How to Make a Restoration Hardware Concrete Fire Column

Knock Knock…Hack Hack… that is what I have been doing the past few days to create a trio of knock-off Restoration Hardware Concrete Fire Columns. I was inspired by this one I saw in the Restoration Hardware catalog.  I immediately was reminded of the building tubes I used to use to set up store displays and knew I could inexpensively make my own DIY version of one of these concrete fire columns.   Here is the RH version.

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Here are the three I made – they are not eco-friendly gel fueled, just plain ole candlelight fueled.

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Concrete-Fire-Candle-Column

I sit out on my patio in the autumn a lot as it is my FAVORITE time of year. I wanted to get it all ready for the season by adding some ambiance for nights I like to go outside, relax on the chaise, and stargaze into the autumn sky.

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Restoration Hardware also has a tabletop version.  That was the easiest one to make. I would just glue a round of felt to the bottom so you won’t scratch your table.

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The hardest part of the entire project is picking up the 80 pound bag of concrete. I had my hubby help me with that.  I bought the rocks at the Dollar Tree.

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The tall glass hurricane is from Michaels. The two smaller ones I picked up at my local thrift store.

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When I was buying the stones at the Dollar Tree I also picked up a little bit of Autumn Pixi-Dust in the way of some fake autumn leaves in hopes that the magic of Autumn is soon upon us and the heat of this summer is a thing of the past.

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How-to-make-a-Laguna-Tablet

How To Make a knock off of a Restoration Hardware Concrete Fire Column

 

Supplies Needed:

1 Quick Tube – they sell them in the building supplies areas at home improvement stores. Cost about $8.  I used an 8” diameter one that was about 4’ high

2 80 pound bags of  Commercial Grade Quikcrete.  This was enough to make all three.   This mix has less stones in it and will produce a much smoother surface then the other mixes.  Look for the green and white bag.

Big mixing bucket – I used a 5 gallon paint can that they sell at Lowes.
Stirring stick – I used a leftover piece of PVC pipe, but a 2 x 4 would work
Water
Gloss paint any color – I used spray paint
Piece of plywood or a plastic drop cloth
Level
Coffee Can
Rubber gloves
Eye and nose protection
Box cutter
Sanding block and coarse sandpaper
 

1.  The cardboard building forms look like this. They come in many different diameters. I used an 8” one.  Make sure you are getting one that is at least 1 –inch wider than the glass hurricane you plan to use to put on it.

Building-Form

 

2.  Figure out how tall you want each column.  I gauged mine on the height of my chaise and then cut the other two in  half size of each other.   The smallest one can go on a table by itself when you want candle light for dining.

Cut-quick-tube-to-size-need

 

3.  The directions from QuikCrete said to use a release agent when you want to remove the cardboard tube. The guy at Home Depot told me they didn’t sell it, but told me to spray some gloss paint inside the tube and let it dry. The gloss surface would make it easier to remove the tube when the concrete was dry.  He was right – Thanks Rob W at the Home Depot in Horsham, PA.  You were very very helpful.

Spray-paint-inside-of-tube-

 

4. Make sure the top and bottom of your cut tubes are level.

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5.  I then made a bottom for each tube using a foam plate. I used duct tape to secure each plate to the bottom of each cut tube.

Paper-plate-on-bottom

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6.  I then placed the tubes on a big piece of plywood I had.  Make sure the surface you place the tubes on is level.  You don’t want leaning towers of Pisa.  The plywood or plastic drop cloth is to protect the surface you are working on from the concrete.

Filled-Construction-tube

7. This step is the hardest only because the 80 pound bag of concrete is hard to move.  Get your bag of concrete right next to your mixing bucket.  Fill the bucket with 2- 1/2 quarts of water. Put on a pair of rubber gloves to protect your hands – then use a scoop ( I used a plastic container) to slowly add half the bag of concrete to the water in the bucket.

Supplies-needed-to-make-a-k

 

8.  Mix it gradually and make sure you stir it well before adding more mix.  Do not add the whole bag you will never be able to stir it!  Add slowly a little bit of mix, stir etc. The directions on the bag say to  wear safety glasses and one of those little white masks as you add the mix to the water. The mix is very fine and you don’t want to get it in your eyes or lungs.

You can add a bit more water if needed to get a nice smooth consistency.

Mixed-concrete-should-look-

 

9. Once you like the consistency, use your scoop to add the concrete to the tube.  Push the PVC pipe into the tube once it is 1/3 of the way filled to make sure you are packing the concrete in and getting rid of any air pockets.  Keep filling and pushing the PVC pipe  until the tube is filled.  If you run out of concrete mix.  Start another batch and then continue to fill the tubes.

Fill-tube-with-wet-concrete

10.  To make the indent for the glass hurricane to fit in – press a coffee can into the top. This coffee can just happened to be the perfect size.  You may have to find something that is a bit wider than the hurricane you are going to use.

