How to Create Colorful Concrete Stools

Painted concrete layered stools
These colorful concrete stools will make a great conversation piece for your backyard.

Mixing concrete and making something special brings me so much joy! These stained concrete stools are inexpensive, take a few hours over two days to make, and look great in the backyard.  

If you see this DIY project in your near future, here are my tips to make these beauties.

materials used to make concrete stools, pictured posed on a white backdrop
Before we begin, let’s make sure we have everything we’ll need.


  • Quikrete Countertop Mix
  • Quik-Tubes
  • 5-Gallon Buckets (3)
  • Drill with Mixing Paddle
  • 2 Chemical-Resistant Gloves
  • Rubber Mallet
  • Safety Glasses
  • Small Masonry Trowel
  • 60- or 80-Grit Sandpaper
  • Utility Knife with Sharp Blade
  • Tape Measure
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Paintbrush
  • Wooden Dowels (5/16 Inch)
  • Drill Bit — (5/16 Inch or 3/8 Inch)
  • Stain or Paint

Note: Wear pants, a long-sleeve shirt, safety glasses and gloves while working with concrete mix.

Chelsea Lipford Wolf measures a Quik-Tube before cutting it
This tip has never failed me: measure twice and cut once.

1. Measure Quik-Tubes

Quik-Tube Building Forms are the real MVPs of this project. In the old days (I’m told), you had to build wood forms for concrete column projects like fence posts and footings.

Thankfully, those days are gone! Now, we can just purchase these single-use, ridged-fiber forms from the home center. They’re lightweight, convenient and helpful for countless projects.

All directions coming up are for making two stools — adjust accordingly!

These Quik-Tube Building Forms are 4 feet long and come in 8, 10 or 12-inch diameters. I’m using an 8-inch tube to create a void on the underside of the stools.

You’ll need half of the tube for each stool, so I’m measuring 2 feet in a few spots around the tube before connecting the dots with painter’s tape. Cut along the tape with a sharp utility knife to complete the dissection.

drilling into a Quik-Tube building form
This building form needs dowels, which won’t drive themselves — get ready to be a lean, mean, power-drilling machine!

2. Prep the Forms

To hold the tube up from the bottom of the form, we’re going to add dowels. Start by marking 12 inches from one end on each Quik-Tube. You’ll need four marks, somewhat equidistant around the tube.

Next, drill the 4 holes where you marked the tube. Each hole should be large enough for a 5/16-inch wooden dowel to pierce through from one side to the other. A 3/8-inch drill bit should do the trick.

Two hands break a dowel in two
With a quick snap, one dowel becomes two — perfect for our project.

Just like we did with the Quik-Tube, we’ll need to break the dowels in half. They are thin enough to snap without using a saw. You’ll need (2) 2-foot pieces per stool.

Drive two dowels in cross formation through each Quik-Tube. Make sure there’s at least 6 inches of each dowel sticking out of the tube on all sides.

If you’re wondering, these dowels serve two purposes: They’ll help us give each stool a thick top when we’re pouring the concrete. They also will help weigh down the form — but we’ll get to that later!

Covering a Quik-Tube building form with Frog Tape
Concrete mix tends to wander where it shouldn’t. That’s why we’re covering the bottom of this tube, like so.

Before we get to mixing, completely cover the bottom end, opposite your dowels, of each Quik-Tube. This will prevent concrete from going where it shouldn’t, once it’s placed in the bucket.

You can cover the opening with painter’s tape, or anything you have on hand. I experimented with packing foam, painter’s tape and duct tape. Word to the wise: Duct tape worked the best!

Spraying a plastic bucket with cooking spray
It’s amazing what a little cooking spray can do — a must for any concrete project that uses forms.

Finally, spray two buckets — these will form the stool’s shape — with cooking spray. This will help prevent the concrete from sticking. 

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