These DIY cement stocking holders were really fun to work on! I’ve been wanting to experiment with cement mix and this felt like a fun and smaller scale project that would maybe work well. I love making things (as you could probably guess), so experimenting with new materials from time to time is a challenge I try to lean into. And I am really happy with how these turned out! They are sitting on our mantle holding our stockings right now and the house design just makes me smile when I see them. 🙂
Before starting this project, I talked with my friend Ethan about working with concrete mixes. He’s currently working through a program where he’s learning all sorts of things about carpentry and contractor-type work. He recently had a unit (not sure it’s called a unit … but a series of lessons, I guess?) all about cement, so I picked his brain a little before I attempted this because I was really afraid all my house blocks might crack. Which would basically ruin the project. He had a lot of great tips, so I’m gonna share those throughout this post as well.
-empty, cleaned milk cartons for the mold
–Quikrete fast setting concrete mix
-mixing container, stir sticks, and safety gear (wear a mask)
-pull knobs (hardware for cabinets)
-all-purpose, strong glue
-paint + brushes
-other decor elements like glitter or greenery
Step One: Mix the concrete. You can read the Quikrete package for mixing details as well as consult their website. Additionally, Ethan said you should aim for a mixture that is similar in consistency to cookie dough. You don’t want to add too much water as this can make the concrete less stable, and may lead to cracking. I would recommend mixing concrete outside or somewhere very ventilated and also wear a mask when you do. It’s very dusty before you add water and you don’t want to be breathing the mix into your lungs.
Step Two: Add the pull knob screws to the clean milk cartons and then pour the mixture into each. It may not necessarily “pour,” so use your stir stick and also shake the cartons as you fill them so the mixture will settle in well. Find a way to let the cartons sit inverted for at least a couple days. I put them in a large bowl filled with flour so I could get them to sit inverted but not distort the shape (I threw the flour away after). Then remove the milk carton mold from the cement house.
Step Three: Time for the really fun part—decorating the houses! I painted mine black and white and added a little glitter to look like snow. I also glued them to wood bases and added a little (faux) greenery so it would resemble bushes around the house. You can also screw the pull knob in place at this point.
That’s it! Pretty simple. You might notice that I actually made three milk cartons but I only have two stocking holders. I made three because I was nervous one might crack and knowing my goal was to have two I decided to pour three just in case. Ultimately, they all three worked (meaning they didn’t crack), but we only have two stockings at our house so I didn’t decorate the third one.
Also, just a note, these are fairly heavy. We don’t have any little ones at our house, but if you do I would make sure these are not somewhere so it would be easy to pull them off. If this fell on someone’s head it would hurt a lot! I’m sure this is obvious to most parents out there, but I just figured I’d mention anyway. Thanks for letting me share! xo. Emma