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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Making Poppies DIY Tutorial

A quick post to share a new rustic poppy design.
Not too many supplies are needed for these fun flowers; salvaged thin metal sheeting, fiberglass window screening, thin wire, small flat bead, 8 to 10 mm glass bead, and paint. I went back to Lowe’s and bought one of those cute 8 oz Valspar paints again, this time “Oh So Red”.
Like many faux poppy patterns, stacking three layers of petal pieces makes this easy. The base piece is the largest and the other two get smaller in diameter as you go up. My base was about 2 3/4″ diameter.

Before getting started, some fiberglass window screen had to be painted.   This was my first experience painting screen and it took me some time applying the paint and getting all those itty bitty squares to stay filled in; when you brush over them, they open back up. I painted in layers, drying with a fan, and discovered laying the paint on was more productive than brushing most of the time. If anyone out there has a secret or helpful hints for painting screen please do chime in.

Flatten a piece of scrap metal sheeting (as in The Spirit of Christmas). Trace and cut out the base petal piece. Paint it red. Dry. Sand lightly with fine grit sandpaper to reveal some of the metal.

Hold the top two petal pattern pieces in place on the painted screen and cut around them.

Cut a small circle, a little larger than a quarter, from the window screening.  Darken it with black paint.

Sand the screen petal pieces with fine sandpaper to reveal the texture of the screen. Do not sand the black center piece. This is a good time to put a light black speckling on your pieces, and let it dry before spraying all the pieces with a clear matte sealer, front and back. I forgot, and didn’t speckle until my flowers were done, then had to respray them.

Trace three poppy leaves on the thin metal, flipping your pattern to trace one face down. Cut, paint green, sand, speckle, and seal.

On a board, drive a finishing nail through the stacked flower petal arrangement.  You can shape and bend the flowers first, or keep the petals flattened and shape after. Remove the nail.

Center and twist a glass bead on a length of straightened thin wire. Thread the black screen circle on to the wire stem and shape it around the bead. Add a small flat bead with a dab of E6000. Slide the other petal pieces in place, applying a small amount of glue between layers near the wire. Arrange and form the flower to your liking before pushing firmly into a piece of thick foam to dry. You can do more gentle bending, shaping, or trimming on the petals after the flowers are dry if needed.

    

I think this makes a cute, versatile little flower to have some fun with. Change the shape of the petal a bit, the color, and the bead, and you’ll have a whole new look.  Another layer of petals could be added for a larger flower.

I wired my poppies to a basket for a pop of color, then glued on the leaves, but they could easily be wired, or glued, to wreaths, canvas art, frames, or wood.

  

It makes me feel good to find uses for salvaged, and reclaimed materials.  Keeping anything out of the landfill is a plus.  Hearing from my readers makes me feel good too, please leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts.  Enjoy your week!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salt Shaker Decorative Plant Stake

Okay, I couldn’t help myself, just one more. I don’t want to run a good thing into the ground, but this one is just so quick and easy I had to do it! I promise to move on after this …. really!

As I was cleaning up some of my latest messes, I came across this small pair of shakers. I picked them up at a garage sale somewhere along the way, thinking at the time that they would be cute on a small plant stake. So, since I had them in my hand, well, you know …..

20160719_160344

Nail a pilot hole in the lid. Drill a 1/4″ hole. Use small pliers to straighten out or bend jagged edges, just until a length of 5/16″ threaded rod will fit through it easily, you don’t want the hole any bigger than it has to be. My rod was a scrap piece, 20″ long, so I just left it that way.

20160719_161257  20160719_162116

20160719_162929  20160719_163039

I like to experiment quite a bit, and have a habit of throwing odd little pieces of glass in a kiln to see what they will do. It was in some of my trials that I found a wonderful pale green bottle spout, PERFECT!  I got to thinking about all the bags of pretty round, resin napkin rings I often see at sales, they might work in something like this. Might have to start giving them a second look.
Find two nuts that fit the rod threads, and run one a couple inches down the rod. On the rod, stack and arrange your gathered pieces as we did in my last two posts, until you have something to your liking.

