Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Birds of a Feather all Flock Together! Build Your Own Homemade Concrete Pillar Birdbath!

This project was really easy and cost less than $15.00 to make! All you need is a bag of concrete, some sand, water and/or water and leftover paint, a piece of 4 inch PVC pipe, one concrete pillar form (can be found at Lowes or Home Depot),an old bowl and some really pretty rocks! (I love rocks!!!) The PVC in the center makes the finished project lighter and easier to move, as well as allows for a fountain hose if a fountain is what you would like to make instead of a bird bath.

To begin, gather together the following supplies:
  • 1 bag of concrete
  • 1 bag of sand
  • Leftover paint (if you have some leftover from a project and want to use it up, plus it gives the project a better color rather than just the fresh concrete look)
  • A bucket of water
  • (1) Sakrete 10 In. x 48 In. Tube For Concrete (can cut to desired length)
  • 1 length of 4 inch PVC pipe - cut 2-3 inches shorter than your concrete form. You can find small sections for really cheap at rebuilders centers or builders resale shops.
  1. Begin by cutting your concrete form to desired length and then cut your PVC pipe, 2-3 inches shorter.
  2. Find a flat surface out of direct sunlight (in garage maybe or on the North side of your house) and place a large garbage sack on this surface, followed by the concrete form.
  3. Place your PVC pipe in the center of the form.
  4. Next you will want to get a large garden tub or wheelbarrow to mix your 4 parts concrete / 1 part sand. The amount of concrete mix that you will need, depends on the desired height of your pillar. Most likely you will need the whole bag. If using one whole bag of concrete, mix in 1/4 bag of sand.
  5. Next you will need to decide if you are going to add paint for a slight touch of color or just use water to mix in with the concrete. If you are going to use paint, it takes quite a bit to change the color of concrete, so don't be shy! With this one I used 1/2 gallon of old paint with enough water to make a muffin batter consistency mix. Make sure the mixture is not too wet and runny as you will end up with a watery mess! Some concrete mixture will ooze out of the bottom, just keep an eye on it. This is why you need a very flat sturdy surface.
  6. Use a small shovel or scoop to gently drop the concrete mixture down into the tube. Avoid getting any down into the PVC pipe. (It is best to wad up an old rag and place into the top of the pipe before adding concrete, or tape some heavy plastic around it)
  7. As you add more concrete, tamp it down all around the edges with a stake or old broom handle to get all of the air bubbles out.
  8. I wanted my bowl to sit down into the pillar. To allow for this you will need to find an old plastic tub, (I used an old margarine tub) and fill it with sand so that it is weighted down. Spray it with Pam cooking release spray all around the outside.
  9. Place the tub filled with sand onto the top of the PVC pipe and the concrete mixture. Continue to fill the concrete form.
  10. Once your concrete gets to the top of your tube, flatten it all out and place the tub filled with sand on top of the tube.
  11. Continue filling the rest of the pipe with the concrete mixture until you reach the top. Pat it smooth on the top and as it dries, to get a more rounded edge, use an old spatula to gently pull the concrete in away form the edge of the form.
  12. Wait patiently for about a week, until it is really dry and set. If the weather is warm out, cover the entire project with plastic and keep out of the hot sun to avoid cracking.

Now the fun begins!!! Once it is dry you can begin to unveil the pillar by taking out the tub with sand, and then tearing the form off by layers. You may have to give it a good start with a hacksaw but be careful not to damage the concrete. I found my bowl for .25 cents at a Garage Sale and then filled it with some great rocks that my husband and I found on a trip to Eastern Oregon. These were the rejects from one of our tumblings, but they sure look awesome here.

The birds love the water and the neighbor girls love picking out a rock to take home each time they come over. The rocks always look better wet :)
Have fun!


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