Outdoor Crafts: Making A Hanging Birdbath
Easy, inexpensive, outdoor crafts! Using simple tools and materials, anyone can make an inexpensive hanging birdbath. Hanging birdbaths make lovely additions to flower gardens and provide water for butterflies and honeybees as well as birds.
A birdbath is essential for attracting birds to your yard. In addition to complimenting a flower garden and providing drinking and bathing water for birds, a birdbath also provides water for butterflies and honeybees. Hanging birdbaths are more versatile and easier to clean than standard pedastal birdbaths, and it doesn't take a weightlifter to move one!
Using simple materials, anyone can make an attractive, inexpensive hanging birdbath. Before you begin, make sure you have a sturdy tree branch at least 2 inches in diameter on which to hang your finished birdbath. If not, you should install a bracket that will support at least 12 pounds. Assemble the following items:
1) At least 12 feet of sisal or other strong neutral colored cord or rope
2) A can of clear spray varnish
4) A clay saucer with an inside diameter of 11 or 12 inches. These can be purchased at a garden center where clay flower pots are sold. A saucer larger than 12 inches will be unstable; a saucer smaller than 11 inches will be smaller than the birds prefer.
6) Tape measure
7) Felt tip marker
Working outside, place newspapers down to protect the surface you are working on, then turn the clay saucer upside down on the newspaper. Spray the bottom and sides of the saucer thoroughly with the clear varnish. Allow the varnish to dry per the label instructions. Apply a second coat. This will seal the clay, inhibit mold growth, and make the surface easier to clean. Do not spray the inside of the saucer. If the inside is sprayed, it is possible that toxic compounds could leach into the water. If you prefer a color other than the natural clay, you may add one or two coats of enamel over the last coat of dry varnish. Allow the saucer to dry completely.
Cut two pieces of small rope or sisal, each six feet in length. Tie a single knot at each end of each length of rope. If you choose to use nylon cord or another type of rope that frays easily, you will need to use a flame to melt approximately 1/4 inch at each cut end to prevent fraying. Using the felt tip marker, place a mark at the midpoint of each length of rope. Place the first piece of rope in a straight line on your work surface. Lay the second piece of rope perpendicular to the first with the midpoint of the second on top of the midpoint of the first piece. Take the two ends of the first length of rope and tie a single knot so that the two lengths of rope are joined at their midpoints. Place the saucer upright on the rope so that the bottom center of the saucer is on top of the knot. Now gather the ends of the ropes together, making sure that the four lengths of rope are supporting the saucer at equidistant points around the circumference of the saucer. Hang your birdbath by attaching the ropes securely to the tree branch or bracket. Pour approximately one inch of water in the birdbath (the depth preferred by most birds) and adjust the birdbath as needed to make the water surface level.
If you prefer to use a 11 or 12 inch plastic saucer, you will need a hammer, small nail, a ruler, a felt tip marker, scissors, and florist's wire. Turn the saucer upside down and mark four equidistant points on the underside of the rim of the saucer. Using the small nail and the hammer make four small holes through the rim only. Cut four pieces of florist's wire, each three feet in length. Turn the saucer rightside up and insert a piece of florist's wire through each hole and wrap approximately one inch, but do not secure the end as you will need to adjust the length later. Now gather the four pieces of wire together above the saucer, twist the ends together and secure the wire to the chosen tree limb or bracket you have installed. If the saucer is not level, adjust the wires through the holes where they are attached to the saucer. You may have to add water to the saucer to make final adjustments. When the saucer is level, wrap the ends of the wires several times to secure them and add one inch of water to your hanging birdbath.