My family members (as in the ones I grew up with, not the ones I have now) are impossible to buy presents for. Well, my father and stepmother are. My siblings are super easy. For the last 15 years each of my 3 grown-up siblings (I have 2 young step-brothers so they still get “actual” presents) get two $25 gift cards to a place of their choosing: one for their birthday and one for Christmas. Takes the guesswork right out of it! My father and Nan are a whole different ball game though. They don’t remember to use gift cards, so those are out. They’re adults, so when they want/need something they just go out and buy it. My father has gotten easier to shop for in the last few years. Now that my siblings are all grown up and have their own jobs we all just go in on one big expensive present that he wants, like a recliner or big screen TV. This year I think we got him a car dolly for his RV? I’m not even sure…my sister just told me how much to write the check for and she took care of the details.
We still needed something for Nan though. While browsing Pinterest (my–and everyone else’s–favorite website ever for a nice DIY gift) I stumbled across the GREATEST IDEA EVER. A homemade bird bath! Nan likes to garden and she has a few bird feeders in the trees in her backyard. She would go totally nuts for something like this, especially if we added some kid handprints to it and whatnot.
I did some research on Pinterest and found all kinds of DIY bird baths. I decided I liked this one the best. Although I think the paint pour looks really awesome, I decided to just spray paint the entire thing and then add our handprints all around it. I also thought it would look neat to put marbles on the bottom of the bath itself.
First stop: Michaels. I found the clay pots and experimented with the different sizes. As usual I’m going to have to apologize since I don’t know what exact sizes I bought. I think I ended up going with 4 9 inch pots, a clay tray slightly larger than the pots for the bottom, the largest tray they had for the bird bath, the smallest tray for the bird seed and 1 tiny pot (I think it was 2 inches) to hold the bird seed tray. I wanted to comparison shop on the prices for the pots but since it was December Michaels was the only place that had them in stock. They actually weren’t that much, plus I used a 40% coupon for the most expensive one. I spent less than $15 total on the clay pieces.
Second stop: Lowes. I wanted some high quality outdoor spray paint. I had to pick up some PVC pipe for the DIY Marshmallow shooters I was giving my 6 & 8 year old brothers for Christmas, so I grabbed some spray paint while I was already there. I ended up going with Valspar outdoor. It was twice as much as the off-brand, but worth every penny. It turned out really shiny and a gorgeous color!
Final stop: back to Michaels. I wanted to figure out what color I was making the bird bath before purchasing the marbles for the bottom. Plus I wanted to use another 40% off coupon since those suckers are expensive! I checked the dollar store first, but they only had white and black; no colors. I went with a mixed bag of purples/teals/clears/whites that I thought would coordinate well.
Time to start! I stacked my pieces together one at a time, using a layer of E6000 adhesive to hold them together.
I adore this stuff. It’s cheap, lasts forever and will adhere anything together. Unfortunately the last time I used it I must not have put the cap back on correctly because the hole was glued shut. I had to kind of roll it up to push it out and that cracked the sides so glue was coming out everywhere. I had to pitch the half-full (oh, I must be an optimist!) container after I glued the bird bath together…there was no way to salvage the rest. Oh well, at least it’s cheap!
I let it dry for a full 24 hours before moving it. Not exactly the smartest idea to put it together in the kitchen when it needed to be spray painted in the garage. Hubby didn’t appreciate that too much 😉
Since I’m a god-awful spray-painter (really any kind of painting…) I asked Hubby to do it for me. I’m just too impatient to paint! He sprayed a coat on, let it dry for the recommended time on the back of the can and then sprayed it a second time. We let it dry for another full 24 hours after that before adding on the handprints.
Hubby (once again) carried the bird bath inside. I went through my paint stash and picked out 4 colors that coordinated with the spray paint and marbles: purple, grey, light blue and pink. All 4 of us painted our hands a different color and pushed them on. Doing C’s hands was extremely difficult. There was paint everywhere. It needed a bit more, so we added a ring of everyone’s fingerprints to the top and bottom trays.
I wish I would’ve thought the handprints through a bit more and done them differently, but oh well. Turned out good enough!
Next I pulled out some white puffy paint and wrote “Merry Christmas Memaw! 2014” along the ring of the birdbath tray. I underestimated how much space that was going to take up so its placement is a bit weird, but whatever. The marbles at the bottom were the final touch. It took awhile (seriously, over an hour!), but I finally configured them in a way that looked the best. Hubby’s brilliant idea to keep them in place without having to glue each individual one down was to pour a bunch of polyurethane that we had leftover from staining projects over top. This turned out to be a bad idea for several reasons. One: he poured way too much in and it took over a week to dry (thank God I didn’t procrastinate for once in my life so we had plenty of time for it to dry!). Two: even after it dried it was pretty sticky. Three: since he poured so much in it dried yellow. Four: I’m a bit afraid that we’re going to poison the poor birds who swim in this bath.
I sprayed the entire thing with a coat of outdoor sealer to keep the paint from chipping and voila! Best present ever!
Even with it turning out so-so in a lot of ways, I was extremely happy with the end result. It cost $22 to make it, it was the perfect type of gift for Nan, it was made with the kids’ help. I think that’s what all of the grandparents & great-grandparents are going to get for Christmas next year! Especially now that we’ve learned from our mistakes. And eventually I want to make one for ourselves too…after we’ve made a whole bunch of them and know exactly what to do (and especially not do 😉 )