Concrete and cement are the building blocks of humanity. When you take concrete and make it into a literal block, though, what you’re left with is a cinder block – an item with almost unlimited DIY potential.
To help spark your imagination about how to best make use of cinder blocks, we’ve put together a list of 13 great DIY projects using cinder blocks.
1. Build Shelving
If you have few other building materials available, cinder blocks can be used to create shelving that is plenty adequate for food storage cellars. You won’t need any nails, glue, or other fasteners to build your shelves, and by limiting the amount of wood you use you are decreasing the chances of damage from rot or termites. Below is a video on how to create shelves using cinder blocks. Granted, these shelves were created to be bookshelves rather than food storage shelves, but the same concepts apply.
2. Build a Grill
In absence of electricity (or just to mix things up) a grill is an excellent way to prepare a range of meats and vegetables. If you don’t already own a grill, cinder blocks can be used to quickly and easily construct one. Check out the video below for instructions on how to construct your very own cinder block grill.
3. Build a Raised Garden Bed
Depending on what you are growing and the layout of your land, it may be beneficial for you to build a raised garden bed before you plant your seeds. For this task, cinder blocks are perfect. For instructions on how to easily build a raised garden bed using cinder blocks, check out the video below.
4. Build an In-Ground Fire Pit
Fire pits are a great source of entertainment and a fun way to relax on cool afternoons and nights. They may also serve the more practical purpose of cooking food and offering warmth. Cinder blocks can be used to create either an in-ground or above-ground fire pit, though if you don’t want to apply mortar to the blocks and make your pit a permanent fixture, an in-ground fire pit is preferable since the walls of the pit provide a little more support for the blocks. For instructions on how to build an in-ground fire pit using cinder blocks, check out the video below.
5. Build a Swimming Pool
Having a swimming pool built in your backyard is an expensive project. That is, unless, you build it yourself using nothing but a shovel (or, to save a lot of time, a backhoe), concrete, cinder blocks, and a few other inexpensive materials. This project is certainly a little more involved than most and probably isn’t something you want to tackle unless you’ve got the time and masonry skills to see it through. If you’re feeling brave, though (or if you just really want a swimming pool), check out the video below for instructions on how to get started.
6. Build Steps
One of the most common DIY uses for cinder blocks is building steps, and it is a task that they are well suited for. Depending on what you’re building steps to, the size of the steps you build will vary. For a basic tutorial on how to build cinder block steps, though, check out the video below.
7. Build a Rocket Stove
Rocket stoves are a great way to prepare a meal over an open flame using pots and pans. Best of all, if you use cinder blocks, they are incredibly easy to make. This allows you to put your rocket stove together, cook your meal, and dissemble the cinder blocks until the next time all with minimal effort. For instructions on how to build a rocket stove using cinder blocks, check out the video below.
8. Build a Firewood Stacker
If you are storing firewood, firewood stackers that keep the stacks of logs orderly and keep the bottom logs from touching the ground are quite convenient. You can buy firewood stackers, or you can easily make your own using cinder blocks and wood planks. For instructions on how to do the latter, check out the video below.
9. Build a Meat Smoker
Smoked meat is a delicious treat. Smoking the meat is also a great way to preserve it, which is one of the main reasons people started smoking meat in the first place. There are a wide range of meat smokers available for a wide range of budgets, but building one yourself using cinder blocks is by far the most affordable way to go. For instructions on how to do this, check out the video below.
10. Build a Bench
Benches are a favorite DIY project. Most of the time, though, they’re made almost entirely out of wood. It turns out, though, that cinder blocks make equally excellent building materials for a nice, sturdy bench that doesn’t look half bad either. For instructions on how to build a cinder block bench, check out the video below.
11. Build a Fireplace
Fireplaces are functional pieces of décor that often serve as the centerpiece for an outdoor space. To skip the costs and hassle often associated with putting in a fireplace, though, you can build your own using cinder blocks. For a great demonstration on how to build a fireplace using cinder blocks, check out the video below.
12. Build Planters
Some vegetables and flowers are better grown in pots and planters. While these are relatively inexpensive, you can still make your own planters that look great using cinder blocks. Best of all, these planters can be custom built to accommodate as many plants as you need them to. For instructions on how to easily build planters using cinder blocks, check out the video below.
13. Build a House
If push comes to shove, cinder blocks can be used to build a sturdy, well-made house in as little as a few days. This is, in fact, one of the primary house-building techniques in third-world countries to this day. For a demonstration of building an entire house using cinder blocks, check out the video below.