How to Make Birdfeeders Using Elephant Ears

Overview

Concrete is a durable substance that can be used in the garden to create a wide variety of garden art, from statues to functional items such as bird feeders and bird baths. If you have a large, cupped leaf such as an elephant ear leaf, you can use it to create a mold for a cup-shaped casting suitable for a bird feeder. An elephant ear is a suitable leaf due to its size, its easily recognizable shape and its deep leaf veins.

Step 1

Wet fine sand such as play sand until it sticks together.

Step 2

Mound the sand into a pile that is twice as large as an elephant ear leaf. The pile's shape will help create the cup shape of your bird feeder.

Step 3

Cover the mound of sand with plastic wrap.

Step 4

Place your elephant ear leaf face down over the plastic wrap and press the leaf firmly into the sand to create a clear impression of the leaf. Leave the leaf in the depression.

Step 5

Slowly add water to a measure of concrete in a five-gallon bucket until the mixture is the consistency of a mud pie. If you wish for your concrete to have a tint, add liquid concrete dye to the mixture with the water.

Step 6

Scoop a handful of concrete into the center of the leaf in the mold. Gently begin to work the concrete outward toward the edge of your mold as if you were spreading pizza dough. Only fill the mold halfway full.

Step 7

Cut a length of chicken wire that is slightly smaller than the leaf and bend it to fit around the half-filed mold. This will reinforce the finished bowl.

Step 8

Scoop more concrete into the center of the mold over the wire and work it outward until the entire mold is filled with concrete.

Step 9

Cut a 2-inch length from the end of a tubular cardboard form and place it on the center of the mounded leaf form. Fill the tube with concrete to make a footing for the bird feeder.

Step 10

Spray the concrete with a fine mist of water from a misting bottle. Cover with plastic and allow the bowl to cure and harden for a week.

Step 11

Gently slip your fingers under the edge of the bowl and lift it away from the mold. Peel back the plastic. Brush the interior of the bowl with a brush that contains copper bristles to remove the leaf in pieces.

Step 12

Allow the leaf to dry for another week before using in your garden.

Things You'll Need

  • Fine-textured sand
  • Water
  • Plastic wrap
  • Elephant ear
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Concrete
  • Concrete dye
  • Chicken wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Tubular concrete form
  • Scissors
  • Misting bottle
  • Brush with copper bristles

References

  • Washinton State University Extension: Carving Concrete Stepping Stones
  • Maker's Gallery: Art Concrete How-to
  • Quickrete: Cast Concrete Projects

Who Can Help

  • Garden Gate Magazine: Making a Sand-Cast Birdbath --- Instructions
Keywords: making bird feeders, sand casting concrete, elephant ear feeder

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."