A terrific idea for multipurpose garden furniture, this concrete-topped outdoor coffee table started out as a fire pit.
Designed complete with a planter pot (or ice bucket), you can convert it back any time you like.
- Gather your supplies
- Cast-iron fire pit
- 2440 x 1220 x 16mm melamine board
- 2400 x 1200mm corflute
- General purpose cement
- Washed sand
- 14mm blue metal aggregate
- 2 planter pots (1 for ice bucket and 1 for potted plant)
- Disposable plastic pot, same size as planter pots (for mould)
- 1800 x 1200mm reinforcing mesh
- All-purpose silicon
- Crommelin Wet Look Paving Sealer
You’ll also need
Measuring tape; pencil; sawhorses; screw; screwdriver; jigsaw; belt sander; angle grinder; bolt cutters; hot-glue gun and glue sticks; duct tape; Stanley knife; squeegee; plastic tarp; wheelbarrow; trowel; screed; straightedge; lint-free rags; bucket; plastic gloves; coarse- and fine-grit sanding blocks; paintbrush; protective glasses, earmuffs and gloves
Making the mould
STEP 1 Measure diameter of fire pit 35mm below lip.
STEP 2 Place melamine board level on 2 sawhorses. Working from corner to corner, draw 2 intersecting diagonal lines. Mark centre where the 2 lines intersect.
STEP 3 Mark then cut a piece of corflute to measure half the diameter (radius) of fire pit plus an extra 3cm.
STEP 4 Using a screw, attach end of corflute to marked centre of melamine board. Swivelling corflute, mark a circle (size of fire pit).
STEP 5 Measure circumference of planter pot directly under the lip. Transfer this circle measurement onto melamine board so it’s off-centre. This is where planter/ice bucket will sit once the project is complete.
STEP 6 Using jigsaw, cut along all marked circles to make what will be the tabletop.
STEP 7 Use belt sander to round off the larger melamine circle outer edge so it’s a snug fit when lowered into fire pit.
STEP 8 Mark a line around circumference of disposable pot, 35mm down from the top. Using angle grinder, cut along this line.
STEP 9 Using angle grinder, cut reinforcing mesh roughly to size of melamine tabletop. Cut a hole in mesh to match hole in melamine tabletop. Put mesh aside for later use.
STEP 10 Lower melamine tabletop into fire pit. Place disposable pot offcut onto melamine tabletop, sitting it around cut-out circle and allowing for an even border all around. Fasten it to tabletop with hot glue and duct tape.
STEP 11 Cut corflute into shorter pieces and line interior of fire pit around curved edge. Make sure each piece is butted up to the next but not overlapping.
STEP 12 Use Stanley knife to trim corflute even with top edge of fire pit. Taking tape over top edge, secure each piece of corflute with duct tape.
STEP 13 For a neat finish, run duct tape around interior of fire pit, concealing corflute and strips of tape.
STEP 14 Fill gap between melamine tabletop and duct tape with silicon and wipe clean with squeegee.
Pouring the cement
STEP 15 For concrete mixture: mix 1 part cement, 2 parts sand and 3 parts blue metal with enough water to achieve a cookie-dough texture.
STEP 16 Pour half the mix into tabletop mould, pushing it into corners with screed.
STEP 17 Lay mesh on top then pour remaining mix over it.
STEP 18 Using screed or straightedge, level the top, removing excess concrete. While concrete is still wet, clean around hole and exterior of fire pit with a wet rag.
STEP 19 Wait 30 minutes then smooth surface with trowel. Repeat this step a couple more times. Let concrete set for 7 days in an undercover, weather-protected area.
STEP 20 Lift tabletop out of fire pit and remove all formwork, including rim of disposable pot, corflute and masking tape.
STEP 21 Lightly sand all surfaces with coarse then fine sanding block. Wipe free of dust.
STEP 22 Seal tabletop using paving sealer and paintbrush. Let dry. Lower onto fire pit. Fill hole with potted planter or ice bucket.