DIY concrete lamps with LED string lights

Originally published at:


I just got a hold of a better apartment here in Tijuana, and was thinking of what to do with the lackluster lighting, especially with a wired-in berm in the ceiling at the division line between kitchen and living room.
Concrete would be a little risky, but wood would certainly do the trick.

Edit: I was just thinking…Glen’s hack is a little labor intensive when it comes to removal of the pvc pipe. I wonder if fitting a plastic sleeve or sheeting to the interior of the pvc would make it easier to slide the pvc off (maybe using a homemade press)?


He could have oiled the form with a “release oil” (usually some form of mineral oil). Still would have been tough.


Or just pick one of these up for 12 bucks. With timer! We put some toy animals in it and gave to our niece. She likes.


Or just stuff a string of lights, don’t have to be LED, into a bottle. I have a string of red Ikea stars in a large brown glass carboy that I rescued from a dump. It sits in a shady corner and it’s the first thing visitors remark on when they enter the room.

1 Like

Indeed, that’s another solution. My assumption is what Glen might have been aiming for is a lamp that doesn’t tip over easily.

1 Like

I think these turned out surprisingly well. And I can see making them with something a little more durable than a glass vase and a couple of other variations, and them being pretty neat outdoor walkway lights.


Arcane masonic knowledge:
Sugar. Sugar retards the curing of concrete and even stops it from fully setting.
You coat the forms, or anything you don’t want cement to adhere to with sugar. A layer as thin as a haze.
Seriously sugared water, almost a syrup, in a spray-bottle for example. Wet entirely. Let dry.
Or look for or make sugar paper. Concrete will not attach to it.

But of course in real life one wouldn’t use carcinogenic PVC at all when god has made cardboard-tubes to be better suited the purpose in every way. Think posters, coffee, oatmeal packaging.

(Somehow related: Mop & Glo, not thinned with water, applied then dried multiple times, makes it easy to remove cement from porous or rough surfaces. Like removing remnants of grout from Mexican talavera mud tiles. You just have to prepare in advance, if in a tiny project it doesn’t save time it still saves shittons of elbow-grease.
Some of the competing brands may work, some don’t. Use Mop & Glo if you’re in the US.)


This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.