20160719_172605  20160719_183206

20160719_184126

I found an awesome new glue last week. It looked like it would work great on a lot of the projects I do, so I grabbed a tube to try. Otherwise I would have used E6000 or another silicone glue.
Stack your design loosely on the rod. Stand the rod in a heavy bottomed bottle or a bucket of sand. With a toothpick, apply a liberal amount of glue inside the shaker lid tip and around the nut. Push the shaker lid up firmly over the nut.
Apply more glue to the threads of the lid and screw the glass shaker on solidly. Gently push the rest of the pieces up to the shaker and tighten the nut. Leave to dry overnight. Don’t worry about getting everything lined up perfectly at this point, the important thing is for the glue to dry. After it’s dry, you can loosen the bottom nut a bit to center things up if needed.

20160719_183442 (1)  20160719_184325

20160719_184718  20160719_185219

20160719_185615

There! Enough of the garden stakes, for this year anyway. Thanks for bearing with me as I worked through my obsession.
Just a reminder, glass and metal expand and contract at different temperatures, so please store them indoors during cold winter months. I stand mine in a bucket of sand, in the garage, through the winter so they don’t get iced over.
Now, moving on …..

 

 

Chandelier Garden Stake

There’s no doubt about it, the old world charm of the crystal garden chandeliers has me totally captivated! I’m not sure if its the beautiful results or the fun of making something so unique and striking with reclaimed and repurposed materials, but whatever it is, I’m hooked.

stk5 mrk

After last month’s post, I was anxious to try a chandelier garden stake. After laying out all of my glass and lamp pieces to see what there was to work with, I noticed several glass pieces were votive/candle holders, small saucers, and odd pieces without a hole. Playing around with stacking the pieces is the funniest part of this project, so I decided to grab the drill and 1/2″ diamond core bit to drill holes in pieces before getting started.
There’s a bunch of videos readily available on You Tube or Pinterest about drilling holes in glass. It is pretty simple really, just a little time consuming. Besides being very mindful of safety issues with water and electricity, the most important thing to remember is to keep the glass wet and cool so it doesn’t overheat and break.

20160712_202611

Although the pieces are different, the garden stake is stacked and made on a lamp pipe following the same steps as in last month’s post, with one exception. Instead of marking it with tape and cutting it off, mark it with tape, add 8 inches, then mark it with tape again for cutting. The added length will fit into a piece of conduit.

20160724_150314

Because of the crystals dangling, I wanted the stake to have some height, so I cut a piece of scrap 1/2″ conduit, four foot long.
Approximately 1 inch from the top of the conduit, mark a spot for drilling. With a center punch, make an indentation on the spot. Drill a hole through the conduit with a 5/32″ bit.
Insert the 8 inch added length of lamp pipe into the conduit until you meet the hex nut. With the lamp pipe and conduit held firmly, drill through the conduit holes again. This step works best with two people, one to hold the conduit and one to hold the lamp pipe, as you drill through the second time. Run a small bolt through the holes and tighten on a nut.

20160724_151310  20160724_151532

20160724_151811  20160724_152105

I noticed the hex nut didn’t cover the opening of the conduit pipe completely. I could have left it, but, didn’t like the look, so I added a flat, rounded edged lamp piece between the hex nut and conduit opening.
While holding the conduit in a vise, cut off the excess bolt length. Remove it from the vise, lay on a solid surface, and hit the cut bolt end with a hammer a few times to rivet it on.

20160724_155949  20160724_160427

20160724_160734

Replace your stacked pieces to the top of the lamp pipe, tightening when you screw on the finial. Once together, I found it helpful to stand the stake in a bucket of sand when adding the crystals. Pretty! Pretty!
No crystals? No problem! Garden Stakes can have a character and style all their own without the bling!

stk 1 watermrk  stk2 wtrmrk

If you like this post or found it helpful, please click on the “like” button below, or leave a comment.  I love hear what readers are thinking.

Thanks for visiting glassic touch!

 

 

Crystal Garden Chandelier

Whoa! This summer is going by way too fast! Between enjoying Grandma/Grandpa daycare activities, a couple of week-end road trips, and participating in a few market events, I must admit, I’ve selfishly been neglecting my blog a little. Okay, maybe more than a little ..
I haven’t been totally sloughing off though, so, while relishing in an unusually quiet week-end, I thought it would be a great time to try to catch up and get back into the swing of sharing in the blogging world.
Pretty reclaimed crystals, dangling on small garden chandeliers, seem to be popping up all over lately. They’re so darn cute!

