Oh, Make Me Over: A Modern DIY Desk Accessory

  |   17 comments

How to make a modern DIY desk accessory with concrete. Click through for the tutorial.

A while back, I bought a little desk trinket at Anthro, on sale for $9. Total impulse buy considering I wasn’t a big fan of the green malachite base. But I really liked the brass wire that formed the hand, so I brought it home and refinished the base to something more my style. Concrete anyone?! And now, I totally love it.

Here’s how I transformed a $9 sale piece into my new favorite DIY desk accessory. Before photos after the jump.

How to make a modern DIY desk accessory with concrete. Click through for the tutorial.

An average desk accessory (that was on sale at Anthro for $9) gets a modern makeover. Love this transformation.

Quick note: Before I get into the tutorial, I wanted to mention, that while this diy desk accessory project is a makeover of something I already had, you can very easily make this from scratch as well.

The hand can be formed with bendable wire, using a similar method to the wood block display holders I made last year. And then, you’d create the concrete base the same as I did below. Just make the hand shape first, then insert it into the top of the concrete base once poured and you’re good to go. Now, onto how I made this little guy…

How to make a modern DIY desk accessory with concrete. Instructions for making one from scratch or making over something you already have. Click through for the tutorial.

How to Make a (Quirky) Modern DIY Desk Accessory

1. I knew I wanted the base to be square, so I found a container (which previously held candy) at the studio that I wasn’t using, put the paperweight inside to double check that it would fit, and grabbed all the supplies from my craft closet. I love projects like this, when I already have everything I need to make it.

I greased up my recycled container with olive oil (canola oil is fine too) – this is an important step when you’re using a hard / non-bendable container as your mold. Then, I mixed up some cement-all (which you can get it Amazon and home improvement stores), and added it into the container. To mix your own, just add the cement mix into an old bucket and stir in 1 part water to 4 parts cement. Mix well.

2. I poured a little bit in the bottom before adding the paperweight and then poured the remaining cement on top. I tapped it down on the table several times, to get out an air bubbles and level out the top and let it sit until it was hard to the touch (1-2 hours is usually fine).

3. To remove the finished piece from the mold took a little bit of doing (which is to be expected with a non-bendable mold like mine), but with a little pulling of the sides of the container and some light tapping, I was able to pop it out. Then, I sanded any areas that looked rough with a little bit of sandpaper (it was really just the top that needed sanding) and it was good to go.

Now I use it on my desk, for holding work reminders, inspiration photos / clippings, etc. And since it’s pretty heavy, I can totally use it as a paperweight if need be too.

How to make a modern DIY desk accessory with concrete.

How to make a modern DIY desk accessory with concrete. Click through for the tutorial.

Have anything at home like this, that could use a little makeover? Or better yet, up for trying this from scratch by making your own wire hand first? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

17 comments | Click here to reply

This is such a great idea! I have to say I’m not a big fan of the green malachite base either (sorry, Anthropologie) but I love the wire hand! This is such a great adjustment! Will definitely keep in mind if I ever see something like this and don’t like half of it or something
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Catherine | March 22nd, 2017 at 4:42 pm

Thanks Catherine. Right there with you on not loving the before version. Glad you like the after. 🙂

Brittni | March 22nd, 2017 at 5:26 pm

Love this makeover, Brittni! The cement and metal combo are a perfect match.
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Maritza | March 22nd, 2017 at 9:19 pm

Thanks Maritza. 🙂

Brittni | March 22nd, 2017 at 10:01 pm

This is so cool, I love the combination of brass and concrete!
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Michelle | March 23rd, 2017 at 2:54 am

This looks so great! I’d love to have one on my desk 🙂

Roos | March 23rd, 2017 at 6:17 am

Thanks so much Michelle and Roos.

Brittni | March 23rd, 2017 at 7:00 am

This is such a good idea and it looks amazing 🙂

Rachael xx.
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Rachael | March 23rd, 2017 at 7:16 am

Aw, thanks Rachael. It was a fun one to make. So easy!

Brittni | March 23rd, 2017 at 11:56 am

I loved it! x

Gosia | March 23rd, 2017 at 3:04 pm

This is so clever! It looks very clean and modern with its new base. You’ve got me inspired to play around with accessories in my store, hmmm 🙂
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Van | March 23rd, 2017 at 4:15 pm

[…] Possibly my favorite desk DIY […]

Friday Links - The Crafted Life | March 24th, 2017 at 3:26 am

You’re brilliant, as always, Brittni! Totally doing this if Anthro isn’t sold out yet.

Linda | March 26th, 2017 at 1:44 am

[…] P.S. Looking for another DIY hack to try? Check out the Anthro hack for a DIY desk organizer. […]

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6 DIYs to Try This Weekend - Paper and Stitch | March 31st, 2017 at 8:03 am

Was the base malachite stone or plastic? Would it make a difference how the cement set if it were the other material?

Batya | May 10th, 2017 at 4:28 pm

It was heavy, but it definitely wasn’t stone. Not 100% sure what the base material was, now that I think about it. But it shouldn’t matter, as long as you’re covering the entire piece (bottom, top, sides, etc) it should be fine. BUT if you’re worried about it, you could always just remove the wire hand from the base and set that in concrete on its own. Hope that helps!

Brittni | May 10th, 2017 at 5:32 pm
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