Bird Bath

I wanted a bird bath for the garden, but everything available locally was either too ornate or too plastic. So I bought a mold to make my own concrete one:

Bird bath mold

I got the Large Bird Bath on Classic Baluster Pedestal from History Stones, which carries an enticing array of molds for other garden ornaments and furniture. I was very happy with the quality of the mold; I will be using the same mold to make a platform bird feeder and a few other things around the garden and it is sturdy enough to stand up to it.

I also used some spray olive oil that a client gave me in 2009 because she wasn't using it and I never use it, either. I am not sure what I'd use spray olive oil for: we use olive oil all the time, but spraying seems to be for reducing the amount of oil in your food which is not a goal for us. Anyway, if you have a 20 year old can of spray olive oil around the house it works a charm as a mold release.

We had some old cement lying around and we mixed that with some sand that to mold the two parts:

Concrete in the mold

The biggest mistake we made was leaving the bowl of the birdbath out in the sun to cure. We had to put the pedestal in the shed so it was level, but the bowl just felt too bulky.

Bird bath unmolded

We unmolded both the next day, and the bowl had dried rather than cured, and cracked. Water poured into it just flowed out the bottom, which is the opposite of what you want a birdbath to do.

So we cast a second bowl and this time both covered it in plastic and put it in the shed out of the sun and wind (it's bee crazy windy here), and when we unmolded it it had a few air holes but held water.

A functional birdbath

I think the finished product doesn't look that bad for a first run with the mold. We didn't use the concrete vibrator on it, so the surface is a little poorly done, but that doesn't actually matter because I'm going to tile it with a mosaic of shells from the beach in Cayucos where we used to take Rosie and Goldie to play. I have been carrying this box of shells around for years for just this project.

As for the leaky bowl? It turns out I am making splash pans for under all the gutter downspouts (we have gutters now and that feels so fancy), and a leaky bowl works just fine for such a purpose.

posted by ayse on 06/07/20