Of course, I had to give one a go!

I had plenty of crystals. I remembered a blue faucet handle in the garage, then, sorted through a box of old lamp parts to find a couple small, clear glass pieces, a brass base, and all the nuts and washers I thought I’d need. I chose a finial with a hole in it so it would be easier to add a wire for the center crystals.
What I didn’t have was a long threaded lamp pipe. You can find them in a home improvement store for under $3.00. Sweet!

20160624_104052

Larger holes had to be drilled through the faucet handle and some of the washers to accommodate the rod. Holes were cut bigger in some cloth pads too.
In preparation to hang the crystals, small holes were drilled in every other petal of the brass globe lamp cap.  Sand, or grind the holes smooth after drilling.

20160624_103944  20160709_153131

I stacked the collected pieces in an arrangement I liked, then, removed each piece, laying them in a line, in the order they were stacked.
Run a hex nut down the threaded pipe. Put on the brass lamp cap, upturned, with the petals down. Add the faucet handle and other pieces in the order you have them laid out. If you happen to run out of rod before all the pieces are on, just run the hex nut a little further down the rod for more room. Hang on to the finial and screw the hex nut up on the rod to tighten things up. Once tightened, mark the rod with a piece of tape. Remove your pieces, once again laying them in order, and cut the rod to the length you need. Sand, or grind any sharp edges on the rod. Reassemble the piece.

20160624_105106-1  20160624_111105

20160624_110640  20160624_111634

I like to use small 19 gauge, black annealed wire when working on projects like this. It can be hard to find in craft stores. I have my best luck finding it at Theisen’s.  Other Farm & Home stores may have it, or a hardware store.
I was able to cheat a bit when it came to wiring the crystals. Most of mine were already attached together with the original head pin wires. If not, I robbed a wire from another one.
I wrapped a tiny silver bead on the end of a length of wire, and threaded it through a larger silver bead that was bigger than the hole in the finial, so it would not slip through. Insert the wire down through the finial. Trim the wire off leaving enough length for a small loop to attach your crystals.  A rectangle and large teardrop crystal were used in the center.

20160624_120521  20160624_121048

20160624_130537

Large octagonal and teardrop crystals were used around the outside edge. I first tried jump rings to attach them, but didn’t like the way they looked. I ended up making a kind of “s” shaped hook, leaving the loop of the hook visible on top of the brass cap.

20160624_135428  20160701_135628

Wa-Laa!

garden chime wtrk

I hope I’ve inspired a few of you to do your own garden chandelier making.  If so, I hope you’re willing to share a picture or any helpful suggestions in the comment section, Thank You! I love hearing from readers!

 

 

Gourd Bee/Bug House

After replacing several last spring, I was very happy to find all of my perennials up and thriving when I took a little meander through my garden a couple weeks ago. It felt so good being in the garden again and thinking of plans for yard and garden projects.

There’s a big sand pile, with climbing rocks, in one corner of the garden. While a garden hose trickles, my grandson enjoys creating rivers, and mixing faux cement in a wheel barrow during warm summer months. And, like every other youngster, he’s very curious, and notices every bug and worm too.

Many wonderful Pinterest posts on bee and bug houses have peaked my interest lately.  I thought it would be fun to make one so we could observe what settles in and maybe learn something in the process.

I was able to rummage up everything I needed except for the bamboo, which I found in the garden center of a couple Home Improvement Stores, making the total cost of this project about $5.00.
Over the last month, I’ve been scrubbing dried gourds in preparation for a Farmer’s Market event, so I chose one of them as the structure for my first habitat abode.
My gourd measured 7 1/2″H x 6 1/2″W.  Rubber gloves provided grip while sawing off the front with a hack saw. Dried pulp and seeds were scraped from the inside. Sand the inside lightly to remove attached debris. Always wear a mask or bandanna over your mouth and nose when sanding gourds or cleaning out dried pulp and seeds. The dust and dried particles can irritate nasal passages and lungs.

Seal the outside of the gourd with Thompson’s Water Seal. Let dry. Drill five holes in the bottom of the gourd, at the lowest points, for drainage. Try to keep the holes within a 2″ pattern. Seal the inside of the gourd with a good layer of thinned interior/exterior wood glue. Let dry.

