"Polatems" (pots, plates, totems) birdbaths, bird feeders and planters.


I had so much fun putting my "Polatems" together. I collected beautiful pots and plates from Goodwill and garage sales. I dug a hole 12" deep intserted a piece of rebar, which can be purchased at a hardware store in any length of your choice. Fill the hole with concrete. Level the rebar to make it straight. Once the concrete dries..overnight is good, start putting the pots and plates onto the rebar in an artistic order, gluing them as you go..I used glass glue from the hardware store, it comes in a caulking tube. Use a level to keep each pot or plate straight. You can add pieces in the middle such as a metal dish from an old firepit as a planter or even a terricotta planter. Just be creative. Top it off with a glass ball, a ceramic bird or whatever suits you fancy. There you have it ...Enjoy and watch the birds..even the Hummers like the colors.
"Polatems" (Pots,plates, totems) My husband always says "What will she think of next"!

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Have a question about this project?

4 questions
  • Margo Driscoll
    on Jan 31, 2016

    Did you have to make a hole in the plates, etc. to put on the rebar? If so, how did you do that? They are beautiful.

    • Patty S
      on Feb 5, 2016

      Yes, with a carbide drill bit.

    • Mary Hanes
      on Feb 28, 2016

      Oh wow you have talent, so great to do different ideas.

    • Hotchkiss Lory
      on Mar 14, 2016

      Patty S.!, about that hole, using a carbide drill bit -- did you have tonalso tape the the china? Use only pottery which is denser?? I LOVE this idea ;-). Very smart!!

    • Hotchkiss Lory
      on Mar 14, 2016

      *to_ also tape...

    • Patty S
      on Mar 16, 2016

      I did not have to tape the china. The carbide bit cut through it very cleanly. I used any pottery, did not discriminate on any. Just whatever seemed to suit my fancy.

    • Margaret Vockrodt
      on May 6, 2016

      Use a drill bit meant for glass.

    • Patty S
      on May 6, 2016

      A carbide bit!

    • B Juliana Leo
      on May 25, 2016

      I checked into this as well...at a True Value Hardware store. The one thing He did mention, which hasn't been said - Do not use this Drill Bit at high speed. It will make the pottery hot, and will shatter. I haven't done this yet, but He seemed pretty informed. :-)

    • Katherine
      on Jun 9, 2016

      So unique and lovely

    • Patty S
      on Jun 10, 2016

      B Juliana Leo, I never had one piece break or shatter.

    • Ton7636847
      on Jul 6, 2016

      I'm in Ca, .... But what about putting down a small 6x6 piece of something, and then gluing pot to pot? Would that work?!?!

    • Lisa
      on Jul 29, 2016

      Thats what I was thinking, sounds easier, but what type of glue would be weather adaptable?

    • Janice Van Cleve Rasmussen
      on Aug 16, 2016

      Outdoor Silicone adhesive. Also 100% silicone, either an automotive, marine or architectural grade. There's also an automotive & industrial grade E6000

  • Julie
    on Feb 7, 2016

    cant you hammer the rebar into the ground instead of pouring cement for the totems?

    • Patty S
      on Feb 7, 2016

      you could, but this way it is more sturdy.

    • Julie
      on Feb 8, 2016

      I like to move them around so don't want to cement them--wish me luck. thanks Patty S.

    • Julie
      on Mar 4, 2016

      Yes. I buy the rebar long enough to hammer into the ground, no cement needed. I use colored glass bottles and items and the bottleneck glass colored bottles are great for putting the rebar into. This way you can change the totems easily without moving the rebar.

    • B Juliana Leo
      on May 25, 2016

      While that seems like a good idea - Rebar needs more security with Cement. A good windstorm during a rainy season will loosen the soil, and it will eventually tip. If you want to make it so it's movable - then make it purposefully a TOP of the Ground function. Maybe Put the rebar into Cement with cinder-blocks? and decorate the Cinder block to go with the totem Idea?

    • Kim Castagnola
      on Jul 10, 2016

      You could also get a large colorful planter and pour the cement in it and add the rebar and then build your totem pole from there. That way it's movable..heavy, but movable!!!

    • Frankie t.
      on Aug 30, 2016

      I like the idea of pouring the cement into a planter. If you only fill it part way, you could finish filling it with soil and hens and chicks or other plants.

  • Sue Kulhanek Reuschlein
    on Feb 20, 2016

    Do you keep them out all year? If so, does the freezing bother them? I made 3 totems here in Kansas but I dismantle them and bring the pieces inside over the winter. Also I had to relocate them because someone stole the top piece of one of them! Now they aren't near the sidewalk.

    • Patty S
      on Feb 21, 2016

      I built these in Arizona and they stay out all year round. I built them in 2012 and they still in great shape. I think you are smart to bring them in during winter in Kansas. I am sure the freezing and wet weather would break them. At our home in Wisconsin I build concrete ones.

    • Nancy Carter
      on Feb 24, 2016

      I know in central IL where I am from that any pot that holds water and then freezes will break. But it would be a beautiful piece in the yard for spring through fsll!

    • Caren1
      on May 10, 2016

      I am told that freezing temperatures does harm them so I bring them in during the winter months (in the north).

    • Beverly Teeter
      on Aug 22, 2016

      12 of my 13 similar glass bird feeders broke from freezing weather. :-( WA

  • Marie Oriol-Lavalle
    on Aug 20, 2016

    I'm confused; you say "start putting the pots and pans onto the rebar and glueing " as you go. How do you get those items onto the bar if you don't first drill a hole in them? No where in the instructions do you mention drilling the outs and/or plates. Did I miss something??😳

    • Patty S
      on Aug 21, 2016

      Yes you do drill holes using a carbide bit.

Join the conversation

3 of 249 comments
  • Tammy
    on Aug 21, 2016

    A close up pic and items used or suggested items to use would be most helpful. How far down did you go? I live in FL so how safe is that to ensure wind won't send them as missles during hurricanes?

    • Dor10497671
      on Sep 29, 2016

      Really Tammy---I also live in FL and would remove them if a hurricane warning was issued. For that reason, I would not glue them in place, just stack them together.

  • BonitaBonita
    on Nov 8, 2017

    Great project. love it.....

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