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How to make a simple terra cotta bird bath

Updated on March 4, 2016

This simple but beautiful Terra Cotta bird bath makes an ideal gift the outdoorsy person in your life. Do you know someone who loves to dress up their garden? Or perhaps someone who enjoys watching the birds?

Whether for Mother's Day, or Father's Day, or any other occasion, this simple and inexpensive project will brighten any outdoor space and leave the neighbours green with envy.

Shopping List

The list of items you'll need for this project is short and very customizable. Change it up to suit your taste:

  • 3 or 4 Terra Cotta clay pots (I used a 12", a 10", and an 8", but stack them up in the store before you make your purchase and decide for yourself how tall and wide you want your bird bath to be)
  • Acrylic paint in a variety of colours (I got mine at the Dollar Store)
  • heavy duty glue (I used PL Premium, but ask at your hardware store - there are many brands)
  • 12" flat Terra Cotta tray for the top of the bird bath
  • 6" flat Terra Cotta tray
  • a clear finish spray to protect the paint from the elements (I used Krylon Clear Finish)

Step 1: Arrange the pots

Stack the Terra Cotta pots in various orders and choose the one you find most appealing.

Be careful! Watch your fingers and toes. These pots are very heavy!

Step 2: Apply glue

Using PL Premium or another brand of heavy duty glue, spread the adhesive along the inner edges of the pots and then gently slide the smaller pot inside the larger pots. Make sure to use generous amounts of glue and that you follow the instructions from the manufacturer to allow for adequate drying time.

Also, apply glue to the top of your pot tower and add the 12" clay tray.

And finally, glue the small clay tray into place so that it hangs over the side of the 12" tray.

Once the glue is dry, you'll be able to pick up the whole bird bath by the 12" tray. The glue is that strong!

Step 3: Paint

Once your glue is thoroughly dry, and you're able to pick the whole thing up by that big 12" tray, it is time to start painting. Acrylic paint in easy to use, easy to clean up, and durable. The huge selection of colours is so bright and cheerful and, even better, the paint is inexpensive.

Step 4: Apply stencils (optional)

I printed heart-shaped stencil that I found online. I cut them out and lovingly applied them with paint and sponge. And then I decided that I preferred it without the stencils. This is an optional but lovely step, depending perhaps on your recipient's tastes.

Step 5: Handprints?

For us, it was a Father's Day gift. My kids painted their palms white and lay some handprints down on top. Then the wrote their names and the year.

How will you customize your bird bath? Footprints might be nice too!

Step 6: Seal it

It's time to seal in all the beautiful colours you've chosen for your bird bath. And it's time to save those tiny handprints for a long time to come.

Make sure you choose a spray finish that works well on all surfaces and one that has outdoor durability.

This step is best done outside or in a well-ventilated area. Follow the instructions on the can and allow adequate drying time.

All done!

Your bird bath is complete. And you did it all yourself. Well done, you!

© 2016 Nicola Kendall


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