DSC01111  DSC01116  DSC01123

Fold and cut a hole in a piece of heavy paper, slip over stem to make a roof pattern. I extended the roof out a bit in front so it would cover the bamboo openings.

DSC01132

A few more holes may be needed for ventilation.

DSC01174  DSC01177

I have an old piece of burnt aluminum siding that I like to go to when I need a rustic piece of metal sheeting. Cut off the approximate size needed and flatten with a car body hammer before tracing and cutting out the roof pattern. My roof measured 10 1/4″W x 6″Deep with a 2 1/8″ dia. hole.

DSC01136  DSC01141

Small files worked well to smooth the sharp edges of the roof, but I found a large round file to smooth and shape the hole so it fit easily over the gourd. The roof has to be flat to fit over the gourd, then bent to shape. With the roof in place, lay the gourd on it’s back and trace the roof line on a piece of heavy paper. This pattern will be used to cut a small piece of wood as a brace under the roof peak when a shelf is made.

DSC01146  DSC01166  DSC01156

Initially, I planned to hang the gourd with a wire, or dowel, through the stem, but I read that Mason bees preferred a stable home over one swinging in the breeze, so it will go on a barn board shelf, which I think actually adds a lot of character to the piece. My board was 5 1/2″W. The back was cut 15 1/2″ long. A 2″ dia. hole was drilled in the 5″ long shelf and it was screwed on from the back. The roof line pattern traced earlier was used to cut a small triangular brace for the metal roof. Hold the roofed gourd on the shelf to determine where to place the brace. Use finishing nails to attach brace to board. Seal shelf with Thompson’s Water Seal.

An extra set of hands came in handy for stapling the roof. Hold the gourd firmly with roof resting on the brace. Staple roof to the top of brace. Drill a hole in back of gourd and secure it to the board with a screw and fender washer.

DSC01160  DSC01179  DSC01184  DSC01187

Adding the bamboo was a little tricky and took some time. I used a small tabletop scroll saw to cut the bamboo and drilled through any closed bamboo joints. Save all the trimmins! They’ll make cute little beads or embellishments for future projects.

DSC01212  DSC01238

Start in the middle with a bundle of 5″ lengths wrapped with rubber bands. To make a more level surface, I cut old corn cobs lengthwise, broke them in half, and surrounded the base of the bundle.

DSC01249  DSC01252

Mark bamboo and cut to surround the bundle. Hold in place with tape. When nearing the side, tuck in some small pine cones to fill in the curves, and maybe provide shelter for a few ladybugs. Things started to shift a bit as I added more bamboo, so I stuffed a cloth in the empty side and top to hold the bamboo in place. Pull the cloth out, a little at a time, as you fill in with bamboo. (Sorry, didn’t get a picture of this).

DSC01259  DSC01264

Scrap bamboo pieces quickly filled in as I neared the top, go back and cut them to fit. Dried Teasel stems were inserted into gaps to keep the bamboo snug and secure. You may want to wear gloves or use tweezers when working with Teasel, they are stickery.  If bamboo pieces slide down, use small pliers to gently pull them back out flush. Trim off Teasel stems.

DSC01278  DSC01300  DSC01303

I felt a little something was needed, so I made a simple bee with a couple glass beads, leaving a couple inches of wire at the bottom to wrap around a Teasel stem, before pushing it in.

final 2 watermark
It’s ready for permanent occupancy as soon as I round up a post to attach it to and get it set in a patch of Bee Balm in my garden. Or, I could wire to one of my apple trees in the grove, Hmm?
It’s recommended that the house faces southeast for the warmth of the morning sun, be at least 4 feet above ground, and protected from wind and weather. Mud is also needed for bees to seal in their eggs. I think all the water activities in my sand pile address any mud concerns. 🙂

 

What new spring projects are you working on?  Please share ……

 

 

 

A New Concrete Boot Scraper

It was a few wet days, last month, that spurred an unexpected project. After admiring many creative and inspiring concrete/hypertufa boards on Pinterest, I was so dreaming of designing garden pathways and stones, as my first concrete endeavors, but instead… it was a boot scraper.

DSC07822

Our old boot scraper was already settled comfortably by the back door when we moved to the family farm over 25 years ago.

