Make your own concrete birdbath tutorial.
Welcome all you DIY Wedding magazine readers who have hopped over here to see how I craft these faux concrete birdbaths centerpieces.
I jump at the opportunity to eat outdoors. Somehow al fresco elevates every gathering – even if it’s a gathering of one with her morning cup of caffeine (Diet Coke for me) and the newspaper. The porch beats the kitchen table every time.
So maybe my attraction to the look of worn and weathered concrete statuary is understandable, even justified. Especially for event decorating. So I came up with these “concrete” birdbath centerpieces for DIY Wedding magazine.
To craft your own, start by gathering odd pieces to form the structure. Keep in mind you are only looking at the shape, the form, the scale. Don’t be put off by the truly atrocious colors, finishes or surface designs. Mine through your cabinets, take a field trip through your local thrift stores, dollar stores or yard sales.
Each birdbath will need at least 2 items. First, a large plate or small platter for the basin. Then for the pedestal, a squatty vase, a hefty candle holder, a stemmed dessert glass are all good options. If the footprint of the pedestal needs more width for stability or a bit more height, I like to add a salad plate or saucer upside down, like the one on the left and in the center.
And what’s a birdbath without a bird? I’ve used two different options here. A solitary bird statue and a short vase with a bird attached that will hold some fresh cut flowers in water. Have fun with this! Honestly, the table where my sons would be sitting would have a squirrel on the birdbath edge – a nod to their humor.
I left one sans wildlife because it’s arrangement will include a table number and a candle. Add in a bird and that’s a mighty busy bath!
Play with your cache of quirky, neglected, worn “treasures” until you find the ideal combination of forms.
Break out a super strong adhesive – I used E-6000.
Once your glue is dry, it’s time for the fun! Break out a bucket of joint compound.
Stir the joint compound to get it a smooth and even consistency. If it seems too dry, add some water. You want it the consistency of frosting. And this is very similar – but way more forgiving than frosting a cake. Just don’t lick the spoon.
Start with piling on a good helping of joint compound (JC). Then with your fingers, work it into all the nooks and crannies. Lather this beginning layer on all surfaces. Just like with painting, two thin coats is better than one heavy coat. Don’t obsess over this first coat. You will smooth it out and work on the texture later. The goal here is a good somewhat consistent base layer.
Stand back and take a good look at your birdbaths. If at this point you decide, your birdbath needs a bit more, it can still be added.
I decided this pedestal was a bit too plain. So I added some mardi gras beads for a bit more texture. Push the beads into the wet JC to secure them in place. Then give them their initial covering of JC.
The basin was a bit too flat, so larger mardi gras beads adhered on top of the edge with a thick band of JC will create an awesome scallop and a bit more depth. Yes, it is easier to add these details with the adhesive before starting with the JC, but I want you to see that you can add as you go if you need to.
Let it dry a bit, or even overnight and then dip your fingers in a bowl of water and gently rub to smooth out your finish a bit.
Let it dry a bit more or for several days if your schedule requires, and you are ready to add another layer of joint compound. This second layer should be enough to give you complete coverage and polish the texture. If you were a bit thin in your application, and you have the time, there is nothing wrong with another thin layer.
Again, wet fingers, or a damp smooth rag rubbed over the almost dry surface will smooth it out further. Once it is dry, fine grit sandpaper can also be used if you have a particularly troublesome spot.
This whole process is very forgiving, so just get in there and play!
Once you’re happy with the texture, it’s time to add the aging. Watered down paint applied quickly and rather sloppily is it. Make sure all areas are covered and let it pool a bit in the nooks and grannies. Keep a damp rag or paper towel handy and wipe as you go on the raised areas so the recessed areas are darker. You can go as dark as you like.
So, how to use your new birdbath? Oh the possibilities!
Give it a contemporary twist with succulents and a tuft of wispy grass!
Or, how about a with a candle and a table number in homespun garden clippings?
Maybe a traditional style with a monotone flavor of all shades of green?
The best part is, you are the designer! Grab your supplies, get messy, and create something fabulous! Let me know what you’ve come up with or if I can help you with any part of the process!