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Ocean Themed Birdhouse

posted by: daisyme on 07.24.2009 at 12:15 am in Garden Junk Forum

I haven't posted over here for a long time, but I have been checking in lately on some of your wonderful projects. What fun Garden Junk is!

I got a commission some time back to do a birdhouse for a gal's garden with an ocean theme. I never would have believed I'd have so much trouble with it, but it was hard to find the themed pieces and to make this little guy as well. Anyway, he's named "Song of the Sea" and we're much closer friends now that he's finished than we were before.



clipped on: 07.24.2009 at 10:31 pm    last updated on: 07.24.2009 at 10:31 pm

RE: Cactus and Succulents Photos (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: tennesseetrash on 11.25.2008 at 01:35 pm in Garden Junk Forum

That's my kind of place! I mentioned in another post that I love no fuss plants the best now. Succulents & cactus are the best! I've tried to get a hens and chicks wreath going on an old grape vine wreath I got at a yard sale for 50 cents. This photo from the Mexican Hat Cactus Nursery is the way I only WISH mine looked LOL. ~tenderlee


Isn't his just beautiful?


Succulent wreath made of wire wreath, spagnum moss/dirt and a variety of succulents!
clipped on: 11.26.2008 at 10:58 pm    last updated on: 11.26.2008 at 10:59 pm

Marble Tree

posted by: saywhatagnes on 06.06.2007 at 06:21 pm in Garden Junk Forum

Thought Id share a fun Garden Junk project I enjoyed doing.
I used a dead Crape Myrtle branch but I think anything would work. Maybe a wooden fence post for something different.

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I drilled tiny holes along the limbs and cut up some wire coat hangers, stuck the wire pieces in the holes on the limbs, then stuck the main branch down in a hurricane fence post. I spray painted the whole thing and hung half marbles on the branches of the tree with nylon fishing line.
I used GE II Silicone Window & Door caulk to glue the two flat sides of the marbles together (Id do a handful every evening while watching tv and lay them on a piece of wax paper to dry overnight). I also squirted a dab of caulk in the drilled holes before I stuck the wire in them.
Here's a close-up:

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Its been in the hot, all-day sun and gone through about 5 thunderstorms in the last 2 months and so far, no lost marbles. Sorry for the picture quality. It really is pretty in the sunshine and the hummingbirds have been using it for a perch. Im thinking of doing one in all one color next, maybe red, and call it a glass Cherry tree. LOL.
Happy Garden Junkin,


clipped on: 01.22.2008 at 11:55 pm    last updated on: 01.22.2008 at 11:55 pm

Firefly Lites ~

posted by: decompost on 11.29.2006 at 06:08 pm in Garden Junk Forum

I've had the toughest time trying to get photos of these to turn out,
even these aren't very good, but they seem to be the best I can do :-(

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The bigger one hangs in my pergola, with a bunch of other glass junk :^)

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Per decompost ... These are the glass globes that were a part of many table lamps and hanging fixtures
back in the 60's and 70's, I find them (the lamps) at yard sales and thrift shops.
I used stacks of them to make the electric totems I posted here some time back,
I don't know where that post went, I guess it fell out of the system.

Anyway, these are super simple, just disassemble the lamp, find or make a hanger
and drop in a string of mini lights . . . ta daa :D

clipped on: 10.26.2007 at 01:38 am    last updated on: 01.16.2008 at 12:11 am

RE: aging wood (Follow-Up #11)

posted by: Robin (Guest) on 01.13.2008 at 09:16 pm in Garden Junk Forum

Why not just go get a stain than bother with vinegar?

I have another great technique to age wood. Get a propane blow torch. Torch your wood until black. Brush off the soot with a steel brush. The soft part of the wood burns faster than the hard leaving nice grooves, just like old weathered wood has. This is kind of messy, but is absolutely the best way to get a true aged look. The brown color will fade in a few months (if left outdoors), but you can always add a stain for a more permanent color. Don't hesitate to hack away at the wood before you torch it.


