Bird baths come in all shapes and sizes, just like your feathered friends. From rustic to rococo, a bird bath is a great addition to your outdoor landscape. It adds a distinctive flair and focal point to flowerbeds. As a bird magnet, it provides a water source for hot, thirsty birds seeking relief from the summer heat. The following homemade DIY bird bath ideas are fun projects for your whole family. Once complete, your bird bath will be a continuous source of enjoyment for bird-watchers and gardeners alike.
1. Bird Bath Bowl
Make the birds feel right at home with a low bowl bird bath that mimics a natural water source. You have several choices for the bowl, but make sure it’s durable for long-lasting use. Some of the items to consider for your bowl include:
- Trash can lid
- Terra cotta plant bowl
- Large frying pan lid
- Half wine barrel
If you are using a deep container as your bird bath bowl, be sure to use only an inch or two of water. Alternatively, use something like half of a wine barrel as an outer shell and fill it with sand or mulch. Then, embed a shallow bowl for water on top. Place some larger stones in the water as a place for birds to relax before and after bathing.
You need a level spot to place your bowl. Ideally, it will be amongst plants to simulate a natural environment where birds feel comfortable. If the water is more than a couple of inches deep, add a few rocks or branches where birds can safely perch. This type of ground-level bird bath is not appropriate for a home with pets, especially cats, which might pose a danger.
2. Concrete Bird Bath
Concrete is an ideal material for your DIY bird bath. You can buy a bag of concrete and mix it with water. Then, pour the concrete into a mold and let it dry completely. Once you remove the bird bath from the mold, you can place it on a base such as a stump, post, or metal plant stand.
Before you mix up your materials, make sure to have your mold ready to go. You have a specific window of time between mixing and pouring before the material begins to harden. Check the instructions on the bag to be sure of the time frame.
You can use anything you like as a mold for the cement bird bath. You will need two molds, one about 2 inches smaller than the other, for the outer shell and the inner well. You can use items like:
- Plastic trays with sides
- Plastic storage bins
- Plastic or metal buckets
- Trash can lids
Before mixing your concrete, prep the molds by ensuring they are free of dirt and debris. Spray the outer mold's inside with WD-40, and spray the smaller, inner mold on the outside. Using a sponge or cloth, spread the spray to cover the molds completely. This will make unmolding easier once the concrete has dried.
For a decorative bird bath, place items like pieces of sea glass, shells, or pea gravel in the bottom of the outer mold. When your concrete is mixed, pour or scoop about 3 to 4 inches into the outer (larger) mold, and pour slowly so as not to disturb any decorative items you have placed in the bottom. Gently shake the container to dislodge any air bubbles from the cement mixture.
Take the second (smaller) container and place it on the top of the cement, pressing down to compress any bubbles that have surfaced. Then, position the smaller mold in the center of the larger and press it firmly into place. Weight the smaller mold so it stays put during the drying process. Let it set for the specified drying time.
Remove the inner mold first, and then the outer one. Use a wire brush and a damp sponge to carefully smooth the surfaces. You can use a hose with a spray nozzle to help during this process as well. As the bird bath sits out, the concrete will continue to dry and harden into its final form.
3. Hanging Bird Bath
A hanging bird bath adds a creative twist. Start with anything that will hold an inch to 2 inches of water. A handcrafted stained-glass bowl, a pottery platter with edges, or even an oil-changing pan will work.
Once you have chosen your bowl, determine what you need to suspend it. One easy way to suspend it is with a rope or wire plant hanger that cradles the bowl sturdily. With some types of bowls, you can drill three equidistant holes along the edge and thread rope or heavy wire through them to hang. When you install your hanging bird bath, be sure the bowl is level. Otherwise, it may drain water over the side.
4. Repurposed Bird Bath
Recycle some extra household items into a bird bath. This is another great DIY project for the whole family. You could use a waterproof lamp base as the pedestal and secure an antique glass dish on top with transparent glue. Leave each item in its original condition, or cover the base with your choice of spray paint.
If you have a small satellite dish you no longer use, try removing the dish itself to use as a suspended bird bath bowl. Paint and decorate it so it looks completely different and matches your aesthetic.
Another option is wire tomato cages to hold your bird bath bowls. Trim them to different heights, and place terra cotta plant bowls on top. Place a set in your garden or flowerbed for a personalized touch.
5. Artsy Mosaic Bird Bath
If you have a concrete bird bath that has cracked and no longer holds water, don’t throw it away. Instead, do a clever makeover. First, use a concrete patching material to fill in any cracks, dents, or dings.
While the patch material is curing, put on some work gloves and eye protection. Using a small hammer, carefully break up some colorful tiles, dishes, or glass into inch-sized pieces. Create a mosaic design to dress up your old bird bath.
Cover the bowl with another coating of cement. Press your pieces into the wet cement to recreate the design you have planned out. It can be a simple geometric design, or you can try something more complicated. You could even write out the names of your family members on pieces of tile.
Once you are finished, allow the bird bath bowl to set for 48 hours. Finish it with a non-toxic waterproof coating like polyurethane. Then, replace the bowl on its pedestal or add hanging wires and suspend it from your favorite tree.
Get Your Bird Bath Supplies From a True Value Store Near You
Get everything you need for your homemade DIY bird bath projects at your local True Value store. From concrete mix to protective gear, True Value has you covered from beginning to end. Find a True Value store near you and get started on your DIY bird bath today!