DSC07611

It found it’s way here in a load of salvage long before our arrival.  It has scraped many boots and shoes, propped boards to be painted, secured papers, and dog leashes.  No one ever gave it much thought until we were trying to wipe mud from our shoes, in wet grass, before entering on the other side of the house. That’s when I said, “We should make one of those mud scrapers for over here.”  My husband replied, “Wouldn’t take much, just a box of concrete and a piece of steel.”  It took me a minute to absorb…. “Hey!  I think I got something we can use!”

I’ve always had a tendency to save pieces and scraps when remodeling or updating, like the wainscoting used to build our bird feeder, in my previous post.  I find it fun to integrate the old with the new.  It’s like letting something catch it’s breath to start a whole new story.

A cast aluminum “K”, from one of the first doors we replaced, has rested on a nail in my garage for a very long time.  I’ve often looked at it as I pulled in, and thought, “I’m gonna find a good place for you someday.” That day finally came … it was the perfect “glassic touch”.

DSC07809

We began by tracing the inside rim of the aluminum piece on 1/2″ plywood, and cut it out with a band saw.

DSC07484DSC07477

Box sides were cut from 1″x10″ pine boards, mindful that the wood grain ran horizontally on the end that the handle would be inserted in, so it can easily be split off later.

A length of 1/4″ steel rod was bent around a 5″ dia. pole, then put in a vice to trim off the ends with a hack saw. Once handle is shaped, mark the wood for placement and predrill holes. Make sure it slides in easily and fits snugly.DSC07531DSC07533DSC07540DSC07545

With a chop saw, or hack saw, cut a scrap piece of 1/8″ thick steel.  Ours was 3″ wide and approximately 13″ long.

Center and attach the circle of plywood to the inside front piece of wood, then screw the box together. Its important to keep the top edges of the box even, so the concrete can be leveled off after its poured.  Attach a piece of scrap plywood to the bottom of the assembled box, and give the inside a coat of diesel fuel to prevent the concrete from sticking.  Putting a large piece of cardboard under the box will catch any leaking concrete, and make it easier to move around, if needed.

DSC07559DSC07659

You’ll appreciate an extra pair of hands, and something sturdy to stir with, when mixing up an 80 lb. bag of Quikrete.  We used about 1 1/4 gal. of water and mixed it well.

Scoop the concrete in the box.  Use whatever you stirred with, or a paint stick, to tamp and work it down as you fill, especially around the outside edges, to help obtain a smooth finish on the sides when it has dried.

DSC07568DSC07573

After filling and tamping, slide the edge of a paint stick across the top to level.  Insert the handle into the predrilled holes.

Wait about 20 minutes, level top again with paint stick, and slowly push in the piece of steel, upright.  Let it sit approximately another 30 minutes, then brush the top lightly with a 2″ chip brush. Times will vary depending on how wet the concrete is.DSC07585DSC07590

NOTE: Before mixing concrete, you may want to spray and prepare a few small containers or molds to quickly use up any excess.  Waste Not, Want Not.

DSC07840DSC07617

After 24 hours, tip the box and brace it while removing the bottom. Sit it back up on the plywood, sideways, to dry another 12 hours.  Remove all the screws and tap sides off gently.  On the handle end, tap a wood chisel gently into the wood, first from the sides, then across the middle. Repeat until it splits easily; remove. Lightly sand top outside edge of concrete.

DSC07626DSC07628DSC07631DSC07635DSC07640DSC07656

Trace your circle pattern on your choice of glass.  Cut and grind to fit inside the aluminum circle. Dab silicone glue on the backside of the “K”, insert glass, and weigh down to dry.  Run a thin bead of silicone around the backside edge of the glass. I also glued on two 3/8″ resin beads to help brace the glass against the concrete.  Let dry.DSC07664DSC07676DSC07677DSC07734DSC07740DSC07754

Run a thick bead of silicone around the inside circumference of the concrete circle and set the aluminum piece in place.  Dry over night.

Using a baggie, pipe in an initial layer of interior/exterior sanded gray grout to fill the gap between the aluminum and concrete.  Then apply a top layer with a putty knife.  Let it dry a minute, then smooth and clean with a damp cloth. DSC07770DSC07764

Let dry 12 hours and seal with grout sealer.

DSC07830

There it is.. this little “K” is once again greeting people at our door!  What do you think?

I’m thinking the time for garden projects has come to an end for the year. Its time to start thinking Fall and Christmas!