Creating the Wood Aging Solution

To age new wood to a natural silvery grey, to grey brown or black patina (depending on the wood) , let a small piece of steel wool sit overnight in ordinary white vinegar, then dilute the vinegar solution 1 to 1 with water. (If you used cup of vinegar, add cup of water.) Test the result on a piece of scrap wood to determine if the aged finish is the correct color, if not, for darker solutions, leave the solution to sit longer, or add a bit more vinegar, and test it again. Solutions which are too strong produce very dark coloration.

They will need more water added to dilute them before you test again. When the solution produces the desired effect, brush it over fresh wood to create an instant greyed patina. This is a great way to create barnboards, use with wire brushed balsa to create a thatched effect, or to create weathered shingles or fence posts.


This finish varies with the type of raw wood it is applied to, and the strength of the solution. Balsa and basswood will turn grey or dark brown (depending on the solution strength). Oak will blacken.
The high acid level of the finish means this is not a recommended finish for high quality miniatures, but the acid effect can be sealed beneath a coat of matte acrylic varnish which will help keep it from requiring buffering.
Depending on your application you could also try buffering sprays to neutralize the pH of the vinegar wood stain if you do not want to seal the finish.
The finish will not penetrate glue, so ensure that pieces to be aged have been kept glue free. If areas will not stain, use washes of acrylic paints (Paynes grey and burnt umber are most useful) to age the area with acrylic paint instead of the vinegar/steel wool solution.

clipped on: 01.16.2008 at 12:01 am    last updated on: 01.16.2008 at 12:08 am

Here's a great idea with those wire form deers...

posted by: cheri_c on 01.13.2007 at 10:32 am in Garden Junk Forum

This is what a member here did, These are Kikistreehouse's deers. I think this is such a wonderful idea.
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These are those lighted reindeers from Christmas turned into summertime planters by removing the lights and clips and painting.
clipped on: 11.28.2007 at 12:31 am    last updated on: 11.28.2007 at 12:31 am

Garden bells followup - long post

posted by: nmgirl on 02.20.2007 at 09:40 am in Garden Junk Forum

The garden bells turned out to be quite simple to make, it was just a lot of trial and error at first. I'll see how they handle being outdoors, I might find more errors!
Here's how I made them:
The bell - all the bells, except for the flat top one, are made from glass lamp parts. I'm sure you've seen the glass lamps in the TS. When you take them apart you usually have at least two pieces and often three. I used the center bell shaped piece, the end/supporting pieces work I worked into totems. The flat topped bell is the chimney from a hurricane style candle holder. Whatever you use for the bell, be sure it is heavy. Lightweight glass doesn't sound as pretty or hold up to repeated banging from the clapper.

The clapper- a wooden doll's head from the craft store. I use the a doll's head because it was predrilled, all I had to do was drill through the rest of the way. Be sure to hang flat part down so it won't hold or catch water. I gave mine two coats of spar varnish after drilling.

The wind catcher - is made of red oak because that's what I could find. I found 1/2"w. by 3'l. pieces of red oak lumber at Home Depot. For visual balance, I made the catchers as long as the bell itself but do what looks best to you. I used a paper pattern to decide on shape and length BEFORE cutting into the nice wood. I used a jig saw, file, sandpaper and drill for shaping and finishing. All catchers have two coats of spar varnish. Whatever you use for a wind catcher be sure that it has some weight to it, wind catchers that are too light just blow around.

I used jack chain for hanging the clapper and wind catcher; it's inexpensive, lightweight, strong, easy to work with and to find. The wood pieces are attached to the jack chain with copper wire. I used copper for two reasons,1. I already had some on hand, and 2. it inhibits mold and mildew growth. It doesn't stop it, just inhibits it.
Use what works for you.

