rubber gloves water sand or kitty litter Concrete mix (we used Quickcrete Concrete Patcher) bucket for mixing concrete large leaves such as hosta or rhubarb acrylic craft paint and brushes embellishments such as shells (optional) concrete sealer
Things You'll Need:
sand or kitty litter
Concrete mix (we used Quickcrete Concrete Patcher)
bucket for mixing concrete
large leaves such as hosta or rhubarb
acrylic craft paint and brushes
embellishments such as shells (optional)
concrete sealerclear acrylic lacquer (optional)
1. Prepare the surface you will be making your bird bath on, either in a protected area outdoors or garage. For a recent group craft project, we made work areas by laying plywood on sawhorses, but you can do this on the floor or ground as well. Flatten some big cardboard boxes and lay them on your work surface to ensure a quick and easy cleanup.
2. Mound up some wet sand to form the shape of your bird bath. Kitty litter works too, but doesn’t mound up as high, so it makes for a more shallow container. It can also leave an interesting texture along the rim of your birdbath.
3. Place the leaf you wish to make an impression of bottom side up on top of the sand or kitty litter. If you wish to embed any embellishments such as colored stones or shells in the surface of the birdbath, lay them directly on top of the leaf. Trim away the leaf stem, otherwise your bird bath may not hold water.
4. Mix the concrete mix with water according to the package directions. Stir thoroughly until it reaches a consistency of cookie dough batter. You want it to be thick enough that it sticks to itself and to the leaf, but pliable enough to mold easily.
5. Apply the concrete mix to the leaf in handfuls, pressing the leaf against the sand or kitty litter. Be sure to wear rubber gloves at this point to protect your hands. Smooth concrete until it is evenly distributed. Aim for a thickness of about 1/2 to 3/4 inches in the middle of the leaf. You can taper the thickness toward the edges if desired.
6. Pat the concrete smooth until there are no bumps or small cracks in the surface. Leaving even tiny irregularities can cause the finished bird bath to weaken and break.
7. Keep the bird bath covered with a plastic sheet or garbage bag for the next 5 days. Use a spray bottle to mist the surface daily--this allows the concrete to dry slowly and evenly.
8. When the concrete has completely dried, carefully flip your birdbath right side up. It’s now time to remove the leaf by peeling it off the concrete. Use a stiff brush to scrub out any stubborn pieces of leaf that remain stuck in the concrete. Gently hose off your bird bath to remove all debris.
9. Allow the birdbath to cure for 5 to 7 days, either in the house, garage or a protected area outdoors.
10. Your birdbath is now ready to paint with acrylic craft paint. Some of us chose to paint the entire bird bath, top and bottom; others painted only the top, or just certain details on the top. If you wish, add embellishments such as colored stones or shells using a strong waterproof glue.
11. Allow the paint to dry for 24 hours, then seal with a coat of concrete sealer. If you wish to provide more protection and give the birdbath a glossy finish, let the sealer dry, then spray with a clear acrylic. After another 24-hour drying period, your birdbath is ready to hold water! It will look lovely nestled among some low plants in your garden. You can also rest it atop a couple of big rocks for a natural-looking stand.
|Mix up concrete using package directions. Don't forget the rubber gloves!||Mound up moist sand or kitty litter. The higher the sand, the deeper your birdbath will be.||After trimming off the stem, lay leaf bottom-side up on top of the sand. Brush off any extra sand.|
|Instead of using one big leaf, you can also experiment by imprinting smaller leaves and flowers. ||Starting in the center, spread concrete over the leaf. ||Apply concrete less thickly at the edges for a tapered look.|
|After you finish forming the birdbath, cover it with plastic until it dries.||Once the cement is completely dried, carefully flip your birdbath and peel off the leaf.||Use a stiff scrubbing brush to remove any pieces of leaf that don't peel off.|
|You may need to use a knife to remove a stubborn pieces of leaf.||Hose down the birdbath to clean away all debris and allow to dry for a few more days.||Once dried, your birdbath is ready to paint as desired.|
|Use a waterproof glue to add embellishments such as shells or colored glass, if desired.||After the paint dries, brush on some concrete sealer to make the birdbath weatherproof. Spray with clear lacquer for a shiny finish, if desired.||Once the sealer dries, your birdbath is ready to place in the garden and fill with water.|