Faux Concrete Birdbath Centerpiece -- Decor Accessory

3 Materials
4 Hours

Create a "concrete" birdbath from cast-off's -- and it's easy and fun! And also tons of latitude for your imagination.

One Example of a "Concrete" Birdbath Centerpiece

I've made many of these for several large events. This set of three were made for DIY Wedding magazine. Jump over to the blog post to see several more examples and more in-process pics.

STEP 1: Gather Your Cast-Offs and Thrift Store Finds

To craft your own, start by gathering odd pieces to form the structure. Keep in mind you are only looking at the shape, the form, the scale. Don’t be put off by the truly atrocious colors, finishes or surface designs. Mine through your cabinets, take a field trip through your local thrift stores, dollar stores or yard sales.

STEP 2: Assemble Your Armature

Each birdbath will need at least 2 items. First, a large plate, pasta bowl or small platter for the basin. Then for the pedestal, a squatty vase, a hefty candle holder, a stemmed dessert glass are all good options. If the footprint of the pedestal needs more width for stability or a bit more height, I like to add a salad plate or saucer upside down, like the one on the left and in the center.

And what’s a birdbath without a bird? I’ve used two different options here. A solitary bird statue and a short vase with a bird attached that will hold some fresh cut flowers in water. Have fun with this!

Break out a super strong adhesive – I used E-6000.

STEP 3: First Coat of Joint Compound

Once your glue is dry, it’s time for the fun. Bring on the joint compound!

Joint compound? Yep and you wouldn't believe what else I've made with my secret weapon. Check this one out.

Stir the joint compound to get it a smooth and even consistency. If it seems too dry, add some water. You want it the consistency of frosting. 

Start with piling on a good helping of joint compound (JC). Then with your fingers, work it into all the nooks and crannies. Lather this beginning layer on all surfaces. Just like with painting, two thin coats is better than one heavy coat. Don’t obsess over this first coat. You will smooth it out and work on the texture later. The goal here is a good somewhat consistent base layer.

Wet fingers are the best for smoothing getting the JC into all the nooks and crannies and smoothing it out.

Be sure to get under the basin too.

STEP 4: Smooth out This First Coat

Let it dry a bit (an hour or two), or even overnight and then dip your fingers (or a small soft pad works here too) in a bowl of water and gently rub to smooth out your semi-dry finish a bit.

STEP 5: Second Coat Same as the First

Let it dry a bit more or for several days if your schedule requires, and you are ready to add a second coat of joint compound. This layer should be enough to give you complete coverage and polish the texture. If you were a bit thin in your application, and you have the time, there is nothing wrong with a third thin layer.

STEP 6: Smooth, Dry & Sand

Again, wet fingers, or a damp smooth rag rubbed over the almost dry surface will smooth it out further. Once it is dry, fine grit sandpaper can also be used if you have a particularly troublesome spot.

This whole process is very forgiving, so just get in there and play!

STEP 7: Color Wash

Once you’re happy with the texture and it’s dry, it’s time to add the aging. Watered down paint applied quickly and rather sloppily is it.

I used cheap black craft paint. Make sure all areas are covered and let it pool a bit in the nooks and grannies. Keep a damp rag or paper towel handy and wipe as you go on the raised areas lightening the raised areas and leaving the recessed areas darker. You can go as light or dark as you like.

Now It's Time to Fluff

Garden clippings or succulents? Monotone or festive variety? This is where you get to have fun designing. And there are more examples on the blog post to inspire you further. The link is in the first paragraph.

If you enjoyed this project, check out more of my hostessing tutorials here.

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Diane - South House Designs

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 6 questions
  • Sabrena Fry
    Sabrena Fry
    on Jul 17, 2020

    The gold charger plate you used, it looks like a plastic one. Can you used plastic ?

    • Diane - South House Designs
      Diane - South House Designs
      on Jul 19, 2020

      it is a rigid plastic.

      Plastic works fine as long as it's rigid. If you are using for just a while, maybe one season and not moving it around too much, you can use a flimsier plastic, just know that it might crack.

  • Peabutton's Mom
    Peabutton's Mom
    on Jul 17, 2020

    No sealant necessary?

    • Diane - South House Designs
      Diane - South House Designs
      on Jul 18, 2020

      I did not use one. I designed these to be used as centerpieces for a garden event. I have saved a few and used them for several seasons on a screened porch successfully with no sealant.

  • Julie
    on Jul 17, 2020

    Joint compound outside? Won't it wash away?

    • Mary
      on Jan 1, 2021

      Hmmm... could I coat ceramic plates and candle holders in cement, let it dry, sand it, then add another coat of cement, let it dry then sand and paint then use it outdoors? Would it be safe for birds to drink water out of?

Join the conversation

2 of 56 comments
  • Joy Sheffield
    Joy Sheffield
    on Jul 31, 2020

    I just love this , wish I had a covered patio or porch as I “would “ make it for myself. Really is beautiful and quite to my style !! Thanks for sharing 👏🏻❤️👏🏻

  • Gloria McKague
    Gloria McKague
    on Aug 11, 2020

    great idea to use things that would otherwise be thrown away very inspiring I


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