The bell hanger assembly - has 4 parts to it, an "S" hook, two welded rings and a large rubber/neoprene washer. I wanted a hanger that would allow the bell to move some in the wind. I was concerned that a rigid assembly might increase the breakage factor, remember the bells are made of glass.I also wanted something that was simple to put together and maintain so here's what I came up with. It's easiest to take the glass bell with you to the hardware store when you're buying the hanger pieces. It's also fun seeing people's expression when you explain what you're doing!
1. Using the top opening of the bell as your size guide purchase a WELDED ring larger that the opening. The easiest way to do this is to take the bell with you to the hardware store. Be sure the ring won't get stuck in the opening yet it's not so large that it won't fit in the top of the bell. You want the bell to wobble on it. This ring will carry the bell and is the attachment point for the clapper chain.
2. Find an "S" hook that will fit through the top bell opening with about 1" or the top loop showing above the bell when the hook wnd the interior welded ring are hooked together. I can't tell you exactly what size of "S" you need,it all depends on the shape of the glass and the size of the ring. Be sure it's an "S" hook you can work with pliers! Don't buy, like I did, an "S" that's used for repairing chain. Duh! I've had best luck with the prepackaged "S" hooks, not the loose ones.
3.Purchase a LARGE rubber/neoprene washer that will fit over the "S" hook and fit between the carrier ring and the wall of the bell. This washer will protect the glass from the metal ring.
4.Find another ring for your top hanger ring. Be sure it's large enough to not fall through the top opening of the bell. Don't attach the ring to the "S" hook yet!

Hanger assembly instructions:
Open one side of the "S" hook just enough to allow the carrier ring to be slipped on.Close the "S" hook.

Work and wiggle the large rubber washer down over the top of the "S" hook until it rests on top of the carrier ring.

Attach whatever chain or cord you're using to hold the clapper and windcatcher to the carrier ring. Don't worry about cutting it to length right now. The bell has to be assembled and hanging up before you can determine where the clapper should hang.

You have a choice with the next step. Either open the other end of the "S" hook enough to allow the hanging ring to slip in - but don't put the ring in yet, or leave the hook closed. I recommend opening it now. Either way, insert the "S" hook/washer/carrier ring assembly through the opening from the inside of the bell so that you can hold the partially assembled bell up by the "S" hook. Attach the hanging ring and close the hook.You'll probably need two pairs of pliers to close the ring and be careful! You're working with glass!
You should now be able to hang up your clapperless bell.

With the bell hanging, attach the clapper so that it strikes the bottom rim of the bell.

With the bell hanging, attach the windcatcher. The distance of the windcatcher from the bell is just a matter of what pleases you. I like to hang mine twice the length of the bell. Experiment with it. Keep in mind if the catcher is either too far from or too close to the bell it won't ring very well.

The bell top - I didn't want to leave the large opening completely exposed. I cut flashing into individual two lobed "petals" and GE'ed them, slightly overlapping, around the top. I left room for the hanging assembly and bell to move in the wind. The top is partially open but I hope the "petals" will keep most of the leaves, pine needles and rain out. I didn't want to close the top opening completely and not allow air to circulate.

Be sure to hang the bell where it won't bang into something and hang it over a soft surface just in case it comes down!

I know this is a lot of words, I do better with pictures myself. I'm on the lookout for more lamps to "convert", If anyone is interested, I'll try to make a step-by-step photo explanation.

Confusion or questions?


clipped on: 10.24.2007 at 01:18 am    last updated on: 10.24.2007 at 01:18 am

Old window greenhouse

posted by: mao_tse_mom on 05.09.2007 at 04:41 pm in Garden Junk Forum

I thought I'd share with you my new greenhouse made with old windows. It's not quite done yet.

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clipped on: 08.28.2007 at 01:24 am    last updated on: 08.28.2007 at 01:24 am

RE: Artificial rock (Follow-Up #75)

posted by: coastal_concepts on 07.26.2007 at 01:12 pm in Garden Accoutrements Forum

After a megar 600 hours of preparation I have completed the advanced tutorials. They are a pond and waterfall tutorial, advanced sculpting guide, advanced painting guide as well as a number of other subjects including statues, pumps and motors, pipe classifications, hollow landscape rocks, mixing, texture mats etc...

