Garden Cloche DIY Tutorial

I’m sure I’m not the only one using tomato cages, or garden fencing, to protect plants and new sprouts in the garden and yard.  Rather they’re protecting from animals, grand kids, or an inattentive mower, they can sometimes stay put most of the summer. That’s what made me think of a large garden cloche; if you’re going to look at it for months, why not make it more attractive? And, no one else will have one like it … that’s always a bonus, right?

My garden cloche design got a jump start when I stumbled upon a pair of wire planter baskets at a local thrift shop for a dollar. The wire spacing on them was similar to a discarded air conditioner guard I had tucked away at home.

I quickly realized I could not bend and shape the steel AC guard to match the 14″dia. of the planter basket with just my hands. After searching around, I finally found an old milk can of that size to roll, wrap, and shape it around. I used bolt cutters to cut the length of guard needed, then connected the ends together by wrapping the entire length of the seam with thin wire, crisscrossing the wire at the intersections, for a smooth seam and firm connection.  Cut the wires from bottom ring, leaving prongs to push into the ground.

  

Cut and remove the crossbars from the bottom of the basket. Once I cut them in the center, they just snapped off.

Spray both of the wire pieces black with an exterior paint recommended for metal. Let dry completely.

    

I gathered some odd lamp pieces and a short piece of threaded rod to stack and build a large finial to adorn the top of the upturned basket. One lamp piece (the base piece) will need to fit nicely inside the basket below where the crossbars were.

Spray paint the base lamp pieces black, let dry.

  

Beginning with the painted base pieces on the threaded rod, stack and build the lamp pieces. Leaving room for a small finial, use tape to mark where the threaded rod will need to be cut. Remove the rod to cut, restack the pieces, add a dab of E6000 to the tip of the rod, and twist the small finial on to tighten your pieces together firmly.

  

 

  

 

    

Cut back all but 6 or 7 of the wires on the top ring of the AC guard, these will be used to bend over the wire ring of the basket and hold it in place. Touch up the cut wires with black spray paint. Attach the basket to the top and its ready for the garden.

   

Kind of gives the garden a little majestic touch, don’t you think?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Repurposing with Salvaged Aluminum Screen Guards

Aluminum screen guards – look at all those pretty scrolls!  You may want to keep your eyes open for these my repurposing friends, they’re a treasure, and have so many possibilities, used whole or cut into smaller pieces.  I’ve had a small pile of them hoarded in my garage for sometime now and recently pulled them out when I was making for the market event last month.

My first thought was to cut them into separate scroll pieces and make brackets by trimming them with thin wood pieces as in the finishing step of my last post.  I haven’t found time to follow through on that yet, but did get them used in a couple other ways.

For pieces, we used a hack saw to cut the guard in half before grinding off the head of the rivets with a cutting wheel on a die grinder. Thank goodness my husband is much handier with a cutting wheel than I am. He got the job done smoothly and didn’t leave hardly any marks on the aluminum. After grinding, tap the rivet out with a punch if needed.

    

Scroll pieces were attached with small wood screws, in the holes already provided, to quickly dress up old boards for indoor/outdoor decor. If more holes are needed, I would suggest using a drill press.  The one with the hooks is my favorite.  The top board can be hung with the scrolls up or down, away or against the wall.  The scroll piece on the bottom board is from an old mailbox; wouldn’t it be fun to personalize?

Two guards, with their side ends cut off, fit nicely into a couple empty window panes to make a flower box and decorative wall panel. To achieve an iron finish, one guard was first spray painted with Rust-oleum gray hammered paint, let dry, brushed with a black glaze, then burnished with #1 steel wool.  The aluminum guard pieces each ran a different direction on these two projects.  With no rule of thumb to follow on how to secure them, I did what was easiest for me.  E6000 was used to glue short lengths of 1/4″ wood into the notch of the flower box guard, held tightly in place with tape until completely dry, then painted.

 

 

A notch was cut from a very thin piece of wood to fit over the painted guard on the wall panel, glued and nailed in place with a brad nailer, then touched up with paint.

  

Anyone eager to go scroll hunting yet?  I know I’ll be toting home more if I come across them while out gathering this summer.  Don’t limit your search to door guards, give those old picnic tables and awning legs a good look over too!

  

I’ll be back with an update on those brackets ……..