Decorative birdbaths create an eye-catching garden feature; however, this landscape structure comes at a high price when purchased at garden stores. Make your own elephant ear leaf cast birdbath to create a garden accent from supplies available at most hardware stores. You will have the satisfaction of designing a garden element from plants grown in your flowerbed and be able to make several birdbaths for the price of one at a specialty garden shop.
Cut the 8-inch tube to the desired height for the birdbath. Cut a 2-inch ring from the leftover tube for use in making an attachment point on the leaf. The cardboard tube can be the form used to make patio footings.
Mix concrete to fill the tube so it is the consistency of pudding. Use a concrete or cement stepping-stone for the bottom surface, and place a layer of plastic wrap to hold the concrete inside the tube.
Pour the concrete mixture into the tube to the top. Have another person hold the tube to prevent it from moving or falling over while pouring. Place a stepping-stone on top of the tube to weight the tube and prevent the concrete from leaking out the bottom.
Let the tube dry for a minimum of 48 hours. Tear the cardboard tube from the concrete and discard. Let the concrete pedestal cure for at least one week before applying paint or glaze.
Apply a concrete sealant prior to setting the pedestal in the garden for use.
Find a large, flat container to make the mold for the elephant ear casting. Choose a container that is approximately 2 feet wide and 4 feet long. Fill the bottom of the container mold with 4 inches of sand.
Form the sand so it mounds in the center to the desired depth of the finished birdbath. Cover the sand mound with a layer of plastic wrap. Choose a leaf from the elephant ear plant that has no rips or holes, and cut it from the plant so there is a 2-inch length of stem attached to the leaf. Set the leaf onto the plastic wrap-covered sand mound so the center of the leaf is over the highest point of the mound.
Mix the concrete in a bucket, making enough to complete the elephant ear cast. Spray a layer of cooking spray over the top of the leaf to limit sticking when the cement dries. Spread the cement mixture over the elephant ear leaf by placing a small amount in the center of the leaf and spreading it toward the edges.
Apply enough cement so the center of the leaf has a 3/4-inch layer that tapers to 1/4-inch towards the edges. Place the 2-inch ring from the pedestal form in the center of the thickest area. Form handfuls of cement around the outside of the ring, and smooth it to create a lip to set the leaf on top of the pedestal.
Let the cement dry for 48 hours before pulling the casting out of the mold. Remove the cardboard ring and clean off the leaf residue. Let the leaf birdbath cure for one week, and then apply paint or glaze to the elephant ear birdbath if desired. Apply a concrete sealant to the leaf cast before filling with water in the garden.
Things You Will Need
- 8-inch cardboard tube
- 2 Stepping stones
- Plastic wrap
- Concrete sealant
- Flat container
- Elephant ear plant leaves
- Cooking spray
- Mortar colorant, optional
- Rubber gloves
- Eye protection
- Adding mortar colorant to the concrete after mixing will create a colored birdbath that does not need painting when finished.
- Wear eye protection and rubber gloves when working with the concrete.