Making garden art is a lot easier when you have the essential tools and supplies on hand. Have a look at my favorites and how they are used for creating a variety of creative and useful projects.
For tutorials see, 50 Creative and Recycled Garden Art Projects.
Essential Garden Art-Making Supplies
I don’t like to keep a lot of supplies on hand because it’s easy to hoard them and not get things made, but I do hang onto stuff like:
- scrap wood and wire
- hinges, door handles, door knockers, hooks, hangers
- unusual scrap metal items
and anything else that is interesting and weather-resistant.
These are items I frequently use.
1Glass Gems / Flat Bottom Marbles
If you’d like an idea of the projects you could make with these flat-bottom marbles, see Glass Gem DIY Craft Ideas.
This all started when I made a junk art chandelier with marbles wrapped in wire about twenty years ago.
2Acrylic Craft Paints
I use acrylic craft paints constantly for various craft projects. The quality these days is very good including the Martha Stewart brand. Look for paints that are recommended for a variety of surfaces (glass, metal, wood, plastic) and suitable for outdoor use.
3Acrylic Paint Brushes
Wash and dry your brushes immediately after use! My mom was an artist with a healthy respect for good art supplies (and taking care of what you have). Good brushes can last a lifetime with proper care.
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Don’t monkey around when using power tools and equipment. Always use safety equipment.
A good work apron is a great idea. I do not want to confess the number of times I have wrecked favourite clothes because I was too eager to work on a project instead of covering up first.
6Paint and Pesticide Respirator
If you paint or spray paint, protect your lungs! A good respirator is a smart investment
Tools and Supplies
I buy this stuff by the roll (look for it at local home improvement stores—cheap) and use it for all sorts of things including supporting plants on trellis to garden art making. The lower the gauge number, the thicker the wire.
I hang onto all sorts of scrap wire to make things like this repurposed garden art chandelier (with wire-wrapped marbles). I also use it for climbing vines, supporting fruit bushes, hanging bird feeders, and more.
8Needle Nose Pliers
A good pair of needle nose pliers and wire cutters go hand in hand with my constant use of wire in projects.
Protect your eyes, lungs, clothes, and hands when working. Always try gloves on before buying them.
It’s essential to get a good fit so you can handle materials easily and have a good grip. So many work gloves are made for giant man hands = not good!
This is my first choice adhesive for garden art projects. Make sure you get GE Silicone II for gutters and flashing (clear drying, waterproof). It’s much less expensive to buy it in cartridge form and use a caulking dispenser than it is to buy handy tubes.
- Projects using this product include garden art balls and garden treasure jars.
- Here’s more tips on making sure things stick.
For more options see Glue Resource Guide | Choosing adhesives for outdoor garden art projects
My first electric drill was quite good and that was a shame because I like to use things up before buying something new!
When it finally died, after many years of hard work, I got a good quality cordless drill and it’s so much easier to not have to mess with extension cords.
In hindsight, I wish I had purchased two at once because the sale price I got was cheaper for a drill and battery than it is to now buy the battery on its own, so consider this if you’re buying one: it’s great to have a backup battery.
Related: DIY Garden Art Projects
12Screwdriver and Drill Bit Kit
There’s really no way around it: you need different types of drill bits for different surfaces: metal, wood, masonry, and ceramics (diamond drill bit).
12Diamond Drill Bit
This is the key to drilling through items like ceramic plates: diamond drill bits. I have found that some surfaces are fairly easy to drill, others will not budge, so it’s hit and miss when creating garden art flowers. You can see instructions with a short video of how I drill through plates here:
If possible, get a dual bevel sliding compound miter saw (12-inch) so you’ll be able to do a wide assortment of cuts.
This is the saw I use for making garden trellis, arbors, raised garden beds, birdhouses, privacy screens, gates, and wooden tomato cages. In other words, everything.
The bevel and miter features mean you can do all sorts of angled cuts.
Other frequently used tools include basics like screwdrivers, hammer, pencil, measuring square, tape measure.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