Easy: Concrete Tissue Box Cover.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Ah man.  I lied.  Last time I said I'd finally finally share the finished first floor bathroom.  But yet here I am, interjecting with a seemingly miscellaneous post, delaying delaying delaying.

In all honesty, it does come before the finished bathroom.  And, it goes with the whole bathroom in general so it's all part and parcel and not miscellaneous at all!

We're all good, yeah?

After this one though, yes, definitely, the final final bathroom wrap up where you get to see everything in its transcendent glory.

And yeah, too, my posting frequency, or lack thereof, ....I know, it's lame.  Work.  Work stuff.  I will try harder as I've got oodles backlogged to share.  Well, and oodles yet to do too.

So now, wait, what is this?, you ask.  A concrete tissue box cover?  Or, concrete-ish.

What?  And it's easy?!

Yeah, actually.

Well, I mean, at first I went about this all the wrong way.  Of course.  Or wait, maybe not the wrong way, a different way and (shocker) I screwed up.

But one day in the shower it dawned on me how to make a concrete tissue box cover the easy way.  Hence why I need one of them there shower notepads.*  An unusual number of ideas arrive while I am in the shower, it's weird.

Now, heh, you query, why the heck didn't you just go out and buy a darn tissue box cover?  I mean, c'mon, it's just a tissue box cover for goodness sake.  Who cares?

I care.  Details are not the details, my friends.

And jeez louise, have you seen most tissue box covers?  No offense but the vast majority of them are uh, um, let's just kindly say not my taste.  Or the right look.  (Suuuure, now a few of these* aren't so rough.)  Or freakin' hilarious* but I couldn't bring myself to do that to our ritzy bathroom.

And!  You wouldn't have reading material here.  So there's that.

In the end, how I did this, the technique, as with multitudes projects I present to you, can be used for many a thing many a way so here we have a jumping off point.  Yay!

Ok, but first, yes, I screwed the pooch.  It woulda worked had I checked my math first.  Ah math again.

Dug up a melamine coated panel piece and chopped it up based on a tissue box, leaving a quarter inch all around in the hopes of pouring concrete, making a solid concrete box cover.

But no.  No.

Hm.  Maybe this would have worked after all and I got confused or started the project too late in the day for my brain.  Hm.
I know, I'm tired of all the massive screw ups too.  You'd think by now I'd finally grasp the concept of mapping out an entire project ahead of time but clearly I am monstrously stubborn with the dive-right-in thing.

So once I deemed it was a no-go, or rather I had no more melamine panel and was not willing to run out and buy any, it was time for a Plan B.

Plan B resulted in a trip to HomeGoods which I try to avoid for several reasons:

1.)  It's way too easy to spend way too much money there.
2.)  They purposefully make it way too easy to spend way too much money there.
3.)  If I'm going to accessorize (and this is gonna bite me in the butt), I want my accessories to have meaning or connect with me which is typically not what is sold at this type of store.

Don't get me wrong, I really like HomeGoods.  It appeals most to my prop and set dressing side.  The pet and kitchen and bath and bedding sections are great.  Why am I beating this horse?  I guess I find the mindless toss-away decor items, the blatant consumerism aspect somewhat disagreeable.


But hey!!  That's just me.

Just wait though, my own words might nail me.

And then I read this, that they're coming out with a new related store that'll have hardware and DIY stuff.  Ugh.  Omg.  They're trying to kill me.

What I found was a sharp looking clear acrylic tray* and thought oh, go get a metal ring* from Menards, stack the tissues on it, done.

Well.  It looked nice.  It functioned horribly.  And Mike thought I fell off my rocker.

Plan C.

Back to concrete.

Here's when my shower idea popped.

Why not use the same stuff I plan to use for ummm, another upcoming project but on a wood box?  Ah ha!

And so it was.  Plan C.

I started with quarter inch plywood cut into:

1 @ 9.5" x 5.25" for the top
2 @ 5.25" x 4.75" for the ends
2 @ 10" x 4.75" for the long sides

Wood pieces.  Yep.
These measurements gave me about a quarter inch around the tissue box itself but more headroom under the top.  It's amazing how tissue box sizes vary, heh.


First was making the top tissue pass through opening.  I thought about being all funky with it, making it this way or that, but in the end went with a typical cutout as I was wearing myself out thinking of all the possibilities.

Laying it all out.
Drilled out the corners with a paddle bit* then used my fancy palm router* all freehand....

....which accounts for the horrible part there at the top left below.  No worries.  It adds character.  Ahem.  Cough.

You don't need a palm router to cut that out though.  A jigsaw will work perfectly fine.  Or even a hand saw if you're power-free.  Why I didn't rip out my new jigsaw, no idea.  Hm.

Next I merely glued all the pieces together with some a' that schwanky Gorilla glue,* clamped it all up, wiped the bubble ups, and waited.

Once the box was glue-set-upp'ed it was time for the concrete.

But this concrete is different.  It's similar to that Ardex Feather Finish* stuff which blew up on blogs left and right and upside down not too long ago.  Just type Ardex or feather finish into a web search and, heh, you'll see.  ⇖Booof⇗

Technically speaking, it's simply a skim coat concrete.

This sack of gray dust ran me about twenty bucks, fyi.
I thought about sealing up the wood with latex paint but didn't feel like it.  Nor did I feel like waiting for that to dry too.  It would make some sense, keep the water of the concrete from being sucked into the wood.

I mixed a small amount sorta according to the directions, maybe adding a tad more water than called for.

As you can see here, I did give the whole box a sanding, rounded over the corners and edges a bit.
Using a putty knife, I then smeared the whole box in the wet concrete mix, careful to shape the coating as smooth as possible.

I propped the box up from the inside on a bunch of scrap 2x's making it easy to turn.
Yes, it was a messy affair, a bit unruly.
The directions say you can/should sand your new surface within twenty four hours which I attempted but mostly my sanding block got all jammed up with slightly wet concrete.  Guess I should have waited longer.

But I did get some areas smoothed.

Once I gave up on that, I dusted with a barely damp rag then glazed on heh paste wax.  The reasoning there was twofold; one reason to seal the surface and another to see how the wax* performed on said surface.

Ah.  That dried nicely, eh?
Gave the inside of the box a lick of black paint...

I love me some black paint.
...and bingo!  Tissue box cover in concrete!

It's not perfect but alas, so it is.  I got a shoulder shrug, "eh, yeah, it's cool, it's fine," outta Mike.

Ok, for reals!  Next time!  The whole finished bathroom!

*The freakin' hilarious tissue box cover link is an eBay affiliate link.  The shower notepads, other tissue box cover link, acrylic tray, metal rings, paddle bits, palm routers, Gorilla glue, Ardex Feather Finish, and paste wax are Amazon affiliate links.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.


  1. That looks pretty.
    I am too thrifty and have too many things on the go to attempt something like this though.
    When I find a tissue box that I like then I open the end gently and refill the box and reglue the end. It is a win, win for me..... cheap and pretty.

    1. That is very clever and definitely a thrifty tip! Nice work!

  2. Fabulous idea. Fabulous results. I love this project


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