Who wants pie? In this craft project we paint stones to look like strawberries for a water feeder to attract birds, bees, and butterflies. It’s whimsical, functional garden art.
Garden Art Water Feeder
Fresh water is so important for life in the garden—not just for plants—but for all of the creatures who depend on it. The short list includes birds, bees, butterflies, chipmunks, and all those weird and wonderful insects too numerous to (try to) name or count.
A few years ago, I made this simple, hanging water feeder, and, even with two ponds, I was amazed how popular it was. Dragonflies, squirrels, and doves would all take turns.
Stone Painting + Thrift Shop Inspiration
After getting into stone painting, using this tutorial, I thought it would be fun to create another bolder, quirkier feeder. As soon as I saw the faux pie crust pie plate in the thrift store, I knew exactly what I wanted to make. A strawberry pie water feeder! Of, course.
I first checked online to confirm that fully cured polyurethane would not harm the critters, as the painted stones would require several protective coats.
It wasn’t until I finished the project that I realized I made a funny choice: the strawberries have green tops! Yes, that’s how they grow, but who keeps the green tops on for pie? Me, apparently! I love how it looks, but it is a tad illogical.
Related: How to Paint Mandalas on Stone | Tutorial from A Year of Stone Painting
Make a Strawberry Pie Water Feeder
You will need a faux pie crust pie plate and some stones. Measure out enough stones to fill the plate. Wash and dry everything.
A regular metal or glass pie dish would work too. I think the strawberries are cute enough without having to use faux pie crust dish though I did find one new one on Amazon:
Stone Painting Supplies
- Good quality artist’s paint brushes in a variety of sizes from 0 to 3.
- Acrylic craft paints
- Pencil to first draw your design on the stone
- Latex primer (I used the type made for wall painting)
- Paint pens
- Acrylic inks and fineliner pens for outlining details
- Acrylic varnish with UV protection (glossy or matte, liquid or spray form), polyurethane, or varathane. Just be sure whatever you choose is safe (when cured) for the birds and friends.
Prime and Paint the Stones
- For all primer and paint: paint one side, allow to dry thoroughly, then paint other side.
- Prime the stones. This will make the acrylic colours appear crisper/cleaner.
- Sketch leaf shapes onto stones.
- Paint red sections. I combined red, orange, and a dab of black to get richer colours.
- Paint the leaf sections, using two colours of green.
- If the primer is showing through, repeat with thin layers of paint.
- Use paint pens to draw seeds (black dots) on red areas of strawberries.
- Also, outline leaves with black pen (if desired).
- Allow everything to cure (dry thoroughly), then protect with polyurethane or other protective product that is bird safe. Many thin layers, with adequate drying time between each layer, works best.
They look good enough to eat!
To use the water feeder, place it on a stand (here it’s on my garden ladder), or use a macramé-type hanger. Fill with water.
Keep your feeder clean. For easy rinsing, I pour the strawberries in a colander and rinse everything thoroughly. Cleaning with dish soap or diluted bleach (1-part bleach: 9-parts water) may be required on occasion.
We’re headed into fall as I write this but I hope to get a photo of the birds using it soon.
It also works as a bird seed feeder in covered location or simply as garden art.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