How to make your own tabletop fire pit (Cheap and easy options)

a man making his own tabletop fire pit in his backyard during the day

If you’re looking for an easy (and affordable) way to add a touch of warmth and ambiance to your outdoor space, consider making your own DIY tabletop fire pit. You can create a custom fire pit perfect for your needs in just a few simple steps. Plus, since the materials are so inexpensive, this is a project that anyone can undertake.

You can make your own tabletop fire pit by assembling the materials, mixing the concrete in a bowl, and making a reservoir in the concrete using a second bowl. The reservoir serves as the base for the fire pit where the fuel goes.

In the rest of this article, I’ll take you through how to make a mini fire pit for your table tops. I’ll start by listing the materials and equipment you need before proceeding with the process. Let’s get started!

1. Assemble the Materials and Equipment

Before proceeding, you need to know what’s needed and have everything at hand. This prevents having to stop in the middle and look for something you need. 

You need the following materials and equipment:

  • A large bowl
  • A smaller bowl
  • Black marbles
  • High-strength concrete mix
  • Gel fuel for fire pit
  • Weights (You can use a large stone)
  • Hand shovel
  • Rubber mallet
  • Sandpaper (80 grit & 220 grit)
  • Some oil
  • Wire mesh
  • Quick drying cement
  • Water
  • Matches or a lighter

2. Mix the Concrete

Mix the concrete in the large bowl according to the package directions. You should mix the concrete gradually by adding a little cement and water at a time until you get the desired consistency.

You should also be careful with the amount of water you add. Adding excessive water will make the concrete runny, making it challenging to work with. Runny concrete also takes longer to dry.

On the other hand, a low water-to-cement ratio will make the concrete crack after drying.

a large concrete fire pit with a tabletop sitting in a backyard

3. Make a Reservoir

Once the concrete is mixed to your desired level and consistency, it’s time to create a reservoir. Here is the procedure:

  1. Apply oil to the outside of the smaller bowl (This makes releasing the bowl from the concrete easier).
  2. Insert the smaller bowl into the concrete in the larger bowl and force it down to make a reservoir in the center. The reservoir will serve as the base for your fire pit where the fuel goes.
  3. Put weights or stones in the smaller bowl to hold it down in the concrete.
  4. Use a palm sander to vibrate the larger bowl with the concrete. This removes air pockets from the concrete to make it firmer after drying.
  5. Hit the larger bowl (form) several times with a rubber mallet to remove any stubborn bubbles.
  6. Leave the form to cure for 48 hours.
  7. After 48 hours, remove the inner smaller bowl.
  8. Remove the large outer bowl by pulling away the edges, then flip it upside down on a flat surface. Try shaking the bowl if it doesn’t release immediately.
  9. Use sandpaper (80 grit) to even out the top of your fire pit.
  10. Use sandpaper (220 grit) to smooth any rough edges and give the fire pit a clean look. You can also paint or seal your fire pit with a clear sealant.

4. Fill the Reservoir With Marbles

We shall use marbles as our fuel for this tabletop fire pit. You can use any other type of fuel, but marbles work best in this case.

You’ll need to insert a construction wire mesh in the reservoir before adding the marbles. The wire mesh supports the marbles and prevents them from falling through when the fire is lit. 

Here is how to add the wire mesh:

  1. Place the wire mesh on top of your tabletop fire pit.
  2. Mark around the wire mesh to ensure it fits the tabletop fire pit bowl.
  3. Use a sharpie or any other marker to outline the wire mesh on the fire pit.
  4. Remove the wire mesh and use scissors to cut along the lines you’ve just drawn. This will give you a template for cutting out your construction wire mesh to fit the inside of the bowl.
  5. Place the cut-out wire mesh on the tabletop fire pit and press it slightly to create a depression.
  6. Fill the depression with marbles to cover the wire mesh.

Recommended: Small Tabletop Propane Fire Pit Ideas!

5. Light Up Your Tabletop Fire Pit

a large round concrete fire pit burning in a late evening in a farm

Place the tabletop fire pit on a heat-resistant surface like a patio or stone floor, ready for use. You can also use a fireproof mat if you want to place it on a wooden deck or any other flammable surface.

Fill the reservoir with gel fuel, light it with a match or lighter, and enjoy the work of your hands.

You can put out the fire by covering the top of the pit with a metal plate or lid.

Be sure to dispose of the used gel fuel canisters according to local laws and regulations.

If you want to get fancy, you can add some decorative stones around the outside of your fire pit. This is optional, but it makes for a nice finishing touch. If you decide to do this, be sure to use heat-resistant stones that won’t crack or explode when exposed to high temperatures.

The video below demonstrates the above steps to make a DIY tabletop fire pit:

Safety Considerations

Safety is a crucial consideration when it comes to dealing with fire. Therefore, you should keep the following in mind when making and using a tabletop fire pit:

  • Use heat-resistant material: I used concrete to make this tabletop fire pit since it’s a heat-resistant material. Concrete can withstand temperatures exceeding 550°C (1,022°F). You can use any other material that can withstand high temperatures.
  • Ensure the bowl is deep enough: The reservoir should be at least five inches (0.13 meters) deep to ensure the gel fuel doesn’t spill over.
  • Use a wire mesh: This will prevent the marbles from falling through when the fire is lit.
  • Have a lid at hand: This is to extinguish the fire quickly in an emergency.
  • Use gel fuel: Gel fuel is a safe and easy-to-use fuel for this project. You can find it at most hardware stores.

Final Thoughts

That’s it for this post. I hope you’ll use these tips to make a DIY tabletop fire pit to entertain guests on your patio when it gets cold. This will save you some bucks you would have otherwise spent to buy an expensive fire pit.

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