How to Add Color to Concrete + Make a Two-Toned Concrete Vase Using this Technique

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How to Add Color to Concrete + Make a Two-Toned Concrete Vase

I cracked the code on how to color concrete and wanted to share the results with you guys! You can use this technique to create any concrete DIY imaginable, but to make things easy, lets start with concrete vases! Which, let’s face it, is just an excuse for me to buy fresh flowers and do a little arranging. 🙂

Click through for the step by step process of making your own concrete vases AND learn how to color concrete ANY color you can dream up!

How to Add Color to Concrete + Make a Two-Toned Concrete Vase

After figuring out how to dye plaster any color under the sun last year, a bunch of you asked why I didn’t just use regular paint. I explained why I couldn’t do that here. BUT it did get me thinking about concrete projects and how it hypothetically should be able to stand up to paint being added in before pouring.

So, I thought I would give it a try. And it totally worked! Here’s how to make your own…

Materials Needed

  • rapid setting cement mix (available on Amazon)
  • acrylic paint
  • large (wide) mailing tube
  • small juice glass (I used these -they’re on sale)
  • cooking spray
  • 2 buckets (that is okay to get messed up)
  • water
  • trowel or spoon for mixing
  • electric sander or sandpaper
  • gloves and mask

How to Add Color to Concrete + Make a Two-Toned Concrete Vase

How to Add Color to Concrete + Make a Two-Toned Concrete Vase

1. Start by cutting the mailing tube down to size, if necessary. I used a saw to cut mine down to about 10 inches high and made sure the end was capped off and the top was uncapped (as shown in photo).

2. Spray the inside of a mailing tube with cooking spray and rub it around evenly in the side with a paper towel or rag. This will prevent the concrete from attaching to the mailing tube when setting.

3. Next, put on a mask and gloves and add the cement mix to a bucket. Stir in water according to instructions on the packaging. Typically, you’ll need 4 parts cement to 1 part water. Mix well. If you want a two-toned look like my vases, start by pouring some of that mixture into the mailing tube straight away, once mixed. If you want the entire vase to be one color instead though, skip this step and move to step 4, mixing all of the concrete mixture with paint at once.

4. Quickly add in the paint to the remaining mixture! You have to move quickly for rapid sitting concrete because it sets up fast. I used acrylic paint, which is a bit thicker so it won’t affect the consistency of the concrete. It took more paint than I was expecting… 2-4 ounces of paint for 1 concrete vase similar in size to mine. You can add more or less paint based on the saturation you’re hoping for.

3. Then, start pouring the colored concrete mixture into the mailing tube. Fill a little more than halfway, then place the juice glass inside the mailing tube. Press down so that the concrete starts to push upwards, surrounding the sides of the glass. Then, continue adding concrete to the mailing tube, trying to avoid the juice glass opening (but getting in between the sides of the juice glass).

5. Wait for the concrete to dry. If you’re using a rapid setting concrete, it should be completely dry in a couple of hours (depending on the temperature, etc). Once dry, rip the container away to reveal your new vase.

6. Sand the bottom if needed so that the vase sits flat. You can use an electric sander or do it by hand with sandpaper.

7. Make sure the glass vase is free of debris (and dried concrete), then fill with water and add flowers.

How to Add Color to Concrete + Make a Two-Toned Concrete Vase

How to Add Color to Concrete + Make a Two-Toned Concrete Vase

How to Add Color to Concrete + Make a Two-Toned Concrete Vase

Think you’ll giving this concrete color project a try? I’d love to know what you think.

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18 comments | Click here to reply

Step 3 says, “pour some of that mixture into the mailing tube.”. How much is “some”? Should I add half? I’d love to try this but I’m really unclear on that step. Thanks!
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Ashley LaMar | October 19th, 2017 at 9:45 am

That is such a nice simple DIY! I want to make one.
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Courtney | October 19th, 2017 at 9:46 am

Hi Ashley. It depends on how much of the vase you’d like to have as just a solid concrete color. So if you want it to be half and half, you’d pour half of the plain concrete mixture in before adding color to the rest, etc.

Brittni | October 19th, 2017 at 10:42 am

Hi Brittni,
I actually am not clear on the same part as Ashley. It sounds from the directions that you put straight concrete in “pour some in the mailing tube”, then add colour and put the coloured concrete in, and then add the regular but that would create a band of coloured concrete between two non-coloured? I am not clear why you would put any concrete in the tube before adding the paint to the concrete.

Natalie | October 19th, 2017 at 1:23 pm

Hi Natalie. Since the vases I created are two colors (one part plain concrete and one part colored concrete), I was explaining how to create that. If you want the entire vase to be one color though, instead of how my vases are, you would skip that part and mix all of the concrete together at once. I just edited the text to further explain that, so hopefully that helps. But let me know. Thanks!
-Brittni

Brittni | October 19th, 2017 at 2:00 pm

I love flowers
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The pink pineapple | October 19th, 2017 at 2:48 pm

Wow, what a cool technique! I really want to try this for my next concrete project!
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Michelle | October 20th, 2017 at 1:57 am

Let me know it goes, if you give it a try Michelle. 🙂

Brittni | October 21st, 2017 at 10:41 pm

Lovely flowers and concrete 🙂

Hein | October 23rd, 2017 at 6:09 am

This vase is stunning!! What a fabulous ideas and your photos are beautiful.
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Ashlyn | October 24th, 2017 at 10:59 am

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love this ! One thing I am confused about. If you pour a bit of the plain concrete mix in first and then the colored one, won’t the bottom be plain and the top portion be dyed?
Can you clarify for me please. Thanks !

Ann

ann | December 4th, 2017 at 12:53 pm

Hi Ann. Yep, it would be half and half if you do it that way. As you can see in the photos of the vases I made, mine are two-toned. If you want the entire vase to be one color though, you can add color to the full amount and not worry about splitting them, as the instructions mention. Hope that helps!
-Brittni

Brittni | December 4th, 2017 at 8:18 pm

So simple but I would never have guessed that it’s handmade. Lovely!
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KMP Furniture Blog | January 6th, 2018 at 5:14 am

I was looking for advice on how to color concrete for a floor repair job, and this is super helpful! Could you comment at all on how the color came out vs the color of the acrylic paint you used? Like, was the pigment significantly lighter after the concrete dried?

Leona | May 29th, 2018 at 2:33 pm

Hi Leona. It’s definitely ends up being lighter than the pigment / acrylic paint that you use. Depending on the color (or how dark you need it to be), it could be drastic if you’re trying to color match. I’d recommend mixing up a very small batch as a test first if you can.

Brittni | May 29th, 2018 at 3:07 pm
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