Center it and gently push down.   This will make some of the concrete come out. You want the coffee can down at least 1/2”  – 1”.

Coffee-Container-to-make-to

 

11.  Smooth around the can with your gloved finger until it is smooth getting rid of the excess that has spilled out.  Gently rotate the can a few times to make sure the concrete on the sides of it are not going to dry to the column.  As the column dries repeat rotating the can during the first few hours of drying time to ensure it doesn’t become a permanent part of the column.

Center-coffee-can-on-top

12.  After a few hours you can remove the can. It will look like this. Let the column dry at least for 24 hours or longer depending on how humid the air is.

Remove-coffee-can

13.  Once the column is dry – use a box knife to cut away the cardboard tube from the column.  Spray it with a hose if needed to help you remove the tube.  Mine came off easily.

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14. Tip the column to the side to remove the plate from the bottom.

Remove-tube

 

15.  The excess concrete along the bottom edge will come off easily with sandpaper.

Remove-plate

 

16. Put coarse sandpaper on a sanding block and go over the top surface to smooth.

Coarse-Sandpaper

 

17.  You can also use the sandpaper to get rid of any ridges along the bottom and sides of the column as well as any paint or cardboard that might have stuck. It comes right off with the sandpaper.

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18. Place your glass hurricane on top.

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It is still very hot here, but

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I am hoping the Dollar Tree Pixi-Dust I bought does its magic soon.

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Crisp cool nights under a blanket gazing at the stars…

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Ahhhhh….Bliss xo Autumn

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Comments

  1. says

    It is just a simple truth – all you need is creativity. Some make money on it, others do it (almost) for free. The ultimate advantage is you’ll always have your very own, unique copy. I like your columns very much.

  2. Michelle says

    Love this idea…I will be making these for my garden and yard.
    Thank for the instructions. Very clever;):)

  3. Jill Capaldi says

    Great idea, love them…must try when the weather warms up, thanks, love your ideas. :-)

  4. Victoria says

    Hi,
    I am just seeing this now – I have experimented with concrete for garden projects-and if you want a more textered exterior you can do a hypertufa receipe by adding pearlite and pete moss to the concrete it make it much lighter in weight but still too heavy to fall over. You can also encourage moss to grow on hypertufa if it is in the shade. I did not know about the quick tube!! I am so going to home depot after work!!!
    Diane you are amazing. Victoria

    • says

      Hi Victoria – Thanks for the tip to use pearlite and peat moss.I live where it gets cold in the Winter and will have to try it next Spring when I start doing outdoor projects again.

  5. Donna says

    Those are so nicely done. I’m going to keep an eye out for cheap glass and maybe I’ll make and try to sell these for a bit of extra cash.

  6. anne f says

    Try adding flat paint (left over) or house paint to your cement and get a color or trim contrast for your columns or boxes . Sometimes it comes out marbled but looks great. It doesn’t look institutional then and you make it yours. Take lots of time to tamp as your go LOTS. This takes out the air bubbles and makes it stronger . Water and ice can form in the holes and the cement doesn’t last as long , especially in cold climates where the water freezes and cracks the cement and then it starts to crumble and lets face it , these aren’t something your going to move to the garage in winter. Can be covered tho. Love you project ,very good.. A

  7. Becky says

    This was amazing, and you made it look very “do-able” Thanks. I am soooo going to try this!! Thank you again!!

  8. Marnie says

    I don’t know where you live, but if it is close to PA I would pay you to make these for me. They are wonderful! So clever and beautiful. You should really sell these. Let me know if you ever do.
    Thank you!

    • says

      Thanks Marnie -

      I do live in PA. I used to sell the things I made, but life ended up being a production line. I do enjoy making things once or twice and then showing others how to do it themselves in the posts that I write.

  9. Adela says

    Dear Diane,

    Just a few days ago I stumbled into your website. I have to say you make beautiful work and there are no words for appreciating the tutorials to teach us how to do them. I live in a small village in Honduras. Through the years I have done a lot of cement work (we build our homes with cinder blocks ). I was wondering how heavy the concrete columns are? If your column is 8″ wide you can build them lighter. You would have to use 2 widths of the quick tube: 4″ & 8″, for every column you make. You go all the way to your step #8. Then, when you begin filling your tube with cement you only fill a couple of inches. Now you insert a shorter sized 4″wide tube(that has been closed on both ends) into your 8″ column and continue filling the sides ( maybe you will need to water a little bit more your cement mixture) until you get to the top and continue with your usual process. It might need a little longer to cure because of the extra water in your mixture but they will sure be much much lighter. At least this is something we do in construction for some things.
    Thanks, Adela

    • says

      Thanks for this wonderful tip Adela. Very smart technique. The two smaller columns are not too heavy, but the tall one is. I will remember this when I make something with concrete again.

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