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DIY Concrete Faux Geode Lamp

Those geodes seem to be everywhere lately! They even appear as wedding cakes and cookies in sparkly sugar versions. But, myself I’m a practical gal and if I can make function part of a great design then so much the better! I had been racking my brain for a while to make a lamp design that is easy; as not everyone likes to ‘play’ with electricity. Success! This simple tutorial with many pictures shows how to make your own unique DIY concrete faux geode Lamp.

I had found some interesting results while working with my ‘RapidSet Cementall and used those characteristics for my original design.

Tools and materials needed to make the form:

  • purchased lamp with simple shaft like Ikea Hemma
  • smooth plastic sheets (2) large enough for shape of geode (plexiglass, container lid…)
  • RapidSet Cementall & Water
  • container, mixing utensils, (hint: flexible plastic allows easy cleanup)
  • Dust mask, rubber gloves
  • Concrete reinforcing Fibers (optional)
  • Lighter/torch for burning off fibers
  • Emery cloth/sandpaper

Materials to finish:

Making the Concrete Shape:

The trick behind this easy tutorial is that there is no lamp-making in the process; as it uses a complete lamp.

You will be making the ‘concrete shape’ around the shaft so you will need to jig up a place that will position it slightly (2-5mm) off of the surface to allow the concrete to cover/encapsulate it. I’m using a tray here as it is shiny and elevates perfectly. You could just stack some things like books under your base. Secure it so it will not slide or move, packing tape works well.

This RapidSet Concrete has a lot of ‘flow’ meaning; it will just flatten out. For this application we are not using a mold so it will need to be of a thicker consistency to hold shape. I find that last bit of mixing by hand works better here. Add a pinch of fibres if you have them. (maybe even small pieces of yarn would also work the same way)

Ya, I’m a problem solver…

This looks odd but what we are after is a rough edged shape with an opening in the middle. Play with the mix as it has quite the plasticity to it. Nature is not perfect, so make it random edged. Push the cement back into shape if it flattens. This concrete starts to set quickly so it will start to stay put.

Once you are happy with the shape, take the top sheet of plastic (preferably clear to be able to see through) and press it flat to allow good contact with the shape (some wriggling helps). If you want to adjust you can poke from the sides with some skewers.

I have been working indoors, so for clean up I just let everything set. Later I knock out the dried concrete into the wastebin.

After an hour this amazing RapidSet Cementall is set hard! The plastic will pop off easily…

and now you have your ‘slice’ of rock!

Sand off, chip off any dangly pieces. The roughness resembles true stone in nature. I love how this concrete will yield a shiny finish if poured on a shiny surface.

The fibres can easily be singed off with a lighter or torch. Just don’t light anything else on fire…

Adding the layers to the Geode Slice:

The messy part is done but it was super easy. This part is very therapeutic I find. Gather some nice metallic inks as well as some black and white. Inks are very highly concentrated pigment wise so they provide a good amount colour with no thickness to the surface. You want this to be quite flat and shiny.

Don’t worry about your painting skills here. No need to fuss as some squiggles is perfectly fine. If you want some inspiration search pictures. I just follow wiggly layers from the ‘hole’ shape. Vary them in colour and width, use a nice fine brush.

The metallics offer a great catch of light so I like to use them the most. Finish off the edge with some antiquing. I did paint both sides but they don’t perfectly have to match since only one can be seen at a time.

Adding the crystals to the center:

Once you have made your crystals by baking/shocking (as in my previous geode post) you are ready to adhere.

When it comes to a adhesive I did a test. The Super glue works well but it has to be a perfect matching surface. The E6000 works well, but will set after a few minutes. The Shoe Goo is similar but has too much ‘rubberiness’ and takes even longer to set. Since I have a LOT of crystals to attach I like FAST SETTING!

I use a hot glue to set with minimal amount of glue. I will make make it more permanent later on. The ‘pebbles’ will have some round edges that I like to conceal.

There really are no rules. You could use some aquarium gravel as well. Use the shapes to fill spaces and keep it relatively flat at the front.

Work your way around. Smaller pieces will fill later…

One of the strongest glues I use is 5-minute epoxy. It sets clear and fast! Mix up small batches and drizzle over the seams. This will make the bonds permanent.

Ok, I am a bit of a perfectionist so for even more realism sprinkle some small pieces into the epoxy.

Finishing Off:

To make the edge less obvious add a bit of the paint/ink. If you are worried about little fingers or sharp edges you could give it a coating of lacquer (clear nail polish) to round off the edges. I have made quite a few of these now and the edges are not like the ‘broken bottle’ kind.

Are you not amazed how a hunk of concrete can look?! No whimpy styrofoam here. Looks like stone, feels like rock…

All set in place and no wiring to do before connecting. I must say; it’s one of my favourite projects as it has a function as well and you can use a colour palette of your choice without having to hunt for rocks.

The weight of the concrete also gives it good stability.

Now you are rocking the amazing geode decor design!

But don’t go too far… I’ve got another lamp project up my concrete-stained sleeve!

I'm an artist & I make things... all kinds of things.

This Post Has 51 Comments

    1. Awe, that’s kind! I’m blessed with a mind that can imagine so many ideas! I just can’t keep up with making them all… And more ideas hatch along the way. Glad you enjoyed it and hope that you give it a shot!