I did not fully appreciate the details and vast array of knowledge needed for these projects until the pen met paper...

The DVD is in production but will not be available until spring 2008. The basic rock building tutorial is still available for free, however I have elected to charge for the advanced tutorials to ensure that I can sustain the amount of time needed to continue supplying this much needed information to the artificial rock and DIY community.

As always, thank you for the gratious compiment that I have received from everyone.

Cheers and happy sculpting!

Steve Goodale
Coastal Concepts

Here is a link that might be useful: free tutorial link


Good info for making cement faux rocks.
clipped on: 08.14.2007 at 12:16 am    last updated on: 08.14.2007 at 12:17 am

RE: My 2nd statue - female figure (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: jloppnow on 10.14.2006 at 11:11 pm in Hypertufa Forum

Hi Dena6355,

Thanks! The figure with base is about 6' or so. Of course she doesn't have her head yet so will be taller. I always wait till the end for the head and hands as they require the most detail and I am not as skilled in that area.

My last statue was not too heavy. It was full size as well. I moved it myself to my truck. Getting INTO the bed by myself though was not easy. With this figure, well, I put in in a concrete base so she will be much heavier. It was necessary for balance and safety. I could have used a papercrete base too and she probably would have been fine but I didn't want to take any chances. I can move her around by myself but will have to use a dolly if I am going to transport her somewhere. Still these figures are much lighter than they would be made of solid concrete.

The back is still just flat as I have only worked on the front. I'll take more picts when I have her more developed. I was just excited to finally be working again so wanted to post the front pict now. I like to do some detail work as soon as possible to give the figure "presence". It inspires me to do more.

As to weight, the more paper fibre you use obviously the lighter it will be. I once did a bowl with shredded newspaper and cement and it was VERY light and VERY strong. I can stand on it as a matter of fact.

Answers to some of your other questions are below in something I wrote some time ago.

Cement and Paper Fiber Sculpting

Note: This is not a papercrete recipe used for building. "Traditional" papercrete takes newspaper and other paper, soaks it, shreds it, mixes it into a slurry and pours it into bricks. I tried shredded paper (from a paper shredder, got lots form work). It works too, just soak it. BUT I finally ended up using cellulose insulation. It is a lot less work.


Portland cement (NOT a concrete mix with rocks/sand, just the cement powder)

Paper fiber (I buy the paper insulation (that is used to be blown into attics) I think they call it cellulose insulation. You can get from Lowes. It is already shredded.

Bucket of joint compound

Armature materials if needed


You have to experiment here to get it to the point it feels like clay. Off hand I'd say 3/4 paper fiber to 1/4 part cement. I then just put in a handful of joint compound, add water and mix by hand. If it doesn't feel like clay I add more cement and more joint compound. It is not an exact formula for me so all I can say is try it yourself and vary the balance between fibre, cement and compound.

More paper fibre gives more bulk but less strength, but is fine for roughing out the figure. The higher the paper fiber the longer it will take to dry. Use more cement in the mixture and more compound than paper for the outer finishing layer. It gives a much smoother appearance.

I just do this in a bucket. I've not tried a large scale mixing because a) you can get tired out pretty easily and then you are wasting the rest. I am thinking of mixing a large amount in a wheel barrow as it does not dry quickly so you have time (but not overnight).

IMPORTANT!: Wear a mask and rubber gloves. Cement dust easily goes into the air and it is not a good idea to breathe it. Also, I wear thin rubber gloves. I much prefer no gloves as I like to feel my subject but the reality is that cement will suck all the moisture out of your hands. Also, this mixture gives off an ammonia smell at first. I think from something in the cellulose. It is not strong enough to bother me though.

