, I mixed in a little black paint. I kept adding paint until I liked the color. I added this right on top of the first layer! After, I washed my bucket and started another batch this time adding white paint. I topped off the “molds” with this final batch! This was fun and easy, a great project to entertain children and adults. 😄

Make sure you scrape the excess off the top to create a flat base!

The Reveal

Let the concrete dry for 24hrs before you start to peel off the cardboard! This was the hard part for an impatient person like me. 😂 I found out it helps to wet the paper before you try to get it off. Just make sure the concrete is dry before you do!


I’m not going to lie, after I took the paper off, I wasn’t too impressed. I realized I hadn’t added enough water to my first layer so it looked super different than the other two. What to do, what to do? I thought, hey why not make them look like natural stone? I decided I would try to create the texture of stone on the top. This was super fun! To get the rough edge, I took a hammer and went to town! I chipped off the concrete until I liked the look. 😁

Sealed and Ready to Go

Once I pummeled the tops to where I liked them 🤣, I sealed them with a coat of Polycrylic Satin from Minwax. This really helps to prevent dust and pieces from falling off. It also gives it a nice shine. 😊

The Finished Product

I love them!! These came out so much better then I thought! And to think, I almost gave up at one point. 😂 The perfect little addition to my bookcase. Simple, easy and cheap.. the best. 😊 I hope this inspires you to create your own DIY concrete bookends! Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @justinwray for weekly DIY. 🖤

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3 of 16 comments
  • LauraV
    on Mar 31, 2020

    Yeah.... I like I went thru your process with you I began to catch on -

    At first sight I wasn't really getting it then realized what was done and the addition of paint, your layed technique, and I am impressed and just to get this creative idea flowing - could be a really fun and inexpensive way to decorate an apartment if someone wasn't allowed or trying not to destroy a rental but wanted to use their own colors for decorating- this is an additional way to add some pieces with your color scheme for bookshelves- you could do door stopper ( even if not so trendy anymore - sometimes u just need Em')

    Of even make Sphere's for table decor or the garden using ur favorite paint colors !!! Buying small cans of OPP's at ur fav. paint department or small tester mix they're usually willing to make U...!

    Thanks for the the great idea and I apologise if I ran off track when complimenting YOUR WORK!🙏🏽🏆

    No better time than now to stay in & make things - Right !!!

  • Janice
    on Apr 9, 2020

    I love your project and congrats on your ingenuity! Now my head is spinning with other ideas.......thanks for posting.

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