Turn unused dishes, plates, and more into beautiful garden art flowers with these instructions and give those old kitchen items new life.
You can see all the garden art flower tutorials here.
Turn Old Dishes into Garden Art Flowers
These DIY dish flower instructions have been used for years to create garden art using old plates, dishes, serving trays, cutlery and anything else that fits your design.
While it can be helpful to drill holes through the dishes to assemble really heavy pieces, the workaround is to use the adhesive recommended below as directed. It’s strong and weather-resistant in all four seasons.
If you want to save the instructions, be sure to grab a copy of the free tip sheet (below).
- Getting Started
- How to Make Dish Flowers
- How to Drill Glass Flowers
While you can assemble dish flowers with a good, waterproof adhesive (more on this below), unless the dishes are really lightweight, I find it’s best to also drill through the plates and secure them with wire or bolts. This way the dish flowers can stay in the garden throughout the seasons without the risk of falling apart.
Don’t worry about drilling holes in glass: I promise you it’s way easier than it sounds.
But, if you don’t want to drill the glass, that’s fine! You simply use more adhesive instead of wiring the pieces together.
You’ll probably want to start watching at yard sales or thrift stores for suitable dishes so you can make several flowers all at once. I have also provided instructions for other glass garden art projects here, so if something doesn’t work for one creation, it will probably find use in another.
Drill or Not – Your Choice
These instructions will show you how to create glass garden flowers from start to finish, including a video showing how to drill through glass. With the right drill bit (I only use diamond drill bits for this – you can see one here at Amazon), it’s really a simple process and once you try it, you’ll definitely feel confident enough to make a whole bunch more. Don’t bother trying to use a different bit, they won’t cut it.
You can mount the flowers on wooden posts as I’ve done here, use rebar or pipes, or simply hang them on a wall or fence. This post shows an update of how I displayed them on my patio wall.
Plus, as soon as you are confident that you can indeed drill holes in all sorts of used kitchen items, the entire key to the garden art kingdom is yours.
How to Make Dish Flowers
Supplies & Materials
Some of these links go to my affiliate account at Amazon.com
- Used kitchen glassware and metal plates, bowls, serving dishes, votive candle holders…. I choose pieces around 1/8″ thick.
- Tiered serving dishes work great because they already have holes drilled in them.
- Old forks and spoons (to use as leaves on the wooden flower stem)
- Plastic or metal dish pan
- Old towel (you might drill a hole in it)
- 5/16′ diamond drill bit ($15-20 US) – cuts glass, marble, porcelain, granite, and slate
- 1/8′ masonry drill bit (optional-if you want to make a pilot hole in the glass to keep the diamond bit from slipping
- 1/2′ titanium drill bit (for drilling holes in the forks and spoons)
- Cordless drill
- Safety glasses and protective gloves
- Masking tape (optional)
- Sharpie marker
- GE II Silicone Sealant and caulking dispenser (or similar adhesive in a tube)
- Also see The Glue Resource Guide for Garden Art Projects for more options.
- 16-gauge wire (10 inches for each flower)
- Washer and bolt (1 each per flower) or strong metal buttons with two holes (1 button per flower)
- 1 x 1 x 48″ wood posts (1 for each flower)
- 1/2″ wood screws (for attaching forks and spoons to the wooden stem)
- copper pipe end cap (optional) for attaching flower to a pipe stem
If you are new to using silicone sealant as an adhesive, read these tips first.
- Pick various sizes of dishes that look good together and fit well together.
- For the flowers you see here, I used clear and blue glass plates plus some small metal serving dishes.
- If you want to make several flowers to group together, you might want to pick a color theme (blues, reds, greens, or simply all bold colors or pastels).
How to Drill Glass Dishes
- Place folded towel in bottom of dish pan.
- Add enough cold water to cover towel plus a little more.
- Have dishes, drill (and bits), and safety glasses and gloves ready.
- Mark the plates where you want to drill each hole with the Sharpie.
Optional – Drill Pilot Holes
- Place a small piece of masking tape over the intended drill hole area and pre-drill a starter hole using a 1/8″ masonry drill bit. The masking tape keeps the drill from slipping. The starter hole helps the diamond drill bit stay in place.
This video is fairly old but it does show me drilling a hole in a dish with one hand! The other hand is hold the camera, so you can see it’s not difficult.
Drill The Glass
This will take from 1-4 minutes per dish, depending on the glass.
Wear safety glass and gloves.
- Place the glassware in the dish pan. Allow some water onto the surface of the glass.
- Put on your fancy safety glasses and gloves.
- Start drilling on medium speed, holding the drill at a 45 degree angle to the plate.
- Hold the drill steady but do not press too firmly against the glass. The diamond drill bit will do the work. You want consistent speed, not force.
- After about ten seconds, slowly move the drill (while you’re drilling) to a 90-degree angle, directly over the hole.
- As you drill it will look like little clouds of smoke are moving in the water around the hole. That’s the tiny bits of glass being drilled away.
- Usually after a minute or two , the drill bit will suddenly plunge through the plate when the hole is done (be prepared).
Drilling Metal Plates & Cutlery
- Thin metal serving dishes drill quite easily using a metal (titanium) drill bit.
- Metal cutlery (forks, spoons) can really vary for ease of drilling. You just have to try and see if it works. I have luck with about half of what I try. The rest are mightier than me and my drill and will survive a nuclear attack.
- Working on a clean, flat surface, work from back to front, lining up the drilled holes as you go. Place some silicone sealant wherever the plates will be touching each other to keep the pieces from rubbing too tightly together.
- Allow the sealant to dry (usually takes 3 hours).
- If you drilled holes, thread a nut onto a 10″ piece of wire and fold the wire in half. Pinch the wire together to hold the nut in place and thread the wire through a washer. Thread everything through the front of the dishes. The nut and washer keep the wire from slipping through the flower. Alternately you could use a two-hole metal button at the center of your flower to hold the wire in place.
- Drill a pilot hole and then a 5/16″ hole through the wooden stem. (Drilling the pilot hole first keeps the wood from splitting.)
- Use forks and spoons as leaves, attaching them with small wood screws.
- Hammer post into ground.
Mount the Flower on the Stem
- Attach flower by threading wire through hole in wooden stem and secure at back.
Alternate Way to Mount the Flower
- You can also attach a copper pipe end cap to the back of the flower (using the same silicone sealant as adhesive). Allow to dry and insert matching copper pipe as a stem.
Free Printable Instructions
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