How to Make a Leaf Birdbath in 7 Steps
Making a leaf birdbath is fun and easy, and the best part is that it’s always custom-made. You pick the leaf then decide if you want to paint it, add a mosaic tile or place atop a pedestal.
Step 1 – Choose a Leaf
The leaf you choose will determine how big and how detailed your birdbath will be. The most commonly used leaves are elephant ears, rhubarb, and sunflower, but any leaf with intricate leaf veins and patterns will work. Try to find one without holes or cracks, or else use waterproof tape to patch them. Cut the stem off, and be careful not to cut into the leaf’s body.
Step 2 – Prepare Mold
Lay out a trash bag or plastic sheet, and place the leaf on top. Measure the leaf’s area, adding a couple of inches all around, and mark the sheet. Set the leaf aside. Next, pour a mound of sand – only enough to cover the area of the leaf completely – piling it about four inches deep. In the middle, pile the sand a little higher to make a 3-inch mound. The mound should slope down so that its edges end just at the leaf’s edges. Once the sand has been smoothed, cover it with another plastic bag/sheet.
Step 3 – Mix Ingredients
If you’ve decided to add colorant to the cement, now is the time to do that. Mix a small amount in with the water, and then slowly add to the concrete mix until you’ve reached the level recommended. Using a trowel (or similar implement), mix the water and concrete powder together until it becomes stiff enough to mold, but not watery.
Step 4 – Mold the Leaf
Take your leaf and place it atop the sand mound, over the plastic. Center it so the leaf’s middle part goes over the highest point of the mound. Start placing concrete mix, starting in the center. The mix should be about one inch in thickness, so smooth it out uniformly as you move toward the edges. After the leaf is covered, form a border by squeezing the concrete between your fingers all around the edge.
Step 5 – Allow Concrete to Dry and Set
Once the concrete has been spread over the leaf, place another plastic bag over it to keep out moisture, bugs and yard debris. Put rocks or something heavy on the plastic so it doesn’t blow away, and allow at least 48 hours to thoroughly dry.
Step 6 – Remove Leaf Remnants
After the concrete feels completely dry all over, take off the plastic, flip the shell over, and start to remove any leftover pieces of leaf. If there are dozens of tiny pieces left, allow another day of drying in the sun, and then use a wire brush for removal.
Step 7 – Paint or Gloss
Your birdbath can now be decorated with acrylic paints, or jewels, or coated with concrete sealer. Adding sealer is recommended because it keeps the concrete stain proof and easier to clean.