making bird bath

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The Making Bird Bath  Project

 This making bird bath project will give you step by step instructions on how to build your own homemade bird bath. The items used in the construction of this particular bird bath were items found around the house or ones that were easily and inexpensively obtained from a local home improvement store. Sure, you could just go out and buy a commercially made bird bath fountain, but the satisfaction of creating your own can be very rewarding.

Let's get started. The three main components used in this project are shown in bird bathphoto 1. I purchased a used lamp from a local habitat store for $5.00. The planter base and plastic plate were purchased at a local super store for a total of $12.00. My first task was to remove the electrical wiring from the lamp. The different sections and trim pieces of this particular lamp were held together by a threaded center post and secured with a nut on the top. The nut was loosened and removed and the lamp sections were separated so that the wiring could be removed .(photos 2 and 3)

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The bottom of the lamp was covered by a felt material which of course had to be replaced with something more durable for outdoor use. I found an old plastic container in my basement and placed the base of the lamp on top of it to trace out an outline of the shape with a magic marker. I then cut out the shape and glued it to the bottom of the lamp with construction adhesive.

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After allowing time for the construction adhesive to dry, I put  play sand in the bottom section of the lamp to add weight  for better stability. I then began to reassemble the lamp to prepare it for painting. The main sections of the lamp were made of glass, so I had to rough the surfaces up a bit with fine sand paper for better paint adhesion.

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Priming Your Homemade Birdbath

Priming your homemade birdbath is a necessary step to assure that your paint sticks to the surface. Before priming, be sure to remove any dust particles and thoroughly clean all surfaces to be painted. An outdoor location is best for priming and painting to assure adequate ventilation. Position the object where you can easily move around it while you're priming. I used a rust colored spray primer for this application. Be sure to spray your parts evenly and completely following the instructions on the primer can.                                          

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 Assembly of Bird Bath Basin

The  two parts for the basin, the 12 inch plate(left) and the 18 inch planter base(center) are both made of plastic.(Don't let the photo fool you. The planter base is larger than the plate.) The spray paint used to paint the basin parts was specifically designed for plastics without the necessity of having to prime the parts first. This paint can also be used on glass, ceramic and metal, but these types of surfaces must be primed first, That's why I primed the lamp portion of this bird bath first. I then taped off the interior portion of the basin and painted it the final color. I don't know the effects of the paint in contact  with water, so I opted not to paint the interior of the basin for the safety of the birds. I also painted the lamp its final color.

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 The assembly of the basin begins by first drilling a 3/8" hole in the center of the plate as well as the center of the planter base. This allows the two parts to be slid onto  the threaded stem of the lamp. The plate is installed first on the stem as a reinforcement for the basin. The installation of the basin is next .

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After Installing the basin, remove the newspaper inside the basin and install the trim piece and  the nut that secures it. Finish spray painting the underside of the supporting plate with the final color along with any other spots that may have been missed. Once the paint is dry, you can apply an accent color with a small brush to improve you bird bath's appearance. After the accent paint dries, the final paint step is to apply a final clear coat to the entire bird bath. This provides extra protection for  your paint finish from the outside elements. Give your homemade bird bath ample time to dry, following the instructions on the paint can.

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Make Your Birdbath Leakproof

Once your bird bath is dry, the final step is to make sure your basin will hold water and not leak out. The area in the basin where the threaded stem comes through must be sealed to prevent leakage. I used 100% clear silicone for the task. The trim piece and securing nut were completely covered, including the edges with the silicone. I gave it time to dry, following the instructions provided, and then leaked checked it by filling the basin with water and allowing it to stand overnight.

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 Now You Know How to Make a Bird Bath

Your custom homemade bird bath is basically now finished and ready to display in your yard, garden or patio. You can add decorative items such as river rocks to give the birds somewhere to perch. I decided not to cut the threaded stem coming through the middle of the basin because I'm thinking about adding some type of ornament later. Since some parts of this fountain is made of glass, and I live in an area of the country where the temperature gets well below freezing, I will be taking this fountain inside during the winter months.

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Your creative possibilities are limited only by your imagination as to the different types of bird baths that can be made with your own hands. The ideas in this article can be adapted to different types of bird bath projects. Go forward and create. Email me photos of your own  bird bath creations to

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