I've been asked if one can add sand. I've only tried this once. It makes the mixture a lot less claylike and takes longer to dry and will slump easier, but you can do it. The plus side is likely added strength.


I try to avoid anything that will rust as an armature because I just don't know if the paper fibers will wick water all the way through the sculpture. If it does it could cause rust on the armature thus splitting the sculpture.
This may not happen at all. I would say though if using an iron armature to make sure to seal it with paint before applying the cement. This is probably a good idea with any type of cement mixture in any case.

My armatures are made from styrofoam, pvc piping and aluminum piping. If it is a "sqaut" figure, meaning triangular or a column type figure I just use styrofoam but it won't have the strength necessary for limbs. So for my
Greenman figure I used pvc piping.

The Process

Build an armature. Don't be hasty with it. Make sure that it is to the proportions you want before applying cement. I've had to do some chiseling because I didn't take into account the extra width added by the cement and threw a piece out of proportion. I know it's common sense but I don't always have common sense so thought I'd give the warning in case there is someone else like me out there.

I coat the armature from the bottom up, when it is completely covered with one layer I let it set for a day IF it has things like "legs", such as with the Greenman. I needed the strength there in the legs before I could build up the "musculature" with more cement. This technique worked great!

Once you can start adding "muscles", and bulking up the figure you pretty quickly learn if you are adding too much at once so it slumps. Be patient. My experience with papercrete is that you can add additional layers after a
piece is dry and it holds nicely. I've even gone back months later and done more work on a piece. I know this isn't conventional wisdom but it works for me.

Make sure and cover the bottom of the armature as well with cement. You don't want bugs getting up inside your armature. It is said that carpenter ants love styrofoam.

How long does it last?

Well, I did a lion that has been in my backyard for 3 years. It is unsealed and it has had no structural damage at all. There is slight crackling in part of it but that is all. I was worried about water wicking and splitting it in winter, never happened. However, if you seal it with paint it will be even safter. I sealed my greenman with paint, then polyurethane. He is has only wintered once but is still going strong.


For my Greenman piece I used a sponge to paint with. This makes sure the figure gets well covered. I did an enamel base and then added acrylics for highlights. I used spray polyurethane but want to try the kind from a can sometime.

You don't have to paint of course but I still think sealing is a good idea with polyurethane or something else.


Papercrete recipe and info
clipped on: 08.13.2007 at 12:01 am    last updated on: 08.13.2007 at 12:01 am

RE: Hypertufa Mill Stone (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: myback_garden on 08.10.2007 at 12:35 pm in Hypertufa Forum

This is from a previous post when I first made the millstone...........The design was done by my hubby..I asked him to do up something for me and that is what he came up he drew it and I used a saw to make the lines.I would like to do another one with leaf imprints in it..It weighs about 25 to 30 lbs so one person can manage it..but far easier if 2 pick it up..Once it is up on it's side though it rolls just like a wheel so that makes for easy moving by one person.
I used...16 litres of port
4 litres of sand
12 litres of vermiculite
3/4 cup of brown colorant
3/4 of a bottle of acrylic admix(I think it was overkill on the admix) :).. but I just kept pouring and before I knew it most of the bottle was
it set up for demolding and carving in about 24 hrs
....I believe it is about 24" round-fountain Mill stone...the larger one is about 4' round..I took a different route with the making of the large millstone and just used a bucket for measuring..I can't remember the ratio...but I just kept repeating it...for every wheel barrel full...It took about 5 fill and it is 6.5" in depth.. this one is very heavy...It cannot be lifted without mechanical hubby's guess is about 400 lbs...find a mold the size you want and then just fill it up to the depth you want..I used a large barrel(plastic drum)...took my sawzal and cut it down..Hope this helps I have some more pics i will try to put on flikr..


