These garden art totems and bird baths are easy to make using various household dishes and glassware. Be sure to read the instructions to see the best adhesive to use for long-lasting, durable pieces.
For more, also see these free tutorials for frugal and creative home and garden projects.
Easy Garden Art Project
Glass garden totems are a great beginner garden art project. All you need is some used glass dishes, plates, vases, and bowls, the right adhesive (details below), and the desire for greatness.
I often get asked if the glass totems ever break in the garden and the answer is no! These garden totems are made from thick glass dishes. They can certainly withstand falling onto the ground (which is much softer than an indoor tile floor). Also, I keep my totems sturdy by burying the bottom few inches in the ground. This holds them in place but allows easy removal for cleaning or storage.
Along with the written instructions, I have provided a video walk-through so you can see how easy this is in real time. Excuse how many times I say ‘um’ in the video. I have since learned to pre-plan what I want to say while recording a video.
In addition to a decorative garden totem, you can also make a glass bird bath by adding a shallow bowl or plate on the very top. When dish shopping, please note that bird baths should be really shallow (holding 1″ of water or less) because birds can slip and drown in deeper water. Glass plates with 1″ lips around the edges work very well.
Because I’m a fan of debt-free living, I challenge myself to find supplies at really good prices. I got these pieces for a grand total of $4.50 at the local thrift shop. I’m always on the lookout for durable glass pieces in any colours I like. Bold blues are a personal favourite. If you live near me and go to the same thrift shops, please pick a different colour to obsess over.
Video Instructions – How To Make A Glass Garden Totem
Tips For Making A Glassware Totem or Bird Bath
- Outdoor silicone sealant /adhesive. I use CLEAR (not white or any other colour) GE Silicone II . You can buy these in cartridges that use a caulking gun or in a squeeze tube. Other garden art makers say they like E6000. I have not tested it extensively.
Check the product reviews of the sealant you choose and make sure the product is fresh (check date on label).
I have tips here to make sure your adhesive (really, it’s a sealant) will bond properly.
- Used glassware pieces you like. Check thrift shops, yard sales, your kitchen cabinets.
- Wash and dry the glassware and keep your hands off to ensure the surfaces you need to bond are not oily.
- Decide on the arrangement of your glass pieces: You want the surfaces you are joining together to be snug fitting. Some glass is warped, so test it out first.
- Use small glass plates to provide a flat surface between two vases that might otherwise be impossible to join.
- Work in sections: join items together in groups of two. When dry, join these units together.
- TIP: I keep an old comforter on the floor around the drying glass pieces so they won’t break if they fall over. It happens.
You could embellish the surfaces with any weather-resistant items like flat-bottom marbles, coins, trinkets, and so on. Just make sure you keep the bird bath water area easy to clean and never use anything deeper than an inch or the birds can slip and drown.
Follow the drying instructions on the adhesive label. When your totem or bird bath is ready, bury the base in a few inches of soil to hold it steady. You can also add some small rocks around the base if necessary.