Thursday, May 31, 2018

Vintage Lamp Bird Bath - DIY Tutorial and Review


I was visiting my muse the other day, Pinterest, when I came upon the most delightful inspiration.  Have you seen the creative bird baths that are being made from vintage lamps?  I'm pretty sure I would never have thought of this fun, and ingenious, idea on my own.  As one who loves to give cast off items new life, this was the perfect project for me.  In case you also enjoy whimsical garden features, I am sharing my DIY process to prime your pump.


First, I needed an old lamp and bird bath basin, so I took a little field trip to a couple of thrift stores.  Goodwill had exactly what I needed.  On my first shopping expedition, I found a glass serving dish that reminded me of a sunflower.  Amazingly, that is the exact vision I had for the theme of my creation.  Who knew an egg platter could be so lovely?


Next, I went on the hunt for the right lamp to complement my new bird bath dish, and to serve as its base.  Because thrift stores are always receiving new donations, I found the perfect lamp on my very next trip to the store.  The crystal, marble, and brass features, along with the size of the lamp, were just right in every way.  I couldn't wait to get home and put the finishing touches on my vintage bird bath.


Step One: Unscrew the light socket and remove it from the top of the lamp.


Step Two:  Clip the electrical cord and pull it out through the lamp base.  


Step Three:  I removed each individual section of the lamp and reassembled the pieces to better support the basin section of my bird bath.  I moved the brass leaf section to the top of the column and reversed it (turned it upside down) to serve as the support arms for my glass dish.  


Step Four:  Though I had intended to glue the platter directly to the brass arms, I found that they weren't totally level, so I riveted a circular metal candle holder to the brass piece.  I spray painted the metal silver since it would show through the bottom of the water basin.  I wanted a natural looking reflection.




Step Five:  I used E6000 glue to affix the glass dish to the candle holder.  I ran a bead of glue all along the circular rim on the bottom of the egg platter and carefully applied pressure for a minute or two after centering the dish on the metal plate.  Then, I let the glue cure for a couple of days.


Step Six:  Since I don't want my glass bird bath to tip over and shatter, I ran a metal post up into the center column where the cord used to be housed.  I purchased an inexpensive plant hanger at the dollar store.  It has stakes to anchor the base of the lamp into the ground.  I measured the height of the lamp and then cut off the hook top of the planter stake.  For extra insurance, since the winds are often incredibly strong where I live, I drilled a hole through the center of a cement patio paver and inserted the metal rod through it before installing the rod inside the lamp.  Now my bird bath is very stable and far less likely to get knocked over by the wind or wild critters.  As a bonus, it now has a level platform on which to stand.  I'll be planting flowers around the paver to make it more attractive.









Your steps may not be identical to mine, because every lamp is slightly different, but there are enough similarities to give you a sense of how to go about assembling your bird bath.  You may be able to find a lamp that already has a glass shade.  In that case, you won't need a separate glass dish.  I preferred knowing that my glass dish would not be toxic to birds and I didn't have to seal any holes that had been drilled through a lamp shade.  

I am very pleased with my unique bird bath.  It is so satisfying to take an unwanted item or two and turn them into a conversation piece.  More than that, I feel like I am showing a little love to the beautiful creatures who share my garden habitat.  It has been an especially dry season.  With the mountain creek dried up at the moment, it feels wonderful to provide a source of sustenance for the precious birds that fill my life with their sweet presence and songs.

Let me know if you decide to make your own bird bath or garden art with a vintage lamp.  I would love to see how you use your creative gifts.









Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

21 comments:

  1. What a beautiful bird bath! I absolutely love it!!! To start with, crystal (or pretty glass) is one of my favorite things in the world. Taking an old lamp and crystal egg plate and giving them new life is ingenious. When I first saw the picture in the intro, I thought I couldn't do it because my furbabies would knock it over. Your suggestion to run a metal post inside the center column is the perfect solution. A truly most excellent DIY project for the garden! Sure would be easy to clean too.

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    1. I'm glad you love my new bird bath. I thought of you as I created this bird bath because I remembered your love of crystal. It just felt like something that reflected your taste and sense of style.

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  2. What a great idea! I love the way you made something old into something new. I bet it looks wonderful int he garden!

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    1. Thank you! I am planting some flowers today around the base of the bird bath. Can't wait to photograph the visitors. Glad you stopped by.

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  3. This is just exquisite! A wonderful way to give new life to two gorgeous vintage pieces.

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    1. Thank you, Margaret. So lovely to see you here. I do appreciate the unique beauty of vintage items. They shouldn't have to spend the last season of their life in a thrift store (or dusty attic). They deserve better after all of their service over the years. And, I suspect, they have always wanted to get out of the house to enjoy some fresh air and nature time. :-)

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    2. I love the way you view the world! :)

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    3. Thank you for appreciating my world view. You are always so affirming. I love your positive spirit.

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  4. Such a clever idea, Diana, and I can just imagine how much your local feathered friends will enjoy this unique bird bath. Since you said water is scarce right now in your area, this lovely bird bath will prove to be very popular. I hope you will add a photograph or two of your visitors to this article so we can see the vintage lamp bird bath being enjoyed. Your photographs are always so gorgeous, they would be an asset and a fitting ending to your clever DIY tutorial.

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    1. Thank you, Elf. I definitely want to add some photos of the visitors who come to my "water park." It is dry as a bone here, so I do anticipate plenty of activity. I hope to have everything in place for the grand opening of my Water World later today. Will let you know when I have added a few pics.

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  5. I love crystal so this is a beautiful bird bath to me. Love the idea of using a vintage lamp. Your tutorial is crystal clear. LOL. Couldn't help myself.

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    1. I'm happy that you see the beauty, Heather. And, clearly (pun intended), I enjoy your humor.

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    2. What a creative way to upcycle! I don't think I'm good enough with crafting skills to do this, but what you made is beautiful and I'm sure someone who reads this will be inspired to try it. I'd love to see what they come up with.

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    3. I'm sure you are good enough, but no matter what, you and I can enjoy seeing how others choose to apply their creativity. The best part of sharing these projects is to imagine how someone might feel moved to use his/her unique gifts.

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  6. Love this idea! Have a depression glass egg platter which would be perfect !

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    1. Oh, yes! Depression glass would be so beautiful. I can already picture it in my mind. Hope you make one and update us with a photo.

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  7. Wow is all I can say. This is truly beautiful and you have addressed every issue that needs to be addressed. What a great way to anchor it down so that the wildlife other than the birds don't create a mess and a disaster at the same time. I love it! Now I have to find a way to do this at my home. Thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. Thank you! I hope you do find a way to do this at your home. I'm sure you would enjoy it. The possibilities are endless.

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  8. Wow! that is super creative. What a fantastic idea. Your instructions are clear and easy to understand as well. This makes a terrific DIY gift. Awesome.

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    1. Thank you! It would certainly be a one-of-a-kind gift. I'm glad you found the tutorial to be easy to follow. The teacher in me is always pleased when that happens. I'm glad you stopped by.

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  9. What a great idea. I would also love the specifics. It would look so great in my garden and the birds would love it.

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