Hypertufa millstone for fountain
clipped on: 08.12.2007 at 11:54 pm    last updated on: 08.12.2007 at 11:55 pm

Leaf Imprints in Hypertufa Troughs

posted by: plantman56 on 07.12.2007 at 12:18 pm in Hypertufa Forum

I have made several leaf imprints projects using tufa and in molds that are flat - like a stepping stone. My tufa mix was only using very fine particles ( peat, portland, and vermiculite - or extra fine perlite.
When I make containers I typically use a coarser mix. The container looks better with the coarse mix, ( just my opinion) - I have found that the leaf imprint is not as clear and defined if I use a coarse mix. My goal is to make a nice leaf imprint in a bowl or container and still use a somewhat coarse mix. ( maybe I may not using the best leafs - I'll take suggestions on that too)
Anyone what to talk about leaf imprints they have done, the mix they used, and how they have stained, painted etc.
I will post my latest picuture later......



clipped on: 08.02.2007 at 07:48 pm    last updated on: 08.02.2007 at 07:48 pm

Papercrete Bears

posted by: terrybear on 07.29.2007 at 05:19 pm in Hypertufa Forum

Hi all! I am starting this thread as a means of responding to questions that I have received about 2 bears that I made out of papercrete. The earlier discussion was in the "My second female figure" thread. I will post there that questions and comments should be moved here instead. Thanks.

For those of you who haven't been reading Johnathon's posts (I recommend that you have a look there too! - Great work!) I made two bears out of papercrete and now I am working on a 3rd project. Here are photos of both bears in progress and finished, and also some of the new project that show how I am building the armature.

Here is a link that might be useful: Photos of bears


clipped on: 08.02.2007 at 07:45 pm    last updated on: 08.02.2007 at 07:45 pm

simple hypertufa bowl

posted by: maryo on 06.27.2007 at 12:52 pm in Hypertufa Forum

Bought this hollow bowl for a buck. Works great for a form. Just sprayed it with Pam.
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clipped on: 08.02.2007 at 06:47 pm    last updated on: 08.02.2007 at 06:48 pm

Hypertufa Rocks????

posted by: kaka3 on 06.16.2007 at 11:25 pm in Hypertufa Forum

I have never made the hypertufa but a friend of mine and I were discussing making some medium sized rocks to place around our flower beds. Tell me if this would work. Make a rock shape out of maybe chicken wire, stuff the chicken wire shape with newspaper and put the hypertufa on the chicken wire, (kind of like frosting a cake with your hands). Wouldn't matter if the newspaper stayed inside. Would this work and where can I find the recipe for hypertufa? Thank ya'all!


clipped on: 08.02.2007 at 06:45 pm    last updated on: 08.02.2007 at 06:45 pm

gazebo, broken concrete, tipsy pots, bottle tree, etc...

posted by: cheribelle on 07.06.2006 at 04:19 pm in Garden Junk Forum

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This gazebo was built by me with some help from DH. The top is a 10 ft fiberglass satelite dish. I bought the 4X4 posts that hold it up. The rest was a porch my friend had taken off her house when she remodeled. Funny story. The carpenters she had hired to build her new wrap-around porch took the old one off and loaded it on my trailer for me. When I hauled it off they looked at me like I'm nuts. Then later, they came into the resteraunt where I was working. They recognised me and asked "What are you going to do with that old porch?" I said I'm going to build a gazebo. Professional carpenter says to me " A gazebo, huh? Those are cool, but really tricky." I said Nah, I have a plan. The look on his face was priceless, a waitress telling a professional carpenter she can build a gazebo??? To funny. heeheehee
He has NO clue I have been using power tools and remodeling things for 25 years :0)
The copper trellis on the front is one of my designs, one of many I have built. You can sort of see the bottle tree in the back, and the horse planter I just put in.
We are still working on the broken concrete patio, lots of old stuff on this old farm place to work with, just takes time and WORK.


Cool gazebo built with a sattelite dish roof!
clipped on: 07.22.2007 at 03:09 pm    last updated on: 07.22.2007 at 03:10 pm