DIY Concrete Umbrella Stand

The umbrella stand in all its glory
It occurs to me, as I'm writing this update, that I really should have taken a photo of the actual umbrella and the table it is covering. Anyway, as you can see I made a concrete umbrella stand for the umbrella and patio table we picked up over Labor Day weekend. This is my first attempt at DIY concrete casting and I think it came out pretty well, although there are certainly lessons to be learned.

The umbrella stand consists of a cheap planter base, 1" PVC pipe, and ~35lbs of concrete (from a 60lbs bag), for a total of ~$11. I punched a hole in the planter, shoved the PVC pipe though, and sealed the hole with hot glue. This was followed with a liberal application of WD-40 to all of the surfaces of the mold.

I mixed the concrete in a 5Gal bucket with my shovel, as the hand trowel didn't have the necessary oomph, and ended up adding more than the minimum amount of water in order to reach the right consistency.

Next up was to pour the concrete into the mold, which was placed on top of an old wine crate, allowing the PVC pipe to extend past the mold. The concrete was shaken after pouring to settle it, a necessary step that still left me with some "worm holes" in the surface. I'm not complaining. It adds "character". I also smoothed the "underside" of the concrete with a 2x4, getting as level a surface as I could. The WD-40, mentioned above, acts as a lubricant, allowing for the clean separation of the concrete from the mold once dry.

All was left to do was to wait. Concrete takes four to five days to cure and needs to remain damp during the process, so I covered the whole thing with saran wrap. Four days later and the concrete was dry, slipping out of the mold easily.

Lessons Learned
Shake the concrete mold more. I'm guessing a more vigorous shake would reduce the "worm holes" and leave a smooth surface all around.
Add "weep holes" to the mold, allowing excess water to escape from the bottom of the mold. I did this after the fact, but was only able to add weep holes to the side instead of the absolute bottom.

I'm looking forward to doing more concrete molds. The setup is cheap, the process simple, and the results are pretty cool!


  1. You did a fine job & I learned some things from you. I plan to make such a mold after the Winter passes for a 16' Flag Pole to be mounted on my composite floored deck, as it is advised not to drill into composite wood to hold down any objects that create stress. My mold will be bigger in the neighborhood of 75-100 pounds. Thanks. Barry in Pa.

    1. I've been occasionally reading up on concrete moulding since I published this, and I believe that keeping the concrete drier at the initial pour and doing a hard pack of it would be beneficial to the surface finish. I'd recommend looking into that. It also wouldn't hurt to drop some lath or other wire mesh mid-pour to act as rebar.


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