Making a Birdbath Dripper
How to make a birdbath dripper. I recommend Mister Landscaper rubber tubing as it's flexible and stands up to UV rays very well. This manufacturer also has a good selection of items used to join 1/4” plastic tubing, so if you would like to add another mister or dripper to the same hose later on, you’ll not have a problem finding the correct size. I’ve used 2 different types of tubing, so when you buy your brass fittings from Home Depot, make sure you have the tubing on hand so you can fit it into the holes easily. Don’t buy brass fittings with holes too large for the tubing. They won't be secure!
'Picase2' Photo Collage of the Dripper and components used to make it: The photos of components to make a birdbath dripper are pretty well self explanatory, I hope. All pieces can be bought from Home Depot's Plumbing Department. If anyone knows where to find a ‘mister’ which could replace the 'dripper', please share the information here. Hummingbirds love flying through misters.
The concrete dripper base is made of a concrete mix. I used a margarine plastic container as a base mold but any bowl could be used. Just make sure it fits the lip or the slope of your birdbath. The Copper tube used as the water dripper is somewhat flexible and can be shaped carefully to your design choice.
1. Preparing the base mold:
a. Make hole in the centre of the base of the margarine container. Ensure this hole is only large enough to hold the brass 'screw' end snugly, or the concrete will ooze out.
b. Punch a 1/4:”hole on the side of the container, roughly a 1/4" to 1/2"from the lip of the plastic container. This is where the rubber water tube will pass through the concrete, at the base of the dripper. The size of the hole should be just large enough to hold the rubber tube or the concrete will ooze out. .Ensure this hole is placed below the lip of the container and above the brass components. When the concrete is poured the entire plastic tubing in the container should be covered completely.
2. Assemble brass components as per photograph below.
Both brass ends are made up of the same components. The upper end will be where the copper water dripper attaches to the base. The lower end will be the attachment for the rubber tubing.
3. Attaching the rubber tubing into the brass nut end:
c. Remove the brass nut from an end of the assembled brass components and insert the 1/4" rubber tubing through its hole. Ensure the tubing goes through the outer side of the brass fitting, not into the screw-in side.
d. Push the tube through the little inner brass circle. This little brass circle will act as the 'crimp' when you screw the 2 brass pieces together tightly.
e. Insert the end of the rubber tubing into the brass screw opening.
f. Push the tubing and the 2 brass pieces onto the screw hole.
g. Screw these brass pieces very tightly together. The little circle will act as a ‘crimp’, holding the rubber tube in place. Use pliers as all the brass inside the plastic container will all be encased in concrete and you don't want the rubber tubing to dislodge from the brass fitting later on.
4. Placing the 'dripper' end of the brass into the plastic container:
h. Remove the brass nut from the screw base. (Dripper end). (The other end of these assembled brass pieces already has the plastic tubing attached to it).
i. Push this screw head through the base of the plastic margarine container's hole. Re-screw the piece you took off. This piece will be OUTSIDE the plastic container. Screwing it back onto the main brass body just helps to keep the brass piece vertical.
j. Place the plastic bowl on 2 pieces of wood with the outside dripper fitting facing downwards, between these pieces of wood. The 2 pieces of wood support the plastic containers base through which the brass fitting has been pushed. The plastic container must be level in order to ensure the concrete will be level when it has set.
5. Prepare and pour concrete into plastic container for base of dripper.
k. Try to ensure the brass components vertical as you pour the prepared concrete into the margarine bowl.
j. When the concrete reaches the joint of the plastic tubing and the brass, gently guide the rubber tubing sideways so the tubing is not 'crimped' which would inhibit the water from flowing freely. Ensure the end of the tubing passes through the pre cut hole on the side of the plastic container. Make sure enough concrete is poured into the container to completely cover the rubber. The top of the concrete in the container is going to be your Dripper base bottom, so you don’t want the tubing to stick out of the concrete or you'll have a lopsided, wobbly dripper. Pour enough concrete in the container to completely cover the rubber tubing.
k. Jiggle the plastic container to ensure all air bubbles are released. Remember that the rubber tubing MUST be BELOW the concrete level in the container. .
6. Let the concrete set for 2 days, spraying some water into the container to keep it moist. This helps to prevent the concrete from cracking.
7. Unmold the concrete base by cutting the plastic container away from the concrete. Let it sit in water for a couple of days.
8. Adding the On/Off switch and the tap/hose pipe fitting. Add the on/off switch, pushing the Mister Landscaper’s flanges into the rubber tubing on either side of the switch. Attach the tap/hose pipe fitting (also a 'Mister Landscaper' product) by pushing the hose flange into the 1/4' tubing and you are finished.
I can post the photos independantly if that helps.
They cost about $50 to buy a clip on version. Birds do love them. The wild finches will hang upside down to drink! The store bought variety do last. We've had one for about 6 or 7 years. One note of caution. Ours is located quite a distance from the faucet connection to the bird bath it's fastened to. The chipmunks from time to time eat through the tubing where it is buried underground. Keep splice and repair items handy if you have Alvin and his friends to deal with.
I've printed off the directions for my DH. They are certainly good ones. I've been wanting another one for one of the other bird baths. It's location,location, location!