For a few years now, my dad has been talking about transforming the back patio on his and my mom’s house into a great outdoor kitchen.
The backyard has gone through a few transitions over the years, including adding a beautiful swimming pool my senior year of high school. Which, by the way, was 10 years ago already! Say What?!
Well dad is finally getting his dream kitchen and I got to play a small part.
The wonderful exterior designer who helped my parents put their ideas together, Catherine, helped me create some awesome concrete lights to hang above the new bar area. (See more of her cool projects on her website!)
To get started making your own concrete masterpieces, don’t forget to watch the video above for all the details and fun we had along the way. Here are the materials we used:
- Quikrete’s Sand/Topping Mix
- 2 soda bottles, different sizes
- mixing bucket
- pendant cord kit
- mixing spoon
- old coffee can
- pilot & Phillips bit
- razor knife
- cooking spray
- 2 1/2″ screws
- permanent marker
- palm sander
- eye protection
- waterproof gloves
- light bulb
After removing the labels from our 2-liter and 1.25-liter bottles, spraying the smaller one with cooking spray, and making them into forms using the screws, we mixed up the Sand/Topping Mix. This stuff is so fine, it’s like dust particles. But it’s perfect to create the smooth, finished feel we wanted for the pendant lights.
Since we were making 3 pendant lights to hang next to each other, we definitely wanted them to be the same. So we measured and marked our soda bottle forms before spooning the concrete in to ensure they all came out the same length. We set the forms in old coffee cans while they dried so the top (which ends up being the bottom of the fixture) would be level.
But before it dried too much, we did something silly. We “sanded” the form. OK, what we really did was use a palm sander without any paper on it to get any air bubbles out of the middle of the concrete. Essentially it helps the concrete drop to the bottom and the air and excess water rise to the top, eliminating most holes and pock marks from the finished pendant. It’s also really fun to watch the bubbles coming up…if you’re easily amused like me. 🙂
The pendants sat undisturbed for 20+ hours to cure before we used a razor knife and scissors to remove the plastic bottles from the outside and inside. The inside one is the trickiest, but fortunately it’s ok to scratch up the inside with the knife or scissors since the light bulb will cover it later on.
You can then drill a hole in the top of the light to feed your pendant cord through. We used a pendant cord kit from Lowe’s that’s made to thread your own shade on. But instead of attaching our “shade” with the threads provided, we just fed the cord through and allowed it to basically hang on the top of the cone of the cord kit.
Once the fixtures were wired above, we screwed in some vintage Edison bulbs for a cool look and flipped the switch! (Tips on installing light fixtures can be found in my living room here and my front porch here.)
My favorite part about the lights is that my mom wasn’t sure she would even keep them after installation, but she ended up liking them better than the fixtures she had bookmarked online. Score!
You can watch the entire transformation of my parents’ outdoor living space the weekend of July 1st on Today’s Homeowner TV!
As always, comment below with any specific questions that might not have been clear. I’d love for you to tackle a project I’ve shown and don’t want under-information to hold you back! So just let me know. Thanks for Checking In! ~ Chelsea