There's not always space for a backyard bonfire, so we came up with a mini fire pit that's small enough to fit on a little patio table, but still provides enough heat to roast marshmallows and add a little light to your evening!
Step 1: Mix ShapeCrete
A note about ShapeCrete: For this project we got a chance to partner with two different companies to use their products. Sakrete is a brand we have worked with for a long time as a concrete, sand, and masonry product supplier. ShapeCrete is a new product of theirs, that is designed specifically for DIY Projects. It's very durable and very malleable, so we had to give it a try. (And we love it!)
Dunn Lumber doesn't stock ShapeCrete in-store, but we can special order it. Contact one of our NINE Dunn Lumber locations for more information and lead time on ordering this great, new product. (You may also be able to find ShapeCrete at another retailer.)
If you're interested in more information on the ShapeCrete product itself, and how to use it, check out their website. It's filled with great DIY inspiration and instructional videos.
You can mix ShapeCrete in one of two ways. We tried both and found the first method provided a smoother finish while the second method resulted in a rough finish. Both were lovely! So, begin by mixing your ShapeCrete in one of the following ways:
- For a smooth finish: Mix to a wet consistency to pour a mold. Pour into a large plastic bowl greased with cooking spray. Use another slightly smaller greased bowl on the inside. Weight down and allow to dry (reference our cement planter post for more details).
- For a rough finish: Mix to a drier clay-like consistency to create a mold on the outside of a bowl. Place a large plastic bowl upside down on plastic. Lightly grease the outside with cooking spray to enable the concrete to come off easily. With gloves, mold the ShapeCrete around the outside of the bowl.
The first option creates a very smooth surface on the outside of the bowl, the second has more of a natural, rough texture.
Step 2: Cover and let dry
Cover your project with a piece of plastic and allow to it dry. Make sure to follow all of the directions on the bucket for mixing, application, and drying time.
Step 3: Remove from mold
When the concrete is dry, remove it from the bowl. You'll be glad you used cooking oil to coat the bowls so the cement can easily slide away from the plastic!
Step 4: Sand the edges
If you'd like a smoother finish, sand off any rough edges. We used 150-grit sandpaper.
Step 5: Prepare the fire pit
For the lava rocks and crystals for this project, we partnered with local Seattle company Sutter Home & Hearth. Located in Ballard, Sutter has been around for over 35 years. They value customer service and strive to provide expert advice, and we loved working with them. Be sure to check out their website!
After purchasing the lava rock and/or crystals of your choice, fill the bottom of the concrete bowl with a layer of lava rock. It's important to use fire-resistant rock and glass that won't shatter when exposed to the heat.
Note: ShapeCrete is not a fireproof product, and when exposed to high temperatures it will crack. We used the lava rock as an insulator, and low-heat gel fuel to avoid this problem.
Step 6: Create a space to hold the flame
Create a circle with wire the same height and width as can of fuel. This will allow you to replace the can easily when it’s used up. Use wire cutters to cut the wire to size. Then, pinch the ends together.
Step 7: Final steps
Once the wire cage and the can of fuel are in place, continue to fill the space with lava rocks. We made a little wire circle to cover the top of our can and then placed it on top of the fuel container. Then, when we covered the container with glass crystals so we were able to easily remove the top to reveal the flame.
For a nice, finished touch, add enough fire glass to the top to hide the lava rock from view.
Enjoy your mini fire pit!
Open the gel fuel can before placing it inside of the wire circle. Pull the fire glass towards the center to cover up the edge of the can. Light the fire, and enjoy your tabletop fire pit!
Gel fuel can be expensive. An easy DIY trick is to buy a can and, when it’s used up, refill with hand sanitizer. The flame will even be a little bit brighter.