Oh, Make Me Over: A Modern DIY Desk Accessory

By Brittni • posted on 08/30/2023

Modern desk accessories can be hard to come by. But this DIY is cute, easy, and affordable.

How to make a modern DIY desk accessory with concrete. Click through for the tutorial. #diy #deskorganization #deskinspiration #concrete #organization

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.

Modern desk accessories on wood desk in minimal modern worskspace

Before and after concrete paperweight

Can I make DIY desk accessories from scratch?

This DIY desk accessory project is a makeover of something I already had.

However, you can very easily make this from scratch as well.

How do I make this project without the base you used?

The hand can be formed with bendable wire, using a similar method to the gift card display ideas I made a while back. *And I also made a 

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…

Step by step instructions for making a concrete paperweight that doubles as a paper holder

How to Make Modern Desk Accessories

1. Prepare container and mix cement-all.

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. Pour the concrete mixture and let it dry.

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. Once dry, remove and sand (if needed).

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).

With a little pulling of the sides of the container and some light tapping though, 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.

Concrete paperweight with wire hand shape to hold paperwork and photos

Concrete paperweight before and after with  hand shaped wire to hold paperwork

Modern workspace with warm wood desk and concrete paperweight

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.

19 comments | Click here to reply

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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!


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


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


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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 🙂


I loved it! x


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


This is such a good idea and it looks amazing 🙂

Rachael xx.


Thanks so much Michelle and Roos.


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


This is so cool, I love the combination of brass and concrete!


Thanks Maritza. 🙂


Love this makeover, Brittni! The cement and metal combo are a perfect match.


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


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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