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.
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. 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 (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.
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.
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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!Brittni
Was the base malachite stone or plastic? Would it make a difference how the cement set if it were the other material?Batya
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You’re brilliant, as always, Brittni! Totally doing this if Anthro isn’t sold out yet.Linda
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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 🙂Van
I loved it! xGosia
Aw, thanks Rachael. It was a fun one to make. So easy!Brittni
This is such a good idea and it looks amazing 🙂
Thanks so much Michelle and Roos.Brittni
This looks so great! I’d love to have one on my desk 🙂Roos
This is so cool, I love the combination of brass and concrete!Michelle
Thanks Maritza. 🙂Brittni
Love this makeover, Brittni! The cement and metal combo are a perfect match.Maritza
Thanks Catherine. Right there with you on not loving the before version. Glad you like the after. 🙂Brittni
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 somethingCatherine