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DIY Concrete Lamp and Vases

Did you get a chance to watch stories at the beginning of this week? (If not, I have them on in stories under DIY). I have wanted to decorate with concrete lamps and vases lately but don't have the budget to go out and purchase everything new. So, I decided to give it a try myself. Today I'm sharing my process, what I learned, and the mistakes I made so you can create your own vases, and hopefully, it will be an easy, enjoyable process for you.


  1. Step One: Find old lamps, vases, or cheap vessels to cover

  2. Step Two: Prime

  3. Step Three: Apply Paper Mache

  4. Step Four: Paint

  5. Step Five: Sand

  6. Step Six: Touch Up

  7. Step Seven: Seal

  8. Step Eight: Time to Decorate


  • Lamp base, lamp shade (I used an old Pottery Barn lamp shade I had at the house), vases

  • Neutral (I used Tan) Spray Paint with Primer, Flat Black Spray Paint, Textured Spray Paint in Tan, Matte Clear Sealer

  • Painter's Tape

  • Modge Podge glue

  • Tissue Paper

  • Paint Brushes

  • Acrylic Paint (I used black, white, gray, hunter green, and maroon).

  • Salt

  • Baking Powder

  • Paint Brushes

  • Sand Paper

  • Steel Wool Brushes

  • Cheese Cloths

The Back Story:

I have been very inspired by Amber Interiors lately. She's an incredible designer with a California casual style with touches of moody and Nancy Meyer" ish" style. It's a beautiful combination, and I highly suggest following her on Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration.

I saw one of her dining room pictures and fell in love with the vases on the dining table. So, I went straight to Target to grab a few to begin getting this look. Well, everything was quite expensive. So after a bit of research, I found that I could get the look I wanted without the price tag with a bit of time and elbow grease. So, then I had the desire to become a DIYer!

Picture by Amber Interiors

Let the Process Begin

Step One:

Time to Thrift! I grabbed this lamp from Goodwill for $5 and a few vases for under $2. I decided to try a couple of plastic pots I bought from Home Depot, and I had this blue and white vase and red vase at home that I wanted to cover too.

Step Two:

With painter's tape, cover the socket base and any cords. Then use an oil-based spray paint primer to de-slick the surface, so the paper mache sticks better to the surface. Also, from my research, oil-based spray primer is a go-to for DIYers for anything that is non-wood. It drys instantly and covers surfaces well.

Step Three:

Apply paper mache. I used modge podge glue and tissue paper to cover the vessels. This process gives the items texture.


I did not know how to paper mache! I thought I would need to add several layers. THAT

WAS A HUGE MISTAKE! You only need one layer of tissue paper. I spent several hours

pulling off layers and layers of paper. Remember, ONLY ONE LAYER!


Next time, I will not use paper mache but use concrete patch. This process gives you the

same look without the messy process of glue and paper.

Step Four:

Once everything is dry, it's time to paint! I had acrylic paint on hand. I combined white, grays, blacks, browns, and hunter-green to get the color I wanted to achieve.

I also added salt. Salt is supposed to help preserve the paint you used and give texture.

I also added baking soda to give paint thickness. I ran out of baking soda and then used baking powder. I think the baking powder was better than the baking soda.

I made the paint very thick. I used brushes, but using my hands was the most effortless process of covering the items.

Step Five:

Once dry, then begin smoothing your items. For example, I used sandpaper and a steel wool brush to smooth the lamps and give them the aged look I wanted.

At some points, paper mache would show or rip, so I used textured spray paint in brown and flat black to cover these spots. Then I used a cheesecloth to dap the areas to blend the color. **IMPORTANT-you need to use a lint-free cloth during this process.**


This procedure took a while because I had to pull off so much paper and didn't know how

much to age the items. Next time I will have an inspiration picture for each item. I kept

going back and forth on how much aging was too much and if I should add more brown or

black. An image to refer to would have been beneficial and time-saving.

Step Six:

Allow the items to dry overnight. Then you can reassess if you need to make changes. Finally, you can cover the decor with clear, matte spray paint once you have the desired look. Unfortunately, I didn't have flat on hand, so I had to seal the items; then use a steel wood brush to remove the shiny areas.

Step Seven:

Now, this is my favorite part... decorating! I used all my little projects throughout the house.

I used the lamp in the living room—two vases on the dining room table. Then, I used one vase to hold our remotes and flowers on the coffee table—finally, one vase in the bathroom.


I was thrilled with some of the items and not as impressed with others. Then I realized why!! If you want decor, find vessels that look more like vases. I realized that the vases were what I wanted, but the pots did not give an exact look I was going for with decor. So I think I will use the pots on my front porch and find a few more vases at Goodwill for the house.

I hope this gives you a bit of inspiration and ideas if you like concrete accessories as much as I do! If you try it, please let me know and send me a picture on Instagram, @theoldrivernest.

Talk to you soon, friend,

amber :)

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