birdbath

WitchCrafts

June, 2011

I came across this project for a birdbath in a gardening magazine and loved it.  Most pagans I know consider their gardens as a kind of sacred space, and more ofter than not wildlife interaction is something that is almost spiritual in and of itself.  Attracting that wildlife to you garden space gives you far more enjoyment than the space alone.

This is a slightly more detailed and complicated project than similar ones I have done in the past but it is very unique and well worth doing.  The directions and supplies needed are as follows:

Materials

40 pound bag of concrete, 40 pound bag of sand, Roll of plastic wrap or garbage bags,

Rubber Gloves, Hat, Cotton Balls,Mineral oil

Shallow container to mix the concrete, Flat trowel for spreading concrete,

Stiff bristled brush, Toothpicks, Paint brush or sponge, Acrylic paint

Concrete Sealer, And a large leaf such as Rhubarb or Elepant’s ear

Method

Pick a flat broad surface and cover it with plastic sheeting or a large plastic bag split in two.  Pile the sand in the center and form it into a dome shape that’s about 2 inches wider than the leaf all around.  Cover the sand with plastic wrap.

Put the leaf face down on the sand.  Adjust the sand so that the leaf is fully supported.

Brush the leaf liberally with mineral oil-this will help you remove the leaf after the concrete hardens.

Put on the dust mask, gloves, and hat.  Mix the concrete according to the package directions, err on the dry side, so the concrete doesn’t slip down the sides of the leaf.  Working form the center out to the edges, scoop handfuls of concrete onto the leaf and pat it down with your hands.  Smooth it out with the trowel.  The concrete should be about 1 inch thick in the center and taper down to about 1/2 inch at the edge.

Cover the concrete with plastic and let it sit for at least 48 hours.  If it’s in a hot or dry space, mist it periodically or lay a damp cloth over the plastic so the birdbath will dry evenly.  After the 48 hours take off the plastic and turn the birdbath over.  It can be fragile at this stage so ask a friend for help.

Take off the other piece of plastic and pull the leaf ot of the mold.  Use a brush with stiff bristles to scrap off bits of leaf that stick.  Use a toothpick to get vein pieces out of the mold.

Then walk away!  Your birdbath must cure for at least one week, ans some people suggest as much as 20 days, you be the judge on that.

When it’s cured you can paint it.  They used acrylic paint but you can use oils, latex, watercolor, or spray paint.  After you paint it , or if you choose to leave it unpainted, brush on concrete sealer, then let it sit for a few more days.

All that’s left is to find the right spot for you birdbath and add water.

The birdbath looks great sitting in a depression in the soil right in your flowerbed.  Many birds, however, prefer a little height so they can see predators approaching.  If you find this to be the case in your garden, you can make a pedestal using the same materials.  Look for a cardboard form at the hardware store.  I live in and near heavy woods so I like to use tree stumps or any other cool natural item I can find that can hold it and support the weight.  When you get ready to set it up in whatever area you choose have a friend help because they can be heavy.

Acouple other tips:  If you shouls have a hole or tear in the leaf make a patch by tearing off a piece of another leaf.  You can also use smaller leaves as molds to make garden decorations.

In the past I have done similar smaller projects as follows:

If you live near the ocean you can use beach sand and after you shape it add sea shells, beach glass, or any other objects you find interesting.  You can also get the clean play sand in a lot of places and use mosaic tiles, glass bits, or anything else that you find interesting.  You can use plaster of paris as opposed to concrete.  It is a little more cost effective but it’s lighter so you can place holes in places around the edges then make hanging bird feeders, or small hanging baths for finches etc.

Their website is www.gardeningclub.com, to find out more on how to attract birds to you yard go to their site and click on Web Extras.  In all likelihood they have this article with the illistrations which really gives you a perfect chance to see how awesome these turn out.

I have a special request of anybody who does this project to please send me some pictures if possible, I’d love to check them out!!

I thank you all so much for reading these articles and the many messages I have received when people like what I write and it means so much.

Thanks and Brightest Blessings!!

Rayneschild