  1. Hi Barb!
    I loooooove this idea and it looks so realistic!
    I want to make it as a gift for my sister for christmas but i can’t find the fibers…
    What kind of string can i use instead? Wool or sisal or maybe something else? And do I need to cut it in very short pieces or not that short?
    You are so creative and you inspire me a lot!

    1. Thanks! I think you can get away without the fibres. The RapidSet Cementall is such a strong concrete mix. If you want to substitute may be some fine yarn pieces, cut short. This concrete sets so fast, perhaps you could do a small test to see how strong it actually is. The coasters don’t have fibre and have been quite good.

      1. I fell in love with the lamp. Thank you for sharing your love and your skills. Did you break up the crystals or buy them like that ?

        1. If you are lucky you may be able to buy some. I made mine as in this post. Look around the craft stores, also there is ‘fire’ glass used for fire bowls. Happy hunting and Making!

  2. I LOVE what you do! You are so kind to share! I just wish i could take a class with you or just hang out and learn from you! Creativity is a beautiful gift! Please sign me up for your blog or newsletter!

    1. Thanks! That’s funny, as I have had that request before. I do teach but in other discipline, so my time is very tight. I’m pretty sure you can just use the form to sign up for the newsletter.

  3. I really like the idea of this lamp and would like to make it, however, this blog post would be much better with some pictures of the process and much less of the ads.

    1. That’s funny! I had thought that 38 pictures of the entire process was quite thorough. Sadly since the information is free some ads will help offset the costs of running servers to provide so much content. Not sure why you can’t cycle through…

      1. Just a quick comment about the photos. I could tell from your writing that photos were posted, but they are no longer showing up. The entire post is filed with ads. Sorry to share that news with you. I would have loved to see the photos too.

      2. Felicitaciones…Hermosa obra. Idea admirable
        Quiero saber qué tintas o qué otras pinturas podrían reemplazar las (tintas acrílicas Liquitex) y que proporcionen un terminado igualmente bonito. Te pregunto esto, porque en Colombia no las consigo.
        Mil gracias

  4. Mona, did you access this blog via a Facebook post? I had the same problem when I did that. Open it in chrome (or whatever browser you use) and the pictures show up.

    Barb, the entire post is filed with ads when I followed a link from a Facebook post. Sorry to share that news with you. I don’t know if it would help to post a comment telling people to open the blog in their browser.

    I was determined to see the pictures of the process which is why I read the comments and spent the time with some problem solving.

    1. Hmmm, not sure what that facebook post is. I do have a page but I don’t run facebook ads. I’ll try to figure that out. The internet is a strange place sometimes!

  5. I think your ideas are genius! Found you on pinterest, and I don’t know what some others are talking about with the ads. I just see one “support my blog” panel on the right.
    Anyway, just wanted to tell you I am making this lamp asap, and I don’t even “need” a lamp! Wondering about the jagged glass peices and where you got them, but I’m going to go over it again to see if I missed where you mentioned that.
    Happy Fourth!

  6. Hi Barb…I love your work. Your creativity is awesome. Do you have more tutorials out there? Thanks for posting your beautiful geodes…Geri Ann

  7. I never comment on any blogs but I had to tell you how talented you are!! This is amazing!!!
    Thank you for sharing your talents with the world!!!

    1. I firmly believe everyone has talents however many just jump to the conclusion it isn’t good enough to pursue! Many of my quirky ideas come from unconventional mix of method and media; that’s how great ideas hatch. Have faith in yourself… Happy making!

  8. Thank you Barb, for your generosity of spirit in comprehensively demonstrating every aspect of this art form, leaving nothing to chance or wondering. The pictures of the materials used, the stages of creation and your teaching style convey great confidence and encouragement in creating these beauties, so that someone such as I who might not otherwise attempt it, am excited about doing it, confident that I will succeed. You are a true gem! I’m looking forward to exploring your many other diversified artistic creations as well!

    1. WOW, that’s so nice to say! I have taught at an art college for over 20 years so I see what the concerns usually are. It’s funny; as another person just commented that I should make videos. As good as videos are I feel they can either be too short or drag on, verbal instruction can be self-paced. ‘So much like the debate of books or video… Do make sure to use the right mix when making these as it is quite a unique concrete. There’s much resources in the concrete section. Happy making!

  9. Hi Barb, Having a video of your projects will be more helpful. Can you please make videos of your projects? Thanks.

  10. Thank you so much for sharing this (and All of your other projects) with the world! You’ve set a lot of inspiration into motion!
    I do have a question- did you let the concrete cure before adding the “crystals”? If so, how long did you wait?
    Thanks again!

    1. Glad to inspire! Yes! I let it cure as I am not sure it would actually adhere to the crystals. The RapidSet Cementall does cure really quickly so that is not a problem. Usually hard in one hour, workable when it does not feel at all wet. Have fun!

  11. Wow, you blow my mind! I am an 81 yrs young crafter, and am always looking forward to the next unique thing to try. Once I’ve done it, I’m off to the next. Life is short, and so much to explore. You strike a chord in me, I know you are probably always looking for the “next thing” too. So, I have been lamp shopping for months now, nothing was right, and then, saw your tutorial on geode lamp making. Bingo! Exactly what I was looking, and hoping for, something unique and different. So, off I go looking for the lamp base, gather the supplies, and make my own creation. Thanks to you!

    1. I love your spunkiness!!! Lamps are quite an art form as well. Did you know that all the usual parts on lamps can come apart? That’s another way to be creative… It’s on my ‘to-do’ list! Good luck!

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